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Think of this Samsung Q7 series review as a peek into the contents of a time capsule. In this case, the time capsule is an 85-inch QLED TV from one of Samsung’s 2021 releases.
The Samsung Q70A is a mid-range product line that tries to balance performance and pocket-friendly pricing. We look into the features and image quality of the 85-inch Samsung Q70A to see if this TV is worth a second look.
Samsung Q7 series review: Design and build
At only one inch at its thickest point, the Samsung Q70A has the perfect side profile for a wall-mount install. The panel’s ultra-thin chassis allows it to hug your wall like a picture frame. This paper-thin TV looks all the more impressive in larger sizes. In ambient mode, the 85-inch Q7 looks like a large piece of expensive, electronic artwork.
The TV feet of the Q7 panel combine to form a pedestal stand that supports the TV from the middle. This design choice allows for some flexibility in the length of furniture that you can use as an entertainment stand. It’s worth mentioning that the TV feet are less stable than alternatives like a wall mount setup or a swivel stand. Both alternatives require brackets that match the 600mmx400mm VESA pattern at the back of the TV.
Lastly, you get easy access to a column of side-facing ports that sit on the right end of the TV.
Ports and wireless connectivity
Many TV manufacturers are phasing out legacy ports that connect to older devices like DVD players. This means that buyers with legacy media players have to hunt for adapters that connect to HDMI or USB ports.
With the Samsung Q70 series, you have your pick of the following ‘modern’ ports:
- Two USB 2.0 ports
- Four HDMI ports
- A digital optical output
- RF connector for antenna, satellite, or cable
- FE 10/100 Ethernet port
Note that the first three HDMI ports support content with a maximum frame rate of 60fps. HDMI3 has eARC capability that allows for audio passthrough; where the TV routes sound from a connected media player to a connected audio device. The fourth HDMI port supports 4K/120 content like fast-action game titles, sporting events, and movies.
The Ethernet port has a maximum speed of 100Mbps, which can be limiting if you have a Gigabit internet connection. A wireless adapter provides WiFi and Bluetooth connections.
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Smart TV interface: Tizen
Tizen is Samsung’s proprietary OS that runs on many of the manufacturer’s products. The version of Tizen that runs on the Q70A guarantees a user experience that sticks with you. For starters, you need to log into a Samsung account to start the setup process. There is no easy option that lets you use the Q70 as a dumb TV.
Completing the setup procedure brings you to a home screen with a menu ribbon at the bottom. Here is what you get from the Tizen platform:
A decent selection of apps
Proprietary platforms like Tizen, Fire TV, and WebOS offer fewer apps compared to third-party platforms like Roku and Google TV. Still, Tizen has most of your favorite streaming apps; either pre-installed or in the app store.
Screen mirroring and a multi-view screen
Screen sharing on the Samsung Q70A is pretty easy, thanks to Tizen’s support for features like:
- Apple airplay allows you to mirror the screen of an Apple device
- The SmartThings app lets you cast the screen of an Android device
- Miracast/WiDi supports screen mirroring with a range of mobile devices and PCs
- The EasyConnection app on Windows 10 let you stream content from your PC to the Q70A
Lastly, Tizen has a split-screen function that lets you display content from multiple sources at the same time.
It would be nice if the Q70 had an easy way to activate picture-in-picture mode. This neat little feature would let you keep a live feed from your security cameras in a small corner of the screen. Still, split-screen functionality has its uses and it’s better than nothing.
Expansive picture settings
You may have to do lots of scrolling to reach the settings menu, but the effort is worth it. The settings function allows you to make all kinds of adjustments to the brightness, contrast, and color settings of the 85-inch Q70A.
Intrusive ads and a clunky layout
Most smart TV interfaces have sponsored content and ads that are hard to avoid. With the Tizen interface, the intrusions make the UI harder to use.
Sponsored content pushes the apps that you want to use further down the SmartHub menu ribbon. This means that you have to do a lot of scrolling to reach the content you want to see.
You may also experience random glitches with the Tizen interface, so you should remain ready to run a firmware update.
Samsung Q7 series review: Hardware and performance
The Samsung Q70A display is a VA-type QLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate and 4K resolution. This edge-lit panel gets very bright, and the TV will easily reach a sustained peak brightness level of 560 nits. Even better, panels from the 2021 Samsung Q7 series have excellent contrast. The displays have a native contrast ratio that ranges from 6000:1 to 7000:1.
Your average QLED panel will have a color gamut that’s wide enough to support quality HDR content. With the Q70A, you get a color palette that covers more than 90 percent of the DCI P3 color space. DCI P3 is a standard that filmmakers use as a point of reference, so you should expect excellent color reproduction of your favorite cinematic works. Here’s how the Q70A performs, from a viewer’s point of view.
The Samsung 85Q70A renders colors that are near-perfect matches to the source material. This TV also does a great job of capturing the action of light on different kinds of surfaces. It bears mentioning that the 85-inch TV has fewer pixels per inch than smaller Q70 models, which translates to slightly less color saturation.
Contrast and HDR content
Edge backlights and a consequent lack of local dimming limit what the Q70A can do in terms of precision contrast. This limitation doesn’t stop the Q7A panel from delivering a high contrast ratio that boosts the look of HDR content.
Still, the lack of precision dimming means that fine detail is hard to spot in dark sections of an image. In contrast, bright scenes have an amazing level of detail.
You’ll have to make do with narrow viewing angles that force you to make clever seating arrangements for large audiences. At an angle of 30 degrees from the center, colors start to shift and the TV starts to dim.
Edge backlights allow for decent uniformity on black and gray screens. Some buyers may notice light bleedthrough at the edges of their panels, especially with a black screen or dark scenes. Many more people will notice darker edges with a gray screen. The Q7 series also carries the likelihood of a dirty screen effect, which can be distracting as you watch sports.
The Samsung Q70A boasts one of the lowest lag times that you can find on a TV. 120fps content has an input lag of 5ms and 60fps content has a lag of 11ms. These numbers should catch the eye of gamers looking for a powerful gaming display on a budget.
The response time of the Q70A is just as impressive, with pixels that change color in less than 10ms. The result is smooth, blur-free motion for all kinds of content.
A Samsung panel from the 2021 Q7 series automatically switches to low-latency mode when you connect a gaming console.
These displays also come with FreeSync VRR; a feature that allows for seamless interaction between the Q70A and AMD graphics cards. Variable refresh rate (VRR) matches the refresh rate of the TV to the frame rate of the game that’s playing on your console. This feature goes a long way to prevent screen tearing.
- Beautiful, ultra-slim design
- Accurate color reproduction
- The TV is bright enough to deliver quality HDR content
- Impressive native contrast
- Very low input lag and response time
- Ads and sponsored content clutter the Tizen home screen and menus
- The Tizen OS would benefit from fewer glitches and less bloatware
- Middling uniformity, with the possibility of backlight bleed
- Narrow viewing angle
Great picture quality, and a smart TV platform that could use some work
This Samsung Q7 series review reveals a mid-tier QLED TV with plenty to offer. The Samsung Q70A delivers top-tier performance in terms of color reproduction and motion handling. This translates to a display that does a good job with TV shows and movies. Sports fans can make do with the Q7 series, despite a narrow viewing angle and slight dirty-screen artifacts.
Gamers should take a closer look at the Samsung Q70A product line because of its excellent motion handling. Despite having only one HDMI 2.1 port, the 2021 Samsung Q7 TV is still one of the fastest gaming screens around. Click here to learn more about this television.
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