Samsung 65-inch Q9FN QLED TV Review: Who Needs OLED?

As the best offering in Samsung's QLED 4K TV lineup, the Samsung Q9FN includes every premium touch the company offers on its mainstream TVs, and more. Available in both 65- and 75-inch sizes (the 65-inch model we reviewed sells for $3,299), you'll be hard-pressed to find another premium TV with a better feature set, and the picture quality is on a par with the best TVs on the market.

Samsung 65-inch Q9FN QLED TV Specs

Price$3,299.99
Screen Size65-inches
Resolution3,840 x 2,160
HDRHDR10, HLG, HDR10+
Refresh Rate120Hz
Ports4 HDMI, 3 USB
Audio4.2 Channel x 60-Watt
Smart TV SoftwareSamsung Smart TV with Bixby Voice
Size57.1 x 32.7 x 1.5 inches [w/o stand]
Weight58.9 pounds [w/o stand]

Design

The Samsung 65-inch Q9FN QLED TV is stylish and sturdy, a combination of aesthetic consideration and solid construction that looks as premium as the TV's feature set. It's a design that is at once beautiful and vanishing, as Samsung has gone to great lengths to make the TV virtually disappear when hung on the wall – with a nearly invisible cable and an Ambient mode that lets it blend into its surroundings – but also wraps the TV cabinet in one of the most artful looks of any TV we've reviewed.

The design is slim and sleek, measuring 57.1 x 32.7 x 1.5 inches without the stand, and weighing 58.9 pounds. Narrow bezels surround the display, and the slim chassis has the same 360-degree design considerations offered on other QLED TVs. The Q9FN, in particular, slim's things down with a squared-off cabinet and a design that makes ports extra accessible with the use of a separate input box.

The TV stand has a squared-off u-shaped footprint and consists of two attachable metal feet that are then joined with a matching metal crossbar at the front. The whole thing has a footprint of 18.9 x 14.2 inches, and raises the TV up 7.2 inches. I don't think the square-shaped stand looks quite as elegant as stand designs I've seen on some other Samsung TVs, but it does look very nice when set up.

If you wish to forgo the stand, the Q9FN will also accommodate a 400 x 400 millimeter VESA wall mount.

Ports

The One Connect box, which houses all of the ports for the TV, has four HDMI ports (including one with ARC audio support), connectivity for optical surround sound, an RF antenna connection, and three USB 2.0 ports. Internet connectivity is offered via 802.11ac Wi-Fi or an Ethernet port on the box.

The One Connect box also has the TV's power connection, with power passing from the box to the TV over the same slim, semitransparent cable that carries all of your video, audio and data. The box itself measures 15.4 x 2.6 x 5.1 inches, and is easily tucked into an entertainment center alongside a Blu-ray player or game console.

The nearly invisible cable is designed to be as unobtrusive as AV connections get, consolidating all of your tangled black cables into a single line to the TV. The cable connecter is even designed to blend in with the rear panel of the TV, with the same textured finish and a purpose-built slot to clip into. The result is as close to wireless as Samsung can make a modern TV, and makes it much easier to maintain a clean look, especially when hanging the TV on a wall.

Performance

The Q9FN includes the best of Samsung's QLED display technologies, promising excellent display quality. In our testing, both in eyes-on viewing and measured performance, it delivered. The Samsung Q9FN QLED TV is one of the best TVs you can buy, and the 65-inch, 120Hz panel will look good whether you're watching shows, gathering around for a movie or playing the latest games.

The opening scenes of Blade Runner 2049 demonstrated the crisp clarity and vivid color offered by the Q9FN, with a drab futuristic farmhouse punctuated with brightly lit windows glowing white, the deep red of blood and bright yellow flowers all coming through with realistic color.

Samsung's best is on display on the 65-inch Q9FN QLED TV, and it's hard to overstate how good the end result is.

The set uses full-array backlighting, with local dimming zones that brighten and darken to accentuate the displayed image. The result is excellent high dynamic range (HDR) performance, with support for HDR10, Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) and Samsung's proprietary HDR10+. You won't find support for Dolby Vision, since Samsung favors it's own branded competitor, but you'll still get pretty great HDR performance regardless.

In a Blade Runner 2049 scene with glowing sparks floating up from a fire, the individual sparks were bright against the black night, without the pronounced haloing seen on other high-end sets with less-precise local dimming. Pair this dimming with a special filtering layer that cuts down on the elevated black levels that plague most LCD sets, and you've got some of the richest darks and blacks of any TV this side of OLED.

Viewing angles are also excellent, perhaps the best we've seen on an LCD display. One of the several optimization technologies that fall under the umbrella QLED name is the use of special microlenses, which are used to enhance the viewing angles. The specifics sound complicated, but the end result for viewing is easy to see, with clear, distortion-free color even when viewed from a steep angle.

The Q9FN delivers some of the richest darks and blacks of any TV this side of OLED.

The color quality looks great, and much of that is due to what Samsung calls 100 percent color volume, which offers not only 10-bit color and DCI-P3 color space support, it also does so at higher brightness, where color would normally begin to wash out. In our own testing, we saw the Q9FN reproduce 99.94 percent of the Rec. 709 color gamut, which is nearly identical to the less-expensive Samsung QLED Q6FN (99.93), but slightly behind the more similarly priced LG E7 OLED (99.99). In any case, it's close enough to 100 percent for our liking.

