Samsung Q8FN Review (QN55Q8FN, QN65Q8FN, QN75Q8FN)
Samsung Q8FN is the second top model of Samsung’s 2018 4K HDR QLED TV lineup. It is the successor of Q8F in last year. In this year, Q8FN brings some improvements on its technologies over the predecessor Q8F which make its picture quality and HDR performance is better. Additionally, it also brings many new smart features like Samsung’s Bixby, SmartThing and many more that certainly will more pamper you in enjoying smart entertainment in your home. In the market, Q8FN is available in 3 screen sizes including 55 Inch (QN55QFN), 65 Inch (QN65QFN), and 75 Inch (QN75Q8FN). When I was writing this review, this TV is sold in price range $2000 – $5000, depending on the screen size. But of course, since it is recently launched and it still has a full price, its price certainly is not fixed and could still change at any time and usually will tend to drop as the time goes by.
Samsung Q8FN Key Specs
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Size Available||55 Inch (QN55Q8FN), 65 Inch (QN65 Q8FN), 75 Inch (QN75 Q8FN)|
|Local Dimming||Full Array Local Diming (Q Contrast Elite)|
|Picture Engine||Q Engine|
|HDR Engine||Q HDR Elite|
|HDR Formats||HDR 10, HLG, HDR 10+|
|Contrast and Blacks Enhancement||Supreme UHD Dimming, Contrast Enhancer|
|Color Technology||Quantum Dot with Q Color|
|4K Up-scaling||UHD Up-Scaling|
|Motion Technology||Motion Rate 240|
|Native Refresh Rate Panel||120 Hz|
|Screen Finishing||Anti Reflecting Screen (Ultra Black Elite)|
|Platform||Tizen OS 2018|
|Key Apps||Samsung Bixby Voice Assistant, SmartThing, Cloud Games, Premium VoD Apps, etc|
|Remote||Samsung Smart Remote (TM1850A)|
|RF (Terrestrial Cable)||1|
|Built In Wi-Fi||Yes|
|Speaker Type||Front Firing|
|Total Power||40 watts|
|Sound Effect||Dolby Digital Plus|
|See the price on Amazon|
What’s new on Samsung Q8FN?
Full Array Local Dimming
One of the major improvement brings by Samsung Q8FN is on its backlight where it now comes with direct LED backlight with Full Array Local Dimming or called Q Contrast Elite. This makes its local dimming can do a better job in improving the contrast and peak brightness than previous models which uses Edge Lit backlight with local dimming. Additionally, its FALD is also very effective to minimize the blooming. Essentially, the use of Full Array Local Dimming makes all aspects of picture quality produced by Q8FN is better that certainly also make its picture quality and HDR performance is better than the predecessor.
HDR 10+ is a HDR format as the improvement of HDR 10. If HDR 10 use static metadata in remapping color and brightness that sent at the beginning of the content, HDR 10+ uses dynamic metadata that is continuously sent at scene by scene. This certainly makes contrast and colors of every scene of HDR video can be shown more precise. It is similar to Dolby Vision that also uses dynamic metadata in remapping color and brightness, but of course with different standardization.
Samsung’s Bixby Voice Assistant and Smart Thing
Previously, Samsung TV might already have excellent voice navigation. But with Samsung’s Bixby Voice assistant that allows you to do a lot of more to control your TV or other device with your voice commands. Now, with your voice command, you are not just able to control TV functions, but also control other SmartThing Compatible device with your voice. This actually is similar to Alexa Amazon or Google Home assistant on Sony TV or LG’s AI ThinQ on LG TV. While other manufacturers have embraced Alexa and Google Assistant, Samsung prefers to launch its own-brand, Samsung’s Bixby as the voice assistant and SmartThing as the Hub.
Features and Technologies of Samsung Q8FN
In addition to what discussed above, Samsung Q8FN also comes with some other advanced technologies and features. The other main technologies offered by Q8FN is Quantum Dot and Q color technology. Combination of these technologies allow it is able to produce more than 1 billion shadow of colors and delivers wide color gamut that can nearly perfectly cover colors in DCI P3. This makes Q8FN is including TVs with the best color gamut. Additionally, for maximizing contrast and black level produced, it is also supported by Supreme UHD Dimming and Contrast Enhancer. There is also anti reflective screen finishing called Ultra Black Elite that help to reduce the glare and reflection, makes the excellent picture quality produced will look more consistent, no matter the light condition of a room where it is used. And to process SDR and HDR images so results in clear picture quality with vibrant color and stunning details, there are Q engine and Q HDR Elite as its image processor. Combination of all of these technologies makes Samsung Q8FN can produce excellent picture quality with deep blacks, accurate color and bright brightness level. But even so, since Q8FN uses VA panel, this certainly makes it has poor side viewing angle.
