Until today, Samsung has been playing it coy with its 2018 TV line-up: It teased that QLED TVs would make a comeback this year but, back at CES 2018, Samsung only had two new TVs to show off – the 8K-capable Samsung Q9S with AI upscaling and The Wall, a 146-inch modular TV that harnesses the power of MicroLED.
Both TVs, while certainly beautiful in every aspect, are only affordable for the most affluent of TV enthusiasts. So, what can the rest of us plebeians expect from Samsung in 2018?
For the main swath of TV buyers, you can look forward to four new series of QLED (the Q9F, Q8F, Q7C and Q7F) plus the entry-level Q6F QLED that debuted around the holidays in November of last year. Further down the line will be Samsung’s new UHD models that will be prefaced with the new NU- distinction and, at the very end, traditional HD TVs and Samsung's luxury design series from last year.
With so many models to take in, we thought it'd be beneficial for to see the entire line-up, from the high-end QLED to the entry-level TVs, all on one page.
It’s worth noting that a lot of the specs listed below could potentially change as we get closer to the retail release of these screens, but for the most part the specs you see here should be the components that make it in the final product.
Samsung 2018 TV technology
Because Samsung’s 2018 TV catalog is all over the place in terms of performance and price points, it’s hard to find one definitive incremental update that will touch every TV in the line-up – technologies that work for the 146-inch modular TV probably won’t apply to a 49-inch UHD TV and vice-versa.
That said, if there was one unifying technology that should touch all the models in one way or another, it’s the introduction of Bixby – Samsung’s virtual assistant – into every model in the QLED and MU- Series line-ups.
The addition of Bixby will help bring Samsung 2018 TVs closer in line with some of the better video streaming players out there, the Apple TV 4K and Amazon Fire TV, each of which have their own smart assistants on hand to help you track down content and answer any questions you have.
The addition of Bixby will also allow the TVs to be compatible with Samsung’s SmartThings smart home platform. Together, Bixby and SmartThings will allow you to control your home from the comfort of your couch, giving you voice control over everything from smart lights to your Samsung SmartThings-enabled refrigerator. This may not be as beneficial for those folks who aren’t quite ready to buy into smart home tech yet, but it’s a nice addition to those of us who already have.
Of course, the star of the show for Samsung in 2018 is still the QLED TV screen – essentially a variation on traditional Quantum Dot LED-LCD panels that feature a peak brightness between 1,500 and 2,000 nits. For a reference point, that’s about twice as bright as the competition from 2017 and four to five times as bright as the HD/SDR TV you’re used to watching.
For 2018, Samsung says it will be improving the black level performance of its QLED TVs – ideally bringing them down without trading any of its signature brightness. If it can pull this off, you’ll see a much better contrast ratio and better visual fidelity for 4K/HDR content. (Remember, Samsung TVs support two kinds of HDR right now, HDR10 and HDR10+.)
The last new feature Samsung announced is its new Ambient Mode. When the TV is turned off, Ambient Mode will help the TV mimic the color and pattern of the wall on which the TV is displayed, so that it blends seamlessly into home décor. It can also play music and display information about the news, weather, and traffic as well.
Samsung QLED 2018 Models
Samsung Q9S QLED TV (available in 85-inches): Unbelievably, Samsung’s monstrous, 85-inch 8K TV is still considered a QLED TV. It’s the top of the list for numerous reasons – size and resolution being the most obvious two – but also its ability to use artificial intelligence upscale SD content to 8K HDR. We don’t know how much this TV is going to cost yet but, considering how much technology is going into it, it wouldn’t surprise us to see a price tag in the tens of thousands.
Don’t miss our first look at the Samsung Q9S QLED TV
Samsung Q9F QLED TV (available in 65-, 75- and 88-inches): The first reasonably affordable TV in Samsung’s QLED line-up is the Q9F. This year you can expect Ambient Mode and better black levels alongside the screen’s insanely iridescent peak brightness. Also new this year is the switch from an edge-lit design to a Direct Full Array panel which – we assume – will offer that improved contrast ratio Samsung’s touting. We have yet to see the final specs of this screen but, based on last year’s model, we’re expecting it to come in both 65- and 75-inch sizes.
