Hands-on review: Samsung Q9F 65” TV and N650 Soundbar

21 Aug 18

For the past two weeks it has dominated the our modestly-sized living room. Towering over us in not quite a menacing way, but definitely domineering, the Samsung Q9F 65” TV is a standout model.

If I was allowed to keep it, I’d definitely take the advice of the friendly man who installed it and mount the Q9F flush to the wall. There’s a setting enabling the Q9F to mimic the pattern of the wall, so it seamlessly blends in. All you need is a digital camera.

QLED

QLED technology claims to make your picture stand out, no matter the lighting conditions. Samsung claims that you will be pulled into scenes “finding all the ultimate details that used to stay hidden in dark shadows or whitewashed by brightness.”

I’d been mesmerised by the colour and clarity of the picture for days, but eventually my darling showed me how to switch to the television from the screensaver. Boasting 4K Quantum Dot Colour with 3840 x 2160 resolution, lovers of QLED technology will be drooling at these features.

For me, this equates to seeing individual beads of sweat on the brows of “The Chase” contestants and “The Project’s” hosts as they swelter under studio lights. The soundbar even makes the host’s jokes sound great, while the high definition picture makes the resident funny man appear so realistic, I could almost reach out and throttle him.  

With the N650 Soundbar, you’ll swear you’re up on the rooftop with the Beatles for their last live concert. Music, movies and gaming; this soundbar handles it all. With Samsung’s “acoustic beam” bouncing the sound off your walls, you’ll swear that the bad guys are hiding behind your couch.

Stylish sleekness coupled with great features

Samsung have gone to a lot of trouble to make this television domineering but unobtrusive. From its sleek silver remote to the black soundbar that wirelessly blends at the base, the styling is sleek. Wiring has been very cleverly kept to a minimum with the Clear Connect cable concealed in the base. I’m dreading returning to our usual mess behind the television when the Samsung goes.

Even the subwoofer is wireless. The Bluetooth function is found in the settings menu, and it’s a simple matter to connect your headphones and other Bluetooth devices. There’s even an App for your mobile devices, covering Android, iOS and Windows.

The remotes are two of the best I’ve ever used and really deserve an article of their own. The soundbar remote is black and the television’s remote is silver.

Voice activation

The Samsung will tell you it’s listening when you activate the microphone on the remote. However, no matter how funny my wife finds it, the Q9F’s apparent inability to understand the word “ten” in our kiwi vernacular, is fast becoming unfunny.

I tried every trick in the book, but in the end, I decided that maybe I’m not supposed to watch channel ten ever again.

Update: Halfway through the second week the remote stopped asking me about “Teen” and “Tim” and started changing to channel 10. Whether it’s because of some intuitive learning, or because my accent is sounding more BBC, is quite beyond me.

There is one quirk that goes to show just how sensitive the Samsung is. Quite rightly, it’s designed to work best in the High-Definition environment of the 21st century. If you have a slightly inferior recording, you will sometimes notice a little depixelation, but rest assured that it’s more to do with the quality of the recording.

UHD stands for Ultra High Definition, and that’s exactly what it will deliver, given the right quality material. My favourite Star Trek movie has never looked so good.

The 65” model has a whopping resolution of 3,840 x 2,160. I’m not used to seeing numbers like these. Samsung’s website is extremely helpful, as it provides downloads for the manuals, installation guide, plus some handy “how to” sections. I wish I had more time to fully explore the “ambient mode” which transforms your television into a real entertainment centre.

Connecting to Netflix was easy, whether you’re after YouTube, Amazon Prime or other, you will find them all listed.  Sadly, the nice man who installed it is coming to take it away again. I’m off to watch my favourite Star Trek movie one more time, this time with the sound cranked up.

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