Samsung Q70R (QE55Q70R) QLED Review

Mid-range mega star?

by Phil Hinton
SRP: £999.00

What is the Samsung Q70R?

The Samsung Q70R is a new mid-range LCD TV from Samsung which falls under their QLED umbrella. As such, you should be aware that this is an LCD TV which uses quantum dots as part of its structure to create wider colours and is not a new TV technology like OLED is. Depending on your viewpoint the use of the QLED name is an ingenious marketing idea if your aim is to disrupt the OLED sales channel and attract consumers to look at your TV. It has also been seen as disingenuous and somewhat questionable by some AV enthusiasts but the aim of our reviews, as always, is to ignore the manufacturer name on the product and fully test with our objective testing regime.

The Q70R is very similar to the recently reviewed Sony XG95 LCD TV and we will be doing some comparison tests within the review as we had both TVs here at the same time. The Sony is a retail sample from a retailer and the Samsung is a finished retail product provided by Samsung.

Samsung Q70R Video Review

Watch our full in-depth review

Design, Connections & Control

Samsung QE55Q70R
The Q70R has a minimal appearance that is modern and attractive. The strip around the panel is made of black brushed metal with all other surfaces, including the rear of the panel, being hard plastic.

The bezel is very thin around the edge of the screen with a slight chamfer to the edge of the panel. Here, there is a 5mm black gap between the image and panel edge. To the bottom of the panel is a rectangular Samsung logo which is centrally positioned.

The TV sits on two plastic and metal stands that slot into the bottom of the chassis without any screws, instead, they are held in place with magnets and the weight of the TV on top.

The feet are at each end of the panel so you will need a wide TV mounting surface - at least 40 inches was required for the 55-inch model we are reviewing here. While there are no screws used, everything is sturdy and safe.

The minimal design language continues around the back of the Q70R with a designed 360 degree look that is the same as the higher end QLED models, though this time it is a plastic backing that is striped in black. Connections are positioned around the right rear of the panel looking from the front.

Unlike the higher end QLED TVs for 2019, the Q70R doesn’t have the one connect box. This is obviously a cost-cutting measure and a shame as we really like the one connect approach with just one cable to the TV for power and sources.

From the top down we have two USB slots, an optical digital audio output and four HDMI inputs, followed by a LAN port and two satellite and one terrestrial antenna.

The four HDMI inputs are all 18Gbps full bandwidth 4K 4:4:4 60p compliant with support for HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG High Dynamic Range signals. The Q70R does not support Dolby Vision dynamic metadata HDR.

The HDMI inputs also support ARC on HDMI 4 along with 4K at up to 120Hz, variable refresh rate (VRR), and auto low latency mode (ALLM). At the moment, there is no eARC support but we do believe Samsung will be adding that to 2019 QLED models at some point this year.
Samsung QE55Q70R
The Samsung Q70R comes with two remote controls and both are made from black plastic. The first is a traditional style remote with plenty of direct access keys and it’s a dust magnet due to its plastic finish. You have everything here you would need to control the Q70R including a direct key for the settings, which is better than the smaller remote where you have to access the settings via the home screen which requires a number of button presses to get there.

The larger remote is a bit cramped and busy but all the main keys are in the centre within thumb reach and it will suit those users who like big buttons and easy to see lettering in a logical layout.

The smaller, one controller is a black and plastic version of the metal unit found with the premium QLED screens like the Q90R. It has exactly the same button layout and is simple to use. There is a directional and enter key to the top, with the home, back and play/pause to the bottom of these. You then have two rockers for volume and channel selection, with mute activated by pressing down on the volume rocker. We then have direct access keys for Netflix, Prime Video and Rakuten services. The top of the remote has the mic and activation button, power, gallery and numerical key selector.

Both remotes are useful and logically laid out with an intuitive design on both versions. They also fit with the price point and quality of the Q70R.

Measurements

We used the Movie picture mode as, out of the box, it is the most accurate to the industry standards.
Samsung QE55Q70R
Samsung QE55Q70R

The greyscale results (top left) were a little high in green, which pushed our DeltaE errors above the human threshold of three, and we could see a cyan/green tint to images when actually viewing content in the movie mode. Gamma is good and the darker rise at 10% stimulation is caused by the local dimming not being quick enough to match our meter taking the measurement, so we are not concerned about black crush, and none was visible in ramp patterns.

This is not a perfect result out of the box and we would like to see a more accurate performance from Samsung. However, for the vast majority of viewers, this is still the most accurate image quality out of the box compared to Standard and other modes.

Looking at the colour gamut for Rec.709 coverage (top right) we can see that the green push in the greyscale is visible here and pulls the gamut coverage towards green. Otherwise, the saturation tracking is very accurate and by fixing the white point and greyscale we expect it to drop back to being almost perfect.
Samsung QE55Q70R
Samsung QE55Q70R

We used the calibration controls available in the menu system to correct the greyscale and white point. As you can see, the calibrated results were reference level as DeltaE errors were all under 1 – so well below the visible threshold and no tint was seen in actual viewing material. As mentioned, the 10% stimulus error in the gamma is due to the local dimming not keeping up with our meter measuring, so we are not concerned about this.

