Home / TVs & Audio / TV / Samsung UE40F8000

Samsung UE40F8000 review

John Archer

By

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Editors choice
Samsung UE40F8000

Summary

Our Score:

10

User Score:

Pros

  • Superb picture quality
  • Stunning space-saving design
  • Video-rich online services

Cons

  • Interface impenetrable in places
  • Picture presets favour high contrast over natural colours
  • Superfluous gesture and motion controls

Key Features

  • 40in LCD TV with edge LED lighting
  • Active 3D support with 2 pairs of glasses included
  • Smart TV platform with extensive online video support
  • Touchpad remote, gesture and voice control options
  • New 'learning' interface and upgradable chipset
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £1,449.00

If it were up to us, everyone would have a 55-inch (or larger!) TV, not a 40-inch TV like the Samsung UE40F8000. Even people with really tiny rooms. But if 40-inches is what you want and money is no object, look no further than the Samsung UE40F8000. Read on to find out why.

Samsung UE40F8000 - Design

The Samsung UE40F8000 is the Korean brand’s flagship 40-in TV for 2013. And it wears its premium status right there on its sleeve with a design that’s borderline miraculous. If you can spot the frame of the TV in the picture below then you've got better eyesight than most.

Samsung UE40F8000

The black bezel is less than 0.5cm thick. It's barely noticeable, which makes it so much easier to become immersed in what you're watching. That's doubly true if you’re taking advantage of the set’s built-in active 3D capabilities - two sets of glasses are included in the box.

The high glamour of the UE40F8000’s design continues on its rear thanks to a spectacular polished metal finish so lovely it makes you want to put the TV in the middle of the room so people can walk all the way round it rather than shove it into a corner or hang it on a wall.

The boldly curved stand is very pretty too, though you do need to make sure whatever furniture you’re going to sit the TV on is as wide as the screen, otherwise the front edges of the stand will hang off the edges and cause the TV to topple unceremoniously forwards - a silly, if manageable, design oversight.

Samsung UE40F8000

If you decide you can live with hiding the luscious rear away completely by wall-hanging the set, you'll be pleased to find all the connections are accessible from the side. Even the power cable can be slotted in vertically.

Samsung UE40F8000 - Connections

The connections on the 40F8000 are prodigious in number. Samsung has returned to four HDMIs after an unwelcome flirtation with three last year, and its extreme multimedia ambitions are abundantly obvious in its three USBs, LAN port, and built-in Wi-Fi.

As you would expect from these jacks, they let the UE40F8000 play back a wide range of photo, music and video files from USB devices, DLNA-enabled PCs (via Samsung’s AllShare software), and Samsung’s Smart TV online service.

Samsung UE40F8000 - Online Features and Interface

The online services are outstanding in their number and variety, especially when it comes to the number of video platforms on offer. When it comes to catch up services, as well as the BBC iPlayer and ITV player, 4oD is now imminent too, plus there are subscription services galore, including Netflix, LoveFilm, Acetrax, Blinkbox, and Curzon On Demand.

Samsung UE40F8000

It’s not just the extent of Samsung’s multimedia facilities that stands out from the pack, though. The interface used to help you access all your myriad content sources is also unique and extremely clever. Almost too clever for its own good, in fact...

So radical is this interface that we’ve already done a two-part, in-depth exploration of it in an earlier feature - read part one of our Samsung 2013 Smart TV review. Here we’ll limit ourselves to pointing out the basics, starting with the fact that it uses five different home screens devoted to five different types of content: TV, on-demand, social media, personal file sharing, and Samsung’s App store, from where you can download any apps that take your fancy.

What’s more, the TV and on-demand menus are built round a recommendations system derived from the face that the TV can learn what sort of programmes you like by analysing your viewing history. Nifty.

All this said, at times the interface is a little impenetrable and vague, especially when you first get the TV - sometimes it feels as if the TV is dictating to you what to watch rather than simply helping you make more informed choices. The social page’s curious obsession with simply showing recommended videos from people in your Twitter and Facebook feeds seems a bit bizarre too, and doesn’t reflect the way most people use social media.

David Horn

April 9, 2013, 9:37 am

Unfortunately, I've never been able to trust your reviews of Samsung TVs. They look - undeniably - fantastic when fed with an HD source but when given an SD picture to deal with they struggle with the colours, especially flesh tones. It's instantly obvious from thirty feet away whether a TV is a Samsung or not simply because skin colour is so badly wrong.

I bought your last 10/10 Samsung and ended up taking it back to the shop because of this issue (oh, and massively inconsistent backlighting).

John Archer

April 9, 2013, 11:26 am

Hi David

Sorry you feel that way about my previous Samsung TV reviews! Your message does raise a number of questions, though.

First, did you calibrate the Samsung TV you bought along the lines I suggest in my reviews? As in, reducing the contrast and especially backlight settings well below the settings provided by Samsung's presets?

If you don't do this, you would indeed see backlight inconsistency and over-ripe colours on previous Samsung LCD generations. I always point out in my reviews that Samsung's LCD picture presets are very poor, and that you need to commit to calibrating the set yourself before you'll get anything like the best picture quality.

With this in mind, there are also extensive colour management tools available on Samsung's top-end TVs that I'd argue enable you to get colours - including skin tones - to pretty much wherever you want to get them. Did you attempt to use these adjustment tools in conjunction with a readily available calibration aid like the Video Essentials HD Basics Blu-ray?

