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Samsung is sticking with QLED for its flagship tellies, but full-array backlighting and 8K join the spec list for 2018. And now we've more information on pricing...

Samsung cut a lonely figure in 2017 against the swelling tide of OLED televisions, and, despite a large amount of (fairly justified) criticism regarding its marketing strategy, its rival QLED range turned out to be very good, garnering a number of four- and five-star ratings from this publication. 

It’s fair to say that OLED came out on top in 2017 but, rather than swallow its pride and join every other TV manufacturer in producing OLED models, Samsung is sticking to its QLED guns, with the 2018 range largely being a refinement of what we saw last year.

Perhaps the most notable exception is the addition of a direct, full-array backlight for the top model in the range, the Q9FN (and the North America-only Q8FN). This should introduce localised contrast control while further increasing brightness, already a staple of QLED and a key differentiator between it and OLED.

MORE: Samsung QE65Q9FN review

And talking of headline-grabbing specs, we should highlight the inclusion of an 8K model, the Q9SN. Samsung’s case for 8K is that it’s necessary on large sets in order to maintain pixel density.

Fittingly, then, the Q9SN will only be available at a monstrous 85in. It won’t be available until much later in the year, either, but the Q9F, Q8C and Q7F ranges are all available to pre-order now on Samsung's website, with deliveries starting at the end of April.

MORE: CES 2018 news, highlights and best new products

More broadly, Samsung is focusing on improvements to colour, with luminous efficiency up another 5 per cent this year thanks to some slight changes to the production of its quantum dots. The focus is also on HDR, with every QLED except the Q6FN (more on which below) now hitting at least 1500nits. Samsung refers to these two developments as Q Color [sic] and Q HDR Elite respectively.

At first glance, all of the sets look very similar to what’s gone before, but there are a couple of neat design features that are worth pointing out.

The most dramatic is that the external OneConnect box that, as before, handles all of the TV’s connections, is around double the size of last year’s. That may not sound like a step forward, but the reason for the extra chunk is that for the first time it’s able to power the screen directly. That’s right; the display itself does not need to be directly connected to a wall socket.

Instead, just a single umbilical cord connects the TV and the OneConnect box, the latter of which can be hidden out of sight anywhere within the 5m length of the bundled cable or the 15m length of the optional replacement. Yes, the cord is a bit thicker than last year, but it’s still thin enough to be barely noticeable.

Samsung’s new Ambient Mode can be used to display pictures or artwork, or even blend in with the wallpaper around it, when the TV is in standby mode. Samsung claims that using this mode for three hours a day will only add 68p to your monthly electricity bill - as the TV constantly adjusts the display based on the light in the room.

MORE: HDR TV – What is it? How can you get it?

Samsung is also promising improvements to its smart platform, including the addition of a genuine universal search feature, called Universal Browse, activated by tapping or talking into the remote.

The success of such features always depends on how universal they really are - whether Netflix results are included, for example. To its credit, Samsung is promising broad support, including Amazon Video, Netflix and iPlayer at the very least.

The final ingredient in Samsung’s 2018 recipe is price. This year's QLEDs are a darn site more affordable than last year's and look to undercut LG's new models signficantly. For example, the 65in version of Samsung's Q9FN flagship is £700 more affordable than the LG OLED65C8.

What’s more, 2018 sees the addition of a new entry-level QLED model, the Q6FN, which is available in sizes ranging from 49in to 82in. Prices for this model haven't yet been released, but will of course be lower than the Q7FN's price of £2000.

Below Samsung's QLEDs sits the NU range of LCD sets (last year’s models were MUs). Detailed specifications of these are yet to be revealed, but we do have the model numbers and sizes, which you'll find along with the full breakdown of the 2018 QLED range below.

QLED TVs

As expected and discussed, QLED's leading the Samsung TV line again in 2018, with models ranging from the monstrous 85in, 8K Q9SN, to the newly created, entry-level Q6FN models, which go as small as 49in.