Samsung Q8F QLED TV (available in 55-, 65- and 75-inches): Moving down the line a bit is Samsung’s Q8F QLED TV. Like the Q9F, you’ll see a switch from last year’s edge-lit design to a Direct Full Array panel, Ambient Mode and the addition of Bixby. It’s likely that the Q8F will have a slightly lower peak brightness than the Q9F, but that’s something we won’t know for sure until we get one to test for ourselves.
Samsung Q7C QLED TV (available in 55- and 65-inches): The Q7C is, well, Samsung's Q7 QLED in a divisive curved form factor.
Samsung Q7F QLED TV (available in 55-, 65- and 75-inches): The Samsung Q7F was the golden ticket to last year’s QLED line-up. Offering one of the best price-to-performance ratios in the entire line-up, it was the Q7F that roped droves of AV enthusiasts into buying a QLED TV. The 2018 Q7F will have most of the same features as last year, but will include Ambient Mode and the addition of Bixby. We expect the Q7F to be available in 55-, 65- and 75-inch form factors.
Samsung Q6F QLED TV (available in 49-, 55-, 65-, 75- and 82-inches): Last up in the QLED line-up is the Samsung Q6 QLED TV. It was a special edition that Samsung added around the holidays last year, and now it appears the TV has claimed a permanent spot in the line-up. We know the Q6F is a bit less bright overall than the rest of its Quantum Dot-equipped brethren but if you’re looking for some of the same spectacular colors at a spectacular price, it appears as though the Q6 will be the best place to get it in 2018.
Samsung 2018 Premium UHD Models
Samsung NU8500 (available in 65- and 55-inches): A sequel to last year’s MU8500, the Samsung NU8500 Curved Smart TV is almost identical to the NU8000 but features a curved screen instead of a flat one. The NU8500 uses an edge-lit LED LCD panel and a quad-core processor. Expect both HDR10 and HDR10+ support in addition to Bixby and Samsung’s Smart TV platform. This is Samsung’s premier curved TV that doesn’t have the QLED moniker.
Samsung NU8000 (available in 82-, 65-, 55- and 49-inches): Underneath the NU8500 is the flat Samsung NU8000. Available in a few additional sizes, you’ll find the same edge-lit LED LCD panel and quad-core processor as the NU8500, not to mention HDR10 and HDR10+ format support. If you can accept a plain ol’ flat TV instead of a curved one, you can save yourself about $100 by opting for an equivalently sized NU8000 model.
Samsung 2018 UHD TV Models
Samsung NU7300 (available 55-inches curved or 65-inches flat): Stepping down once more, we now come to the NU7300. This screen features Samsung’s PurColor picture technology, making this one of the last TVs in the series to feature Wide Color Gamut, but scales back its effective refresh rate to 60Hz (what Samsung calls Motion Rate 120).
Samsung NU7100 (available in 75-, 65-, 55-, 50-, 43- and 40-inches): The last entry in the 2018 NU Series is Samsung’s NU7100. Like the 7300, you’ll find PurColor and the edge-lit panel powered by a quad-core processor. What are you losing? Bixby.
Samsung Designer Series
The Frame (available in 43-, 55- and 65-inches): Samsung’s classiest TV from last year seems like it will be carrying over into 2018. Designated The Frame, this stylish screen from Samsung aims to blend form and function for a art deco look. It’s 4K and boasts a traditional smart TV system, so we don’t doubt its performance, but its look will cost you extra compared to a similarly spec’d traditional TV.
The Wall (available in 143-inches only): The Wall is two parts push into the digital signage space, and one part TV large enough for a mansion. Although you’d expect content to look rough on a screen this size, we were very impressed by what we saw at CES – colors look vibrant and rich, and the microLED panel makes sure each pixel self-illuminates, helping the TV match the performance of LG’s coveted OLED TVs. But you can be sure to expect an absolutely insane price tag.
Samsung FHD 2018 Models
Samsung J5000 (available in 43-, 48-, 49- and 50-inches): As far as we know, Samsung will just offer a single series of Full HD TVs in 2018, the Samsung J5000. The series will come in a few different sizes, puzzlingly three of which are between 48- and 50-inches. The FHD screen will have a 60Hz refresh rate and wide color enhancer, but no smart TV system of its own.
That’s it! That’s the entire Samsung TV line-up for 2018. We’ll be grabbing as many hands on experiences as we can with these TVs as we can before they come out later this year, so come back to this page in a few weeks’ time to see how it’s progressed.