It’s not often that we get something to test out, that keeps our jaws literally on the ground the whole time we’re using it. I know right, sounds like high praise, but it’s all true. Well, for the most part anyway. I’m talking about Samsung’s new Q900TS television, which forms part of their new 8K television range. It’s not quite the flagship Q950TS, but who has £10,000 to spend on one of those beasts? If you you’re like us who don’t, then the Q900TS is definitely the next best thing.
There’s no denying whatsoever that the Samsung Q900TS is a thing of beauty. It’s a thing of elegance. And it’s really down to the bezel-less design. Samsung have used the same design as their flagship Q950TS, which is essentially all screen. It’s called the Infinity Screen, and there are no bezels to this thing whatsoever, which makes it look super pristine on the stand in my living room, but if you wanted to wall mount it, you can with the VESA mount on the rear. Do also be aware though that there is no OneConnect connector box which can be found with the flagship 950TS. You have to directly plug your peripherals and power physically into the back of the TV.
Do take note though that this is not the skinniest, or lightest of flat screen TVs, and way off the likes of the LG ThinQ TV range that was released this year. But, it’s not like this for no reason. Samsung have a full array of LEDs behind the panel, which helps with HDR and local dimming effects. It’ll also need two people to put together, or at least two people to get it out of the box.
The stand itself is bulky item, but again, it looks extremely fitting to the television itself. It’s centre mounted and needs eight separate screws. Four to attach the two sections of stand together, and four more to attach it to the television itself. Again, you’ll probably need a couple of people to do this, so invite your buddies round for a movie night. Well, not yet. We’re in lockdown. But you get what I mean. One thing that surprised me a little bit with the stand though, is how it makes the Samsung Q900TS almost lean slightly backwards, and it’s not standing upright. I first thought that I had not screwed the stand in properly the first time we put it on the TV unit, but looking at the Samsung website, that’s how it is.
The edge of the Samsung 900TS is coloured in silver and is actually perforated for their speaker system. Samsung have implemented their Object Tracking Sound Plus, or OTS+ by using eight separate speakers around its four edges. What this means is the television will detect what’s happening on the screen, and match the sound direction of those objects. So for example, if there’s a helicopter flying around the top right hand side of the panel, the majority of that helicopter’s audio wil come from that corner of the screen. It’s all very immersive, and to tell you the truth, it’s one of the best sound I’ve heard from a flat screen television. Does it replace the need for a separate soundbar? Well no, a soundbar will still give you that deep rumbling bass, clearer audio and front power. But, if you didn’t want a soundbar because of clutter, or the separate subwoofer, then you’re not going to be disappointed with onboard audio.
On the back you can find four HDMI inputs, one of which is an HDMI 2.1 input, making this TV ready for your PS5 or Xbox Series X console. However, there is only one. Which means you’re not going to be able to plug both consoles in at the same time and receive the 4K resolution at 120Hz or 8K resolution at 60Hz which 2.1 delivers. The HDMI 3 input offers eARC so you can send audio to a compatible soundbar or surround sound system without the need for an optical cable. And finally you’ve got a couple of USB inputs, an Ethernet input for your SMART features, a separate optical input if eARC isn’t available on your audio products and an RF connection.
Of course though, it’s not all about how the TV will physically look on your stand or on the wall. The picture quality counts too. Unless you really don’t care about that kind of thing. But, with the Samsung Q900TS, I was completely blown away, and was just as impressed here than I was at CES 2020 when we first saw these TVs as you know, TVs absolutely shine on the showroom floor, and don’t always transfer to the living room. But here… mindblowing.
The Samsung Q900TS is powered by Samsung’s own AI Quantum 8K Processor, which has been designed to upscale your content to 8K, even if it’s not been filmed in 8K to begin with. Of course, the effect works best with 4K content, as this is the closest resolution to the 8K benchmark. However, my family and I were watching the British gameshow Pointless, which was being broadcast on BBC One HD. And the detail that the upscale brought to the screen was unbelievable. There were details on the actual gameshow set that weren’t noticed before, like the welding lines between metal poles and even the screws that hold the set in place. Now I know that this is pretty insigificant when watching a game show and no one in the world pays attention to that kind of thing, but for the TV to be able to pick up and upscale that level of detail was literally truly something amazing. This is done using AI technology, rather than your standard sharpness adjustments, which is the benefit of Samsung’s 8K Quantum processor.
