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Samsung UE55ES8000 review

 Review: December 2012  
 

Last updated April 2013

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The ultimate LED TV from Samsung's 2012 series, with a mind-blowing 55 inch screen, but it doesn't come cheap.



 

Design & looks

Sitting in front of Samsung's 55-inch Series 8 LED TV is a pretty exciting experience, even before you switch it on. It's just so mind-blowingly big! You'll need a large room for it, as you're going to have to sit at least 10 feet away, otherwise you'll simply be overwhelmed. Even at this distance you'll feel overwhelmed and totally immersed in the experience.

It's not just the size that impresses. The graceful lines of the arch flow stand make the screen appear to float in the air, and with the super narrow silver bezel around the edge of the TV the images on the screen take on an other-worldly quality, as if you could simply walk into the scene.

The TV is also astonishingly thin, at just 31mm. That makes it pretty much the thinnest TV you can buy in 2012. All of the Series 8 TVs have the same slimness, but here in the 55 inch model, the effect is at its most impressive.

Picture quality

As well as being Samsung's best-looking TV, this also has the best picture quality, at least as far as LED TVs go. Any picture that measures 55 inches corner-to-corner is going to impress, but of course any defects will be magnified too. Fortunately, there's not much to complain about.

Samsung's high-end LED TVs are well known for producing good contrast ratios, with super-bright colours and some nice deep blacks. No edge-lit LED TV ever manages to match plasma screens in this regard, but Samsung's Micro Dimming Pro technology does a pretty good job, with very little evidence of cloudiness, even in darker scenes that often bring out the worst in LED TVs.

However, we do have an issue with the relatively narrow viewing angle of the screen. You won't notice this unless you move about 6 feet or more to the left or right of the centre of the screen, but then the colours begin to go awry and the contrast ratio dips. That's our only complaint.

There's absolutely no problem with fast moving sport and action movies, as the screen is fast to respond, and the 800 Clear Motion Rate eliminates any signs of motion blur.

3D

3D on such a large screen cannot fail to impress, although you might need to sit even further back to avoid crosstalk and general brain-confusion. For the best results, watch 1080p Blu-Ray films, which are rendered in full HD glory by the active shutter glasses. There can occasionally be a little flicker or crosstalk with these glasses, and the sheer size of the 3D images can sometimes be overwhelming.

Less overwhelming is Samsung's generosity in supplying just two pairs of glasses with the TV. For a product costing £2,000, that seems pretty mean to us. Boo to Samsung!

Audio quality

If you're expecting that an expensive TV of this size will deliver an overpowering audio experience to accompany the awesome images on the screen, think again. A TV that's just 3cm slim simply doesn't have anywhere to put decent-sized speakers.

The Series 8 TVs are better than average, but they struggle to reproduce bass with any real depth. You can play with the 3D surround effect and the DNSe settings to get the most out of the system, but for real immersive audio you'll be well advised to buy a separate 5.1 home cinema kit to complete the package.

Smart TV

Smart TV brings you access to features like youtube, facebook, twitter, web browsing and apps.

A front-facing camera mounted on the top of the TV enables features such as face recognition and motion control. There's also a voice control system. You might find these features to be fantastically useful, but we're quite happy with an ordinary remote control (yes, we're luddites).

More usefully, the TV includes a Smart Evolution slot in the back where you can plug in a Smart Evolution kit to upgrade your TV. The idea is to future-proof it, at least in terms of smart technology.

Connectivity

As you'd expect from a flagship product, no savings have been made when it comes to connectivity. This TV will connect to anything (except perhaps your washing machine.) You can connect it to the internet either with an ethernet cable or with the built-in Wi-Fi. You can also stream movies, photos and other content from DLNA-compatible devices such as a PC or smartphone.

In addition, the TV has multiple connections for all kinds of audiovisual equipment, including 3 HDMI ports and no fewer than 3 USBs. It also includes a built-in Freeview HD tuner and Freesat HD too.

Conclusion - the ultimate Samsung LED TV

Awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, immense. And all this before you've even unpacked the box. But seriously, this is a TV that cannot do anything but impress with its size, design and picture quality - both in 2D and 3D.

You'll need a large room to put it in, and a large wallet to pay for it. But it's very simply the ultimate LED TV from Samsung in 2012.

We've given the Series 8 TVs a rating of 4 stars. That's basically because the Series 7 TVs are just as good and cost less.


Samsung UE55ES8000 features include:

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