Sony Z9F vs Samsung Q9FN Review (XBR65Z9F vs QN65Q9FN, XBR75Z9F vs QN75Q9FN)
Sony Z9F and Samsung Q9FN are the flagship of 4K HDR LED TV of each of their brand. As the premium TVs that are sold thousands dollar, both of them are powered by their picture quality is excellent and performance of some features offered are also great. One of their major strength is about their peak brightness where they are including the brightest TV in 2018. But of course, there is not only their peak brightness that excellent but also some other aspects like color reproduction, motion handling, and others. In the market, both Q9FN and Z9F equally come in 2 screen size option those are 65 inch and 75 inch. And with the same screen size (XBR65Z9F vs QN65Q7FN, XBR75Z9F vs QN75Q9FN), Z9F is sold hundreds dollar more expensive, even for their b75 inch it is sold up to a thousand dollar more expensive than Z9FN. So, what features are offered by each and which one is a better choice between them?
Short Review of Sony Z9F
As we have mentioned above, Sony Z9F is the flagship of Sony’s 2018 4K HDR LED TV. It is the successor of Z9D, the flagship of Sony’s 2016 4K HDR LED TV. Adopting the technologies and features of the predecessor, Z9F comes with some improvements over the predecessor. One of the major improvements brought by Z9F over Z9D is about its picture engine where it is powered by the newest image processor by Sony called “4K HDR X1 Ultimate”. As we know, performance of X1 Ultimate is claimed to be twice than the older processor X1 Extreme, particularly in handling motion and improving image clarity. In addition the technologies that embedded in the X1 Extreme like Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Precision Color Mapping, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, Object-Based HDR Remaster, and Dual Database processing, in the X1 Ultimate, there is also Object-Based Super Resolution Technology. Additionally, Z9F also comes with a new technology called “X-Wide Angle” that makes it has better side viewing angle coverage than most TVs with VA panel. And like the predecessor Z9D, for allowing you to enjoy HDR experience with different format, Sony Z9F supports most HDR formats including HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and Dolby Vision.
On its panel, Sony Z9F uses VA panel with direct LED backlight and Full Array Local Dimming with hundreds dimming zones. Like the predecessor Z9D, its local dimming is very effective to boost the contrast and brightness. Still about contrast enhancement, there are also the number of technologies behind them like Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object-Based Remaster Technology, and X-Tended Dynamic Range Technology. For maximizing its color reproduction, Z9F are also supported by the number advanced technologies like TriLuminos Display, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, Precision Color Mapping, and Live Color Technology. And for allowing you to enjoy 4K content in near 4K resolution or even 4K HDR, Z9F is powered by the number technology like 4K X-Reality Pro, Dual Database processing and Object Based Super Resolution where each of these technologies can do each of their job excellently. And for maximizing its performance in handling motion blur, in addition to it already has low pixel response time, it is also powered by X Motion Clarity technology based on native 120 HZ refresh rate panel.
In addition to X1 Ultimate as its picture engine, which makes different between Sony Master Series including Z9F and other models of Sony’s 2018 TV lineup is about their smart TV platform. If the lower series like X900F, X850F, or even A8F are featuring Google Android 7.0 Nougat, Sony Z9F is already featuring Google Android 8.0 Oreo. In this version there is some upgrades in its user interface that makes its navigation is faster. Additionally, since it is powered by a faster chipset, this also makes its smart TV performance is faster and more responsive than other Sony TV models like X900F or A8F.
Short Review of Samsung Q9FN
Like Z9F, Samsung Q9FN is also the flagship of Samsung’s 2018 QLED TV lineup and also the successor of Q9F, the flagship of Samsung’s 2017. One of the major improvements brought by Q9FN over Q9F is about their backlight. If Q9F the predecessor uses edge lit with local dimming, Q9FN now uses direct LED backlight with Full Array Local dimming. Compared to the predecessor, the local dimming performance of Q9FN works far better in boosting its contrast ratio and brightness. The other major thing brought by Q9FN is about HDR10+ format, a new HDR format that developed by Samsung and its alliance. Basically, HDR10+ is based on standard HDR10 format, but for remapping the brightness and color, it already uses dynamic metadata that sent at each scene. The result, colors and brightness level of HDR images can be shown more accurate than HDR10 images that use static metadata. As we know, for remapping color and brightness, HDR10 use static metadata that sent once at the beginning of the content.
