Gadgets & Gizmos: Not An Idiot Box
Samsung's Q8C 55-inch QLED TV is top-notch and future-proof with an immersive curved screen to boot
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If you're shopping for the best TV tech these days, you’re probably going to have to pick between OLED and QLED. OLED TV panels are insanely thin, some even wallpaper-like, and offer uncompromised contrast levels, but they come with a price tag as large as the TV itself! Samsung’s rival QLED tech, on the other hand, claims to deliver significantly brighter, more vibrant and diverse colours than OLED rivals, at comparatively more affordable price points…but does it deliver? I put Samsung’s claims through its paces with their latest Q8C 55-inch QLED TV and, after weeks of Netflix bingeing, this is my considered take.
Out of the box, you can either wall-mount the curved Q8C or place it on its silver desktop stand that matches the shape of the screen with a gentle curve of its own. With a near bezel-less design, the design places the large 55-inch display front and centre, no distractions. Around the rear, there are no ports, and all connections are to be found on an external ‘One Connect’ box. The box can be hidden away inside your TV cabinet and allows easy access to ports which would otherwise be hidden behind the TV. Since it attaches to the screen via a 5mm thin, transparent cable, the whole setup looks rather cable-free...if you can manage to hide the power cable, that is!
Setting up the Q8C is easy, more so if you have a Samsung smartphone handy. The included One Remote is worth a special mention — not only is it the sleekest all-metal remote I’ve seen yet, but it also automatically detects what device has been connected to what port, and lets you use the remote to control those devices as well (via Bluetooth or infrared). The Amazon Fire TV stick and the Apple TV were set up without any intervention, and the Airtel DTH connection took just a couple of tries before it got going. One Remote to rule them all, finally! Samsung’s Tizen OS-based Smart Hub is where you see all your inputs and change settings, and the interface feels fluid and easy to navigate, like it’s been designed ground-up to use with the remote. You get built-in apps for popular streaming services but to be fair, the number of apps for Tizen OS are limited when you compare to the Android TV platform.
Then again, I’m willing to overlook the lack of apps when the TV performs as well as this one does. Between its support for 4K resolution and High Dynamic Range content, the Q8C is sorted for practically any content you can find to play back on streaming services, and while 4K HDR content availability is rather limited, the few 4K TV episodes I played back wowed in terms of detail, jitter-free motion and realistic colours. Peak brightness levels were high enough to induce some amount of squinting and left me scrambling to pick a more muted picture mode when watching in the dark, and a trained eye may find the colours have that mildly exaggerated pop that Samsung is known for. 4K aside, even upscaled standard and full-HD content fared well, so long as you don't sit too close, and sound is decent for a big TV. At its price, the Q8C isn’t exactly cheap, but you’re investing in a top-notch and future-proof TV (with an immersive curved screen as a bonus) that’s suitably ‘out there’ to justify its price tag.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.