Samsung’s flagship 8K smart TV Q950TS comes in 65-, 75-and 85-inch sizes.
But whichever the size, it is a doozy of a TV. For one thing, there is its vanishingly thin 2mm bezel that lines the perimeter of its 8K (7,680 x 4,320 pixels) quantum dot (Qled) display.
And when mounted on a wall, it blends in to become a window of entertainment, with only a 15mm-thick bump and slivers of silver grilles on the four sides of the TV breaking the illusion while it is displaying content.
Its eight speakers, sited on its flat back, support an object-tracking sound feature that is said to follow the movement of each scene for a more realistic and 3D audio experience.
Furthermore, the TV’s inputs and power supply unit are neatly located in a separate box called One Connect, which is hooked up to the TV via a single translucent cable.
The One Connect box has four HDMI ports and three USB ports, along with an Ethernet port and a digital optical output port. However, only one of the four HDMI ports is a HDMI 2.1 port, which can handle 8K videos at 60Hz.
In other words, if you plan to get both of the next-generation gaming consoles – PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X – that are expected to launch year-end and which support 8K output, you have to swop cables when switching between the two consoles to get 8K images.
The Q950TS runs Samsung’s Tizen operating system and comes with streaming apps such as Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime, Viu and AppleTV+.
It features Samsung’s latest 8K Quantum processor, which powers its 8K artificial intelligence (AI) upscaling feature. The processor is said to use AI to analyse and identify pixel characteristics to create 8K-like images.
Another eye-catching feature is direct full array local dimming lighting, which adjusts brightness by zones for richer blacks and optimised colour contrast.
Also tapping AI is the Adaptive Picture feature, which automatically adjusts the display brightness according to ambient lighting and picture content.
•Superb image quality
•Beautiful sleek design
•Decent 8K upscaling
•Dearth of native 8K content
PRICE: $12,999 (65 inches, version tested), $17,999 (75 inches), $29,999 (85 inches)
PICTURE FEATURES: Maximum resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 pixels, HDR10+, HLG
AUDIO FEATURES: 70W output (4.2.2ch), Dolby Digital Plus
OPERATING SYSTEM: Tizen OS
CONNECTIVITY: 4 x HDMI, 3 x USB, optical output, Ethernet, Wi-Fi
WEIGHT: 25.9kg (without stand)
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3.5/5
To test this feature, I switched off the room lights while watching Peaky Blinders on Netflix and, sure enough, the brightness level in the darker areas was automatically pumped up.
Naturally, image quality is the best with native 8K content, which I tested with some 8K footage on a USB drive.
And what I saw was breathtaking – contrasting, vivid colours with sharp details. I can only imagine how the upcoming Xbox Series X will play on this TV.
As for upscaled 8K video, 4K sources such as Netflix come close to the 8K standard. But with full high-definition (HD) or HD sources, the missing pixels are more evident.
However, irrespective of the source resolution, the TV is able to provide details aplenty in the dark areas of images.
For instance, watching Game Of Thrones’ infamously dark White Walkers battle, I can make out more details in the darker areas than on my TV at home.
The biggest downer of this drop-dead gorgeous TV is its jaw-dropping price tag. Starting at $12,999, this TV is not something the average Singaporean household can afford.
Not to mention, the dearth of native 8K content means consumers will not be able to fully utilise its potential.
But with the imminent release of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, this might just be the 8K TV to upgrade to in order to unleash the full potential of the two next-generation gaming consoles.