Samsung's presence at the IFA technology show in Berlin this year was suitably grandiose but most of the fun was kept for the mobile and laptop divisions, with the announcements of the Samsung Note and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7in, among others. When it came to TVs, though, there wasn't quite so much to get excited about. In fact, the Korean brand announced only one new TV: a 60in addition to its already well-received D8000 flagship range. And it’s this leviathan we’ve got sprawled across our test benches right now.
Not that sprawl is the right word to use. For it implies laziness and unkemptness, neither of which remotely relate to the stunning design of the UE60D8000. For what it appears to be at first glance is a 60in screen magically floating in space. Glorious.
Closer inspection reveals that there IS actually a bezel around the huge expanse of screen. But man, is it narrow - less than one centimetre. What’s more, this slimness applies to all four sides; there’s no sign of the chunky bottom edge commonly found with flat TVs.
The irresistible - and space saving - design is finished off to perfection by the application of a glinting silver metallic finish to what small amount of bezel there is.
The UE60D8000’s connectivity is also first rate. Where video is concerned, the main attractions are four HDMIs - all ready to take in full HD 3D signals from Blu-ray players (or side by side Sky 3D broadcasts). But it’s the multimedia options that really stand out, as we uncover three USBs, a D-Sub PC port, a LAN port, and built-in wi-fi. It’s a treat not to have to cough up for an optional extra wi-fi USB dongle, and the TV integrated with our network effortlessly, ready to both stream in video, photo and music files from our DLNA PC, or take the TV online to access Samsung’s 2011 Smart TV platform.
We’ll come back to Smart TV in a moment, but first we should add that the USBs can additionally be used for playing back multimedia files or recording from either of the UE60D8000’s built-in Freesat HD or Freeview HD tuners.
Samsung’s Smart TV service is in many ways the most cutting edge online television system in the AV world. Its Smart Hub onscreen menu offers an inspired means of accessing all your myriad content, and it offers a content-rich mixture of video streaming and more app-like services.
Highlights include the BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm, AceTrax, Facebook, Twitter, Skype (via an optional extra camera) and Samsung’s own 3D ‘channel’, giving you an instant and free source of (admittedly often quite eclectic) 3D video.
As noted in earlier reviews, rather too many of the smaller, non-video apps are a bit pointless. But we did notice a growth in apps aimed at children, which feels like the right direction to be going in.
The full HD panel inside the UE60D8000’s infeasibly slim body is driven by edge LED lighting - a fact which makes its tiny bezel seem even more impossible. The set also enjoys Samsung’s ‘800Hz’ motion engine, which combines a native 200Hz refresh rate with a scanning backlight and frame interpolation processing to deliver a potential 800Hz effect. This could prove particularly beneficial to the UE60D8000’s 3D performance.
The set ships with two pairs of Samsung’s Bluetooth active shutter 3D glasses included, leaving you to spend as much as £100 a pair for any extra glasses you want.