CNET First Look
Samsung Q8 TV has a great picture, and even matches your wallWith image quality as good or better than any LCD we've tested, the high-end Q8 also beats competitors with style and features, including the ability to blend into your room.
Samsung designs some of the nicest TVs around, but until this year, it's lagged behind some competitors in picture quality. The high end Q8 aims to change that and mostly succeeds. Part of Samsung's QLED line of TVs, the Q8 is one of two series in the company's 2018 line up to feature full array local dimming. That feature allows it to deliver deep black levels and more pop than previous models. I'll get to pitch quality in a bit but first let's talk about design and features, two areas where Samsung always excels. The Q8 is a very sleek TV standing on top of thin black legs and supporting an ultra thin border around the screen. But it's thicker from the side than many sets. The back panel is standard without the separate input box found on some other Samsung QLED TVs. New for 2018 is ambient mode, which lets you put something on the screen when you're not watching TV. Depending on the wall in your room, one of Samsung's preset backgrounds, like this brick, might match very well. If it doesn't you can use a phone app to take an image and attempt to match that. You can also choose from a variety of things to show over the background, including artsy mountains, a clock, news headlines, or the weather. With the TV actually turned on, Samsung's menu system is clean and simple, with a popup along the bottom that delves deep into apps like Netflix and Amazon. You can customize which apps go where and 4k and HDR app support is very good. I also appreciate Samsung's sleek, easy to hold remote that let's you control connected devices directly. The TV actually recognizes the device automatically when you plug it in. It's like having a universal remote built right in the TV. This year, Samsung also built it's Bixby personal assistant right in, accessible by talking to the remote. Watch Hulu. Bixby can talk back to the TV speakers, recite the weather, switch inputs, search for content and more. But it's not as advanced or as accurate as Alexa and Google Assistant on other TVs. The main thing I did like about the Q8 is its picture, its local dimming and super bright image delivered excellent contrast in both light rooms and dark. Colors pop And high dynamic range in particular looked great. Overall, it's one of the best LCD based TVs I've ever tested, but it can't match the picture quality of OLED models from LG and Sony. It's also a lot more expensive than some competitors that perform nearly as well, but hey, they don't match your wall.