The UE60D8000 isn’t endorsed by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), but that’s not to say it doesn’t have plenty of calibration tools. There’s a degree of colour management, gamma controls and white balance adjustment, as well as a lengthy list of processing features aimed at boosting everything from colour and contrast to sharpness and motion clarity.
You need to be careful with many of these latter processing tools, as most come with negative as well as positive side effects. But some of them can improve pictures with certain types of content, so long as you only use them on their lowest ‘power’ settings.
As usual with Samsung’s latest generation of edge LED TV, the first word that pops out of your mouth as you behold the UE60D8000 in action will likely be ‘wow’, as they clearly appear calibrated to continue the policy of ‘shock and awe’ started by the design.
Starting with 2D images, they are astonishingly bright, despite the tiny amount of space provided for the edge-based LEDs. This brightness ensures that colours are driven off the screen with exceptional aggression, making them look vibrant and pictures generally look almost insanely punchy and dynamic.
What’s really surprising/impressive about the potency of the UE60D8000’s pictures, though, is the fact that it’s achieved while maintaining one of the deepest black level responses in the LCD TV world. Being able to combine lots of brightness with good black levels suggests a native contrast performance that most if not all other brands can only dream about matching - outstanding! This is a particularly great feature for film lovers.
Also impressive is how few reflections we could see on the screen despite its size (clearly there’s some clever filtering going on somewhere), and how sharp and detailed HD pictures look. Really big screens like the UE60D8000 are usually the best ones for highlighting HD’s quality versus standard definition, but Samsung’s new giant does even better than most king-sized rivals in this respect. In fact, it occasionally goes a touch far, to the point where edge-stressing and fizziness appear. But careful tweaking of the set’s sharpness settings - and turning off edge enhancement - can usually solve this.
We do have a couple of issues with the UE60D8000’s 2D pictures, though. First, the provided picture presets prove less than helpful, as they tend to push contrast and brightness too hard for comfort, leaving pictures looking noisy and tiring. Fortunately, it doesn’t take too much work to sort the presets out. But no amount of tinkering fully dealt with our other 2D UE60D8000 problem: inconsistent backlighting.
As soon as we heard about the UE60D8000 we’d been worried that this issue - where parts of dark images look slightly cloudy due to the screen not being able to achieve a consistent backlight - might trouble such a large edge-lit TV, and our worries prove at least slightly well founded.
For if you’re watching a dark movie scene on the UE60D8000 in a reasonably dark room - something many potential buyers would probably want to do fairly regularly - you can make out ‘jets’ of light sneaking a few inches into the picture from each corner.