Samsung Q9FN vs Sony A8F Review (QN65Q9FN vs XBR65A8F)
Samsung Q9FN is the flagship of Samung’s 2018 QLED TV, the successor of Q9F while Sony A8F is the second generation of Sony’s OLED TV and also the successor of Sony A1E. As the premium TVs, both of them certainly offer outstanding picture quality where there are not many TVs can match their performance and picture quality. In the market, both of the equally come in 2 screen size option, but the difference, Q9FN is available in 65 Inch (QN65Q9FN) and 75 Inch (QN75Q9FN), while A8F comes in 55 inch (XBR55A8F) and 65 Inch (XBR65A8F). And with the same screen (XBR65A8F vs QN65Q9FN), Sony A8F is priced hundreds dollar more expensive than Samsung Q9FN though for their price level, their difference in price is actually in not too significant. But of course, their prices certainly are not fixed and could still change at any time. So, what features are offered by each and which is a better choice between them?
Samsung Q9FN vs Sony A8F Key Specs
|Specs and Features||Samsung Q9FN||Sony A8F|
|Resolution||4K (2160x3840)||4K (2160x3840)|
|Sizes Available||65 Inch (QN65Q9FN), 75 Inch (QN75Q7FN)||55 Inch( XBR55A8F), 65 Inch (XBR65A8F)|
|Panel Technology||LED (VA Panel)||OLED Panel|
|Backlighting Technology||Direct LED Backlight||Self Lighting Pixel|
|Dimming Technology||Full Array Local Dimming (Q Contrast EliteMax)||Pixel Dimming|
|Picture Engine||Q Engine||4K HDR Processor X1 Extreme|
|HDR Formats||HDR 10, HLG, HDR 10+||HDR 10, HLG, Dolby Vision|
|Color Technology||Quantum Dot with Q Color||TriLuminos Display|
|Other Features and Technology||Supreme UHD Dimming, Ultra Black Elite, Q HDR EliteMax||Object Based HDR Remaster, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, Precision Color Mapping, Dual Database, Dynamic Contrast Enhancer|
|UHD Up-scaling Engine||4K X-Reality Pro||UHD Up-scaling Engine|
|Motion Clarity Technology||Motion Rate 240||Motion Flow XR|
|Native Refresh Rate||120 Hz||120 Hz|
|Smart TV||Tizen 2018||Android TV 7.0 version|
|Processor||Quad Core||Quad Core|
|Remote||Samsung Smart Remote (TM1890A)||Sony Voice Remote|
|Sound Output||60 watts||10 W + 10 W + 10 W + 10 W + 10 W|
|Speaker Type||Down Firing + Woofer||Acoustic Surface (Actuator + Subwoofer)|
|Price||See the price on Amazon||See the price on Amazon|
Features and Technology of Samsung Q9FN and Sony A8F
Their difference in panel technology is very clear. Sony A8F uses OLED Panel while Samsung Q9FN uses LED panel. And a TV with OLED panel including A8F has perfect black level, infinite native contrast ratio, excellent viewing angle coverage and excellent pixel response time. On the other hand, it usually has a risk from permanent burn-in. On the other hand, LED TV particularly for TV premium including Samsung Q9FN usually has brighter peak brightness and risk-free from permanent burn-in.
As we see on the comparison above, Sony A8F is powered by X1 Extreme Engine where there are a lot of Sony’s most advanced technologies embedded. There are Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR and Precision Color Mapping for maximizing the accuracy of color produced, Dynamic Contrast Enhancer for Maximizing contrast and black level, and also Object Based HDR Re-master and Dual Database Technology for improving clarity and reducing noise of the images. On the other hand, Samsung Q9FN is powered by Q Engine. Unlike Sony, Sony don’t reveal what technologies are embedded on Q Engine, but essentially, performance of Q Engine is not less powerful than X1 Extreme in processing images. IN addition to picture engine, both of them also have great performance of UHD Up-scaling engine where A8F comes with Tru 4K Up-Scaler while Q9FN is powered by UHD Up-scaling engine. Their performance in up-scaling the resolution of non 4K content to nearly 4K resolution is also equally powerful.
