What is the Samsung Q800T?
The Q800T is the third from top in the 8K LED LCD QLED TV line up from Samsung for 2020. It has many of the features found on the flagship Q950TS as well as a nicely designed chassis and stand, but it drops the One Connect Box and has everything mounted on the rear of the TV instead.
It is an 8K TV with a resolution of 7680 x 4320 and is powered by Samsung’s Quantum Processor 8K AI which intelligently upscales content to fit the native resolution of the screen, controls motion and also performs the picture processing. The processor uses various databases and Deep Learning algorithms to ensure optimal performance when it comes to scaling content so that objects appear natural. As there is very little in the way of native 8K content at this moment in time, the upscaling performance is very important. The built-in YouTube app can now support 8K playback on the Q800T so you can watch the small number of native 8K videos on the service.
The Q800T boasts a bezel-less design along with a FALD (Full Array Local Dimming) panel with around 224-dimming zones along with an advanced local dimming algorithm. There is also an anti-reflective screen that rejects ambient light falling onto the viewing surface and washing out the image.
The Q800T has one HDMI input with 40Gbps bandwidth and that can playback 4K/120 as well as supporting AMD FreeSync and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), along with ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode). The Q800T also has an input lag of 13ms (with and without HDR), making it a great option for gamers. HDMI 3 supports eARC for uncompressed immersive audio playback.
Object Tracking Sound+ (OTS+) is also a new feature that allows sound to move around the screen in relation to objects in the scene by using eight built-in speakers on four sides of the TV. There is also adaptive sound+ and AI sound effects that can enhance dialogue if required, as well as Q-Symphony when used with a Samsung Q soundbar, where the sound is synchronised with the speakers in the TV to create an expansive sound stage.
The Tizen OS and Smart TV is still one of the very best on the market with an intuitive interface and vast list of available apps, such as Netflix, Prime Video, Now TV, Apple TV+ and Disney+ to name a few. Plus, you have all the terrestrial catch-up applications including the BBC iPlayer. Only YouTube is capable of 8K playback with a small number of native videos. There is also a content discovery service that helps cut down on searching for things to watch with a personalised universal guide.
Also new is the change in colour for the main menu system, which is blue instead of bright white, saving your eyes when in HDR mode.
So is now the time to move to an 8K TV and does the Samsung Q800T offer enough in terms of performance to make that switch worthwhile now, while native content is still scarce? Let’s find out...
Design, Connections and Control
The Samsung Q800T is a very good looking TV with a simple and minimalist design that will fit into any living room with ease. The panel has an almost bezel-less appearance with a thin metal edge and the depth of the unit is surprisingly thin for a FALD model. There are no logos to distract on the front face of the panel and the stand sits neatly in the centre with a solid metal finish.
The stand is all metal and attached to a plastic connector at the centre rear of the panel. This plastic block has cable management grooves to keep things neat and tidy at the rear. The stand is heavy and in turn, it secures the panel in a rigid manner. The rear of the TV is a textured plastic finish with large grooves at key points to assist with cable management from the power socket and the connections panel.
... the depth of the unit is surprisingly thin for a FALD model
Overall the materials and build quality are very good with a modern design that will not offend the vast majority of users.
The connections are placed at the rear right when looking from the front of the TV and in a single sideways recessed area. From the top, we have two USB 2.0 inputs, a digital audio input, four HDMI inputs, a LAN connection and two satellite and one terrestrial antenna. HDMI 3 accepts eARC and HDMI 4 is a 40Gbps HDMI 2.1 input with 4K/120 (8K/60) which also supports AMD FreeSync and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate), along with ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode).
There are two supplied remote controls with the Q800T and these are an old fashioned black plastic affair with lots of direct access keys for features along with three hotkeys for Netflix, Rakuten and Prime Video. The second remote control also has those three hotkeys at the bottom of a small metallic body with minimal keys and a directional pad and enter key. Both are easy to use and intuitive with the black design easier to use for settings and calibration and the small metal controller best suited to everyday use.
Out of the Box
As we do with all review TVs, we measured the best out of the box image presets to find those that get close to the industry standards for TV and film production and mastering. The idea is that at least one picture preset should be able to get close to these standards so you can view content as it was intended to be seen.
