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Samsung Q8C review: 4K HDR QLED 55-incher is the best choice for those who still hanker for a curved TV

If you’re after a 4K TV with cinematic flair, a curved set could be just the box office ticket. It’s a form factor Samsung has long championed. As a bonus, the QE55Q8C puts the bend into a high performance QLED panel.

Not to be confused with OLED, QLED is a variation on Quantum Dot technology, which offers improved colour fidelity and off-angle viewing with LED LCD TVs. Samsung may be the only major TV brand still hawking curved screens, but the Q8C is undeniably a head turner. If you want a telly that’ll look good in a bright viewing environment, it’s also got the backlight brightness to oblige.

Samsung Q8C (QE55Q8C) review: Design

Slick and contemporary sum up this set’s dress sense. The black and silver frame is classy, while the central stand is eminently practical. The quality of finish is high; even the rear panel has a metallic finish.

Connectivity is off-loaded to Samsung’s discrete One Connect junction box. This accommodates four HDMIs, a trio of USBs and an Ethernet connection. The One Connect box routes AV to the TV via a single cable, which keeps things nice and tidy.

The set itself still needs its own power lead though. Obviously the main thing to be addressed with the Q8C’s design is its shape. With its gentle curve, you do get some odd reflections at times, but it’s certainly striking.

You either like curved tellies or you don’t, so I’ll leave that one up to you. There is probably a reason there are no other curved tellies in T3’s list of favourite TVs[1], though…

Samsung Q8C: the range

Samsung Q8C review: 4K HDR QLED 55-incher is the best choice for those who still hanker for a curved TV The Samsung QE55Q8C is positioned between Samsung’s Q7F and Q9F ranges and comes in 55-, 65- and 75- inch screen sizes.

Their full names respectively, then, are Samsung QE65Q8C and Samsung QE75Q8C.

Samsung QE55Q8C 4K HDR QLED: Performance

Despite its various functional niceties, the key attraction of the Q8C remains its QLED panel technology. A refinement on Quantum Dot filtering, which has been around for some time, it’s key attraction is that it offers wide, deep colour and high brightness.

HDR support covers everyday HDR10 and broadcast HLG HDR. The screen is also compatible with the dynamic metadata standard HDR10+, a rival of sorts to Dolby Vision. It remains to be seen if HDR10+ gains wide traction with content suppliers (being an open standard, expectations are high).

Let’s hope so, as there’s no support for DolbyVision. The Standard image preset is our go-to viewing mode for most content. It offers a high average picture level, while retaining balance and depth.

The set’s inherent brightness comes into its own in brightly lit spaces. It really cuts through with colour and contrast. The Q8C is tailor made for daytime viewing.

For regular SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content, there’s an upscale mode dubbed HDR+ . This ramps up brightness and colour vibrancy, although some might feel the end result is overwrought and oversaturated. It’s ultimately a matter of taste.

Peak brightness with genuine HDR sources is very high – upwards of 1500 nits. The curved screen favours square-on and direct, close viewing. The curve can throw up odd reflections though, and when viewed off axis tends to look wonky with onscreen EPGs.

To help fine tune motion handling, a Custom setting individually tailors judder and blur. Keep both low and you’ll get an acceptable performance for fast moving sports. If you don’t like the kind of soap opera effect you get from image interpolation, motion processing should be turned off.

Audio provision is perfectly fine, although we suspect buyers might ultimately want to partner this set with a matching Samsung curved soundbar.

Samsung QE55Q8C: Features

Samsung Q8C review: 4K HDR QLED 55-incher is the best choice for those who still hanker for a curved TV Smart functionality is good, if not class leading. Samsung’s Eden interface is easy to navigate and supports a range of catch-up services, including BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 and My5.

This icon-based interface allows users to customise which apps and sources appear on the Home screen. All key third party streaming services are onboard, and both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video support 4K and HDR streams. However there’s no support for Freeview Play, which has become ubiquitous on rival up-market connected 4K TVs.

It’s disappointing that Samsung continues to snub Freeview Play (it’s now the only major TV brand holding out against this connected update to subscription free TV) , but at least all the main TV catch-up players are provided. The Q8C comes with two remotes, a Bluetooth zapper with voice integration, and regular wand. The TV supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Once online, it’s compatible with networked DLNA devices, and will play files from NAS and USB devices. You can also timeshift from the set’s tuner onto a USB hard drive.

