The Q9FN and Q8FN differ mainly in the number of local dimming zones (which causes their peak brightness and contrast ratio to be different as well), design (besides the different table top stand that is included, there is a certain distinction in terms of whether they’re compatible with other optional Samsung stands or not), the placement of the inputs and electronics (either inside a separate box or at the back of the TV – which affects the thickness of the TV as well as how accessible the inputs are – especially in case of wall mounting your TV), and audio (there is a difference in the bass response and mid-range tones).
1. Full Array Elite Backlight vs Full Array Backlight
The Q9FN and Q8FN both have full array local dimming backlight, albeit with a different number of local dimming zones. This is the main difference between the Q9FN’s Full Array Elite Backlight and the Q8FN’s Full Array Backlight. For example, the 65-inch class Q9FN model has approximately twice the number of local dimming zones in comparison to the 65-inch Q8FN model. The higher number of local dimming zones on the Q9FN vs Q8FN makes the local dimming performance more effective on the Q9FN, in addition to blooming artifacts being less pronounced than the Q8FN. Considering that the backlight can also be boosted in these zones, small specular highlights are rendered brighter on the Q9FN vs Q8FN. Although this is particularly useful for HDR (High Dynamic Range) content, it also leads to the power consumption on the Q9FN being higher in comparison to the Q8FN. With more complex scenes, the Q9FN and Q8FN are able to improve the black level to a different degree due to the different number of dimming zones but it should be said that the VA (Vertical Alignment) type of panel, which is used on both, provides natively deep black level.
2. Q Contrast EliteMax vs Q Contrast Elite
As a result of having the Full Array Elite backlight, the Q9FN is able to more precisely control the light output in different areas of the screen, thus achieve a higher contrast ratio in comparison to the Q8FN when the picture contains both dark and brights areas. This explains why the Q9FN has the Q Contrast EliteMax whereas the Q8FN has Q Contrast Elite. There is more brightness headroom on the Q9FN vs Q8FN in case you need to make the overall image brighter when watching SDR content in high ambient light environments. The Q8FN, however, can also get sufficiently bright in order to be used in such environments, even with high APL content (i.e. preponderance of bright elements).
3. Q HDR EliteMax vs Q HDR Elite
While the higher peak brightness capability on the Q9FN vs Q8FN has somewhat limited application with SDR content, it should be said that it plays an essential role with HDR content because the ST.2084 PQ (Perceptual Quantizer) EOTF used with HDR content is an absolute transfer function rather than a relative one such as gamma that SDR uses. Considering that the Q9FN can get up to 500cd/m2 brighter than the Q8FN in small specular highlights, the Q9FN has an advantage that is visible with any HDR content except for Dolby Vision which is not supported on either the Q9FN or the Q8FN. That being said, HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) are supported. With HDR10 content that has been mastered to 1,000cd/m2, the Q9FN is able to avoid tone-mapping, meaning the highlights are as bright as the content creators intended. When it comes to 4,000cd/m2 content, the Q9FN has to perform some tone-mapping, albeit less than the Q8FN, meaning more detail can be shown in highlights without having to compress the mid-tones and shadows.
The Q9FN’s table top stand is centrally mounted whereas the Q8FN’s stand is comprised of two separate trapezoid legs that need to be attached near either left/right side. In other words, the Q8FN requires a wider table top surface in comparison to the Q9FN. The color scheme used for the stand and the frame on the Q9FN is Midnight Black vs Carbon Silver on the Q8FN. Apart from the included table top stand, the 65-inch Q9FN model is compatible with Samsung’s Studio and Gravity stands (sold separately) whereas the Q8FN is not.
All the inputs, the power supply and electronics are housed in the One Connect Box that comes with the Q9FN whereas the Q8FN doesn’t include this box so the inputs and electronics are on the back of the TV. Despite the different location of their inputs, each of the Q9FN and Q8FN has 4 HDMI inputs, an Ethernet port, a RS232C (Ex-Link), a Digital Optical Audio Out, an Antenna input. The only difference is that there are 3 USB ports on the One Connect Box whereas the Q8FN has only 2 USB ports on the back. There is a dedicated slot on the One Connect Box (and on the back of the Q9FN respectively) for connecting the single optical cable that carries video signal and power to the Q9FN. Having the inputs located inside a separate box makes connecting new devices to Q9FN easier, depending on where you decide to place the One Connect Box.
6. Wall mounting
The inclusion of inputs and electronics on the back makes the Q8FN slightly thicker than the Q9FN, and prevents it from being mounted flush to the wall like the Q9FN optionally can – but in order to do that with the Q9FN, the No Gap Wall Mount is required (sold separately). Alternatively, you can use a VESA 400×400 compatible wall mount (not included) with the 65-inch class model in either the Q9FN or the Q8FN series.
The speaker configuration is 4.2 channel on the Q9FN vs 4.1 channel on the Q8FN, indicating dual subwoofers on the former vs single on the latter. The total audio power output is 60 Watts on the Q9FN vs 40 Watts on the Q8FN.
Check availability and pricing on Amazon.com for the Q9FN in the 65-inch QN65Q9FN and 75-inch QN75Q9FN class, as well as the Q8FN in the 65-inch QN65Q8FN and 75-inch QN75Q8FN class (affiliate links).