Samsung will be adding Filmmaker Mode in the near future, but this wasn’t available on the Q800T at the time of our testing. We used Movie and deselected the noise reduction and other manipulation features, with gamma at BT.1886 and Picture Clarity switched off.
Looking at the greyscale we can see a dip in blue energy which results in a yellow tint to onscreen images and whites. This is not quite as accurate as we would like to see on this level of TV out of the box and is too warm. Other white balance settings are the opposite with extremely blue images and results, so out of the box these Movie preset results are the best we can obtain before calibration. Gamma is tracking a little high at around 2.5 for most brightness levels, and this is a result of the local dimming. Overall, we can see the yellow tint in actual viewing material and this is also corroborated by the DeltaE errors being well over the visible threshold of three.
The Rec.709 HD colour gamut results are also a little off because of the greyscale tracking towards yellow. The result is a slight push of most points towards yellow resulting in some hue errors in green and magenta, along with red being a tad oversaturated. We should be able to correct all these points with a greyscale calibration and slight adjustments in the Colour Management System (CMS). However, it would have been more pleasing if the Movie setting had been more accurate to the standards out of the box.
The Samsung Q800T has a number of calibration controls available within the menu system to make sure we get the best possible greyscale tracking and colour gamut results.
Looking at the greyscale, we managed to obtain reference results with our DeltaE errors well under one and averaging at 0.5, so well below the visible threshold and the yellow tint is nowhere to be seen now. Gamma has also flattened out to the BT.1886 standard and overall we are very pleased with the results obtained.
The Rec.709 colour gamut results are also excellent with the greyscale corrected and a few small tweaks added to the red oversaturation out of the box, so we now have DeltaE errors averaging at 0.9 which again, is well under the visible threshold, with no errors seen with viewing content.
It’s a shame the Q800T wasn’t a little more accurate out of the box, but the calibrated results are at reference levels, so images look incredibly accurate.
As we have a QLED VA FALD panel in the Samsung Q800T we should see a peak brightness that is well over 1000 nits, but due to the local dimming algorithm, we are also likely to see lower brightness at the smaller window sizes, as the set tries to mitigate blooming. As such, we should see a performance chart that looks more like an OLED than a typical LED LCD. Colour volume should also benefit from the use of a QLED panel with good wide colour coverage and volume/saturation. As we always do within our reviews, we measured a series of window sizes in the order of the smallest to a full 100% white. We used the Movie picture preset in HDR for our measurements as this is the closest to D65 white out of the box.
The Q800T manages a peak brightness of 1262 nits on an industry-standard 10% window, which is good for this level of TV. However, the eagle-eyed amongst you will see that instead of holding this peak for long, brightness actually falls off as the white image area expands to 50% and finally up to 100% where peak brightness falls to 400 nits. It is unusual for an LED LCD to drop down as far from its peak to a full-frame of 400 nits, and this is lower than the recently tested Q80T. In the case of the smaller window sizes, we understand this to be the result of the local dimming algorithm anti-blooming kicking in, but it is surprising that at over 50% white the brightness drops as it does and this will be down to the algorithm and anti-blooming. Using an ABL test pattern it was possible to see vignetting at the edges and into the space of our square as it gets larger towards 100% coverage and brightness never hits a peak in a large area of white.
As with all Samsung TVs, you need to adjust the contrast setting in HDR mode to 45 for the PQ EOTF ST.2084 tracking to be accurate as, out of the box, Samsung pushes this brighter. Once set, the 1000 nit tracking and tone mapping were very good with a hard clip well over 1000 nits. However, there is a darkening at the lowest (darkest) part of the tracking where blacks are crushed and this is visible with HDR10 content.
With 4000 nits mastered content, there is a gentle roll-off from around 400 nits to the peak at over 1200 nits, which means that details in the highlights should be preserved. We found this to be effective but the same black crush found in 1000 nits mastered content was also present here. This means that blacks look deep and solid, but there is no shadow detail visible just above black.
Looking at the DCI-P3 saturation tracking, we can see that the Q800T doesn’t quite reach the full 100% coverage of the colour gamut, even though the colour volume is very good. Most of the tracking spots from 75% and below (the areas that count when making up an image) are good with just a slight oversaturation of red and a blue hue error standing out. With actual viewing material in HDR10, you are not going to notice these errors, and they don’t manifest themselves in obvious visible errors onscreen.
BT.2020 coverage measured in at 65% XY and 72% UV with P3 coming in at 89% XY and 95% UV.