For deliver smooth and clear picture quality when playing fast moving images, Samsung Q8FN is powered by Motion Rate 240 technology based on native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. Additionally, it also has an optional 60 Hz Black Frame insertion mode that helps to clear-up motion when playing 60 fps contents like sports or video games. For connecting with other devices, it is equipped with 4 HDMI ports where all of its HDMI ports already support HDCP 2.2 and HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth. But unlike in last year where the middle to upper TVs are equipped with 3 USB ports, for this case, Q8FN is only equipped with 2 USB ports. Additionally, if in last year, most of their inputs/outputs are installed on separated box called “One Connect Mini”, in this year, all inputs/outputs of Q8FN are installed on the rear panel. Meanwhile, as its smart TV platform, Samsung Q8FN is featuring Tizen 2018. In term of interface and performance, there are not many changes over last year version, but now Tizen OS is integrated with Samsung’s Bixby Voice Assistant and Smart Thing. And for delivering impressive sound performance, Q8FN is equipped with 4.1 channel speaker system with total 40 watts of sound output.
Samsung Q8FN Performance
Contrast and Black Level
Like the predecessor Q8F, Samsung Q8FN also has excellent native contrast ratio that is more than 5000:1. But in here, the local dimming of Q8FN is more effective to boost the contrast up to 8000:1. With this contrast ratio, black level produced by Q8FN is very deep, even darker than 0.015 nits that means is very great for LED TV. The result, blacks looks really black, even when it is set in a dark room where the impact of high native contrast ratio is very sensitive. This certainly makes dark scene of images can be shown excellently on the screen of Q8FN. On the other hand, as we know, this is required certain black level to show shadow details of HDR images like the intended. And for this case, in order to be able to shadow details like the intended, a HDR TV must have 0.05 nits or darker and the darker black level reached by a TV, shadow details of HDR images produced will look more excellent. While with darker than 0.015 nits of black level, can be ascertained shadow details of HDR images displayed on the screen of Q8FN will looks excellent like the intended. With excellent performance when showing blacks, a movie with a lot of dark scene like thriller or horror will looks excellent on the screen of Q8FN.
Samsung Q8FN also has excellent peak luminance. When playing SDR contents, its peak brightness is bright enough to fight the glare of ambient light, even when it is set in a very bright room where there is much light. Combined to its anti reflective screen that can handle reflections excellently, this makes its picture quality looks remain excellent when set in a bright room. On the other hand, when playing HDR contents, Samsung QN8FN even has brighter peak brightness. Its local dimming is very effective to boost the peak brightness at small window set up to more 1000 nits. This means, a small bright object in a dark background like a dramatic highlight of HDR image can be shown at the level intended by creator. As we know, since HDR images are mastered in 1000 – 4000 nits of brightness range, to show highlight of HDR image like the intended, a HDR TV must have at least 1000 nits of peak brightness. But a bit unfortunate, when showing a very bright small object, an unwanted adjacent light around the bright object or called “blooming” is still visible. But even so, it is still less visible than the predecessor Q8C or the Sony X900F that also has Full Array Local Dimming.
Meanwhile, at larger window size, like most other TVs, peak brightness of Samsung Q8FN also drops, but it is still fairly bright. Even when showing a scene with most or all objects are bright, the peak brightness reached by Q8FN is still brighter than 600 nits. This is different to what happened on OLED TV, where when showing a scene with all objects are bright, their peak brightness drops below 200 nits. This means, what reached by Q8FN is still good for a bright room, makes bright scene of HDR images displayed on their screen doesn’t look too dim.