Hisense 55-inch U7A: Verdict

Samsung Q8C review: 4K HDR QLED 55-incher is the best choice for those who still hanker for a curved TV This Q8C is currently available for around GBP1,299, which represents a significant saving on its GBP1,699 launch price.

While there are 55-inch flatscreen UHD models available for less, they tend not to have the impact or HDR chops of Samsung’s QLED technology. It’s a good value buy. If your three tick boxes are (1) QLED, (2) HDR and (3) curved, then Samsung QE55Q8C is an easy recommendation.

That aside, it’s a superior 4K HDR LED TV that’s particularly suited for daytime and bright room viewing.

References

  1. ^ T3’s list of favourite TVs (www.t3.com)

Android Circuit: New Galaxy Note 9 Feature Confirmed, OnePlus 6 Review, Radical Pixel 3 Design Leaks

Taking a look back at seven days of news and headlines across the world of Android, this week’s Android Circuit includes new Galaxy Note 9 leaks, release date thoughts on the Galaxy S10, OnePlus 6 reviews and waterproofing discussions, Pixel 3 design leaked by Google, HTC launching the massive U12 Plus, Nokia 1 going on sale in UK, and BlackBerry Mobile teases the KEY2. Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android in the last week (and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here[1]). Latest Galaxy Note 9 Leak

Although the under-screen fingerprint may have been dropped, the upcoming release of the Samsung Galaxy Note9 is expected to showcase Samsung’s latest efforts in the AI space with an updated digital personal assistant. Gordon Kelly reports[2]:

Speaking to The Korea Herald, Gray G. Lee, head of the AI Center Under Samsung Research, revealed the Galaxy Note 9 will be the launch device for Bixby 2.0. This may trigger sneers given the Bixby smart assistant has been widely derided since it launched with the Galaxy S8 last year, but not so fast.

Lee says Bixby 2.0 will be more than just a personal assistant. Instead, it will be an “artificial intelligence platform” which enhances the performance and user experience across the phone. The Assistant itself will also have enhanced natural language processing, improved noise resistance capability and faster response times.

How much of an impact that will have on the day-to-day use of the phablet remains to be seen. More here on Forbes[3].

Is Samsung Accelerating Galaxy Release Dates If the Galaxy Note 9 is going to be released early (with indications that a late July launch is possible[4]) what does that mean for the rest of the flagship line up over the next device cycle? It could be the South Korean company is getting ready to launch three key devices over twelve months, as I speculated earlier this week[5]:

Perhaps the early Note 9 appearance opens up the window for the Galaxy S10 to make an early run – and if it did that’s going to provide a lot of sales in Q1 2019.

Of course, this only works if Samsung has a third handset that will wow the press with a new design, show off a new user interface, with a radical approach to new technology, that could be revealed at MWC in late February 2019 to go on sale at the start of the second quarter.

At which point I’ll point out the Galaxy X and the mythical Samsung folding phone. More here on Forbes[6]. Ewan Spence

OnePlus 6 (Ewan Spence) OnePlus 6 Reviewed

This week saw the OnePlus 6 go on public sale, and the first full reviews of the Shenzhen-based manufacturers latest device were published. You can read the highlights here[7], before I sum up the internet’s impression:

Although the camera has improved it still misses out on that certain something to push it into challenging the top-line handsets. There is no IP rating for water or dust ingress and while it should survive a quick immersion I would have liked to have seen OnePlus reach the by-now defacto IP67 standard.

And while the move to a glass-backed device brings it into line with other fashionable phones, it also robs OnePlus of the signature metal back. But it still has a headphone jack, it retains Dual-SIM capability, and the OnePlus ‘three way’ slider for muting alerts or vibrations remains present. This is a solid iteration on the OnePlus design.

It moves with the times, although it doesn’t seem to have questions if the times are moving in the right direction. Yet the handset offers an experience that is almost at flagship levels, but for £300 less.

More OnePlus 6 reviews here[8]. One point that every picked out is the lack of an IP67 rating for the OnePlus 6.