The other interesting thing offered by Samsung Q9FN is about its smart TV platform. It may still feature Tizen OS with Smart Hub as its smart TV platform, but now, its platform has been integrated with Smart Things and Samsung’s Bixby Voice Assistant. You need to know, Smart Things is a home intelligence assistant that allow you to control and monitor your other compatible devices like Washing Machine, Air Conditioner, Refrigerator, and others via your Samsung TV. Meanwhile, Samsung’s Bixby Voice assistant makes its navigation is much better and can do a lot of more command. This is just like Ai ThinQ on WebOS or Google Home and Google Voice Assistant on Android TV.
Meanwhile, the expecting of what mentioned above, Samsung Q9FN still adopt the technologies and features of Q9F the predecessor. As is typical of Samsung QLED TV, Q9FN also uses Samsung’s advanced quantum dot technology powered by Q color technology that makes all model of Samsung QLED TV lineup has excellent color gamut. Additionally, there are also supreme UHD dimming and a moth eyes technology called Ultra Black Elite that maximizes contrast and black level produced. And for maximizing its performance when handling motion blur, in addition to it already has low pixel response time, there is also Motion Rate 240 technology behind it. And for delivering impressive sound quality, Samsung Q9FN is equipped with 4.2 channel speaker system with 60 watts of total sound output and down firing speaker configuration.
Sony Z9F vs Samsung Q9FN Key Specs
|Specs and Features||Sony Z9F||Samsung Q9FN|
|Resolution||4K (2160x3840)||4K (2160x3840)|
|Sizes Available||65 Inch (XBR65Z9F), 75 Inch (XBR75Z9F)||65 Inch (QN65Q9FN), 75 Inch (QN75Q7FN)|
|Panel Technology||LED (VA Panel with X-Wide Angle Technology)||LED (VA Panel)|
|Backlighting Technology||Direct Led Backlight||Direct LED Backlight|
|Dimming Technology||Full Array Local Dimming||Full Array Local Dimming (Q Contrast EliteMax)|
|Picture Engine||4K HDR Processor X1 Ultimate||Q Engine|
|HDR Formats||HDR 10, HLG, Dolby Vision||HDR10, HLG, HDR10+|
|Color Technology||TriLuminos Display, Super Bit Mapping 4K HDR, Precision Color Mapping, Live Color Technology||Quantum Dot with Q Color|
|Contrast Enhancement||Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Object-Base HDR Remaster, X-Tended Dynamic Range pro 12 x||Supreme UHD Dimming, Ultra Black Elite, Q Contrast Elite Max|
|Clarity Enhancement||4k X-Reality Pro, Dual Database Processing, Object-Based Super Resolution||UHD Up-Scaling Engine, Q HDR EliteMax|
|Motion Clarity Technology||X Motion Clarity||Motion Rate 240|
|Native Refresh Rate||120 Hz||120 Hz|
|Smart TV||Android TV 8.0 Oreo with Google Voice Assistant||Tizen 2018 with Smart Things and Bixby Voice|
|Remote||Sony Voice Remote||Samsung Smart Remote (TM1890A)|
|Sound Output||10 W + 10 W||60 watts|
|Speaker Type||Bass Reflex Speaker||Down Firing + Woofer|
|Price||See the price on Amazon||See the price on Amazon|
Samsung Q9FN vs Sony Z9F Performance
Contrast and Black Level
Although both of them equally use VA panel, but Samsung Q9FN has much stronger native contrast ratio than Sony Z9F. The native contrast ratio of Z9F is lower than 2000:1 where it is too weak for VA TV. Fortunately, it has excellent local dimming that can boost its native contrast ratio up to twice. Although it is actually also not too strong to produce deep black level and not as deep as what produced by other VA TVs, but black level produced by Z9F is still acceptable, even when it is set in a dark room. The result, dark scene can be still shown fairly good on its screen. Although performance of Z9F in producing black is not as good as other VA TVs, but it is still better than IPS TVs. The low contrast ratio produced by Z9F may be caused by the use of the new X-Wide Angle layer technology on its panel. While contrast ratio of Z9F is too low for VA TVs, otherwise, Samsung Q9FN has excellent native contrast ratio. Its native contrast ratio is very strong, stronger than 6000:1. Let alone it has excellent local dimming that can boost its contrast ratio up to 20000:1, make black level produced by Q9FN is extremely deep, close to what produced by OLED TV. The result, blacks of images displayed on its screen looks really black, even when it is set in a dark room. Additionally, deep black level produced by Q9FN makes shadow details of HDR images displayed on its screen looks finely and clearly. Overall, their performance in producing black is contrary. Among VA TVs, black level produced by Q9FN is including the best. Otherwise, performance of Z9F in producing blacks is below most VA TVs.
