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Samsung UE55KS8000 review

 Review: May 2016  
 

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: The Samsung KS8000 is the best of the Korean company's 2016 range of LED TVs, and the 55-inch model seems like the ideal choice to enjoy 4K HDR viewing at its best. The super-bright screen shows more subtle shadow details than most rivals, and is the best screen you can buy for the price, in our opinion. Audio quality is excellent too, as is connectivity, and Samsung's 2016 Smart TV system is simply outstanding.

Best buy: Samsung UE55KS8000 from Currys (£1399.00)



 

Samsung KS8000 review: Design & looks

Samsung would dearly love everyone to buy one of its super-sexy curved TVs, but it seems that those pesky consumers don't always want to. In fact, if you're anything like us here at S21, you'll prefer your screens flat, even if the sales guy in the TV shop sneers at you with ill-concealed contempt. Curved TVs may have the edge when it comes to looks, but for various technical reasons flat screens make most sense for the majority of home set-ups.

Even though it's flat, the 55KS8000 looks the business. Positioned just below the identical-but-curved KS9000, the KS8000 has exactly the same design, but in a flat format. It's available in 49-inch, 55-inch and 65-inch sizes, and we're willing to bet that the 55-inch model will be the top seller. 55 inches is the perfect size for a high-end TV in 2016, provided you have the budget and the space. And the UE55 KS8000 is a television that you'll want to show off whenever you have visitors.

It's a beauty. Samsung calls the design concept of its 2016 SUHD range "360 Design". This means that it looks just as good from behind or the side as from the front. That's a key requirement if you like to make your TV the central focus of your room - for the rest of us it's probably a lesser consideration, but still nice to have. You might also hear that the design is "Bezel-less", but that's not really true at all. Instead, there's a 1cm narrow bezel surrounding the screen. The inner half of the bezel is black, and the outer half is silver metal.

The screen itself is razor-thin, and is supported by a slimline metal Y-stand. The rear of the TV is finished in black with silver trim, and there's a neat panel to hide those ugly AV cables that would otherwise spoil the looks of this beauty.

The design of Samsung's Series 8 TV gets top marks from us, and is quite probably as good as it gets for 2016.

Picture quality

As you'd expect, picture quality from this SUHD HDR television is very close to the pinnacle of what's currently available. The screen is a flat version of the Series 9 TV, so everything we said there applies here too, apart from the specific differences due to the flat vs curved screen.

This is a 4K SUHD TV meeting the Ultra HD premium standard, and images are unbelievably sharp, with rich textures and fine edges on display. The KS8000 uses a 10-bit VA panel that's capable if generating both incredible levels of brightness, and also midnight blacks, plus the full colour spectrum needed to achieve its HDR 1000 rating. Quantum dot technology lets it reproduce over 1 billion colours, and Samsung's new Ultra Black moth eye technology helps to reduce reflections.

The Series 8 TV uses a form of edge-lit local dimming, and this gives it the dynamic range necessary to reproduce plenty of shadow detail, even when watching conventional (non-HDR) source material. Switch to HDR (with Blu-ray, Netflix or Amazon - coming this year) and even greater subtelties can be discerned.

Samsung has nailed motion processing on this screen too. Not only is the panel instrinsically very fast, but Samsung's auto UHD processing results in near-perfect motion, with no judder, flicker, or "soap opera" effect visible, making this screen ideal for fast action, sport and movies. If you do find that the auto motion setting is intrusive, it's possible to override it, but we think the vast majority of people will be very happy with auto. In Game Mode, lag times are extremely low for a UHD TV.

Traditionally the most common problem in Samsung's VA-type screens is their limited viewing angles. It's no surprise therefore to discover that when viewed from an angle of 45° there's a visible decline in colour fidelity and contrast levels. However, the situation here is much improved compared with the KS9000 with its curved screen, making the KS8000 a good choice for family viewing.

We should also draw attention to the fact that Samsung in its wisdom has dumped support for 3D across its entire range of TVs this year, so if you enjoy 3D, you'll have to look elsewhere - perhaps even at last year's UE55JS8000 model.

Overall, we'd say that this is the best of Samsung's 2016 range when it comes to viewing experience. We think that Sony's XD93 (KD-55XD9305) TV has a slight edge, with its superb new backlight drive and 3D support, and if you want the ultimate picture quality, then you'll be wanting the Panasonic DX 902, or perhaps one of LG's OLED range, although all these models cost more than the Samsung.