By correcting the white balance and greyscale we also see the rec.709 colour gamut moving back to where it should be. Apart from slight tracking errors in the red saturation at 75%, most of the other points are very close and within visible error points, so not seen on screen with actual viewing material.

So, overall, with SDR HD material we have reference level results with the greyscale and colour gamut. DeltaE errors for the greyscale were 0.53 and we had an average of 1.26 for the colour gamut, which is also under the visible threshold of 3, so again, very good results for SDR content.
Samsung QE55Q70R
Moving to HDR and we noticed that the Q70R tone maps the same for 1000 and 4000nit content and it also has a slight brightness bump above the yellow standard line before rolling off at 800nits, trying to preserve highlight details without excessive clipping.

The 2019 QLEDs have dynamic tone mapping, which is applied all the time to static metadata signals and can’t be switched off. This does adjust the amount of mapping being added on a scene-by-scene basis as the TV reads data and adjusts for brightness and highlights. We were able to get the graph results much better with a drop of the contrast control by 4 clicks, however, this is again not quite representative as the dynamic tone mapping can’t be measured to check it is following the standard in real time.
Samsung QE55Q70R
Wide colour gamut coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut is good with most saturation points being close to where they should be. The Q70R doesn’t quite hit the full gamut coverage but there are no major errors and luminance is good. We measured P3 coverage as 92% XY and 96% UV which is decent for a TV at this price range. BT2020 coverage was 67& XY and 74% UV.

Peak brightness was just shy of 700nits and in the real-time window size test it peaked at 614nits on a 10% window as the test patterns stepped forward. We also noted blooming suppression was used as 1% was 349nits and 5% 493nits in the smaller windows showing that the Q70R was trying to stop overly bright blooming from occurring. This was noticeable in some content where bright highlights retained detail but were dimmer as a result, compared to a similar TV like the Sony XG95. Full frame brightness was 411nits, which is still nice and bright when compared to similarly priced OLED screens.

Performance

We did quite a bit of comparison testing with the Q70R up against the Sony XG95, which is very close on features and price point, as well as some testing against a Philips OLED+903 OLED.

First of all, upscaling performance from the Q70R was excellent with nice sharp images that didn’t have fizzing or ringing around straight edges and no signs of jaggies with interlaced images. Motion was also very good with low frame rate 24fps material and TV broadcasts, with the ticker tape on news broadcasts remaining smooth. Adding in Motion Plus and you will introduce artefacts and soap opera effect smoothness to images, so this is best left off for film content.

The backlight only has around 50 zones of dimming on the 55-inch set we are testing, which is the same as the Sony XG95, yet the Samsung managed to keep the black bars of the HDR movies we viewed black, and not light them up as the Sony does. We also thought that colours for SDR content on the Samsung were very good and close to that of the Sony. When we moved to HDR, the Samsung was certainly a little more saturated than the Sony and often looked a little oversaturated, with some reddish skin tones looking a tad too tanned.

We did notice the backlight dimming a little more on the Samsung with some delays in brightness changes on screen making the dimming stand out slightly. It was also obvious that the dimming is a little aggressive and can start to crush some areas of shadow detail on screen. This was noticeable on the tumbling Sandra Bullock scene in Gravity and, when compared to the Sony which held more detail on screen, the Samsung crushed a little too much. We also noticed this with subtitles within a dark scene so, where we didn’t get issues with over the top blooming thanks to the dimming suppression, it can be seen that shadows are being crushed to compensate. So, no blooming with subtitles, but we do get some black crush as a consequence of this. Once again, it’s up to the end user to choose their poison.

Unless side-by-side with another display, you are not aware of the slight black crush, and the aggressive dimming is far less noticeable on the Samsung than the Sony's tendency to light up the black bars. Without subtitles on screen and watching the same scenes, the blacks are deep and rich on the Samsung Q70R with a nice dynamic range visible, but you can also see that peak highlights are slightly suppressed against the same details on the Sony. In HDR, there is still a nice sense of image depth and dynamic range on the Samsung, but it is clearly not as dynamic as the Sony and the 700nits peak brightness is more noticeable against the 1100nits of the Sony. However, the Q70R is more consistent and balanced with nice intra-scene contrast and no black bar issues, which remain deep black as they should. Each certainly has its pros and cons here.

While it might only reach 700nits peak brightness, we did find the Samsung image to be balanced and nuanced in a dark room, with good shadow details and image depth. It is on par with most OLEDs with its peak highlights, but not quite as precise with the black levels and per pixel dynamics. However, while we did spot the local dimming now and again, the Q70R is impressive with its HDR images looking natural and not restricted with any ABL issues and APL is consistent. We also thought that the Q70R did, on occasion, look a little too bright in some scenes with clipping of details we would have otherwise expected to see and skin tones were sometimes a little plasticine in looks, with details missing in the brightness.

