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Samsung UE40F8000 - Picture Quality and Conclusion

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

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Samsung UE40F8000

Summary

Our Score:

10

User Score:

Returning to motion, it’s also great not to see any obvious judder beyond what might be natural to a movie source. In fact, using the word ‘natural’ there is the key to what Samsung seems to have been focussing on in improving its pictures for its 2013 flagship sets, with the set’s post-calibration contrast, colour, sharpness, subtlety, and motion all working together to create a picture that draws you in while doing next to nothing to generate any artefacts that might throw you out again.

This even applies to standard definition sources, which Samsung’s upscaling engine converts to the screen’s full HD resolution with real aplomb, adding detail and sharpness without emphasising noise or losing any control of colour tones.

Samsung UE40F8000

Samsung UE40F8000 - 3D Picture Quality

Samsung is now the only mainstream brand exclusively pursuing active 3D technology in its TV ranges. So it’s rather handy to be able to report that the UE40F8000 delivers a spectacular exhibition of what active 3D can do. In particular, even though its 40-inch screen isn’t the biggest, the amount of detail on show with full HD 3D Blu-rays is remarkable, giving 3D scenes a sense of definition and depth accuracy that’s the best we’ve seen to date. Especially as the set manages to deliver its 3D scenes with exceptional amounts of colour punch and brightness, making you forget about active 3D’s tendency to remove pretty extreme levels of luminance from its pictures.

Motion looks much better with 3D content this year than it did on Samsung’s previous 8000 series, with much less judder, which again plays a big part in making the 3D experience more convincing. We have a suspicion that there’s some undefeatable motion processing going on in 3D mode, perhaps, but if so it’s handled so well by Samsung’s Quad Core processing engine that we really didn’t mind it.

Samsung UE40F8000

There is a touch of crosstalk ghosting with 3D images over sharply contrasting distant objects; slightly more than we’ve seen with some 3D plasma sets. However, it’s not aggressive or overwhelming by any means, and the UE40F8000 has its aforementioned outstanding brightness and colour saturations in its favour over those plasma rivals.

Our main issue with 3D viewing, in fact, is that if you use the provided 3D audio option, dialogue can tend to sound dislocated from the mouths of the people speaking whenever there’s some musical accompaniment to a scene. Returning to a normal stereo setting more or less fixes this issue, though.

Samsung UE40F8000 - Gaming

The UE40F8000 might well find use as a gaming monitor in many households. ts innately good motion handling and exceptional contrast and brightness serve it very well in this regard. Our measured input lag figure of 47ms on average (using the TV's Game Mode) is a touch higher than we’d have liked, though, and serious gamers should note that this average measurement was derived from an input lag that curiously shifted between a good 32ms and an occasional unimpressive measurement of 66ms.

Samsung UE40F8000

The UE40F8000’s audio is generally rather good, as it happens – especially when you consider how incredibly slim the UE40F8000’s frame is. A newly designed 40W down-firing speaker system tucked into the slightly deeper section of the chassis’ rear produces a surprisingly open mid-range that gives the TV a little headroom to play with when it’s asked to expand to handle a dense movie soundtrack.

It also stretches far enough to deliver more bass than most super-skinny TVs as well as plenty of treble detail without making this sound harsh.

There are TVs out there that can deliver a cleaner and more bassy sound during action scenes. But overall the UE40F8000 is a substantial step in the right direction for Samsung’s audio department, and seldom delivers a sound that isn’t perfectly satisfying.

Verdict

In terms of its design, smart features and best of all picture quality, the UE40F8000 is the most advanced 40in TV we’ve seen. In some ways, perhaps, it’s almost too advanced, with some aspects of its interface leaving us mere humans feeling a little bemused in its wake.

Aside from some tweaks to its interface, though, it’s difficult to see how Samsung could do much to improve on the UE40F8000. It’s a truly outstanding TV, and puts extreme pressure on the shoulders of its rivals this year.

Now read Trusted Reviews Best TVs 2013

Overall Score

10

Scores In Detail

  • 2D Quality 10
  • 3D Quality 9
  • Design 10
  • Features 10
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Value 8

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.

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