Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Samsung Q7FN vs Q70R vs Q80R Review (QN75Q80RAFXZA vs QN75Q70RAFXZA vs QN75Q7FNAFXZA; QN65Q80RAFXZA vs QN65Q70RAFXZA vs QN65Q7FNAFXZA)

Comparison review of Samsung Q7FN vs Q70R vs Q80R in the 75-inch class (QN75Q7FNAFXZA vs QN75Q70RAFXZA vs QN75Q80RAFXZA), 65-inch class (QN65Q7FNAFXZA vs QN65Q70RAFXZA vs QN65Q80RAFXZA), and 55-inch class (QN55Q7FNAFXZA vs QN55Q70RAFXZA vs QN55Q80RAFXZA).

Despite the difference in the local dimming zones on the Samsung Q70R vs Q80R, they both use full-array backlight whereas the Q7FN is edge-lit. The Q70R and Q80R are thus able to more effectively improve their native black level, especially when there are dark areas adjacent to bright ones in the same scene. The Q80R (Direct Full Array 8X index; 96 local dimming zones), however, has more granular backlight control over different areas of the screen than the Q70R (Direct Full Array 4X index; 48 local dimming zones - the number of local dimming zones may be slightly different for some of the five screen sizes, though). The Q7FN, on the other hand, is edge-lit so the Direct Full Array index is not applicable to it. Furthermore, the Q7FN is able to dim and boost the edge-array backlight in only a few zones that are quite large.

The peak brightness with HDR content is also different on the Q7FN vs Q70R vs Q80R. The Q80R's Quantum HDR 12X index translates to about 1,500cd/m2 in small specular highlights while the Q70R's Quantum HDR 8X index indicates a peak brightness of around 1,000cd/m2. The Q70R's predecessor: the Q7FN, however, is actually closer to the Q80R in that regard because its edge-array backlight is capable of reaching, and, in some rare occasions, even exceeding 1,500cd/m2, although the APL (Average Picture Level) needs to be quite low, meaning that if there is preponderance of bright elements, the HDR highlights won't be quite as bright. As a result, the dynamic range is generally wider on the Q80R (and the Q7FN) than on the Q70R. The brightness advantage of the Q80R and Q7FN, however, can only be observed when the HDR content is mastered to 4,000cd/m2 since in that case their circa 1,500cd/m2 luminance output results in less tone-mapping than the ~1,000cd/m2 peak brightness on the Q70R, meaning there is less compression of the HDR content's dynamic range.

There is no difference in the supported HDR formats on the Q7FN, Q70R, and Q80R, though, since all three Samsung QLED TVs are compatible with HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma). In terms of SDR to HDR upconversion, the Q70R and Q80R omit the HDR+ mode that can be found on the Q7FN. Instead, the Q70R and Q80R rely on their new processor (and its AI-generated algorithms) to optimize various aspects of SDR content, such as image depth, textures, and lighting of the scene, which makes a dedicated SDR-to-HDR upconversion mode redundant. The Quantum processor on the Q70R and Q80R is also able to provide 4K AI Upscaling, so that SD or HD sources can be upscaled to near 4K quality, although the end result still depends on the quality of the source. The Q engine processor on the Q7FN doesn't use AI-generated upscaling algorithms, and lacks machine learning capabilities so it's not able to produce improved results over time, whereas the Q70R and Q80R have that ability, provided they gather sufficient amount of usable data in order to improve their upscaling.

The new Quantum processor on the Q70R and Q80R provides not only 4K AI upscaling, but is also able to optimize the picture and sound of the TV, depending on the content and the TV surroundings. This is possible thanks to the AI-generated algorithms, and machine learning capability of the Quantum processor which the Q Engine on the Q7FN lacks. Therefore, it's not surprising that the Q7FN omits the Intelligent Mode that is present on the Q70R and Q80R. This mode provides features (that you can selectively turn on and off) such as Adaptive Brightness (for automatically adjusting the backlight based on the ambient light in your room), and Adaptive Sound (for equalizing the TV speakers for the acoustics of your room, which is done by using the built-in microphone in the Smart remote, and activating the "Check TV Space" function). The Adaptive Sound on the Q70R and Q80R is also used for optimizing the sound output for the specific content you're watching whereas the Adaptive Volume, as the name suggests, can automatically adjust volume (albeit only within 5 levels from your current setting) by using historical data of your volume settings for a given input or application.