This has become a defacto standard in high-end smartphones over recent years, and while OnePLus has waterproofed the handset, it’s tough to compare it without having a standard rating[9]:

If OnePlus is about challenging the flagship offerings from other devices then a defined standard is the way forward. it offers confidence to the public, it offers a measurable standard for the manufacturer to aim for, and it allows easy one to one comparisons. Apple waterproofed the iPhone 6S, and the subsequent iteration saw the iPhone 7 gain an IP67 rating. The campaign for the presumptively named OnePlus 6T to get the same rating starts here.

More on the waterproofing here[10].

Pixel 3 Design Leaked By Google Sometimes it’s the accidental leaks and images close to the source that are the most convincing. Tucked away inside the Android P developer code resources and graphics used by the UI, lies one clear (albeit slightly abstract) look at a mystery Google-branded smartphone.

Has Mountain View leaked the Pixel 3? Gordon Kelly thinks so[11].

Spotted by Slashleaks, I can confirm that buried within the current Android P beta settings (Settings > Sounds > Shortcut to Prevent Ringing) is Google showcasing the functionality using a new phone design which would be an absolute gamechanger. …the image shows a truly bezel-less device. No bottom chin, no notch, just the slender, consistent rim of the phone all the way around the display.

If this is the Pixel 3, then Google will be the first mass-market smartphone maker to essentially reach design perfection.

And it’s not like Google has made this graphical slip up before.

Kelly explains why this Pixel 3 leak feels genuine, here on Forbes[12].

Next: HTC reveals the U12 Plus, AndroidGo arrives in the UK on the Nokia 1, and BlackBerry teases the KEY2…

References

  1. ^ and you can find the weekly Apple news digest here (www.forbes.com)
  2. ^ Gordon Kelly reports (www.forbes.com)
  3. ^ More here on Forbes (www.forbes.com)
  4. ^ with indications that a late July launch is possible (www.forbes.com)
  5. ^ as I speculated earlier this week (www.forbes.com)
  6. ^ More here on Forbes (www.forbes.com)
  7. ^ read the highlights here (www.forbes.com)
  8. ^ More OnePlus 6 reviews here (www.forbes.com)
  9. ^ it’s tough to compare it without having a standard rating (www.forbes.com)
  10. ^ More on the waterproofing here (www.forbes.com)
  11. ^ Gordon Kelly thinks so (www.forbes.com)
  12. ^ here on Forbes (www.forbes.com)

Samsung C49J89 review: the ultimate Fortnite gaming monitor

|Posted 1 hour ago

Samsung’s CJ89 is a little bit ridiculous. This 49-inch display is essentially two 1080p monitors glued together seamlessly so that it takes up almost all of your periphery. With a 144Hz refresh rate, this expansive monitor isn’t sluggish, either.

But can you ditch the gaming branding for a business model and still get Grade-A gaming performance?

That’s a necessary question to ask, because the Samsung CJ89 isn’t actually a gaming model – that’s the CFG90 – but it’s a damn sight cheaper at GBP899. Samsung has stripped out all the AMD Freesync tech and HDR capability that the higher spec, yet older, gaming monitor features.

Won’t settle for less than 4K? Here are the best 4K monitors[1] around.

It’s actually a pretty good tradeoff, as you still get that 144Hz refresh rate, ridiculous aspect ratio, and 5ms response time.

Only 25% of gamers actually use AMD graphics cards, anyways.

The CJ89 is built for businesses, but as far as personal productivity in the office goes, I’ve found it lacking compared to a traditional dual monitor setup. Sure, the bezel-less, uninterrupted screen space is lovely, and if you partake in any video / photo editing work it’s a dream (although the lack of IPS panel may not be to your liking).

But while a dual monitor setup allows me to ‘snap’ four web pages across my entire screen real estate, the C49J89 limits me to just two full-width pages, and I found it endlessly frustrating.

That may seem pretty minor in the grand scheme of things, but this small knock-on effect of a single panel changed my entire workflow during everyday tasks. I suppose I could get two Samsung C49J89 monitors side-by-side, but then I’m back to bezels.

Unless…

Eureka! Vertical stacking is the answer. Two of these monitors, at GBP899 a pop, and I’m back to four apps at once.

Worth it? Sure, so long as I can put it on the company expenses….

Regardless, the C49J89 still has plenty of utility for a variety of tasks, not to mention incredible immersive properties for gamers. Overwatch[2] is my go-to game in the office but it sadly doesn’t support the ludicrous 32:9 aspect ratio of the C49J89. Still, there’s a ton of titles that make the most of the Samsung’s 3840 x 1080 resolution.