Winner: Samsung Q9FN
While Samsung Q9FN is far superior to Sony Z9F in producing black level, peak brightness of Z9F is a bit superior to Q9FN. But even so, essentially, their peak brightness is equally outstanding and including the brightest in 2018. With SDR content, Sony Z9F can reach peak brightness close to 1500 nits, the brightest ever reached by LED TV. Even sometimes, it can show small bright object brighter than 1600 nits. Nevertheless, as the bright area increases, its peak brightness dims but still above 650 nits, even though it shows the whole area is bright. Meanwhile, with HDR contents, Z9F can even reach peak brightness brighter than 1600 nits. Like with SDR content, its local dimming is also able to make small bright object is brighter than the rest. As the bright area increase, its peak brightness also dims. And when the whole screen is bright, its peak brightness dims to about 650 nits. Nevertheless, although with white scene, its peak brightness drops significantly, but what reached by Z9F is still much better than most of TVs which available in the market.
While with SDR and HDR contents, peak brightness reached by Sony Z9F is not much different, Samsung Q9FN delivers different peak brightness with SDR and HDR content. Nevertheless, peak brightness of Q9FN is also outstanding and only a bit less than Z9F. With SDR content, peak brightness of Q9FN is far dimmer than Z9F that is close to 700 nits. Nevertheless, this actually is bright enough to overcome the glare and make the picture looks fairly bright in bright room. Like on Z9F, the local dimming of Q9FN also well-works to brighten the small bright area so looks much brighter than the rest. Meanwhile, with HDR contents, Samsung Q9FN can even deliver much brighter peak brightness than with SDR content. With real scene, its peak brightness may not as bright as Z9F but in certain windows sizes, particularly in small windows size, it can show them brighter than Z9F. This means, when they are showing small highlights in a dark scene, Q9FN can show then brighter than Z9F, brighter than 1700 nits. Sony Z9F may slightly outperform Q9FN in producing peak brightness, but overall, their peak brightness is including the best in 2018. Since both of them can reach peak brightness brighter than 1000 nits, this certainly allow them to show HDR images at 1000-4000 nits of brightness like the creator intended. The other excellence offered by them, since they equally have hundreds dimming zones, when they are showing small bright object in a dark scene, blooming or unwanted adjacent lights around bright object can be well-minimized.
Winner: Sony Z9F
Both of them may be able to produce wide color gamut, but for this case, Samsung Q9FN can deliver wide color gamut than Sony Z9F. Color gamut provided by Q9FN can cover more than 97% of DCI P3 color space. With its color coverage, most of colors of HDR images that mastered in DCI P3 can be shown fairly accurate on its screen. Additionally, in Rec.2020, although it cannot produce some certain colors like new green tones, but its color coverage in Rec.2020 is also fairly good. Its color gamut may be not as wide as what delivered by Q7FN, but this is more caused by panel variance. On other hand, although not as wide as what produced by Q9FN, color gamut produced by Sony Z9F still can cover more than 94% of DCI P3 color space that means it is still excellent for HDR content like HDR10 images that mastered in DCI P3. Its color coverage in REC.2020 is also more than 70% that means colors of HDR images that mastered in REC.2020 still can be shown fairly accurate on its screen. Overall, color gamut produced by Z9F is similar to Q9FN, the lowest model of Samsung’s 2018 QLED TV lineup. In addition can produce wider color gamut, Samsung Q9FN also has better color volume than Sony Z9F. It is able to show its wide color gamut at its entire brightness range, even very dark colors and very colors can be also produced fairly well. Meanwhile, although not as good as Q9FN, color volume of Z9F still can be said well, better than most TVs. Like Z9F, it can show its wide color gamut in dark colors fairly well, but unable to show very bright color fairly well, particularly very bright blues. But even so, overall, except very bright blues, it can show its wide color gamut at its entire brightness range.
While Samsung Q9FN has better color gamut and volume, Sony Z9F has better color gradient, even its color gradient can be said the best in 2018. On the screen of Z9F, color gradient of HDR images displayed on its screen looks very smooth with almost no color banding visible. On the other hand, although there are more imperfections are seen on the screen of Z9F, particularly in darker colors, but overall, color gradient of Q9FN is actually also very good. Overall, both of them have excellent color gradient and some little imperfections that may be visible on their screen should not be a problem for normal content.