In last year, along with other models of Samsung QLED TV, its predecessor Q8F is including TVS with the best color gamut. In this year, Samsung Q8FN also does the same thing where its color gamut can cover nearly 100% of DCI P3 color space. This means, almost all colors in DCI P3 can be shown fairly accurate, even for deep greens where most of TVs difficulty to show these colors fairly saturated. Additionally, Samsung Q8FN also have good color volume, better than most TV which available in the market. The excepting for extremely dark colors where its color gamut slightly narrows, Samsung Q8FN can show its wide color gamut at its entire brightness range. This means, no matter it is displaying very bright scene, moderately bright scene, or dark scene, colors of HDR images can be shown fairly accurate. In addition to excellent wide color gamut, Samsung Q8FN also can process a content 10 bit with depth of colors like HDR image fairly well. The result, color gradient of HDR image displayed on its screen looks fairly smooth without any major color banding. But like most TVs which available in the market, it cannot show gradient of darker color perfectly and there are some little imperfections noticeable in the darker colors. But even so, overall, color gradient of Q8FN is excellent and fairly smooth. And some little imperfection that visible in a darker colors should not bothersome your convenience in watching movies or other shows.
Side Viewing Angle
As we have mentioned above, since Samsung Q8FN uses VA panel, this certainly makes its side viewing angle is poor. Like other TVs with VA panel, started at 20 degrees off center and front, color will look shift. Black level even starts to degrade at narrower angle. And the wider angle you are watching from, the color shift and black level degradation will be more significant. The result, when viewed from the side, color will look less accurate while black will look tend to grey that certainly makes the picture doesn’t look as good as when viewed from the center. This means, if you often watch TV with a group of your families, you have to set your seat or sofa in such a way in order to each of your family can get the best viewing. Otherwise, for you who don’t often watch TV from the side, this should not be a problem for you.
Motion Handling and 24p Playback
Although not as excellent as OLED TV, overall, Samsung Q8FN does a great job in handling motion blur when it is playing fast moving images. For LED TV, its pixel response time is extremely low and optimized by Motion Rate 240 technology, this makes the picture displayed on their screen looks smooth and clear, and there is only a very short ghosting trail following fast moving object where for most people, this should not be noticeable. Meanwhile, since it has local dimming and for dimming the backlight, it uses PWM system, this certainly will cause backlight flicker, no matter the backlight setting, even at 100% of backlight setting. But the higher the backlight setting, the flicker will be less severe. But since by default, it uses 480Hz of PWM Dimming frequency, this should not be noticeable for most people but on the other hand, it will creates little duplication. Overall, flicker on Q8FN is far better than the predecessor Q8F and even almost similar to Sony X900F that uses 720 Hz of PWM Dimming Frequency.
On the other hand, flicker with lower frequency is required to clear up the motion, particularly when playing 60 fps contents like video games or sports or when playing content with interpolation. For this case, Samsung Q8FN has an optional ”Black Frame Insertion” mode called “LED Clear Motion”. When it is enabled, it will adjust automatically the frequency of flicker depend on the frame rate of the contents. For this case, the BFI mode of Q8FN works fairly well to clear up the motion.
Meanwhile, when playing 24p videos, Samsung Q8F also does a great job. The excepting of 24p contents via 60i signals like movies from satellite TV, Q8FN can clearly show any frame rate 24p movies with judder-free. This means, no matter the source is native 24p movies like DVD or Blu Ray movies, 24p videos via 60p signals like movies from streaming device like Fire TV, Apple TV and etc, or 24p movies via streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Videos, and others, all of them can be shown clearly and smoothly with judder-free on the screen of Q8FN. Meanwhile, the inability of Samsung Q8FN in removing judder at 24p movies via 60i signal is unusual and usually, there is a firmware update in future that will fixes this issue. But in spite of that, since most people don’t sensitive to judder, this should not be an issue for them.
As its major connectivity, Samsung Q8FN is equipped with 4 HDMI ports and all of them already support HDCP 2.2 and HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth, while that supports ARC (Audio Return Channel) is HDMI 4. But unlike the predecessor Q8F that has 3 USB ports, Q8FN is only equipped with 2 USB 2.0 ports and it doesn’t have USB 3.0. IN addition to HDMI and USB ports, it is also equipped with 1 RF in, 1 Ethernet, and 1 Digital Audio Out (optical). There are no AV IN and Component In behind it. As their wireless connectivity, it also has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Bu unlike the predecessor Q8F where most of its inputs/outputs are located on separated box called “One Connect Box, on Q8FN, all of its inputs/outputs are located on the rear panel. Meanwhile, discussing about their input lags, overall, Q8FN has excellent input lags in “PC Mode” and “Game Mode”, a bit better than the predecessor. With about 20 ms at any source, this certainly is quite low to play any games so feels very responsive. The excellence, Q8FN has Auto Game Mode feature that can be enabled on “Inputs menu”. Once this feature is enabled, the TV will automatically switch to “Game Mode” when from the active input it detects a game is playing on a console.