The Samsung 65Q800T is a full 8K VA FALD TV with approximately 244 separate local dimming zones which employs an advanced local dimming algorithm. It features the anti-reflective screen surface that rejects ambient light, which is perfect for use in normal living rooms where there are bright lights sources, such as windows.
Black levels are good on the Q800T when watching SDR and HDR content, thanks to the aggressive local dimming algorithm employed. With SDR content there is a nice degree of deep blacks mixed with some nice shadow detail retrieval that gives the image depth and texture. The local dimming is effective with only the odd instance of being caught out by content and over dimming the image. Even with incredibly challenging scenes, such as Sandra Bullock spinning in front of the stars in Gravity, are handled well, with only the odd fluctuation standing out against a more uniform performance seen on Samsungs of the past.
... while the Q800T can produce up to 1200 nits of peak brightness in short bursts, it is held back by the local dimming and anti-blooming
Moving to HDR, we see a few more issues with the dimming as blacks are more crushed thanks to the PQ EOTF tracking and tone mapping, mixed with the aggressive nature of the local dimming. The result is a dynamic looking image at the cost of shadow details, which can be distracting with some HDR films, like the opening of John Wick: Chapter Three that takes place in a dark rain-soaked New York. As John takes refuge down a dark alleyway to assess his options, walls take on a deep block of black, with fine details crushed away. Even adjusting the level of the local dimming controls can’t stop this almost s-curved gamma approach of the PQ EOTF and local dimming algorithm. This is also played out in the extremely bright highlights where the Q800T dims down the brightness to combat blooming artefacts. While in the majority of scenes it is subtle, but noticeable, in dark scenes with bright objects, it can look quite odd. For example, using the same dark and rainy opening of John Wick, a Rolls Royce pulls up outside the Continental, with street lights on the building opposite, as well as the headlights of the car looking much dimmer than they should be. Edges to these lights also display a slight vignetting where the dimming is attempting to suppress blooming. So, while the Q800T can produce up to 1200 nits of peak brightness in short bursts, it is held back by the local dimming and anti-blooming approach being employed by the video processing and dimming algorithm.
... don’t buy an 8K TV if you still watch loads of SD channels
Panel uniformity was another area of concern for us with the Q800T as there are a few issues that impact image quality. Our main concern was Dirty Screen Effect (DSE) and banding that is clearly visible when viewing an image made up of the same colour with a camera panning. This is most obvious with football content with a green pitch and the camera moving around the playing surface. It is also visible within scenes with bright whites or blue skies and movement in the image, which highlights the banding and DSE. This was less obvious with film content viewing, but if you are someone who is sensitive to DSE this TV is probably not for you, as it is present and noticeable. Viewing angles hold up reasonably well, but from around 40 degrees you will start to notice gamma and colour shift, so watching as close to directly in front as possible is advised. The anti-reflective coating on the screen does work well at rejecting ambient light hitting the screen. However, careful positioning is still required as any lights to the side of the screen will cause a rainbow-like strip to appear across the width of the screen.
The Samsung Q800T is a very good upscaler of content with 1080i/p and 4K content looking excellent when scaled to the native 7680 x 4320 resolution of the panel. We didn’t notice any issues with ringing to straight lines and sharpness was decent - without any backdoor noise reduction or edge enhancement being applied. When it comes to 576i sources things were a little different depending on the source. DVD looked a little soft yet the Q800T managed to produce a watchable image considering it was interpolating 99% of the extra pixel resolution needed for display on an 8K panel. SD channels, on the other hand, looked terrible as the source material is already extremely poor, so don’t buy an 8K TV if you still watch loads of SD channels.
The Samsung Q800T is a very good upscaler of content with 1080i/p and 4K content looking excellent when scaled to the native 7680 x 4320 resolution of the panel.
The motion was also very good on the Q800T with 24fps content played back with the correct 5:5 pulldown when Picture Clarity was switched off and film content looked excellent with no induced judder. With 50Hz broadcast viewing from a Sky Q box we did note some frame dropping going on with Picture Clarity switched on, switching this off resolved the issue. There is also an option for Black Frame Insertion (BFI) with LED Clear View switched on, but this does affect overall picture brightness and is only really suited to SDR content viewing and not HDR. You can also use Picture Clarity to add your own preferences for Judder and Blur settings or set it to automatic for use with video content and fast sports like football, but be aware that doing so adds in Soap Opera Effect (SOE) and artefacts.