Winner: Samsung Q9FN
Side Viewing Angle
Like most other LED TVs with VA panel, side viewing coverage of Samsung Q9FN is poor. When viewed from the side, started at about 25 degrees off center and front, color will look to fade and brightness will also look to decrease started at about 30 degrees. The severe is its black level where it will look to degrade started at less than 15 degrees. This means, when viewed from more than 15 degrees, blacks of images will looks grayer, makes the picture displayed on their screen doesn’t look as good as when viewed from the center and front. And the wider angle you watch TV from, the picture displayed on its screen will look worse. On the other hand, although Sony Z9F also uses VA panel, but its side viewing angle coverage is better than most VA TVs. This is due it has X- Wide Angle layer technology. Like on the screen of Q9FN, colors may also look shift started at about 25 degrees, but the superiority of Z9F over Q9FN is its ability in maintain black level and brightness at wider angle. On the screen of Z9F, black level will start to degrade at about 30 degrees while brightness at about 50 degrees. What offered by Sony Z9F is better than most LED TVs with VA panel, but still worse than IPS TV.
Winner: Sony Z9F
Motion Handling and 24p Playback
Both Samsung Q9FN and Sony Z9F can do a great job in handling motion blur. When playing fast moving images like sports or fast movies, there is almost no motion blur noticeable on their screen. Following fast moving object, there is only a short ghosting trail that doesn’t bother the people. But for this case, since the pixel response time of Z9F is lower than Q9FN, a ghosting trail that may be visible also looks shorter on its screen than on the screen of Q9FN. Meanwhile, blur that may be visible on their screen is more caused by persistence than motion trail. Meanwhile, since both of them have Full Array Local Dimming, to dim their backlight, both of them use PWM Dimming System. As default, Sony Z9F uses 720 HZ of dimming frequency while Samsung Q9FN uses 480 Hz. Since the dimming frequency of Z9F is higher, this certainly makes its backlight flicker is less noticeable than Q9FN. But even so, since their frequency dimming is equally high, for most people who don’t sensitive too judder, their backlight flicker should not be noticeable.
As we have mentioned above, since both of them has excellent pixel response time, blur that may visible when they are playing fast moving images is more caused by persistence. And for solving this issue, both of them have an optional BFI (Black Frame Insertion mode) that flicker their backlight at lower frequency. For this case, the lowest possible frequency of flickering of Z9F is 120 Hz while Q9FN is 60 Hz. By activating this mode, when they are playing 60 fps content like video games or sports, blur can be reduced fairly well. But even so, since Q9FN can flicker its backlight at 60 Hz while Z9F is not able due the lowest possible of its dimming frequency is 120 Hz, Q9FN can do better job than Z9F in minimizing blur that caused by 60 fps persistence. But on the other hand, since their backlight flicker at low frequency, this makes flicker is noticeable on its screen that certainly will bother some people. For you who don’t feel comfortable with flicker, you can disable this mode while for you don’t feel comfortable with blur, you can enable this feature.
Except 24p videos via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV, both Samsung Q9FN and Sony Z9F can equally do a good job. This means no matter they are playing native 24p videos like Blu-Ray or DVD’s movies, 24p movies via streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, and others, or 24p movies via 60p signal like movies from streaming devices, all of them will be shown clearly and smoothly with judder-free on their screen. Meanwhile, special for 24p movies via 60 is signal, Z9F can do better job than Q9FN. This means, Z9F can show this movie type with judder-free while Q9FN is not able. But even so, since most people don’t sensitive to judder, this should not be problem for Q9FN.
Winner: Sony Z9F
Both Samsung Q9FN and Sony Z9F are equally equipped with 4 HDMI ports as their major connectivity where all of their HDMI ports already support HDCP 2.2, HDMI 2.0 Full bandwidth, and CEC. They also equally have 1 port that support ARC (Audio Return Channel), that is on HDMI 3 for Z9F and HDMI 4 for Q9FN. Additionally, they are also equally equipped with 3 USB ports. The difference, all of USB ports of Q9FN are USB 2.0 while on Z9F, 1 port is USB 3.0 (USB 1) and the others are USB 2.0. In addition to USB and HDMI ports, both of them are also equipped with 1 RF IN (Antenna In), 1 Digital Audio Out (Optical), and 1 Ethernet port. A bit advantage of Z9F, it also has 1 Composite In (AV In), 1 Analog Audio Out (Mini Jack), and 1 IR in while Z9F doesn’t have these inputs/outputs. The other difference, all inputs/outputs of Z9F are located on the back side of its panel, while for Q9FN, most of their inputs/outputs are located on separated box called “One Connect Box”.
Meanwhile, discussing about their input lag in PC and Game Mode, they actually have similar input lags and no matter the resolution of the source, their input lags is excellent. With about 20 ms, their input lags are certainly fairly low to play any games responsively without laggy, no matter you are playing fast moving or causal games, 4K or 1080p, HDR or non HDR games. Combination of their excellent picture quality, excellent motion handling and risk-free from permanent burn in, this makes them as a great TV for playing games.
