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Samsung UE55F8000 review

 Review: May 2013  
 

Last updated December 2013

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: It's an awful lot of money to splash on a telly, but if you have the cash, this gorgeous machine is simply the ultimate LED TV.



 

Review

Samsung's 55 inch Series 8 TV is the first of the 2013 LED TV range for us to review. The brief for Samsung's engineers was clearly: take our best TV, make it sexier and smarter, improve the picture and sound, and don't worry about the cost. The result: Samsung's best ever LED TV, but also its most expensive.

Design & looks

As we commented in our Buyer's Guide, most consumers know next to nothing about how TVs work, so they choose the best-looking model. Samsung know this, so they made sure that their flagship Series 8 TV causes jaws to drop even before it's switched on.

Certainly it's a stunner. 55 inches is a lot of screen, and any TV this big is guaranteed to impress. The 8 Series has a genuine premium look to it, with an ultraslim bezel just a few millimetres thick around the edge and a curved chrome base making the wafer-thin panel appear to float above its stand. The metal finish exudes a sense of luxury. There are lovely details to the design, like the Samsung logo at the bottom of the screen and the camera that pops up out of the top. This is definitely a television for James Bond fans.

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 totally immersed in the experience.

Picture quality

This has to be the best picture quality that we've experienced from a Samsung LED TV. Possibly from any LED TV.

Samsung's PVA panels have always been capable of producing eye-poppingly bright colours and respectably dark blacks, but the problem lies in generating both at the same time. Traditionally, the best results are obtained using local dimming backlighting technology, where the LED backlighting can be varied across different parts of the screen. However, this approach requires thick panels, which is a design faux pas in a modern stylish TV. Instead, ultraslim TVs like the series 8 use edge lighting, in which LED lights are positioned around the edge of the screen and guided to different parts of the screen through a back plate. Usually this produces uneven illumination across the screen and low contrast ratios. The F8000 is an edgelit TV, but it uses Samsung's "Micro Dimming Ultimate" to control backlighting in small subregions of the screen. The result is outstanding picture quality comparable to genuine local dimming. Watching this TV in a brightly lit room is a joy, and even if you watch in total darkness, you'll see very little leakage of light from bright parts of the screen into the shadows.

Samsung have also uprated the response time of the panel, producing a 1000 Clear Motion Rate. This completely eliminates motion blur in fast moving sport and action movies. Gamers will get a good response too, provided they engage Game Mode to reduce lag times.

The only minor issue is the relatively narrow viewing angle of the screen. You probably won't notice any effect 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. Otherwise, the F8000 comes as close to plasma quality as we've ever seen on an LED television.

3D

If the TV's 2D quality sets a new benchmark, then the same can be said of 3D. Play a 1080p Blu-Ray film, put on your Samsung active shutter glasses, and enjoy a treat! The fast response time and clever image processing means that 3D viewing is flicker-free and has none of the strange artifacts that dog some inferior active 3D TVs. If you sit too close to the screen you may experience some crosstalk, but sit a bit further back and you can enjoy a totally immersive 3D experience.

Audio quality

This is the section where usually we have a moan about the poor audio quality of modern ultrathin TVs. Except, Samsung has pre-empted these complaints by incorporating a substantially upgraded speaker system into the F8000.

Instead of the usual twin speakers, the F8 includes upgraded stereo speakers with separate subwoofers, delivering a total power output of 40W RMS (4 x 10W). The result is a marked improvement in bass, which is especially noticeable in any kind of movie or action sequence. Add in the 3D surround effect and the DNSe control, and the overall effect is pretty good.

Movie buffs would still be well-advised to invest in some dedicated home cinema speakers, but for casual viewing, the audio quality of the F8000 is a welcome improvement on what we've come to expect.

Smart TV

OK, now forget everything you've read so far. Smart TV is really what the 2013 Samsung range is about.

Smart TV started out as a gimmick, but it's been getting useful for a few years now, and 2013 is the year it becomes absolutely essential. Samsung has reinvented Smart TV in the F8000 and we like the way it looks. The presentation is particularly user-friendly, and the functionality has also been ramped up. First of all, the range of apps available through Samsung Apps has been updated to include catch-up TV via the BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport, ITV Player, the 4oD service from Channel 4, and Demand 5 from Channel 5. You'll also find staples like LoveFilm, Skype, Twitter and others.

Secondly, social media are fully integrated into the Smart TV system, so you can keep up with your facebook and twitter feeds and watch your friends' videos.

A quad-core processor means that the graphically-intensive user interface flies along without any frustrating pauses.

