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Samsung UE55F9000: 3D Picture Quality

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Editors choice
Samsung UE55F9000


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Samsung UE55F9000: 3D Picture Quality

The surprisingly different approach of the UK’s first two ‘mainstream’ Ultra HD/4K TVs continues when it comes to 3D. In short, where Sony went for passive 3D, Samsung has stuck with active 3D.

We were seriously impressed with the Sony KDL-65X9005's 3D pictures, too. Unlike passive 3D images on normal HD TVs, Sony's 4K TV resolved a full HD level of horizontal detail, which combined with the fatigue-free benefits of passive glasses made watching 3D very pleasurable. Samsung, in other words, has a lot to live up to here.

And it doesn't disappoint. While Sony’s set made brilliant use of its 4K resolution to deliver an unmatched passive 3D experience, Samsung's 4K TV upscales 3D inputs to deliver an Ultra HD 3D experience. And the results are incredible.

Having so much resolution in a 3D image instantly makes the 3D world look more solid, more tangible and more immersive. In short, it makes watching 3D feel like you’re looking through a window at a real world rather than just watching 3D on a TV.

So profound is the impact of seeing 3D shifted up to an Ultra HD resolution that we ended up wasting an inordinate amount of time simply sitting through half a dozen of our favourite 3D test discs. And in every case there was a palpable feeling that we were watching these tried and tested discs for the first time again.

Samsung UE55F9000

When you think about it, this Ultra HD impact on 3D makes perfect sense. For starters, we’ve already mentioned how a 4K resolution can improve the sense of depth you see in 2D images, so it follows that it will have the same effect on the perceived depth of 3D images. We’ve also noted how 4K resolutions can lead to colours being blended more subtly so that objects look more solid and ‘present’. And again it follows that this will have a pronounced impact on 3D footage.

The fact that Samsung’s upscaling engine is able to deliver such astonishing results in 3D mode is a true testament to the power and prowess of the UE55F9000’s processing engine.

We can’t leave the discussion of 3D, however, without mentioning the potential disadvantages of the active, full resolution 3D approach. But you’ll only see a trace of the active 3D flicker if you have your room lights set high, and the brightness and colour richness of the Samsung UE55F9000’s 3D pictures gives the lie to the idea that active 3D images have to look dull and colour-crushed versus passive ones.

When it comes to active 3D’s crosstalk double ghosting issues, the Samsung UE55F9000 is admittedly not totally immune. And when you do occasionally make out a ghostly echo of a (usually distant) line or object, it does diminish the staggering sense of detail and sharpness delivered by the UHD 3D effect.

But while the Sony 65X9005’s passive approach may be more relaxing, family friendly and free of crosstalk (so long as you keep your vertical viewing angle below around 13 degrees), the impact of the extra resolution on Samsung’s 3D images is hard to resist in our opinion.

The biggest catch with the UE55F9000‘s 3D performance concerns its motion handling rather than the usual active 3D problems. For without using any motion processing at all, judder levels in the image are alarmingly high. Using the Clear motion preset improves things a bit but not quite enough, while the Standard setting goes too far, generating some distracting flickering and halo artefacts over rapidly moving objects.

Fortunately we managed to arrive at a pretty solid solution by selecting the Custom motion mode and setting the Blur and Judder components both to '3'. Even then really tough 3D footage, such as the swooping camera movements at the start of The Hobbit, can still look slightly awkward, but it's a big improvement on the standard settings.

Samsung 4K TV: Sound Quality and Gaming

Reluctantly tearing ourselves away from the consistently blistering pictures, we have two more areas to cover: input lag and audio. And actually, the set is slightly disappointing with both.

Our input lag measurements obtained a typical figure of 66ms, which is just enough to marginally reduce your performance with very time/reaction-sensitive games. Sony’s 65X9005A, by comparison, measured just 32ms of delay in producing its pictures.