Winner: Sony Z9F
As their smart TV platform, Samsung Q9FN is featuring Tizen OS 2018 while Sony Z9F is featuring Google Android. At this time, when I am writing this comparison, both of them are featuring the latest version of their smart TV platform and both of them brought some upgrades and improvements over the previous version that makes their performance is better. On Android Oreo, its home interface has been upgraded and adjusted that makes navigation and find something is easier than previous version. But even so, its navigation still isn’t as easy as Tizen OS. On other hand, Tizen OS also already has intuitive user interface design that has a lot of animations and easy to navigate. Overall, in term of ease to use, both of them are similar. Meanwhile, in term of apps provided, both of them equally provided a lot of attractive and useful preinstalled apps. Both of them equally have VoD premium Service like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, and more, Cloud Games, Web Browser, Live TVs, Screen Mirroring, and more. Additionally, both of them are also equally have an app store that provided thousands of downloadable apps, contents, games, and others. For this case, Android TV has Google Play Store while Tizen OS has Samsung apps store. But even so, since Google Play Store is supported by many more developer, this certainly makes what provided are also more complete and many more than what provided Samsung Apps store. On the other hand, although not as many as what provided by Google Play Store, what provided by Samsung apps store are also very complete and Diverse. Additionally, both of these platforms also have been integrated with Home smart assistant and voice assistant where Google Android TV comes with Google Home and Google Voice Assistant while Tizen OS comes with Smart Things and Samsung’s Bixby Voice assistant. The excellence of Android TV, it also supports third party home assistant like Amazon Alexa while Tizen OS doesn’t support. In term of performance, Samsung has a bit issues on its performance where it frequently froze and its animation also drops intermittently. Its performance is even worse than previous version. On the other hand, with the support of X1 Ultimate, smart TV performance of Z9F is faster and more responsive than previous. Overall, both Sony Z9F and Samsung Q9FN have excellent smart TV platform. But compare between them, Tizen OS of Q9FN is superior in navigation while Android TV of Z9F is superior in apps which provided and performance.
As the controller, Samsung Q9FN comes with Samsung smart controller while Sony Z9F comes with Sony Voice Remote. The remote of Z9F is similar to we found on other model like Q8F, A9F, X900F and other model. Its remote is large and have a lot of buttons. It is also equipped with built-in microphone for voice navigation. In addition to basic buttons, it also has some quick access buttons for Netflix, Google Play Store, and Google Voice Assistant. And since its smart TV has been integrated with Google Voice Assistant, its voice navigation is far better. On other hand, although the remote of Q9FN has the same function to the remote of other model likes Q8FN, Q7FN or even NU8000, but it has more elegant design with a metal finish. Like the remote of Q8FN or others, its remote also only have few buttons, so to make advanced settings, you must navigate through the menu or voice navigation. Fortunately, it has been integrated with Samsung’s Bixby Voice navigation that makes its voice navigation is far better.
Winner: Sony Z9F
|Performance||Sony Z9F||Samsung Q9FN|
As the flagship TV from each of their brand, overall, they equally have excellent picture quality and great performance. The excellence offered by them, they equally have outstanding peak brightness that certainly makes its HDR performance is also great. Nevertheless compare between them, each of them certainly has advantages and disadvantages than each other. Samsung Q9FN is superior in producing black level, color gamut and color volume. In other hand, Sony Z9F is superior in peak brightness, color gradient, side viewing angle coverage, peak brightness and motion handling particularly in handling motion trail. Nevertheless, the shortcoming to the others is not too significant. Special for Q9FN, due it has poor side viewing angle, it is not suitable when used in a wide room with viewers watch TV from multiple angles. On the other hand, for Z9F, although black level produced is still acceptable for a dark room, but use it in a dark room should be avoided. Overall, with great performance on most aspects, this makes both Q9FN and Z9F are as excellent TVs for mixed usage, whether it is for watching movies, TV Shows, Sports or playing games, particularly in HDR format.
Which is a better choice between them? As we have mentioned, with the same screen size, Sony Z9F is sold hundreds dollar more expensive than Q9FN, while the advantages and disadvantages between them we have discussed a lot above. If you often watch TV in a dark room or watch movies with a lot dark scene, Samsung Q9FN is a better choice for you. Otherwise, if you often watch TV with a group of your family where they usually watch TV from multiple angles or if you need brighter TV, Sony Z9F is better. But even so, considering performance and price that offered, in my personal opinion, Q9FN is better. But of course, the decision certainly comes back to you according to your budget and own preference.