For producing wide color gamut and excellent color reproduction, Sony A8F uses RGBW pixel structure on its panel and maximized by TriLuminos Display technology while Samsung Q9FN is powered by Samsung advanced Quantum Dot technology called Q Color. With these technologies, both of them are able to produce excellent wide color gamut, even including the best in 2018. The result, color reproduction of them is equally excellent, whether it is about the accuracy or gradient.
Motion Clarity Technology
Although pixel response time of Samsung Q9FN with LED panel is not as excellent as Sony A8F with OLED panel, but essentially, their pixel response time is equally excellent for reducing motion blur that caused by pixel response time. Meanwhile, for reducing motion blur that caused by other aspect like persistence or others, Samsung Q9FN is powered by Motion Rate 240 while Sony A8F is powered by Motion Flow XR technology. Additionally, both of them also equally have an option 60 Hz BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode to make motion looks far clearer, particularly that caused by persistence. Additionally, both of them also equally have 120 Hz native pixel response time, allow them to interpolate both 30 fps and 60 fps content to at least at 100 fps.
Samsung Q9FN is equipped with 4.2 channel speaker system with 60 watts of total sound output. Additionally, for maximizing sound produced, it uses down firing speaker type with built-in woofer. On the other hand, Sony A8F is equipped with 4.1 channel speaker system with 50 watts of total sound output. But the unique, it doesn’t use standard speaker like other TVs. Instead, it uses a Sony’s proprietary technology called Acoustic Surface where for producing a sound, this technology utilizes its own screen that vibrated by an actuator.
As their smart TV platform, Sony A8f is featuring the latest version of Android TV that is 7.0 version while Samsung Q9FN is also featuring the latest version of Tizen OS that is 2018 version. Both of these smart TV platforms equally have attractive user interface design and also a lot of attractive and useful apps and smart features. Now, on their latest version, both of the platforms also equally have smart home apps that allow you to control and monitor your other compatible devices like Air Conditioner, Refrigerator, Laundry Machine and others via your Samsung or Sony TV. Additionally, they also equally have voice assistant, allow you to do a lot of more things with your voice commands. For this case, Android TV comes with Google Home and Google Voice Assistant while Tizen OS comes with Smart Things and Bixby voice Assistant.
Sony A8F vs Samsung Q9FN Performance
Contrast and Black Level
As we have mentioned above, perfect black level and infinite contrast are the major advantage of OLED TV including Sony A8F. This due OLED panel has self-lighting pixel that can switch on/off/dim individually without affected by the light condition of other pixels surrounding. This also cause it doesn’t need backlight. As the impact, when showing totally black, the screen of A8F doesn’t emit a light at all, makes blacks can be shown perfectly. This certainly makes black scene of images produced looks excellently, even when it set in a dark room where the effect of the level of black produced is very sensitive. Additionally, perfect black level produced also makes shadow details of HDR images displayed on its screen looks excellently like the movies creator’s intended. Overall, the performance of Sony A8F in a dark room or in producing dark scene is outstanding. On the other hand, although not perfect as A8F, performance of Samsung Q9FN in producing black is also excellent. With local dimming disabled (only can be disabled via hidden service menu), Samsung Q9FN already has excellent native contrast ratio that is more than 6000:1. Meanwhile, with local dimming enable, its local dimming works excellent in increasing its contrast ratio up to nearly 20000:1, allow it to produce very deep black, even including the deepest that can be reached by LED TV. Combined to its excellent black uniformity, Samsung Q9FN can also show dark scene excellently. With HDR content, its black level is also dark enough to reveal details of dark scene excellently, makes shadow details of HDR images also can be shown excellently on its screen, even when it is set in a dark room. Overall, although not as excellent as A8F, performance of Q9FN in producing deep black in dark room is also excellent, even including the best for LED TV. The great performance of Sony A8F and Samsung Q9FN in producing black certainly makes them are as great TV for watching movies with a lot dark scene like horror or thriller.
