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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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