Samsung UE55D8000 review
- Striking minimalist design
- Content rich Smart Hub portal
- Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners
- No side-mounted AV inputs
- Motion Plus Artefacts
UPDATE: Following the original review (posted on T3.com on 2nd March 2011 in which we awarded the Samsung UE55D8000 four stars) Samsung contacted T3 with an all-new firmware update, which was developed in direct response to T3’s criticisms of the original set. As a result of this, the firmware update will be rolled out to all Samsung 7000/8000 sets worldwide. The update irons out a number of T3’s original complaints with the set and as a result of these exceptional circumstances we have revised the original score for the Samsung UE55D8000 as below.
Samsung’s 2011 Series 8 LED TVs are nothing if not minimalist. With a sliver of a bezel just 5mm wide, they virtually hang their images in the air. A mere 29.7mm deep, the 55inch UE55D8000 reviewed here is a masterful example of entertainment engineering. Yet despite this thinness, this 3D ready set bulges with features: it has Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners, integrated Wi-Fi and Samsung’s new internet connected Smart Hub platform, which offers access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Lovefilm and other apps.
Despite being razer thing we were surprised at how uniform the Edge LED backlighting appears to be. With live video there are no obvious hotspots. Samsung calls it the ONE Design. You’ll be left wondering just how a border of LED bulbs can illuminate such a huge LED panel so effectively.
Connections comprise four HDMIs, a VGA PC input, stereo audio minijack, plus SCART and component (both via adaptors). There are also three USB inputs, Ethernet LAN and a digital audio optical output. Strangely, there are no side-mounted inputs at all. Everything is located on the back panel.
The UE55D8000 is DLNA compliant and will scour your network for attached devices. Unfortunately, it turned its nose up at our MKV video files. AVIs played, but without SRT subtitles. It seems our Twonky DLNA server did not want to play ball. The latest iteration of Twonky offers dedicated support for Samsung TVs, so make sure you have the latest version for best compatibility. Audio compatibility is limited to MP3. Things become easier if you play the same content directly from a USB drive. Our MKVs became accessible, as did SRT subtitle files. However, given that there are no side-mounted USB slots on the TV, taking advantage of this compatibility could be awkward.
Samsung UE55D8000: 3D picture quality
The UE55D800’s 3D performance is outstanding when it comes to image brightness and colour fidelity. The zombies from Resident Evil 3D get totally in your face! Less welcome is a different kind of video nasty: 3D crosstalk. A Depth Perception control allows you to dial out either positive or negative parallax ghosting, although minimizing one always emphasises the other. The best results were obtained when we reduced the backlight and contrast, and edged back the sharpness. Ghosting still haunts the picture, but is much less obvious. Overall though, a big improvement over last year’s models, and possibly the best we’ve seen from any LCD TV to date.
2D high def pictures pop like a bottle of Moet. Black level is excellent and there’s plenty of shadow detail. To improve moving picture resolution and smoothness Samsung offers a variety of Motion Plus picture processing modes. All deliver 1080 lines of detail, but we found they created smudgy ringing artefacts around moving objects. Following the new firmware upgrade (v.1005) for the D7000/D8000 screens developed by Samsung to address the problem, the UE55D8000’s picture showed improvement. For minimal artefacts and best motion resolution, we suggest users opt for the Motion Plus Custom setting, with Blur Reduction set to 8 and Judder Reduction set to 0. Switch Motion Plus off and moving picture resolution drops to around 650 lines.
The rear mounted, downward firing stereo speakers do a grand job. They do offer a surprising amount of volume and the sound is fat enough for casual viewing.
The UE55D8000 is a spectacular LED screen. Its pencil thin bezel makes 3D more immersive, while the set’s 2D picture bristles with detail, although the standard Motion Plus picture processing modes introduce too many artefacts for our liking. The new Smart Hub is arguably the biggest attraction, with more apps on offer than ever before. If you’re looking for an entertaining 3D TV with good IPTV content we think it’ll keep you ‘appy (pun intended).
Samsung UE55D8000 price: Around £2500, link Samsung
Samsung UE55D8000: 2D picture quality and audio