Winner: Sony A8F
While Sony A8F is superior in producing black, its peak brightness is not as excellent as Samsung Q9FN. With SDR images, it can produce more than 400 nits of peak brightness that means it is bright enough to fight the glare, make it is able to maintain excellent picture quality produced in most bright room. But even so, the larger bright areas, its peak brightness will dim, and even when it is showing the whole areas is bright like bright outdoor scene, its peak brightness will dim to below 200 nits. Fortunately, in a movies, a scene with the whole area is bright is rare, so this should not be a problem. Meanwhile, with HDR content, Sony A8F even can produce brighter peak brightness. Although its peak brightness actually is still not as bright as other OLED TVs like LG C8, overall, its peak brightness is bright enough to produce bright HDR images in most room. But even so, since its peak brightness is still less than 1000 nits, this certainly make it is not able to show highlight of HDR images at 1000-4000 nits of brightness range like the intended. But the excellence, since it has pixel dimming level, it has blooming free. This means, when it is showing a small bright object in a dark background like dramatic highlight of HDR images, you will not see unwanted adjacent lights around bright small object or called blooming.
On the other hand, Samsung Q9FN has outstanding peak brightness, even including the one of the brightest ever. With HDR content, its local dimming is very effective to brighten the small area up to brighter than 1600 nits while when showing the whole areas is bright, it is able to maintain its peak brightness up to brighter than 650 nits. The result, the picture displayed on its screen looks remains excellent, even when it is set in very bright room with sunlight through the window or much light. Meanwhile, with HDR content, Samsung Q9FN even can produce brighter peak brightness. With more than 1700 nits of peak brightness when showing small areas, it is able to show highlight of HDR images at 1000 – 4000 nits of brightness range like the intended. On the other hand, when showing the whole area is bright, its peak brightness is still brighter than 650 nits. This means, no matter the light condition of a room where it used, even in extremely bright room, HDR Images displayed on its screen will looks very bright. But even so, in reducing blooming, its performance is not as good as A8F, but still can be said good and better than most LED TVs which available in the market.
Winner: Samsung Q9FN
In term of color reproduction, Sony A8F and Samsung Q9FN equally have excellent wide color gamut. Both of them can cover more than 97% of DCI P3 color space that means it is excellent, particularly for HDR content that mastered in DCI P3 like HDR10 images. Additionally, their color coverage in Rec.2020 is also fairly good. The result, both of them can show most colors of HDR images fairly accurate. Some certain colors like deep greens may not be shown as accurate as other colors, but at least, they can show these colors better than most TVs. While they have almost identical color gamut, Samsung Q9FN has far better color volume than Sony A8F. In producing very deep colors, Sony A8F may be better, but Q9FN is also able to produce deep colors fairly good. On the other hand, when producing very bright colors, Q9FN can do this job excellently, while A8F cannot show colors in near its peak brightness as saturated as darker color. This means, Q9FN can well-show its wide color gamut at entire its brightness range. No matter it is showing deep colors or very bright colors, it can show them fairly saturated. On the other hand, although A8F cannot show very bright color as saturated as darker color, overall, except very bright colors, it can show its wide color gamut at entire brightness range. Still about color performance, both Sony A8F and Samsung Q9FN also equally have excellent color gradient, particularly when showing 10 bit contents like HDR images. Color gradient of images displayed on their screen looks very smooth with almost no major color banding. Some little imperfection may be still visible in certain colors, but most people may not notice this much, so this should not be a major problem for them.
Winner: Samsung Q9FN
Side Viewing Angle
As we have mentioned above, one of the major advantage of Sony A8F as an OLED TV than Samsung Q9FN as a LED TV is about their side viewing angle coverage. If viewed from the side, started less than 30 degrees off center and front, color of images displayed on their screen may equally look shift, but from the wider angle, the color shift of the images displayed on the screen of Sony A8F is not as significant as at the screen of Samsung Q9FN. Meanwhile, the excellence of A8F, it can maintain its brightness and black level up to from extremely wide angle, while on the screen of Q9FN, black level will start to degrade at less than 15 degrees off center and front. The result, when viewed from the side, the picture displayed on the screen of Q9FN will look deteriorate, and the wider angle you watch TV from, the picture will looks worse. Meanwhile, the ability of A8F in maintain black level and brightness from side angle makes the picture displayed on its screen looks consistent, even when viewed from extremely wide angle.
