Review: Samsung Q8C, a high-end QLED television
Most of the main TV manufacturers have recently released new models, all with lots of features and accompanied by a swarm of jargon.
Samsung's new models include the high-end Q8C which comes in three sizes 55-inch ($6000), 65-inch ($8000) and 75-inch ($14,000)
Samsung, like other TV manufacturers, dedicates a lot of time and jargon to their screens. There are acronyms for every feature but unless you're obsessed by tech skip that and let your eyes judge.
What you do need to know is that the Samsung Q8C has two key future-proof features - 4K (which describes the resolution or number of pixels) and HDR (which expands the range of both contrast and colour). However, making the most of these all depends on the source of your content (more on this later).
The "C" in Q8C stands for curved. The concave display looks great but its personal preference to how much difference it makes. The biggest advantage was that you feel more immersed in the screen while the main downside is that it picks up more reflection.
The other big difference is that this is an QLED (Quantum Dot LED) screen, as opposed to the more common and more affordable LED. This means it can deliver better colours and more brightness.
4K AND HDR
Your current television is probably high definition (1920 × 1080). Most of the new ones are 4K (4096 × 2160), so they have four-times the number of pixels on the screen which creates a sharper picture.
However, a TV can only reproduce the source material, which means to make the most of a 4K TV you need 4K material to watch.
This is in short supply in New Zealand. Netflix has quite a few 4K shows, but Neon, Lightbox, and Sky, TVNZ and TV3 don't support 4K yet. This is the same for HDR content. Also, 4K DVDs are not yet on sale here.
But 4K is coming but it's not clear when it'll become the new standard. Buying a 4K TV now will mean your new set is future proof but you need to weigh up the expense versus the current benefit.
The Q8C produces amazing picture quality but as described above, it depends on what you're watching.
A 4K show on Netflix that features HDR is stunning. You really notice the difference, so much so that you can be distracted by how great it looks rather that focusing on what's happening.
For anything other than 4K, Samsung uses upscaling tech to make the most of the quality.
You also notice the QLED technology, which creates a brighter picture without losing contrast. This is most noticeable in a well-light room.
One feature to pay attention to is motion processing which is designed to make the video look smoother. Some people like it, especially for watching sport, but I turned it off as it looked odd.
While picture quality gets the most attention, the sound a television produces is just as important. I was impressed with the sound and it produced clear voices as well as booming blasts.
I also liked how it had Bluetooth to easily connect headphones.
Depending on your personality, setting up a new television is either exciting or excruciating.
The manual that comes with the Q8C is OK - all the information is there, but it could have been better presented and in a more logical order. There are also guides online if you want more details.
Physically putting it together is easy. The bracket and stand screw on easily. The Q8C comes with a box the size of a keyboard that is used to plug in your DVD player, Sky decoder or streaming device. The box plugs into your TV via a cable so it can be more easily accessed and hidden.
One glitch I had setting up was synching the remote with the TV. I expected it to work straight out of the box so I had to read the manual to get it working.
Other than the screen, the most important part of a TV is how you use it so the remote and software are vital.
Both on the Q8C are OK. The remote is simple and is a nice size, though it did feel a bit plasticky despite its metallic look. I also would've like dedicated buttons for play/pause and fast forward/rewind.
The interface features a scrolling list across the bottom of the screen that lets you select apps and the devices you have plugged in. It all works quickly and is simple to use.
It also has voice control which was quite accurate. It's really handy for things like doing a search on YouTube.
The Q8C is an excellent television featuring all the latest technology. It's the TV for anyone who demands the best picture quality, with the curved screen giving an immersive experience.
I also liked the nice sound it produced. It was so good I wouldn't feel the need to buy a dedicated sound bar. The remote could do with some work but the interface was pleasing to use.
Another bonus is that this television is future proof for a good many years.
However, all this tech costs money, but it'll be up to you whether it's worth paying a high price for a such a great television.