Samsung UN50HU8550 Review (UN50HU8550F)
50 inch 4K Active 3D 120Hz LED TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
The UN50HU8550 4K LED TV from Samsung is their top of the line TV that has the standard flat design. The HU9000 above it gets the curved design and a few more picture quality features. An important thing to note is the flat design keeps the price down. You still get some of the best picture quality from an LED TV, and it's 4K. We have also seen that the differences a curved screen has are very minimal when it comes to viewing angles. All the Smart Hub features like the Smart Touch remote, voice recognition, and Quad Screen multitasking are included. The camera for motion control is an additional purchase. The price for this 50-inch UHD LED TV is $2,500.
- Hardware local dimming boots contrast and creates brilliant images
- Active 3D performance is impressive and images have lots of depth, AutoMotion Plus settings really help here
- Fully fleshed out Smart TV features provide a lot of additional value in terms of streaming content
- Smart Touch remote has been improved over last year with point and click functionality and more buttons
- Instant On feature reduces the time it takes for the TV to boot up
- 4 Pairs of glasses are included
- 4 HDMI 2.0, 3 USB inputs
- Side angle viewing is still a weak spot when it comes to LED TVs
- Side angle viewing worsens when playing content in 3D
- Voice control still has its share of limitations
- Camera for motion control and Skype is an additional purchase
Picture Quality Rating: 94/10
This shot is a prime example of the excellent contrast, light flow through, and sharpness of the 50HU8550
The clear coat, rich black screen and the high quality edge lighting LEDs allow for colors to pop and give a real sense of depth when viewing HD quality source material. The HU9000 above this TV features the Ultra Clear Panel which produces even more brilliant images in 4K. In-picture Light flow, as seen in the above photo, is some of the best we've seen on any TV you will find on the market except. Only OLEDs will do a better job at this currently. Black levels and contrast are two other strong points of picture quality on the UN50HU8550 thanks to UHD Dimming and Precision Black Local Dimming technologies. Blacks are deep even when other areas of the screen are bright. This really helps to reduce halo'ing that happens when there are a lot of dark and light areas on screen. Dark shadow detail is impressive as well.
4K Standard and Future Proofing
4K is still in the early stages. Last year we saw 4K TVs released that didn't have HDMI 2.0 built right in. That puts early adopters in a bad postion. They have to rely on the manufacturer to upgrade their TVs. The HU8550 has 4 HDMI 2.0 inputs right on the cabinet ready to accept 4K signals.There is also something called the One Connect box. It is similar to the Samsung Evolution Kit, but with a focus on 4K distribution and playback standards. The box will also add features, content, and provide performance updates to the 50HU8550. This assures that early adopters won't be left behind if things change in the future.
Bright whites and deep blacks, strong depth, and lots of detail are seen in this shot
Precision Black Local Dimming
This is actual hardware local dimming instead of software dimming seen on lower tier Samsung LEDs this year. It makes much more of a positive impact on picture quailty. We felt the image with this feature on was better than off, which is a rare case with features like this. This is due to separating the picture into hundreds of parts and pieces and changing the amount of backlighting from the LEDs. The Precision Black produced inky blacks without losing any dark shadow detail. To find the setting, look for the Smart LED option in the Picture Options menu. It is set to standard by default and we saw no difference when bumping it to high. When turned off, the picture seems to lose the vibrancy it had.
Active 3D – Great Performance
The AutoMotion Plus feature adds tons of depth to 3D images and reduces judder to a non-issue. We also turned the 3D light setting up to High from the low position. Changing the picture settings to Vivid and trying different combinations to improve the 3D picture saturation and depth proved fruitless as it created noticeable double images and glowing around figures.
This year's Active 3D glasses are extremeyl light and have a more streamlined design
Side Angle Viewing – Still Room for Improvement
Color and contrast do fade when viewing from off center though much more subtly than I expected. In fact, the untrained eye will likely not see the difference in contrast saturation from side angles. Early models of the 4K TVs from Samsung did not look this good from the side and were more in line with standard HD LED TVs. Dont get me wrong, it's still a drawback, but not a pronounced one. This was probably the single biggest drawback compared to OLED aside from the deeper blacks on OLEDs.
Features Rating - 87/100
Samsung Smart Hub
The Smart Hub keeps the same basic design as last year with subtle improvements. Samsung hit the mark with their user interface and intuitive nagivation. This time around you will see a Game tab as one of the major smart TV pages. The Smart Hub also allows for logins so each member of the family can have recommendations tailored to their viewing history. These changes show that Samsung really pays attention to the details when it comes to user experience. Just like last year the Smart Hub is one of the best options for a good smart TV experience. The quad core processor is just icing on the cake.
Touch Pad Controller and Split Screen Multitasking
This year's touch remote features an egg shape with a smaller touch pad, but more buttons
Surfing the web and the Smart TV features is a breeze with the new touchpad remote. It's much faster and easier than a traditional 5-way controller. The actual touch pad is a bit smaller this year, but that's okay because it now supports motion control. This brings it closer to LG's point and click Magic Remote. The smaller touch pad also leaves room for more useful buttons on the remote instead of the on-screen menus. The voice recognition only works for inputting searches if the soft keyboard for the search field is open. The new split screen feature is another addition that we think is a move in the right direction by Samsung. This makes it easy to view live TV and browse the web or use social media at the same time. A big plus on the HU8550 is the 4 split screen feature. TVs lower in the lineup are only able to handle 2 tasks at once.
Here you can see the newest and extremely useful faeture of the Samsung Smart Hub, quad split screen multitasking
The quad-core processor will greatly increase the speed of the Smart TV function. It is a welcome addition since processing speed and multitasking were slow before the upgrade to the quad-core. The quad-core also helps speed the browsing function which was slow in 2012. Don't worry about this innovative technology fading into obscurity, either; with a Smart Evolution feature, the TV uploads the newest features each year through a kit attached to the back of the set.
There is plenty of volume from the speakers on the HU8550 and quality is consistently good though not as rich as some we've tested. Samsung is getting in on the trend of adding small woofers into the cabinets. There are (2) 10 watt woofers and (2) 10 watt speakers here, so you are going to get some decent sound out of this one. Thankfully, there are no hollow or tinny effects in the sound as we've noticed from years past. External sound systems are usually going to be the best way to go, and that still applies to this TV.
Design and Appearance
The super thin profile and minimal stand really make this 4K TV look modern
Samsung likes to experiment with their top tier models. We really like this year's super minimal design over the wide crescent stand we saw last year. Say goodbye to problems with the size of your TV stand. Samsung calls this silver stand the "T-shape" design. The profile is an impressive 1.4 inches thin and the bezels are only 0.3 inches. This is how a top tier TV should look.
Value Rating - 82/100
Vlaue is the biggest concern with the new 4K TVs. The good news is, they have come down rapidly in price to match Sony's early efforts. Plus there are more on the market this year, meaning more competition. At $2,500 maybe this is TV, loaded with features and future-proofed for years to come isn't such a bad deal.
Overall Rating - 88/100
Dimensions and Design
|Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Wiley never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...Wiley does. Read more about Robert|