Winner: Sony A8F
Motion Handling and 24p Playback
As we have mentioned above, Sony A8F may have far lower pixel response time than Samsung Q9FN, but even so, the pixel response time of A8F is also already excellent. The result when they are playing fast moving images like sports or fast movies, the picture displayed on their screen will looks very smooth and clear with virtually no motion blur. Following fast moving object, there is only a very short ghosting trail where most people may not notice this much. But even so, since A8F has lower response time, ghosting trail will looks far shorter than Q9FN. Blur that may be still visible is more due by persistence than pixel response time. Meanwhile, during normal viewing condition, to dim the backlight, Samsung Q9FN uses PWM Dimming System at 480 Hz of Dimming frequency. With this dimming frequency, backlight flicker produced should not be noticeable to most people. On other hand, since A8F doesn’t have backlight, it doesn’t need to dim the backlight, make A8F even is almost flicker-free. However, this will cause some persistence blur. Nevertheless, to reduce blur that caused by persistence, both Samsung Q9FN and Sony A8F equally have a 60 Hz BFI (Black Frame Insertion) mode that will flicker the screen at 60 Hz. To enable this feature, on Q9FN, you need to turn on the “LED Clear Motion” on its picture settings while on A8F, you must set “MotionFlow” to “Custom” and set “Clearness” to high. BY enabling this feature, this will make motion looks clearer, particularly that caused by 60 fps persistence like video games or sports. But on the other hand, this will make the backlight flicker is visible, particularly for those who sensitive to flicker.
Meanwhile, when playing 24p movies, Sony A8F can do a bit better job than Samsung Q9FN, particularly when they are playing 24p videos via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV. For this case, A8F can show this video type with judder-free while Q9FN cannot remove the judder completely. Fortunately, most of people don’t sensitive to judder, so this should not be a major problem for Q9FN. But even so, for other video types both of them offer similar performance. This means, no matter your are playing native 24p movies like DVD or Blu-Ray’s movies, 24p videos via streaming app like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Videos, and others, or even 24p videos via 60p signal like movies from streaming devices like fire TV, Apple TV and others, you will enjoy them with judder-free on their screen.
Winner: Sony A8F
As their major connectivity, both Sony A8F and Samsung Q9FN are also equally equipped with 4 HDMI ports. All of HDMI ports of Q9FN already support CEC, HDCP 2.2, and HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth and 1 port support ARC (Audio Return Channel) that is HDMI 4. On the other hand, all of HDMI ports of A8F also support CEC and HDCP 2.2, but which support HDMI 2.0 are only 2 ports which are HDMI 2 and 3. Like Q9FN, A8F also has 1 port that supports ARC that is HDMI 3. Additionally, both of them are also equally equipped with 3 USB ports. But a bit difference between them, all of USB ports of Q9FN is USB 2.0 while for A8F, in addition to 2 USB 2.0, A8F also has 1 port USB 3.0 that is on USB 1. IN addition to USB and HDMI ports, both of them also equally have 1 RF IN (Antenna In), 1 Digital Audio Out (Optical), and 1 Ethernet port. Additionally, both of them also don’t equally have Component In. The difference, A8F also has 1 Composite IN (AV In), 1 Analog Audio Out (Mini Jack), and IR In for its IR Blaster, while Q9FN is not equipped with this connectivity types. The other difference, all Inputs/Outputs ports of A8F are installed on the back side of the screen while for Q9FN, most of its inputs/outputs are installed on separated box called “One Connect Box”.
Meanwhile, discussing about their input lags, Samsung Q9FN has lower input lags in “PC” and “Game” Mode. No matter the resolution of the source, its input lags are around 20 ms that means it is great for any games, even for fast paced games that require fast reflexes. On the other hand, although not as low as Q9fn, in 4K resolution, the input lags of A8F actually is also low enough to play any games responsively without laggy. But unfortunately, with 1080p content, its input lags is too high and only comfortable for playing casual games, while for playing fast paced 1080p games, it may be a bit disappointed.