The Sony 65X9005A’s audio advantage over the Samsung is more pronounced. The reason for the extremely wide wings to the 65X9005A’s left and right sides is that it uses them to hold a powerful array of front-firing speakers that use Sony’s new magnetic fluid speaker technology to produce levels of power and dynamic range that would previously have been unthinkable on a slim TV. By comparison, the Samsung UE55F9000’s speakers are rear mounted and much less powerful, so that the sound they produce is inevitably less potent and more compressed.

To be fair, though, if you compare the Samsung UE55F9000’s audio to other current flat TVs beyond the Sony, it actually sounds rather good, thanks to its wide soundstage, good harshness-free treble handling, and unusually open mid-range. A bit more bass would have been appreciated, but overall its sound is at least an adequate accompaniment for its mighty pictures.

Samsung UE55F9000

Should I buy a Samsung UE55F9000?

If you want to both improve the look of your current HD sources and be ready for a 4K future that we’re increasingly confident isn’t very far away at all, then you should strongly consider buying a Samsung UE55F9000. It does an absolutely stunning job of rendering both native Ultra HD and upscaled HD footage, and its upscaled Ultra HD 3D images have to be seen to be believed.

Obviously, you can’t talk about the UE55F9000 without considering also the 65-inch Sony KDL-65X9005A and its 55-inch sibling, and there can be no doubt that Sony’s 4K rivals do an amazing job of bringing the joys of 4K home, especially thanks to their remarkable colour handling.

Having watched them side-by-side, it seems to us that the various strengths and weaknesses of the Samsung and Sony 4K sets make it impossible to say that one is better than the other overall. They will simply appeal to different people and tastes. Which in our opinion is about a good a result as prospective TV buyers could have hoped for.

Still not convinced by 4K? Head to our top 10 best TV round-up for our favourite 'non-4K' TVs.


Thanks to the sensational efforts of the Samsung UE55F9000 - which proves comprehensively that Ultra HD remains very much a worthwhile technology even on a ‘mere’ 55-inch screen - the 4K juggernaut shows absolutely no sign of slowing down.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • 2D Quality 10
  • 3D Quality 10
  • Design 10
  • Smart TV 9
  • Sound Quality 8
  • Value 8


August 12, 2013, 12:18 pm

"World Exclusive: Read the first review anywhere or Samsung's first 4K TV"

Is that meant to read "on"?! Doh!!!

Gareth Barber

August 12, 2013, 1:08 pm

Or maybe "for"


August 12, 2013, 1:30 pm

I have seen this TV in the samsung store in Tottenham court road in London twice and i've been blown away by the picture quality. The Sony centre is right next door and the x900's short comings become clear as in detail lost in darker scenes and alternate gray lines on the 55 inch version. When viewing blu-ray on the 55f8000 the screen looks massive, but when viewing 4k on the f9000 the screen looks small for all the detail and resolution. At 2 and a half picture heights there is still definitely quite an improvement.

I didn't see any usb ports on the connections box but I'll double check, I wonder if samsung will replace the entire box for hdmi 2?

At £4000 which is less than double the 55f8000 rrp, I don't think 4k is beyond reach anymore and if I had the money I'd seriously consider buying this tv.

Power consumption at 157 watts is higher for a screen this size, most likely due to increased pixel density, but far less then a plasma.

I have seen LG's 55 inch Oled in Harrods and would like to see their curved version as well as samsungs version but early reviews already show their short comings such as image retention, stuck sub pixels and motion resolution. Oled maybe the tv of the future but it has lot of catching up to do with Lcd, Samsung have cut the price by 1/3 which is a step in the right direction.


August 12, 2013, 1:41 pm

It's 'of' and thanks for the spot. My bad.

Daniel Ackbar

August 12, 2013, 3:03 pm

There's a difference between "exclusive" and "first." Unless no other publication will review this television, you cannot claim to be the former.


August 12, 2013, 8:21 pm

how is it possible to judge a top end tv if they all get 10?


August 13, 2013, 7:54 am

Still want to know if the HD picture is better than Panasonic's finest. I have my kuro still and attempted to upgrade but every time I see an LED TV I really dislike to motion blur and judder, especially when watching football. Any input on this would be great. Also are they both isf compliant?


