Samsung QN65Q9FN 65" 4K Ultra HD Smart QLED TV
Samsung is a world leader in LCD technology, and it may not surprise you that Samsung carries the largest HDTV market share among all brands. As well, Samsung is one of the only large-scale HDTV LCD panel manufacturers left standing in this market; at the time of writing, only LG and TCL can claim the same. Over the past decade, Samsung has continuously refined its LCD display technology, culminating in its recent "QLED" quantum dot LED push. The science of quantum dots in the flagship Q9 boil down to a simple fact: you won't find a better-looking LED LCD TV anywhere.
The Q9 sits at the top of Samsung's QLED TV lineup, not counting the wild 8K TV offerings that sit in the stratosphere. This premium TV shows Samsung's most minimalist design to date, with a slim, metallic bezel interrupted only by a small protrusion at the bottom center which houses the Samsung logo and physical controls. The stand is metal as well, and sits towards the center of the TV as opposed to being splayed out at opposite ends of the set - a major advantage if your TV stand is not as wide as the screen. The sleek design continues to the back, with just a single connector as opposed to a myriad of inputs. This connector is for Samsung's One Connect box, which houses all of the TV's inputs - including the power cable. Along with a couple other higher-end Samsung models, this makes the Q9 one of the best candidates for wall-mounting due to its unique cable management solution. Connectivity is fairly standard for a premium TV - 4 HDMI inputs (ARC through HDMI 4), 3 USB inputs, an optical audio output, an Ethernet port, and a cable/antenna input are present. The Q9 drops support for additional analog devices - not a single component/composite video input or 3.5mm analog audio jack can be found anywhere on the One Connect box or on the TV itself.
Beyond physical design, Samsung has packed additional lifestyle features into the Q9. Ambient mode allows users to choose from several pre-loaded images that will display when the Q9 is powered off, as opposed to filling the wall with several feet of black space like any other TV. If the built-in pictures interfere with your interior decor, the Q9 is also capable of "disappearing" entirely - just take a photo of your wall behind the TV with the included app and the Q9 will take care of the rest. These effects are especially stunning when wall-mounted with Samsung's proprietary "No Gap" mount, giving the impression of a framed painting - or none at all when you want it to disappear.
Samsung advertises the Q9 as a "QLED TV", with the Q referring to the quantum dot layer in the LCD panel. As explained in our buyer's guide, quantum dots work exactly as advertised and elevates the Q9's picture quality beyond its main non-OLED rivals. In a nutshell, quantum dots allow an LCD TV to show an image with bright, intensely saturated colors that are pleasing to the eyes, all without sacrificing color accuracy. Compared to the one-step-down Q8, the Q9 comes equipped with more backlight local dimming zones as well as improved image processing. While it may not sound like much on paper, it becomes immediately obvious with high-contrast content (think bright lights in a dark room or a lobby with checkerboard floor tiles) that the Q9 is better able to render an accurate image with more "pop". This upgraded backlight arrangement just about eliminates "blooming" - a traditional flaw with bright LCD TVs where the light required for brighter areas in the frame spills into black or dark areas and ruins the effect.
We've been spoiled by the perfect blacks that OLED TVs are capable of, and despite all of the advancements in LCD technology, the Q9 simply can't match the best OLED sets from LG and Sony in regards to black level performance. On the other hand, the full-array LED backlight paired with the quantum dot panel means the Q9 is every bit their equal when it comes to color accuracy and saturation. The Q9 can also get much brighter than any OLED TV on sale today, which gives it a distinct advantage when displaying HDR content or when viewing in a bright room. What's even more impressive is that Samsung has managed to achieve this level of brightness while avoiding blooming. Ultimately, we've resorted to nitpicking differences in picture quality between our top OLED and quantum dot LED LCD performers, and we feel that buyers will be happy with any of our top selections.
One additional draw of the Q9 is the inclusion of Samsung's Smart TV suite, dubbed Tizen. This is easily one of the best built-in smart TV suites on the market today thanks to its easy-on-the-eyes graphics and intuitive menu layout. Additionally, popular apps such as Netflix, Amazon Video, and Hulu will display recently watched content without requiring the app to launch, which is extremely convenient if your movie/TV show marathon is interrupted. The Q9 ships with Samsung's smart remote, which utilizes hard buttons for the most frequently-used functions and can be pointed at the set to display the on-screen interface. The remote also features a microphone to control Samsung's Bixby assistant; many TV functions can be accessed by issuing a voice command (changing channels, swapping inputs, powering on and off). If you have other Samsung SmartThings-compatible devices or appliances in your household, the Q9 can be fully integrated into your smart home.
If you're after the best picture quality from an LED LCD TV and cost is no issue, the Samsung Q9 is hands-down the best TV on the market today. Its premium design and unique display features set it apart as a true luxury product, and the SmartThings integration capability is a definite draw for anyone with a Samsung smart home ecosystem. Ultimately, the high price limits the appeal of Samsung's hugely impressive Q9. The allure of this high-end set lies in its unique attributes, but we feel the Vizio P-Series Quantum represents a better value overall than Samsung's flagship Q9.