Once the Movie preset is calibrated, the performance with SDR content is very good indeed. There is a nice balance to the image with strong, deep, yet accurate colours and excellent skin tones. Blacks are solid without any obvious crush and there is visible shadow detailing adding a nice depth to the image. Plus, the black bars on scope films are deep black with no visible light bleed distracting your viewing in normal bright living room surroundings as well as darkroom viewing. The downside to this is the obvious DSE that is visible with some content such as sports, or with bright colours and camera movement, which can also occasionally show up the FALD structure behind the panel. Some viewers may never notice this, but, for anyone who has issues with DSE, this is not the TV for you.
Overall, the Q800T produces a very accurate image with SDR content and with HDR it can produce very dynamic looking images with decent colour performance
Moving to HDR content and, broadly, the image quality is very good and it certainly has a degree of pop to proceedings. However, this is generally down to the local dimming algorithm and how aggressive it can be crushing blacks and also suppressing bloom. With some darker content, this is noticeable and can be distracting with well-known films you have viewed a number of times and now notice that detail and image brightness is not as it should be. The Q800T does feel a little dim when compared to the Q80T I had in for review at the same time and this comes down to the pixel density of the 8K panel and the backlight not quite being strong enough to produce the same brightness as a 4K panel. Plus, adding to this is the local dimming crushing blacks but also dimming peak highlights to prevent blooming. Obviously, in isolation and using the TV in Standard or Vivid modes, the majority of viewers who don’t care for image accuracy will never notice these issues. However, for AV Enthusiasts it needs to be pointed out so you can make an informed decision as to which TVs to consider.
- Excellent design
- Very good calibrated SDR picture quality
- Good HDR performance
- 1260 nits peak brightness for HDR
- Very good video processing and upscaling
- 1 x HDMI 2.1 (40Gbps) input for gaming
- Input lag of 13ms
- 8K YouTube playback natively
- Tizen Smart TV
- Needs to be more accurate out of the box
- Dirty Screen Effect and banding with football content or similar
- Crushed Blacks in HDR
- Anti-blooming in HDR darkens peak highlights
- No Dolby Vision or Atmos
Samsung Q800T (QE65Q800T) 8K QLED TV Review
Overall, the Q800T produces a very accurate image with SDR content and with HDR it can produce very dynamic looking images with decent colour performance, but you may notice some of the shortcomings with DSE, blooming suppression and crushed blacks. In a normal living room with decent lighting, many of these issues will be less noticeable, but there are more cost-effective models in Samsung’s range that can offer that kind of performance for much less than the Q800T.
And what about 8K? Well, the only source that is open to owners of 8K screens at the moment are platforms like YouTube which has a few native 8K productions available to view.
The Q800T can certainly play these back and they do look very good indeed. There is plenty of detail on view with excellent depth to the image and very good colour reproduction although the motion was an issue, more due to file size than the Q800T.
The thing I found with spending time with this 8K TV, is that from my normal viewing position of 8ft from a 65-inch screen, I couldn’t really tell the difference between 4K and 8K with every day HD and 4K content in terms of resolution alone. I have no doubt 8K has a future and we will eventually see more use cases and screens available to buy, but in picture quality terms, resolution alone is not a major plus point in my testing and normal viewing.
While I have concentrated on many of the concerns we have with the Q800T, it is still a very good 8K LED LCD with many of the high-end features you would expect from a QLED TV at this level of the market. In most surroundings, the performance will be excellent for everyday TV and film viewing, plus gaming is also very good with an HDMI 2.1 port and 13ms gaming lag. Once calibrated, the SDR performance is accurate and provides a very good cinematic experience, even in darkrooms. HDR is also good with an image mass market viewers will immediately find appealing due to its pop and dynamics.
Whether you need an 8K TV right now is an interesting debate, but the Samsung Q800T is a large screen 8K model that is now available at a more reasonable price point than those being asked at the time of the launch of the Samsung line-up. But it is still very expensive when compared to many high quality 4K models on the market and it will be up to the consumer to determine if it is worth the cost.
If you must have an 8K TV right now, then we can recommend you check out the Samsung Q800T as it is one of the more reasonably priced models with a very good performance overall.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
SDR Picture Quality
HDR Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
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