Winner: Samsung Q9FN
As we have mentioned above, as their smart TV platform, Samsung Q9FN is featuring Tizen 2018 OS that powered by a quad core processor while Sony A8F is featuring Google Android TV 7.0 version. Both of these platforms equally have simple, attractive, and intuitive user layout design, make the navigation is easy. But even so, on their latest version, both of them have some performance issue. Their performance is inconsistent and can be said to slow, particularly when you are accessing menus within an app. Additionally, their animations are choppy frequently. Nevertheless, overall, their performance is not too disappointed. Meanwhile, the interesting thing offered, both of them equally provide complete and diverse apps and smart features. As their preinstalled apps, there are some VoD apps like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, and more, Games, Web Browser, Video Cast apps, Live TV, and many more. Additionally, there are also still thousands of apps, games, and contents that you can download from their apps store. For Tizen OS, its apps store is called Samsung Apps Store while for Android TV, its apps store called Google Play Store. For this case, since Google Play store is powered by a lot of more developers, this certainly makes apps, games, and contents provided are also more complete than what provided by Samsung Apps Store. The other interesting thing that offered, both of these platforms equally have smart home apps, allow you to control and monitor other compatible devices via your TV. Additionally, both of these platforms also equally have voice assistant app, allow you to do a lot of more things with your voice commands. For this case, Google Android TV comes with Google Home and Google Voice Assistant while Tizen OS comes with Smart Things and Samsung’s Bixby Voice Assistant.
As their controller, both of them equally come with smart controller. But even so, the remote of Sony A8F is fairly large and has a lot of buttons. In addition to basic buttons like “number buttons”, “power on buttons”, “volume buttons”, it also provides some quick access buttons to most functions. Additionally, it also has two dedicated buttons to Google Play Store and Netflix, allow you to open these apps without entering the home menu. Otherwise, the remote of Samsung Q9FN is small and only has few buttons. It even doesn’t have “number buttons” and only has some basic buttons to the most common functions. So, if you need to make advanced settings or navigate to deeper menu, you must navigate through the menu or use voice navigation. Meanwhile, except the buttons provided, both of them equally have excellent voice navigation. Furthermore, each of their platforms have voice assistant, allow you to do a lot of more jobs with your voice command, even for more complicated phrases. Additionally, both of them also equally have a universal ability. This means, it can be used for controlling some functions of other devices connected on their TV via HDMI ports.
Winner: Sony A8F
|Performance||Sony A8F||Samsung Q9FN|
As the premium TV that is sold thousands dollar, it is appropriate that they have outstanding picture quality and not many TV can match them. Nevertheless, since they come with different panel technology, for this case Q9FN comes with LED panel while A8F comes with OLED panel, each of them offer some advantages and disadvantages to each other. Sony A8F may have perfect black level and infinite contrast, but black level produced by Q9FN is also including the best for LED TV. Otherwise, Samsung Q9FN has extraordinary peak brightness, but on the other hand, although peak brightness of A8F is not as bright as Q9FN, but this can still be said excellent for OLED TV. Additionally, although Q9FN has better color reproduction due its color volume is better, but performance of A8F is also not far behind Q9FN. Additionally, Q9FN offer better performance in input lags while A8F offer better performance in motion handling. The only major advantage by A8F is about their side viewing angle coverage where A8F has excellent viewing angle coverage, otherwise, viewing angle coverage of Q9FN is poor. The excepting of their viewing angle coverage, black level, and peak brightness, the impact of their difference in performance is not noticed by most people.
Which is a better choice between them? The decision certainly comes back to you according to your own preference. If you prefer to the TV with excellent dark performance and has wide viewing angle coverage, A8F certainly is a better choice. But otherwise, if you need a TV that can produce brighter picture, Q9FN is a better choice for you. But essentially, both of them offer excellent performance for any usage, whether it is for watching sports, movies, TV shows or playing games. Additionally, their performance in most room is also relative consistent, no matter the light condition of a room where they are used.