Samsung QE65Q950T Review • Borderless perfection

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TOTAL SCORE:

Let’s start with the most obvious one – appearance. One of the key design features of the Samsung QE65Q950T is the so-called “borderless” screen. In English, it is not quite rightly called infinity screen. This means that in the switched on state, the image on it has no conspicuous borders – it seems to hang in the air when you look at the screen from the front. In other words: the screen has such a thin perimeter bezel that it is virtually invisible. And indeed it is. This bezel is the thinnest available, less than 2mm from the edge of the case to the image.

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The most popular apps are preinstalled

It is impossible to achieve this by modifying the TV case itself, so Samsung took extraordinary measures to implement the idea, organizing the release of special LCD panels, filters and backlighting parts with non-working surfaces around the perimeter reduced to the limit.

Such matrices are not used anywhere except in the Q950T series – so this is exclusive. For the sake of fairness, one could say “are not used yet”, however, the situation on the TV market is such that Samsung will most likely remain the only company that will use such matrices.

But the matrices are not the only part specially made for the Q950T series. The filters and the panel for the LEDs located over the entire area behind the matrix are also original – they are not used on other series of Samsung TVs. They are made to accomplish another goal of making the TV as thin as possible for a direct-illuminated model.

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The company explains that this tilt contributes to better image perception. It is also necessary for better stability.

In the photo it may not be so clearly noticeable, but over the entire area the device is only 15 mm thick. It has no protruding parts at all, neither in the back nor in the front, so it can be hung close to the wall without any gaps. It sounds like a commonplace, but in fact it looks very impressive – a kind of technocratic minimalism.

To achieve this, while maintaining simple connectivity, all connectors, including the power outlet, are housed in a separate One Connect box, which houses the TV’s power supply. Samsung QE65Q950T is not the first and certainly not the last model to be equipped with such a unit.

The company has been supplying flagship TVs with them for many years, but until now no one even tried to do something like that, which is strange – the solution is very convenient. The unit connects to the TV with one thin and very flexible cable with original connectors, which can optionally reach 15 m – enough for any installation.

And more about design. Due to the virtually absent frame around the perimeter of the image of the TV hanging on the wall, only the ends made of polished metal with perforations throughout the entire area are visible from the body – that is, from the top, bottom, and sides. It looks and is perceived, first of all, as a kind of artistic solution, but in reality it is simply impossible without it – after all, there are more than a thousand very bright LEDs and all the electronics behind the screen.

But besides ventilation, the perforated ends are made for one more important thing – the audio system. This TV has as many as eight speakers, four of which are tweeters located at different heights closer to the corners of the screen.

With the help of them and the Object Tracking Sound Plus processing technology, the device positions sound images not only horizontally, but also vertically, analyzing both the original audio track itself and the video. And it does it from any stereo or 5.1 track, but not from Dolby Atmos, which, by the way, it does not support, although it passes through HDMI with eARC.

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Left channel woofers and passive radiators. Tellingly, with a wall mount, the bass level, if it decreases, is quite insignificant

Deep learning

Now about the main thing – that is, about the image. As is expected of all flagship TVs today, the Samsung QE65Q950T has 8K resolution. This applies not only to the matrix and the ability to scale content up to 8K, but also to the ability to play 8K content.

And he actually plays it from streaming video services – more precisely, from YouTube, where today there are such videos, from USB disks, flash drives and from DLNA servers on the local network. Reproduces are guaranteed, however, so far with the VP9 codec – the company promised to release an update for full support for AV1, and then more videos will be available for playback in 8K.

However, there are so many to watch them daily, they still won’t be there. New game consoles will soon appear on sale, but games with 8K video will not be enough for them at first, so it is more relevant now to ask the question: how does such a display reproduce available content with Full HD and 4K resolution? The short answer is pretty good.

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All models of the Q950T series are equipped with the latest generation Quantum 8K processor with the third generation of “artificial intelligence” – that is, processing is not just based on machine learning, but, as it is called by the company itself, “deep learning”. This means that it is more discriminating in processing methods depending on the nature of the image.

If the picture is clean, then there is absolutely nothing to complain about – and it does not matter what resolution it was originally. For example, football broadcasts, which are usually filmed at reference quality, are scaled exemplary, while those that have 4K resolution are even better.

With a small amount of artifacts in the picture, that is, noise on homogeneous surfaces, halos around small objects, double lines on contrasting transitions and a slight coarsening of gradients, that is, everything that is characteristic of compressed video, it also copes surprisingly well.

Recognition errors, if they happen, are quite rare – rather, they must be sought out. The impression was that the creators of this version of processing specifically focused on video with a relatively low bit rate, that is, first of all, on video from streaming services. The films downloaded from there looked exemplary.

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But remixes with old tapes full of film grain, which was specially preserved during the mastering of discs due to the high bitrate, in most cases the TV shows in all its “glory”, as if knowing that this is the intention of the creators of the video, and showing it as it is, but only by increasing all the grain in proportion to the scale.