There is no Dolby Vision support and that may be an issue for a TV set in 2019, but it does support HDR10+ dynamic metadata and this is an impressive HDR experience compared to the static HDR10 approach. Watching Bohemian Rhapsody, which is HDR10+ on 4K Blu-ray, we found the approach to be far more nuanced and not as overly bright with some skin tones. Everything was more balanced with no obvious signs of the local dimming getting in the way, instead, we got the best possible image the Q70R is capable of, something dynamic metadata is designed to do.

Overall, with a good mix of material, the Samsung Q70R provides a decent image in both SDR and HDR with HDR10+ looking the best for image consistency, detail, blacks and dynamic range. It’s a shame there is no Dolby Vision support as that would probably seal the deal given the capabilities of this panel and the dynamic metadata approach.

Verdict

8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

PROS

  • Excellent SDR accuracy
  • Consistent HDR picture quality
  • Superb gaming features
  • Excellent smart TV and OS system
  • Input lag of 13.7ms
  • Strong all round performance at the price point

CONS

  • No Dolby Vision compatibility
  • Slightly aggressive dimming / some black crush
  • SDR accuracy out of the box could be better
  • PQ EOTF tracking in Movie mode needs to be more accurate
  • Only 700nits peak brightness

Samsung Q70R (QE55Q70R) QLED Review

There is no such thing as the perfect TV and each technology and model offers different pros and cons, which may or may not suit what you are looking for. At this level of the market, there are some big differences to the flagship models with some features carried over and others either missing or pared down to the price point.

The Q70R is a full array local dimming set with a VA panel and the Quantum Processor 4K chip. It has around 50 separate dimming zones and advanced dimming algorithms to produce deep blacks and decent peak brightness levels. The dimming is unseen for the most part, but it is not as advanced as the Q90R nor does it have as many zones, so it is possible to see brightness changes as the dimming is not quite as fast. However, even though it only has 50 dimming zones, the same as the Sony XG95 we tested it with, it does have solid black bars with HDR scope films and few instances of blooming, but it also isn’t nearly as bright as the Sony.

The Q70R has good blooming suppression with little in evidence, even in tricky dark scenes with subtitles, but it does this by dimming peak brightness points in the image and thus slightly reducing the dynamic range and crushing some blacks. As we said at the start, there is no such thing as the perfect TV and compromises are made in all consumer sets.

Out of the box accuracy is decent but could be better, however, the calibrated the results are close to reference level and this can be enjoyed, especially with SDR content. Motion is also very good and on a par with the best out there in 2019 so far, and certainly, the Q70R stood up to the Sony XG95 in comparison testing. Plus, the upscaling with the Quantum 4K Processor is also very good with little in the way of ringing around straight edges and no signs of any back door noise reduction.

The smart TV and operating system is one of the best on the market and is super fast and never once crashed or slowed down due to the load put on it. You can instantly swap between apps and, of course, you now have Apple TV apps and AirPlay 2 available for 2019.

Gaming is also a highlight here. Boasting an excellent input lag of 13.7ms and the new gamma shift tool, along with most of the HDMI 2.1 features of VRR, ALLM and auto game switching, even though the Q70R is an HDMI 2.0b TV, it is certainly a set gamers should really pay attention to.

The Q70R has its strengths and weaknesses when compared with its peers, like the Sony XG95, and whether the Q70R suits you will certainly come down to what it is you want from your TV.

With HDR images, the Q70R gives a solid and consistent performance with decent colours and strong blacks. It is not as bright as the Sony for peak highlights, but it has a more consistent image that suits the strengths of the Q70R with static metadata. With HDR10+ dynamic metadata signals, we really do get the best HDR image that meets with the capabilities of the Q70R, producing a dynamic image with less crush and more highlight details being visible. It's a shame there is no Dolby Vision to also take advantage of this.

The local dimming is strong with no signs of the black bar issues we saw with the Sony and only the odd instance of black crush visible now and again in the shadows. It has decent blooming suppression, which does dim the brightest peaks in the image to achieve this, but we saw no obviously blooming in the majority of content we watched.

With SDR content, the Q70R is very good indeed with near reference level calibration results, decent black levels and shadow details. We see less of the dimming suppression at work, so images remain bright and consistent throughout with excellent colours and skin tones.

Even though there are some issues with the local dimming being a tad aggressive now and again with HDR images, and a lack of overall peak brightness in HDR, the Q70R is a great all round TV. It has a very good SDR performance with great colours and black levels, superb smart TV capabilities and is an excellent option for gamers at a reasonable price point. As such we feel it’s a solid 8/10 when taking all the pros and cons into consideration and it deserves a recommendation on those points.

Recommended

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

.
.
8

Screen Uniformity

.
.
8

Colour Accuracy

.
.
8

Greyscale Accuracy

.
9

Video Processing

.
.
8

Picture Quality

.
.
8

SDR Picture Quality

.
.
8

HDR Picture Quality

.
.
8

Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box

.
.
.
7

Picture Quality Calibrated

.
.
8

Sound Quality

.
.
.
7

Smart Features

.
9

Build Quality

.
.
.
7

Ease Of Use

.
.
8

Value for Money

.
.
.
7

Verdict

.
.
8
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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