Quantum leap for Samsung's new QLED range
WHAT movie do you test an entertainment system with? For me it was a no-brainer. I went straight to the shelf and picked up my copy of Top Gun.
When I was an impressionable four-year-old I remember seeing Top Gun for the first time. It was at a family friend's place who had an enviable entertainment set-up - a big-screen TV, VHS player and surround sound. And Top Gun.
It sounded like the F-14As and MiG-28s were taking off and landing in the room, the windows shook, and there was a fantastic soundtrack.
The action and excitement, the devastation when Goose died - I was hooked. Top Gun became my all-time favourite movie. I watch it once a year, and every time a friend or family member buys a new TV, I turn up at their place with my trusty copy of Top Gun in hand.
So when Samsung asked me to review their new QLED 75-inch TV and entertainment system, I headed to the review session with my copy of Top Gun and told Samsung to "talk to me, Goose”.
FOR my review session I had the Samsung QLED Q7 series 75-inch TV, the Samsung MS650 soundbar, Samsung UBD K8500 ultra HD blu-ray player, and an XBox.
The TV was plugged into the power directly behind the screen, and then, instead of having that cable clutter that we all know and dread, it uses a single clear cable to connect to a smart hub. The hub auto-detects different interfaces and automatically identifies and labels the media on the TV. It boasts four HDMI and two USB inputs, as well as AV in, aerial and a slot for the clear connection cable.
Samsung have also created the One Remote - one remote to rule all your devices. It is sleek, silver and surprisingly easy to use as it only has about 10 buttons instead of the dozens I have on my current TV, DVD and media player remotes.
The QLED range will also have a collection of 300 apps including Netflix and Stan, and Steam Link so you can stream PC-based games on your TV.
WATCHING Top Gun on the QLED screen was everything I hoped for and more. There were colours I swear I had never seen over 30 years of watching the scenes around southern California, and the detail was impressive. I never realised how green Tom Cruise's eyes were before.
Nor did I realise that for 99% of the movie (not just the volleyball scene) the characters are covered in sweat - a fine sheen of tiny perspiration droplets.
And as for the sound, I must admit I didn't turn up the volume to the point the windows were rattling, but the sound of Kenny Loggins' Danger Zone and the rumble of jet engines firing up was crystal clear.
A family friend bought a 65-inch curved screen last year. The same day I had my review session, I turned up to their place with my DVD to see how it compared. Sadly, it didn't live up to the Samsung viewing earlier in the day.
Also on the playlist for my review day was X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Expendables 3, of course carefully selected to see how the set-up handled CGI and fast-paced action.
At one point I was talking with someone from Samsung about the colour and definition. Just at that moment he paused the blu-ray to show me what he meant. And the definition was definitely there - in both the screen resolution as well as Hugh Jackman's abs, which is what he had inadvertently paused on.
Working in newspapers, I spend a reasonable amount of time in Photoshop enhancing photographs. To combat the dullness of newsprint, we tend to shorten the colour range to beef up the colours so the blacks are really black and the whites are like an ad for a laundry detergent. We also use an unsharp mask for more definition in the content.
The combination of QLED screen and 4k blu-ray player is like the complete opposite of what we do in print - there were so many varying shades of black, near black and grey in The Expendables 3 that I could actually watch it in daylight and it didn't just look like fast-moving black blobs. And when you live in Queensland, this is an important factor.
I must admit, going back to my tiny 30-inch screen in my little unit was quite the comedown.
THE QLED range is "the pinnacle of Samsung's home cinema experience thanks to the true-to-life picture quality, incredible brightness, and image details,” according to Samsung Electronics Australia vice president of consumer electronics Carl Rose.
The three QLED variants - the Q7, Q8 and Q9 - feature quantum dots. These nano-sized crystals (which are smaller than 1/10,000 of a strand of human hair) are made of semiconducting material that absorb and emit light. Samsung introduced quantum dot technology last year, however this year they have coated the dots with quantum alloys, which increases the light-emitting capabilities.
The spectral line width of the light from quantum dots is narrower than that of standard TV materials, creating a high-dynamic range which increases the luminance levels and visual details. This level of luminance is measured by nits (one nit is the luminous intensity of a candle lighting an area of one square metre). Previous Samsung televisions had a peak luminance of 1000 nits, but with the QLED range they have upped that game. The Q7 and Q8 series both have peak luminance of 1500 nits, while the Q9 peaks at 2000 nits.
CHATTING with Samsung, the trend for big-screen TVs continues. Apparently a 65-inch screen is the new 55-inch.
The Q7 series will be available in 55-inch, 65-inch and 75-inch variants, ranging in price from $4499 to $10,999.
The Q8, which features a curved screen design, will be available in 55, 65 and 75-inch options and will cost you between $5499 and $12,499.
The top-of-the-line Q9 starts at 65-inches ($9,499), then 75-inch ($14,999), while an 88-inch Q9 will put you back $39,999.
The QLED range will be available from April 17.