Watching 4K sources on the teleivision – and admitedly most of the time we just used Netflix – content looked absolutely astounding. Now I’ll say here that we never ran the television through professional calibration, as one we don’t have the spare cash to buy the super expensive hardware, and two, we don’t have the spare cash to hire someone to do it, but the Movie picture preset mode is the closest you can get to natural looking colours. We also messed around with the picture settings somewhat to get to something we were happy with. And with our settings dialed in, the 4K content on offer through Netflix was mind-blowing. Our Planet, the nature documentary and our usual go-to program was incredibly sharp, and motion looked very smooth too. Being a local dimming backlight, meant that there was more contrast between light and dark areas of the screen.
There are your usual settings that you can find on a Samsung TV including dynamic, standard, natural, movie and a brand new setting for the new QLED range being FILMMAKER. However, this setting isn’t much different from how the Movie preset renders your image, it just turns off all the post processing capabilities that generally reduce noise and stutter. But as the name states, it gives you a true interpretation of what the cameras were shooting on set. But, this always causes arguments in my house. I’m a fan of the movie preset, while others love dynamic because it’s nice and bright. Lastly, if you’re someone who hates deep diving into picture settings, but want the best picture you can get, there’s the intelligent mode, which will change your picture settings on the fly, to get the most out of the teleivision.
The content at the end of the day looked absolutely stunning and I’m almost tempted to say that for ALL content that was consumed through this TV. I never once looked at the screen and thought “that could be a little better”.
Speaking of HDR, Samsung employs the likes of HDR10 and HDR10+ and the screen has a peak brightness of around 4000 nits, giving it its HDR4000 badge. If you’ve got the 65″ TV you’re going to be getting HDR3000. However, there’s no Dolby Vision which was a little disappointing, as Dolby Vision is aiming to be the next step up from HDR10. But still, HDR is present none the less.
The Samsung Q900TS is also extremely capable when it comes to wide-angle viewing, and living room layouts like mine for example, with one sofa off to the side, suffered no loss in quality. The picture remained as vibrant and the audio still sounded great thanks to its eight speakers.
Speaking of audio, although it sounds exceptional for a flat screen TV, there is no Dolby Atmos compatibility though is compatible with Dolby Atmos soundbars. You just won’t get that surround sound feeling when using one. The audio also lacks bass, and for this reasons, gunshots and explosions from action movies feel a little empty. But that’s not to say the sound is bad. Going back to Our Planet for example, the audio fidelity is absolutely present in all aspects of the documentary. Attenborough’s voice sounds as smooth as anything, and the accompanying soundtrack and animal noises can all be heard clearly. There’s no distortion, even at louder volumes, and because of its directional OTS audio, it means a room is filled with sound, rather than just the corner where the TV sits.
Everything here is powered by Samsung’s own Tyzen OS, which is quite frankly one of the better smart tv implementations out there. The whole thing is centered around a horizontal bar at the bottom, and for the most part, everything you’re going to need is there. On the right hand side you can find a host of streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, BBC iPlayer and so on, and on the left is access to your inputs, settings, Samsung TV Plus. There’s a quick hotbar for your top level settings, or you can dive into the in-depth settings by highlighting and clicking the centre button. Disney Plus is available on the TV, but you’ll need to download it from the app store. Simple enough.
There’s an app store as well that holds a large amount of visual focus apps. It’s laid out into tiles, with the Editors Choice of apps at the top, and then categories towards the bottom. Apps here can include a web browser, Samsung Health which is recently new to Samsung TVs and has a host of work out plans for you to follow. There are also some games for you to kill some time, and also a whole array of apps that quite frankly, you’ve probably never heard of. But they’re there to explore at your leisure.
And all of this can be accessed using the small metal remote, which not only feels good to hold in the hand, but is simple enough to work. There’s only a few buttons which include a D–pad, channel and volume rockers and also a button for back and home. Yes you can access settings from here, and there’s also some shortcut buttons at the bottom for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. We couldn’t find a way to change these hotkeys though so you’re probably going to be stuck there.
Now, this is the part of the review that stings a little, because while this TV is literally one of the best things I’ve laid my eyes on, it also made them water with its £3,499 price tag, or £4,499 if you wanted the 75-inch version. Now that’s very hard to swallow. But it’s an extremely exceptional television set and I have had such a great time testing it. Content looked absolutely superb, and there was really no need to utilise any external audio peripherals, as Samsung’s pretty much got you covered in terms of sound. I must say Samsung has truly smashed it out of the park with this one. It not only looks good physically, with its bezeless design, but the image quality is second to none. Now all I’ve got to do is convince Samsung to let me keep hold of it. Unless I can find my chequebook. PS5s and Xbox Series Xs are out now, so it might be time to upgrade. I could always sell a kidney.