The Q7FN and Q80R have an advantage over the Q70R in terms of handling reflections since the two Samsung QLED TVs utilize the Ultra Black filter consisting of miniature bumps for the purpose of either absorbing, or redirecting any external light that reaches the TV screen. The Q80R and Q7FN are therefore less prone to exhibiting glare and raising black levels than the Q70R in case of being viewed under direct sunlight, or room lights. Additionally, the Q80R is able to maintain its deep black level and color saturation when viewed off-axis due to the presence of Ultra viewing angle technology which is omitted from the Q70R and Q7FN. As a result, the image gets progressively washed out on the Q70R and Q7FN as the viewing angle increases due to the VA (Vertical Alignment) type of panels being used. In contrast, the picture quality on the Q80R remains mostly the same, irrespective of your seating position (unless it's at some extreme off-axis angle, though), meaning the Q80R is more suitable if you regularly watch TV with a large group of family or friends.

Although the total audio power output is 40 Watts for all three Samsung QLED TVs, there is a difference in the speaker configuration which is 4.1 channel on the Q7FN and Q80R, and 2.1 channel on the Q70R. Since there is a woofer on all three Samsung QLED TVs, the bass response is comparable on the Q80R vs Q70R vs Q7FN. The treble sounds, however, are more distinct on the Q80R and Q7FN than the Q70R.

The fact that the Q7FN is edge-lit, in addition to its inputs being located in the One Connect Box instead on the back of the TV, results in Q7FN having a very thin profile, with a thickness of about 1.8 inches. This is thinner than either Q70R or Q80R since these two Samsung QLED TVs omit the One Connect Box, so they need to place their inputs on the back of the TV. Furthermore, the Q70R and Q80R have a full-array backlight instead of the Q7FN's edge-array. Nevertheless, the Q70R and Q80R still manage to maintain a relatively thin profile, with a thickness of approximately 2.4 inches.

Despite the different location of the inputs on the Q7FN (One Connect Box) vs Q70R/Q80R (back of the TV), all three Samsung QLED TVs have 4 HDMI inputs, an Ethernet port, a Digital Optical Audio Output, a RF input, and an Ex-Link (RS-232C). There is a difference, however, in the number of USB ports since the Q70R and Q80R have only 2 USB ports on the back whereas the Q7FN's One Connect Box features 3 USB ports.

While the Q7FN has a table top stand that is centrally mounted, the Q70R and Q80R utilize two separate feet for their table top stand, albeit in different form: the Q70R's two feet are in the form of the latter A, sans the connection at the top, whereas the Q80R's two feet are in the form of inverse T. Despite these differences, both the Q70R and Q80R support toolless installation of the stand since you simply need to slide the two feet into the dedicated openings of the TV. The Q7FN, on the other hand, doesn't support toolless installation of stand because the rear support column has to be attached to both the T-shaped stand base, and the rear of the TV. The Q7FN is also compatible with stands that are sold separately such as the Studio and Gravity stands, as well as the No Gap Wall Mount (also sold separately). The Q70R and Q80R are not compatible with these stands.

The Ambient mode that the Q7FN has is enhanced with new features on the Q70R and Q80R such as displaying artwork (and also famous photographs), in addition to trends (based on topics you select). All three Samsung QLED TVs allow you to set the Ambient Mode to Decor, Info, or Photo. In order to display photos from your phone or Samsung Cloud in Ambient Mode, you need to install the SmartThings app on your mobile device.

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