It's not just me who thinks that a calibrated Samsung TV - even last year's model - can be made to look outstanding. As well as countless other very positive reviews on other sites, I recently had an in-depth discussion with an ISF/THX qualified calibration expert who said he found he was able to achieve better - 'brilliant', was his word - results from Samsung's top-end LCD TVs than the LCD TVs of any other manufacturer. A finding which I agree with wholeheartedly based on my own calibration efforts with Samsung's high-end TVs.

I do agree with you that backlight inconsistency has been a problem on the past three or four Samsung LCD generations, but only to the extent - on the past couple of generations, at least - that it requires you to take a lot of luminance out of pictures to get round it.

In any case, the new F8000 series reviewed here almost completely get rids of the previous backlight consistency problems, allowing users to stick with a punchier, brighter picture if they want to. Personally I'd still recommend reducing the backlight and contrast quite considerably from any of the preset levels, to get closer to the sort of colour accuracy you're after (before additionally tweaking colour balances if you want to go further).

As for your point about standard definition on Samsung TVs, I find this strange, as I believe that Samsung's top-end TVs are among the best at upscaling standard definition. Again, though, this is only true if you dodge Samsung's presets, as their high contrast, backlight and sharpness default levels - as well as some OTT noise reduction routines - invariably leave standard definition pictures 'out of the box' looking like an over-ripe, noisy mess. Post calibration, though, I honestly believe Samsung's high-end TVs can deliver some of the best standard definition images available on a full HD TV.

I might also argue that you really don't have to watch standard definition much nowadays, anyway. Nearly everyone in the UK can get Freeview HD, Blu-rays are 10 a penny, and even the best online services are now offering HD streaming. Samsung's latest high-end TVs additionally offer Freesat HD tuners built-in, should Freeview HD not be available in your area.

My main point in all this, though, is simply that I maintain - as would many, many others with plenty of experience in the TV world - that a properly calibrated high-end Samsung TV from the past couple of years can deliver outstanding picture quality, albeit at the expense of much of that aggressive brightness Samsung for some reason likes to push with its presets.

Even if I still haven't convinced you about all this, the fact remains that the new Samsung F8000 TVs deliver a big leap forward in terms of backlight consistency, which in turn gives users much more flexibility when it comes to figuring out the picture settings that best suit their individual tastes.

Also, of course, we'll soon - very soon, actually - be posting reviews on Samsung and Panasonic's extremely exciting new plasma TVs, which could well be the answer if you really can't see LCD ever truly satisfying you.

Best wishes

John Archer

Vivek Bhalla

April 10, 2013, 10:58 am

Hi John,

Thank you for a very detailed and comprehensive review.

As a purchaser of the equivalent 2012 model there are two aspects I'd be very interested to get your perspective on:

1. In terms of comparison between this year's model and last year's - what would you say are the biggest areas of improvement and would you say these are significant?

2. Do you know how close Samsung's Evolution Kit will bring their 2012 models to the level of their 2013 counterparts?

If you are intending to review the Evolution Kit then please do ensure this aspect is covered in terms of improved picture quality (the issue with back-lighting was one that I had to contend with for some time until I got it just right), as well as online features and the slightly annoying gesture and voice controls.

With regard to the latter, I found that with the 2012 model, the voice commands would be unintentionally be initiated when conversing in the room. This can get a little annoying and I'm wondering how well this may be addressed were I to opt for the upgrade kit.

Thanks for any input you can offer.

dave

April 10, 2013, 11:39 am

Hi, John any chance you'll review the new Samsung UE40F6800 40-inch?

I'm stuck between getting a 2012 one, or paying a £100 more for the new model.

Thanks.

Philip Smith

April 11, 2013, 2:15 pm

Thanks for the review. One problem I've always had with Samsung sets has been their relatively narrow viewing angle, with blacks fading more markedly when viewed off-centre compared to the likes IPS panels etc. Have things improved with this set?

Mark Colit

April 11, 2013, 8:59 pm

In a word, samsung are a cut above the competition, picture-wise (even on standard def), but the onboard speakers on some sets leave a lot to be desired.

theweAkinpolitics

April 12, 2013, 5:45 pm

That is a crazy amount of work to have to do on a new tv.
Prefer the days when you set your brightness and contrast
and away you went!

Matthew Salmon

April 14, 2013, 9:12 am

Well said John

Matthew Salmon

April 14, 2013, 9:14 am

Samsung's are so pricey these days tho..its a great TV but £1500??? Come on.. Many people would prob look at the price of the competitors - esp LG and go for something 1/3 of the price that offers similar features.

Nick G

May 20, 2013, 12:50 pm

Do you have a calibration guide somewhere? Are there any other tools/techniques you'd recommend David?

Mikael Chuaungo

August 4, 2013, 12:43 pm

I prefer the days when we didn't even modify the brightness and contrast.. good picture quality forever

Clive

September 3, 2013, 7:34 pm

After 16 months of trouble free watching, my samsung has developed a horizontal line down the right hand side of the display, this is not a problem with the input as the self-diagnostic option also displays the fault. Having googled this issue I'm not alone and I'm currently waiting for the samsung support team to get back to me. So good TV when they work, but there does seem to be a design fault.

Mark

October 8, 2013, 11:24 am

Looking to buy this TV but do not use AV but rely solely on a Sky Box to watch all TV. Does this allow the apps home page to still work with catch up TV? I understand the Smart elements and recommendations will only work of the AV input.

Rina

October 5, 2014, 8:43 pm

Hi, I was just wondering if anyone else has this problem. My tv is less than a year old and tonight it suddenly started to have red lines all over the screen. Heres a photo.

comments powered by Disqus