And so, by the way, the vast majority of 8K models do.

Hertz and brightness

The cardinal difference in processing in the Q950T in comparison with the last year’s models and, even more so, with the early 4K and 8K Samsung devices can be seen from the display of any movements in the frame. Now they do not have that artificiality, even if the anti-aliasing functions are enabled, and without them there are differences in the face. The fact is that Samsung has finally made a multiple increase in the scanning frequency depending on the frequency of the original signal. That is, 25 frames are increased to 100 Hz, 50 – also up to 100, and 30, 60 and 24 – up to 120 Hz.

Let me remind you that before, Samsung’s panels always worked in multiples of 60 Hz, which made it impossible to find the optimal settings for any content – there was still some artificiality in the transfer of movements, because there were always serious transformations. Now they can be turned off altogether – in Filmmaker mode the original 24 frames in the movie are simply repeated five times each.

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This is how the company clearly explains the advantages of direct backlighting in QLED TVs. The “levels” of light are correctly depicted in blue because blue LEDs are used, and white light is generated after passing through the phosphor layer in front of the matrix

Finally, the main difference and peculiarity of this and other Q950T-series models from all others is that they show the video really vividly. It has not only great contrast, but a record dynamic range due to the highest brightness of the white areas of the image. This is because the Q950T is not just a QLED TV, but a turbocharged QLED, or rather, nitrous oxide, if we draw a car analogy.

Let me explain: unlike simple LCD TVs with LED backlighting, blue LEDs are used here, and between them and the LCD panel there is a whole sheet of phosphor covering the entire screen area. That is, the area of ​​the radiating surface is larger by a couple of orders of magnitude. But that’s not all.

In dynamic mode for SDR video and even standard for HDR, the LEDs in the white areas of the image are switched to overdrive mode with increased efficiency. According to the company, the brightness reaches as much as 4,000 nits (cd / m2).

But this does not take very long – literally a second, which is why it is extremely difficult to measure it, but this is enough for the headlights, glare and other bright moments in an already bright picture to really make you squint your eyes even in a lit room. It is these moments that everyone – both ordinary users and experts – call a manifestation of “true HDR”.

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The bezel is the thinnest of all that a TV set. The scaling is flawless, and in fact the initial resolution of the displayed menu is not higher than Full HD, that is, it is increased 16 times, but even fonts cannot be found fault with

It should be said here that the TV showed a similar effect when playing from a USB drive on any video with HDR. Even on video with Dolby Vision, although Samsung does not officially support this standard. He interprets it – and in the end it still turns out brightly. How accurate – I can’t say, because “artificial intelligence” always intervenes in one way or another, adjusting the picture to the characteristics of the device – this is a feature of all models with AI.

However, for the vast majority of users this is a blessing, because the picture, regardless of the content, always looks at least good, and often completely excellent – that is, bright, colorful, contrasting, dynamic and without blurring the details.

Measurements

“Artificial Intelligence” not only constantly tries to correct any image in all modes, but also tirelessly monitors power consumption and panel temperature, preventing it from overheating, and as a result, preventing the device from showing a bright image all over the screen for a long time.

Accordingly, on a white field in the entire screen area in standard picture mode, it reduces the brightness to 258 cd / m2. But already on 50% of the area on the “checkerboard” it raises the constant brightness to 402 cd / m2, and on 1/9 of the area – up to 506 cd / m2. At the same time, in black areas in the presence of white fields, the level decreases to a commendable 0.005 cd / m2. So constant contrast (without taking into account the “flashes” on HDR) can reach 100,000: 1, but only under certain conditions. Visually, it is always perceived as high.

But it is precisely because of this constant adjustment that the luminance curve does not look perfect:

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Although it is difficult to find fault with the display of gradations in the shadows and in the bright areas – the TV specifically emphasizes them in the picture.

The area color gamut is close to the DCI-P3 standard, showing a large margin in the red area, which will potentially bring the point to the ideal, but only when using the calibration program with loading profiles. Initially, the displacements are very large, which makes the picture look too colorful.

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The balance of color components is surprisingly even, which makes it possible to get a picture that is quite natural in terms of color reproduction in a first approximation:

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But it needs to be corrected at least a little, because even when the “Warm” setting is selected, the real color temperature does not drop below 8500K almost over the entire brightness range, which is too much. The image actually looks bluish, not just cold.

Conclusion

In an effort to prove that LCD technology still has many advantages, Samsung has created a TV that is unique in design, very sophisticated in technical terms and at the same time sleek in appearance. It is really impressive. The tv has virtually no border around the image. This is actually one of the thinnest devices in the world, regardless of class and type.

And with a high degree of probability, he will remain such a unique one. Because very few companies will dare to create such a complex and not unified apparatus. Not those times, and the benchmarks for manufacturers are different today.

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