MORE: What Is OLED?

Color accuracy was also good, though not perfect. When tested with our spectrophotometer with the default out-of-the-box calibration, the Q9FN turned in a Delta-E rating of 2.5 (lower scores are better) in its best display mode. But even the top-performing LG E7 OLED scored a similar 2.3 rating, and the cheaper Samsung Q6FN managed slightly better accuracy (1.5). But in actual viewing, the difference is hard to spot. If you're a real stickler for color accuracy, calibrating the TV should tighten up the accuracy a bit, making an already great-looking TV look even better.

Gaming

Connecting our Xbox One X was very convenient, with the Q9FN automatically detecting the console and enabling the various capabilities needed for the gaming device. That may not sound like a big thing, but it saves a lot of time compared with smart TVs that may require enabling certain settings and features for the individual HDMI port you plug your console into. It also means less setup time between you and your new copy of Red Dead Redemption 2.

The Xbox One supports 4K gaming at 60 hertz, as well as 10-bit color. HDR support is provided, but even though the Xbox gets Dolby Vision support in a recent software update, the Samsung TV does not, since Samsung prefers its proprietary HDR10+ format.

Audio

The Q9FN gets Samsung's best sound to go with that excellent display, with 4.2-channel sound and 60 watts of power.

When I listened to Ben Gibbard's cover of "Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," the speakers not only reproduced the vocals and guitar with accurate clarity, they also brought out the drums and piano, and maintained that same clarity at high volume.

Listening to the bass-heavy "Fearless First" by Kevin MacLeod, I noticed how the Q9FN drove home the quality of the built-in subwoofer, which produced throbbing bass even at low volumes. While a bit of distortion crept in at the 50-percent volume mark, it stayed minimal even when the volume was dialed up to 90 percent and higher.

Smart Features

The Q9FN gets every feature offered by Samsung smart TVs, which not only makes it one of the best smart TV platforms we've used, it's also an excellent choice for smart-home enthusiasts.

The home menu is polished and easy to navigate, thanks to a simple ribbon-style menu for all of your apps. A well-stocked app store makes it easy to find all of the most popular apps and services, like Netflix, Hulu and HBO Now, along with hundreds of others. And, since Samsung keeps a fairly tight leash on what gets offered in its app store, you won't have to spend time sorting through dozens of low-quality apps to find the ones you want.

Samsung also integrates Bixby — Samsung's voice assistant — into the TV, letting you search for content by voice and use conversational language to navigate menus and control TV functions like volume and channel selection. While Bixby is fairly functional, it does struggle with accurate phrase recognition in a way that I haven't seen with LG's competing ThinQ AI. However, it's mostly accurate most of the time, so there's not a lot of room for complaint.

While Bixby is fairly functional, it does struggle with accurate phrase recognition in a way that I haven't seen with LG's competing ThinQ AI.

And for those who wish they could make their TV a little more attractive when it's not in use, Samsung includes a low-powered Ambient Mode. It functions as a sort of screensaver that lets you display art, photos, or even real-time content, like headlines and weather info.

MORE: Best Smart TVs - The Best 4K and HD Televisions for the Money

But one of the best features offered on the Q9FN is one you won't use more than once. A quick setup function will detect Samsung smartphones and other phones with the SmartThings app, and will give you the option of automatically porting your login credentials for your Wi-Fi connection and favorite apps, sparing you the day-one drudgery of keying in all of your usernames and passwords before enjoying apps like Netflix and Spotify.

Remote

The Samsung One Remote is among the best smart TV controllers available, and the Q9FN comes with the top-of-the-line version. The remote has directional controls for menu navigation; physical rockers for volume and channel; round buttons for home, power and microphone (for Bixby use); and clickable controls for media playback, Ambient Mode and other functions.

The whole thing is sheathed in smooth metal construction, offering a premium take on the plastic versions offered with less expensive members of the QLED family.

Bottom Line

Samsung's best is on display on the 65-inch Q9FN QLED TV, and it's hard to overstate how good the end result is. This is Samsung's best version of QLED technology, and this set brings the LCD the closest it's ever been to OLED's industry-leading technology.

In fact, compared with the LG E7 OLED TV, the Q9FN offers comparable color and accuracy, and even similarly deep black levels. And with the excellent combination of smart features, picture quality and rich sound offered on the Q9FN, it's likely that a lot of TV shoppers will be asking themselves, "Who needs OLED?"

Credit: Tom's Guide

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  • jedi0077
    A real oled beater will cost less not more.
  • eurekalogic1
    I agree seems this review is so counter intuative it hurts the whole guides reputation
  • sbbs99
    Lol. Greedy Samsung is charging more for qled than Oled. Have they gone nuts or looked at prices online?
  • vaughncampbell
    Tell Samsung to stop the price gouging the Lg c8 Oled goes for 2800 while Samsung is selling their overpriced lcd tv for 3200, do you know how expensive it is to produce a oled panel, I guess because they copy oled and call their lcd tv qled they are hoping this will confuse consumers to pay the ridiculous price they are asking.