Samsung UN55H8000 Review (UN55H8000AFXZA)
55 inch Curved 1080p 240Hz Smart 3D LED TV
by Jack Burden, Reviewer
Curved 4K and OLED TVs are getting all of the attention this year. What about 1080p LED TVs? Samsung decided to cater to those not ready for 4K with the 55H8000 LED TV. It's a curved screen with the best picutre quality features for a 1080p display in Samsung's 2014 lineup. The most important picture quality aspect is the true local dimming. The H8000 series is the only 1080p LED to use it. This really gives the screen a step up in terms of contrast. It includes built in Wifi, built in Web Browser, and tweaked Smart TV functions from last year with the addition of an improved touch pad remote. The Sony KDL-65S990A is one of the few competitors for this type of display. But that is only available in 65-inches.
Picture Quality Rating: 92/100
Strong LED Lighting
As far as 1080p LED TVs go, this is one of the strongest in the market when it comes to LED edge-lighting. The powerful LEDs really give the H8000 a step up in terms of black levels and peak whites. The 55H8000 has best in class color and contrast that create superior images with excellent light flow through. Images on screen are crisp, and refined compared to some of the other LED TVs out there.
This shot is an excellent example of color reproduction, contrast, and depth that the curved H8000 screen can produce
Colors really pop on the 65H8000 for an LED TV, but the backlight can sometimes work against itself. Just keep the level between 70-80% and the picture won't suffer. From up-converted content color flow is much better than other TVs on the market – one of the reasons this is a premium model. Overall color is very well balanced and saturated and the Movie mode is set very close to D6500K right out of the box. Only top 4K and OLED TVs will beat the H8000 in color performance.
Contrast, color, and detail are highlights of this image
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.
Excellent Active 3D Performance
We recommend leaving the picture mode in Standard with the Auto Motion Plus set to Smooth. We found that the AutoMotion Plus feature adds a ton 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. The result is a great picture but it does degrade from side viewing angles, even with the curve of the screen. Changing the picture settings to Vivid and trying different combinations created noticeable double images and glowing around figures. So if you don't like what you see, do some adjusting before giving up. Spare 3D glasses are going for around $20 right now on Amazon. Not bad for active 3D glasses.
These are the 3D glasses for 2014 model Samsung LED TVs. The button to engage Dual View is located on one of the arms
Features Rating: 93/100
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 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. This is made possible by the quad-core processor.
Here you can see the newest and extremely useful faeture of the Samsung Smart Hub, split screen multitasking
The menu is very similar to what we have seen on top tier Samsungs in the past. Overall it is complete and easy to find your way around. The left hand side list all of the major sections and is easy to get in and out of. One feature we really liked was the list of sub menu contents on the right hand side. For example, when you highlight Picture Options, you get to see every option located in that menu right on the screen. It's a subtle feature, but it can make finding a certain feature faster.
There is plenty of volume from the speakers on the H8000 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.
Many people decide to wall mount their new super thin LED TVs. And why not? These almost frameless displays look great hanging in the living room or home theater. One of our big questions about these curved TVs was: How will they wall mount? Well, the H8000 does fit the 400 x 400 VESA wall mounting standards. That's a relief since 3rd party (i.e. less expensive) products can be used. Samsung however, does provide some low profile proprietary hardware as well. The Samsung WMN450 Mini Wall Mount will do the trick for this TV too.
Samsung really embellishes the curve of the H8000 series through the design. Though the curve of the screen is slight, the curve of the stand is one of the first things you'll notice. It is a similar approach to the F8000 crescent stand from last year, but this one gets more of the spotlight and isn't hidden away behind the screen.
The stand and screen now resemble each other. Thin bezels and a low profile stand make this a good looking TV
Value Rating: 87/100
The curve certainly doesn't come cheap. But in the grand scheme of things, a 1080p curved LED is much cheaper than the 4K curved variety. The UN55H8000 can be found for around $2,499. That's expensive, but you get excellent picture quality, strong smart TV features, and bragging rights for having the first curved TV on the block. It is hard to promote the curved TV since the benefits aren't terribly impressive, but it's a solid TV. There isn't in terms of competition for a 55-inch curved 1080p LED.
Overall Rating: 90/100
- 54.6" diagonal measurement
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- 1200 Clear Motion Rate
- Quad Core Plus Processor
- Micro Dimming Ultimate
- 0.3" Bezels / 3.5" Depth (not including stand)
- 4 HDMI, 3 USB
- 2.2 Channel Sound (10W x 2 / Woofer 10W x 2)
- Dimensions without stand (W X H X D): 48.5" x 28.1" x 3.5"
- Dimensions with stand: 48.5" x 29.9" x 9.3"
- Weight without stand: 38.4 lbs.
- Weight with stand: 41.7 lbs.
|Jack Burden has been reviewing and writing reviews in the consumer electronics category for 7 years with CEAG. He considers grayscale gradation, film patterned retarders, and focus field drives to be fun topics. Read more about Jack|
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