One such game is Ubisoft’s Far Cry 5[3], which allows for the full breadth of the monitor to be occupied by deep south shoot ’em up chaos.

The C49J89 features a slight curvature, at only 1800R, and that allows it to completely occupy your vision – horizontally anyways. As a result, wingsuiting out of helicopters and sniping enemies from a distance instills a feeling of incredible depth of environment and locale that is otherwise muted by more reasonable aspect ratios.

But seeing as nearly all – insert today’s astronomic number of gamers here – of you are playing Fortnite[4], you’ll be glad to know Epic’s battle royale title supports the weird and wonderful 32:9 aspect ratio. I’m not particularly well-versed in the ways of winning a Fortnite battle royale, but the wide aspect ratio could be a seriously dangerous weapon in the hands of someone a little more talented than I.

Opponents diving into the map clustered together are easily spotted across the C49J89’s panel, and the breadth of real estate adds a little more competitive edge when you’re searching across the horizon for combatants.

While the nitty gritty of up-close and personal combat is still largely down to player skill – not that I lack an abundance of that, of course – the ultrawide aspect gives you more chance of being forewarned of encroaching opponents sneaking up on you.

Samsung C49J89 review: the ultimate Fortnite gaming monitor

While Fortnite’s not all that demanding on your system, ultra-grade gaming on an ultrawide at 144Hz is no easy task for any GPU. However, a GTX 1080 Ti isn’t necessarily vital for decent frame rates. Overall, the ultrawide resolution of the C49J89 adds up to roughly 4.1 million pixels in total, while 1440p is somewhere around 3.7 million pixels.

That means any of the best 1440p graphics cards[5] will suffice for smooth operation. Plus, without the FreeSync tech, you aren’t limited to a single GPU manufacturer – there’s always a silver lining.

As for panel performance and tech specs, it manages a typical contrast ratio of 3000:1, and a brightness rating of 300 nits. While contrast is solid, the black levels aren’t anything to write home about and dark greys are a little tough to discern at times.

White saturation doesn’t suffer the same fate, however, and viewing angles are very good to somewhat make up for it. The slight curve is not detrimental to the viewing experience even in the far reaches of this ludicrous panel, and that still applies even if you don’t sit perfectly squared up with the centre of the screen.

Samsung C49J89 review: the ultimate Fortnite gaming monitor

There are two HDMI 2.0 ports, and a single DisplayPort 1.2, but seeing as business monitors hold a little more esteem in connectivity than their gamer counterparts, you also get a healthy dose of USB connectivity in the back. There are two USB Type-C ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and a single USB 3.0 port.

Those USB Type-C ports could always double up for display connections, which may be pretty handy for a streamer running their stream from another system or device.

So is the Samsung C49J89 a worthy substitute for the gamer-spec CFG90 on a lower budget? Absolutely. HDR and FreeSync 2 are great, but they’re the newest of the new for premium features, and, frankly, Windows HDR isn’t quite up to spec to make it a must-have feature just yet.

You can forget the business brief with the C49J89; it’s as worthy of gamer credentials as its pricier sibling. Whether intended for productivity or not, that ultrawide 32:9 aspect is built for gaming on.

Samsung C49J89 review: the ultimate Fortnite gaming monitor

There are few things you can do with your PC setup to gain an advantage in gaming without breaking the rules. High-end audio, mechanical switches, and accurate mouse sensors all belong in that category, even high refresh rate monitors in general, but if the GBP849[6] Samsung C49J89 proves anything, it’s that extremely ultrawide monitors need to be added to that list.

Unfortunately, the C49J89 doesn’t seem to be available in the US at this time.

If that’s you, then Samsung’s CHG90 at GBP1,080[8] may be your best bet.

PCGamesN verdict: 9/10

References

  1. ^ best 4K monitors (www.pcgamesn.com)
  2. ^ Best overwatch characters (www.pcgamesn.com)
  3. ^ Far Cry 5 review (www.pcgamesn.com)
  4. ^ Fortnite tips (www.pcgamesn.com)
  5. ^ best 1440p graphics card (www.pcgamesn.com)
  6. ^ GBP849 (www.amazon.co.uk)
  7. ^ £1,100 (www.samsung.com)
  8. GBP1,080 (www.amazon.co.uk)

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