August 13, 2013, 7:55 am

No mention of SD up-scaling? Considering a lot of television is still broadcast in SD, I'd wager a lot of folk are more interested in that for day-to-day viewing than what the none-existent 4k footage would look like, should it exist.

Mr Smith

August 13, 2013, 12:39 pm

Thanks for the review. The upscaling sounds very promising. Just one question, what are the viewing angles like? My experience with Samsung tellys is that the black depth is excellent when viewed straight on, but drops off when viewed off centre.


August 13, 2013, 2:51 pm

you're probably better off with a panasonic plasma
If you frequently watch sports a plasma will do a much better job with motion and the panasonic st plasmas are good value for money, much cheaper than this tv


August 13, 2013, 6:38 pm

You mention "And no, we weren’t watching the set from a stupidly short viewing distance during our tests." in your review. I would be interested to know what kind of viewing distance you did use? Just to get an idea of what distance is appropriate for a 55" 4K.
Thanks. Sounds like a brilliant 1st gen TV.


August 13, 2013, 6:47 pm

Why would you be looking to replace a Kuro with an LED TV? I would think that would be a step backwards. As ly121688 has said. I would look towards the latest plasmas especially if you are sensitive to motion blur. I think i would wait a little longer if i already had a Kuro though.


August 14, 2013, 9:13 am

Samsung apparently now admits their motion smoothing technology does not work with HD because HD is "too big" for the computations. But, they continue to get away with advertising it, and reviewers, like you, continue to claim it works. Why should anyone believe anything written these days?


August 14, 2013, 11:20 pm

Does manually naming the input "PC" reduce input lag? On earlier Samsung models, that was a nice little unadvertised workaround to reduce lag.


August 17, 2013, 10:02 pm

Just a word on 3d crosstalk - there is a firmware update to version 06 that solves the 3d crosstalk issues totally. Once applied there is zero crosstalk as should be the case with 4k and the depth of 3d is now simply stunning. Can't tell you how good this tv is!!!


September 16, 2013, 9:17 pm

Would not touch Samsung there quality control is utter garbage. Good luck in getting a tv that actually works

Mark Royer

January 31, 2014, 5:25 am

Don't get sucked into the 4K is too expensive and there is no content
dribble. GO LOOK AT A 4K TV! The picture is simply stunning and like
nothing you have ever seen before. Remember, when you went from standard
definition to HDTV? It's the same experience, if not better. See a 4K
TV and make up your mind with your own eyes and ears. ~Mark http://www.BuyBest4KTV.com

The one

February 3, 2014, 7:05 pm

Key words for other comments "cheaper and I would" The Kuro was an amazing TV but 4K completely blows plasma out the water. The only people that think otherwise are penny counters.

Rob C

March 7, 2014, 7:28 am

An update to the price from time to time would be OK, as would a mention of overseas pricing. People look at your Reviews from everywhere around the World because 16 months ago your Site was REALY great, recently less so (and not just for the price not current reason).

Canadian Model UN55F9000AFXZC CA$2999.99 (Pounds = 1630.23):


March 7, 2014, 8:34 am

Thanks for the heads-up. It's quite hard for us to update reviews based on changing prices, we review a lot of products and the world is a big place, but we'll do our best.

Was there anything specific you wanted to comment about the site in general? All feedback greatly appreciated.

Dan C.

March 19, 2014, 8:42 pm

This an amazing TV with probably the most features found in any current 4K TV. Still, I cannot see how any part of this review warrants a perfect score.

Don Mega

June 1, 2014, 12:43 am

yes if u have the money to go for minimum of 65" and want to put it within 2 meters of watching distance. u won't really see the difference between 1080p and 4k in a 55" or smaller tv even if it's as close as 2 meters away. there's a beautiful chart that compares viewing distances to resolution and human eye sight (20/20). look it up from google and u'll see 4k is rather useless for most situations

Don Mega

June 1, 2014, 12:44 am

just like u can compare cars that all have 4 wheels. numbers aren't everything


June 24, 2014, 11:05 am

Maybe Panasonic's top of the line a year or two from now might be worthy, otherwise you'll be waiting for a OLED set.

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