Audio quality

The sound system on the KS8000 certainly marks it out as a flagship product. Despite the device's slimline profile, Samsung's engineers have found space to install a 4.1 speaker system, comprising two down-firing and two front-firing speakers plus a dedicated subwoofer, for a total power output of 60W. This configuration really lifts the audio experience of this TV to a different level.

if you want to connect to a home cinema system or a soundbar, you can use either the ARC-compatible HDMI connection, or the digital optical output.

Smart TV

Samsung has updated its Tizen-based Smart TV system again for 2016, making it arguably the best system on offer from the big four manufacturers. The system is very comprehensive and easy to use, whether you're browsing the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG), Cath-up TV, or one of the many apps available, including Netflix and Amazon Instant Video.

New for 2016, the Smart TV includes access to cloud gaming, giving you a console-like experience directly from your TV.

The quad-core processor gives a fast response, and there's a choice of two remote controls to use - a standard remote, and a new smart remote with voice recognition enabled.

The picture quality menus have been simplified for 2016, hiding many of the more advanced options, on the grounds that most people haven't got a clue how to use them. This makes it easier for most people to choose the option they want, although dedicated AV enthusiasts will need to look a bit harder.

Connectivity

The KS8000 plays nicely with its friends, incorporating all the modern connections you could want. Internet and networking is provided for by ethernet and built-in Wi-Fi, which enable you to stream content from connected devices around your home, including screen mirroring of compatible smartphones and tablets using the Samsung Smart View app. You'll find 4 HDMI connections, one with ARC support, plus 3 USB connections, Bluetooth connectivity and a digital optical audio output.

The TV will automatically detect the type of device you're connecting to, and enable you to control it with the TV's smart remote. A One Connect jack helps to keep all your cables neatly out of sight.

Conclusion - the best from Samsung in 2016

We were very impressed when we reviewed the Samsung KS9000, commenting on its star looks, strong picture quality and audio performance, and outstanding Smart TV. Just the curved screen and its associated problems made us hold back on a 5-star rating.

But the flat-screen KS8000 fixes those issues, and delivers a solid 5-star performance. We think that Samsung's 360 Design concept is beautiful, and this TV delivers some quite extraordinary images.

As we remarked, if you want the ultimate in picture quality, Panasonic's DX902 is the one to choose (although it's a bit ugly, and super expensive), or else Sony's XD93 LED TV, or perhaps one of the LG OLED range. But all of these cost more than the Samsung. So, in a real sense, the KS8000 is the best you can buy for the money.


Samsung UE55KS8000 features include:

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User questions

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I'm considering buying Samsung KS8000 for wall mounted position. As the tv uses One Connect box, how do you provide for it whilst suspended in the air rather than sitting low level on tv cabinet as want all leads to be out of sight?

Asked by Paul from Uk on 12th Nov 2016
I have several HDMI cables in a loop behind wall with power socket at tv height. Suggestions found on Internet say; use Velcro on back of tv but this affects some functionality on Smart remote apparently, others have attached to the wall mount but would have to look carefully at that.

I've got an early 55inch 8000 series samsung tv, how can I get wifi if I dont have internet at home?

Asked by simon tedder from uk on 9th Oct 2016

Reply by Bob from USA on 8th Nov 2016
You can't. If you need internet connectivity, you'll need to subscribe to a high-speed Internet provider like cable TV or fiber-optic. There's no such thing as "free" wifi, really.

Reply by Carlos from UK on 12th Nov 2016
Hi. If you have a phone with a data plan and you can get 3G (or better, 4G) then you can tether your Tv to the phone by setting up a wifi hotspot on the phone (at least with Android phones). Large quota data plans are reasonably cheap these days.

Does the TV have a satellite connection as well as normal aerial?

Asked by Mark from UK on 8th Oct 2016
Can the TV use freesat without adding extra external devices?

Reply by Sean from uk on 30th Oct 2016
Yes the 'one connect' box has twin sat tuners and a normal ariel socket.

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Samsung UE55KS8000 user reviews

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Reviewed by Peter Anthony from England on 2nd Jan 2017
Firstly I would like to say that the picture quality is excellent. Upscaling HD content from Blue Ray, TV tuner and Sky is also excellent.
However, a big thing is made of how bright the screen is when compared to other LED screens including OLED. I found that I had to turn the contrast down to reduce the brightness when watching non HDR content to stop it hurting my eyes. It automatically reverts to higher contrast settings when watching HDR content.
Another gripe is with the way that you have to go through a complete TV setup and unplugging connectors to change between the TV tuner and the inbuilt satellite tuner. This was not the case with my previous Samsung TV PS51D8000.
Otherwise a great product and I love the remote.
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