Like other model of Samsung’s 2018 Smart TV lineup, Samsung Q8FN is also featuring Tizen 2018 as its smart TV platform and also powered by a quad core processor. On its interface, there might not a major change. Smart Hub is still the core of this platform. Like the previous version, on its “Home Menu”, all apps, settings, and menu are well-organized on a customizable “strip bar” at the bottom across the screen. You can move the most used app to the front, while the rarely used apps can be moved to the back. This certainly makes you easier and quicker to find something and launch it. Additionally, like other OS, Samsung Tizen also provides a lot of popular apps like YouTube, Amazon Videos, Netflix, Games, Web browser, and many more as its pre-installed app. It also has an apps store called “Samsung App Store” that provides ton of downloadable apps, games, information, and others. As we have mentioned, In 2018, Tizen OS also comes with Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant, SmartThing home assistant, and other features which certainly makes it is more attractive than the previous version. But on the other hand, this makes its performance is inconsistent and less smooth than the previous version. When you are launching an app, sometime it will open quickly with smooth animation, at other time, sometimes there is a lag about one-two second before it opens with choppy animation. Additionally, like other TVs, Samsung Q8FN also comes with Smart Home Assistant. But unlike Sony or LG TV where they support most popular Home Smart Assistant like Amazon Alexa or Google Home, Samsung prefer its own-brand called “SmartThing”.
As the controller, Samsung Q8FN also comes with 2018 model of Samsung Smart Controller. Its remote is small with only a few buttons, similar to last year model or the one found on most other models of Samsung’s 2018 4K TV lineup. Since its remote only has few buttons which only provide basic access to the most common functions. But don’t worry, you can still access to advanced setting by navigating the menu or using voice navigation. As we know, Samsung’s remote is equipped with built-in microphone for voice navigation. And the excellence, in this year, it is integrated with Samsung’s Bixby Voice assistant that allow you to do more with your voice commands. With your voice, you can change the input, open apps, or ask basic question, and others. But it is not as advanced as LG TV with AI ThinQ or Sony TV with Google Voice assistant that can be used to search within apps or wider contents. Additionally, its remote also can act as universal remote. The excellence, with OneRemote feature, this remote can be used to control some function of other devices, not only CEC compatible device, but also other devices which don’t support CEC.
Overall, Samsung Q8F has excellent picture quality and HDR performance. Compared to the predecessor, it brings some improvement on its picture quality and HDR performance. The excepting of side viewing angle, performance of almost all aspect of picture quality produced by Q8FN is strong. Black level is very deep, peak brightness is very bright, color is very accurate, and etc. No matter the light condition of a room where it is used, the picture displayed on its screen will looks excellent. Additionally, the strong performance on other aspect like low input lags, good motion handling, good performance in handling 24p movies, also makes it is as a good TV for any usage, whether it is for watching movies, sports, TV shows, playing games, and others. But as we have mentioned, its side viewing angle is poor, so if watch TV from the side, the picture displayed on its screen will not look as good as when viewed from the center or front.
Should I buy this TV? If you are searching a TV for picture quality and HDR performance, Samsung Q8FN might be a good option for you. But as we have mentioned, since its side viewing angle is poor, if you are searching a TV for wide room where there are viewers who watch TV from multiple angles, this TV might not be a good choice for you and there are IPS TV or OLED TV that can meet your preferences. Now the decision comes back to you according to your preferences. But even so, if you are interested with this TV, when I was writing this review, this TV is recently released so it still has a full price. Wait for few months might better while waiting for its price drops one –two hundred dollars.