Even selecting programmes to watch has evolved, with the "S Recommendation" system suggesting programmes based on your viewing history. You may not ever need to scroll through listings again, as the system does its best to bring interesting programmes to your attention. In fact, you may find that as you watch more and more, you become less smart than your TV, which is what your mother always warned you about.

Hey, there's more. The Series 8 TVs come with two remote controls. As well as a conventional remote, there's a smart remote with a touch pad for scrolling through the menus. Given the graphical layout of the Smart TV system, you'll probably find the new style remote is the one to use.

Alternatively, if you get frustrated with all these bells and whistles, you can try shouting at your TV or shaking your fist at it, because the F8000 supports voice recognition and gesture controls too.

More usefully, the TV includes a 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

You name it, the Series 8 TV will connect to it. There are no fewer than 4 HDMI ports here (a welcome increase from last year's model) plus 3 USBs. You can connect to the internet via the ethernet port or the built-in Wi-Fi. You can stream photos, music and movies from DLNA-compatible devices such as a PC or smartphone. Samsung’s AllShare creates a wireless home network for you to enjoy content from all Samsung compatible devices. If you own a Samsung tablet or smartphone, then this is a good reason to choose a Samsung TV to go with them. Built-in Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners are included too.

Conclusion - the ultimate LED TV

There's no question about it - the UE55F8000 is the best LED TV we've ever had the pleasure of reviewing. Any 55 inch TV is certain to impress, but there is something ethereal about the design of the Series 8, with its wafer-thin panel, impossibly narrow bezel and beautifully curving arc stand. Picture quality is quite exceptional, both in 2D and 3D and audio quality is well above average. The Smart TV is a delight to use, and the connectivity fulfils all our wants and needs.

With a RRP of £2,500, the UE55F8000 is the most expensive LED TV on the market by a long, long way. But now that it's available in the shops for less than £2k, it seems better value than when we first reviewed it and we've upped our rating to 5 stars. If you're looking for the best LED TV money can buy and your budget happens to be two grand, then rush out immediately and buy one of these. You won't be disappointed.


Samsung UE55F8000 features include:

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Samsung UE55F8000 user reviews

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Average rating from 3 reviews:

Reviewed by steve grim from UK on 31st May 2014
have had this TV for 20 months. Now it keeps clicking on and off and wont show any picture. ON speaking to Samsung they weren't very helpful and gave me a number of a repair company. This company wanted large amounts of money just to look at it. I found another repair centre but after two days of a repair and 180 it has started doing the same thing.
Do not buy this TV you are better spending your money on a quality company like Sony or Panasonic. Samsung seem to use low quality components.
Rating:

Reviewed by Shah from Uk on 22nd Jan 2014
I have had bad experience with this smart TV purchased this in the month of November 2013 the picture was deteriorated and colours were fading away. I spoke to Samsung technical support who tried to trouble shoot the problem. Due to the over lapse and care support they failed. Assigned to service agent whom came out first time. Didnt diagnose the fault.
Report says no faults found. Later on I get a email stating that the TV requires a PCB board.
I am not competed of the engineer and ask Samsung to assign the job to another engineer.
All week I have contacted Samsung you can see how frustrating this is on me and my family.

***Don't buy this TV my recommendations to anyone whom is looking to buy I don't give bad reviews however I have encountered this.

Please feel free to email me
dubaibuildingprojects@gmail.com
Rating:

Reviewed by Chas from Uk on 3rd Nov 2013
What is harder to discover is that, in spite of having a pair of Feesat tuners and a pair of Freeview tuners, only one channel can be recording to a hard drive at any time, and that while recording you cannot switch between Freesat and Freeview 'aerials'.

Access to recordings and deletion require a lot of button pushing and the recorded program details are minimal, while titles are often incorrect and series recording unreliable. There are also annoying and pointless popups which appear before recordings start, which cannot be turned off.

Catch like i-player is good and unless you want good PVR functions, or internet browsing which is clumsy to the point of being unuseable, the Tv looks great and everything else works fine.
Rating:

Reply by Jimmy C from UK on 9th May 2014
Chas, I cannot believe you bought this tv to use as a PVR? I have had this tv since December and never once thought about sticking in a usb stick and expecting to record as if it was a standalone piece of kit. Put your sky HD box or Freeview box in and you will see the true perfection of this piece of kit. Picture quality is second to none sound is good but I use a surround system as well. Only annoying thing was the voice control, I turned that off as if kept turning over on its own (must admit not keen on hand gestures and talking to the tv anyway)


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