Most of these models are available to pre-order now on Samsung's website, but the flagship Q9SN isn't due until much later in the year.

8K QLED TV

Q9SN (85in) ​

QE85Q9SN

Flat

8K

Q HDR 2000 (Q HDR Elite)

Ultra HD Premium

HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

Direct Full Array Elite

Q Contrast Elite

Ultra Black Elite

Q Color

4.2ch 60W sound

Ambient Mode

OneConnect 2.0

No Gap Wall-mount

Voice Assistant

Universal Browse

More after the break

4K QLED TVs

Q9FN (75in, 65in, 55in) ​

QE75Q9FN - £6000

QE65Q9FN - £3800

QE55Q9FN - £3000

Flat

4K

Q HDR 2000 (Q HDR Elite)

Ultra HD Premium

HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

Direct Full Array Elite

Q Contrast Elite

Ultra Black Elite

Q Color

4.2ch 60W sound

Ambient Mode

OneConnect 2.0

No Gap Wall-mount

Voice Assistant

Universal Browse

MORE: Samsung QE65Q9FN review

Q8CN (65in, 55in)​

QE65Q8CN - £3100

QE55Q8CN - £2400

Curved

4K

Q HDR 1500 (Q HDR Elite)

Ultra HD Premium

HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

Ultra Slim Array (edge backlight)

Q Contrast

Ultra Black

Q Color

4.1ch 40W sound

Ambient Mode

OneConnect 2.0

No Gap Wall-mount

Voice Assistant

Universal Browse

Q7FN (75in, 65in, 55in)​

QE75Q7FN - £4000

QE65Q7FN - £2700

QE55Q7FN - £2000

Flat

4K

Q HDR 1500 (Q HDR Elite)

Ultra HD Premium

HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

Ultra Slim Array (edge backlight)

Q Contrast

Ultra Black

Q Color

4.1ch 40W sound

Ambient Mode

OneConnect 2.0

No Gap Wall-mount

Voice Assistant

Universal Browse

Q6FN (82in, 75in, 65in, 55in, 49in)​

QE82Q6FN / QE75Q6FN / QE65Q6FN / QE55Q6FN / QE49Q6FN

Flat

4K

Q HDR 1000

HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

Ultra Slim Array (edge backlight)

Q Contrast

Q Color

2.1ch 40W sound

Ambient Mode

OneConnect

Voice Assistant

Universal Browse

Premium 4K LCD TVs

As we enter the NU range, quantum dots give way to more traditional LCD displays and prices get a lot lower. Last year the UE55MU8000 proved that the right compromises can produce excellent TVs, and there's no reason one of these couldn't again be a performance-per-pound winner.

NU8500 (65in, 55in)

UE65NU8500 / UE55NU8500

4K

Dynamic Crystal Color

HDR 1000

HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

 

NU8000 (82in, 75in, 65in, 55in, 49in)

UE82NU8000 / UE75NU8000 / UE65NU8000 / UE55NU8000 / UE49NU8000

4K

Dynamic Crystal Color

HDR 1000

HDR10+, HDR10, HLG

4K LCD TVs

At this point Samsung's more advanced picture features get the chop, but we also enter very affordable territory. If you're looking for a smaller telly, it's here that you're likely to find it.

NU7300 (65in, 55in, 49in)

UE65NU7300 / UE55NU7300 / UE49NU7300

4K

HDR

 

NU7100 (75in, 65in, 55in, 50in)

UE75NU7100 / UE65NU7100 / UE55NU7100 / UE50NU7100

4K

HDR

 

NU7500 (65in, 55in, 49in)

UE65NU7500 / UE55NU7500 / UE49NU7500

4K

HDR

 

NU7400 (65in, 55in, 50in, 43in)

UE65NU7400 / UE55NU7400 / UE50NU7400 / UE43NU7400

4K

HDR

 

NU7120 (43in, 40in)

UE43NU7120 / UE40NU7120

4K

HDR

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