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Samsung UE55H8000 review

 Review: December 2014  
 

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The Samsung UE55H8000 is arguably the best non-UHD (4K) TV on the market. It has a stunning curved design, but in our opinion this is also its major flaw, and we aren't convinced by curved screen viewing in this model.



 

Review

The Samsung Series 8 H8000 television is the company's flagship non-UHD TV for 2014. It's the upgrade to the UE55F8000 - our choice for best 55 inch TV of 2013. But can the H8000 match the F8000?

Design & looks

The UE55H8000 has stunning looks. The screen is curved, and that alone gives it wow factor. In addition it has everything it needs to mark it out as a premium contemporary TV - a narrow bezel with shiny metal edging, a slim profile and a sexy silver stand that curves with the screen. It looks amazing.

But we're not entirely convinced by the curved design. We'll have more to say about this when we discuss picture quality below, but in our opinion, 55 inches isn't big enough to justify the curve. Samsung claims that the curved panel delivers a new level of immersive viewing, but we disagree. The fact is that the curve makes the screen appear smaller than a 55 inch flat screen, so far from providing a stunning big-screen experience, the curvature reduces the impact, making it feel like you're watching a 50 inch screen. With a really big 65 inch screen, we'd probably be more favourable towards the curve, but on balance we don't like it, purely from the point of view of effective size.

Picture quality

We rated last year's Series 8 screens as having outstanding picture quality. The 2014 version is almost as good, but not quite.

First up, this is a high quality panel capable of reproducing accurate colours and both very bright and very dark scenes. Secondly, the Micro Dimming Ultimate feature helps with dynamic contrast, so scenes that have both dark and light areas in different parts of the screen can be reproduced without losing the deep blacks and bright colours. Thirdly, motion response is excellent, with a 1000 Clear Motion Rate providing smooth motion in nearly all cases. Gaming response times are good too, although not as fast as Sony's screens.

But where we think the picture quality falters is in viewing angles. If you sit directly in front of the screen, everything is perfect. But move to the left or right of centre, and the colours begin to fade. This is normal for this type of screen, and shouldn't be a huge problem, but the curvature of the screen exaggerates the effect quite significantly.

For single person viewing, the viewing angle problem disappears, and we agree with Samsung's marketing hype about immersive realism. But this is a family TV. If you're unlucky to be viewing the screen from off centre, you'll begin to regret buying into the curved concept.

3D

3D viewing seems to be falling rapidly out of favour with viewers, but if 3D matters to you, you'll find that the H8000 gives you what you need. The TV uses active shutter glasses, for full 1080p resolution, and the motion response is fast enough to eliminate crosstalk and other artifacts. Just be sure not to sit too close, and for best results close the curtains and switch out room lights. Two pairs of glasses are included in the sales package.

Audio quality

The H8000 uses twin speakers, each delivering 10W of audio power, plus a central 20W subwoofer for extra bass. This gives it a significantly better than average audio capability.

Movie buffs would still be well-advised to invest in some dedicated home cinema speakers, but for casual viewing, the audio quality of the H8000 is a welcome improvement on what we've come to expect.

Smart TV

Smart TV is now an essential feature of any home cinema setup, and we rate Samsung's Smart TV as probably the best of the systems currently available. 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 Amazon Instant Video, 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.

The Series 8 benefits from a Quad Core Plus processor, which is twice as fast as the already fast quad core processor used in lesser models. It makes the whole system fly without any annoying pauses.

The TV comes with two remote controls - one designed specially for Smart TV - and also handles voice interactions. The Smart View 2.0 app lets you use your compatible smartphone or tablet as a remote control, or to stream video content to your phone.

Connectivity

Connectivity isn't a problem, as all bases are covered. Wi-Fi and ethernet connections are provided, as well as 4 HDMIs and 3 USBs. There are also legacy connections including component, composite and SCART, plus digital optical output for connecting to an audio system.

Conclusion - almost 5 stars

We do like the UE55H8000 a lot, and there are some good deals on this model. Excluding UHD (4K) televisions, this is arguably the best TV on the market, and it's not over-priced. It looks stunning, especially with its curved design, and the picture quality, audio quality, Smart TV and connectivity can't be faulted. But ultimately it's the curved screen that comes back to bite it. Whatever the marketing guys want you to believe about curved screens, we aren't yet convinced, especially at this screen size. You may disagree, and at this price point, choices are limited. It's a tough call, but we're giving this model 4 stars, not 5.


Samsung UE55H8000 features include:

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Reviewed by Milovan from Serbia on 9th Dec 2015
I have ue55H8000 curved Tv and HW H7501 curved soundbar,picture and sound is fantastic,i love this tv and soundbar, this curved design is look amazing!!!
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