Compare to the Competitors
Samsung Q8FN vs Q9F (2017 model)
Samsung Q9F is the top model of Samsung’s 2017 QLED TV lineup. Nevertheless, since it is a last year model, its price has dropped a lot. Even with the same screen, 65 Inch (QN65Q8FN vs QN65Q9F) or 75 Inch (QN75Q8FN vs QN75Q9F), it sold hundred dollar cheaper than Q8FN. Samsung Q9F also has strong native contrast ratio that makes it can produce deep black level, but since it uses edge-lit backlight, its local dimming is not as effective as Q8FN in boosting the contrast. This certainly makes its black level is not as deep as Q8FN.But on the other hand, it has a bit brighter peak brightness, allows it to produce brighter highlight of HDR images than Q8FN. Its color reproduction is also excellent, not far different to what offered by Q8FN. Additionally, its motion handling and input lags is also almost similar. But since it comes with Tizen 2017 version, its smart TV platform has not integrated with Samsung’s Bixby Voice Assistant and SmartThing. With similar performance to Q8FN, even has brighter peak brightness, as long as Q8FN still has a full price, Q9F might be a good cheaper alternative for you.
Samsung Q8FN vs Samsung Q9FN
Samsung Q9FN is the successor of Q9F and also the top model of Samsung’s 2018 QLED TV lineup. With the same screen, 65 inch (QN65Q8FN vs QN65Q9FN) or 75 Inch (QN75Q8FN vs QN75Q9FN, it is priced hundreds or even more than a thousand dollar more expensive, depending on the screen size. It also comes with Full Array Local Dimming but have many more dimming zones. The result, its contrast ratio is far stronger that certainly makes it can produce far deeper black level and its peak brightness is far brighter, makes its HDR performance is more excellent than Q8FN. The excepting of black level and peak brightness, what offered by Q9FN is almost similar to Q8FN. If you come for HDR performance and don’t mind spend hundreds dollar more, Q9FN offer more powerful HDR performance.
Samsung Q8FN vs LG OLED C8
LG OLED C8 is the mid-end model of LG’s 2018 4K HDR OLED TV lineup and also the successor of OLED C7. With the same screen sizes, 55 Inch (QN55Q8FN vs OLED65C8PUA) or 65 inch (QN65Q8FN vs OLED65C8PUA), it is priced hundreds dollar more expensive than Q8FN. As we know, OLED TV including OLED C8 has nearly perfect performance on some aspect of picture quality including infinite contrast and perfect black level, perfect black uniformity, extremely low pixel response time, and extremely wide side viewing angle coverage. Additionally, although not as good as Q8FN, color reproduction and peak brightness of OLED C8 is also not far behind Q8FN, makes the picture displayed on their screen looks excellent, no matter the light condition of a room where it is used. Meanwhile, also optimized for HDR experience, LG OLED C8 also has excellent HDR performance and already supports most of HDR formats like HDR 10, HLG, Dolby Vision, and Advanced HDR. A bit disadvantage, since it peak brightness is still below 1000 nits, it cannot show highlight of HDR images at 1000 – 4000 nits of brightness range where HDR image is mastered. Nevertheless, its peak brightness is still far brighter than 550 nits as the minimum recommendation to show highlight of HDR image like the intended set by UHD alliance for OLED TV. To see complete review of LG OLED C8, please click here
Samsung Q8FN vs Sony X900F
Samsung X900F is the second top model of Sony 4K HDR LED TV lineup and also the successor of X900E. With the same screen, 55 Inch (XBR55X900F vs QN55Q8FN), 65 Inch (XBR65X900F vs QN65Q8FN), and 75 inch (XBR75X900F vs QN75Q8FN), it is priced hundreds dollar cheaper. Like Q8FN, Sony X900F also use VA panel with Full Array Local Dimming. Although not as strong as Q8FN, it also has excellent native contrast ratio, makes it can produce deep black level. At small window size, its peak brightness might not as bright as Q8FN and also still below 1000 nits, so highlight of HDR images cannot be shown as bright as Q8FN or at 1000 – 4000 nits of brightness range like the intended. Otherwise, at large window size, peak brightness of X900F is even brighter than Samsung Q8FN. The result, a scene with all objects are bright can be shown brighter on the screen of X900F. Additionally, although still far below Q8FN, it also already support wide color gamut that makes color of HDR images displayed on its screen looks fairly accurate. And also optimized for HDR experience, Sony X900F supports HDR 10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. Overall, Samsung Q8FN has better performance than X900F, but its price that is far cheaper makes some people prefer to buy it. To see complete review of Sony X900F, please click here
- Excellent Color Gamut and Color Volume
- Strong Native Contrast ratio
- Good Peak Brightness
- Good Motion handling
- Low Input Lags
- Side Viewing Angle is poor