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Samsung UE65F9000 review

John Archer

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Reviewed:

Awards

  • Editors choice

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Samsung UE65F9000
  • Samsung UE65F9000
  • Samsung UE65F9000
  • Samsung UE65F9000
  • Samsung UE65F9000
  • Samsung UE65F9000
  • Samsung UE65F9000
  • Samsung UE65F9000
  • Samsung UE65F9000
  • Samsung UE65F9000
  • Samsung UE65F9000

Summary

Our Score:

10

Pros

  • Spectacular UHD picture quality
  • Excellent HD upscaling
  • Huge array of video streaming services available

Cons

  • Audio is only average
  • Smart features can be confusing at first
  • Care needed with picture settings to get the best results

Key Features

  • 65-inch UHD TV
  • Edge LED lighting with local dimming
  • Active 3D playback (2 pairs of glasses included)
  • Smart TV online system
  • multimedia playback via USB and DLNA
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £4,999.00

What is the Samsung UE65F9000?

The 65-inch UE65F9000 is Samsung’s biggest ‘mainstream’ Ultra High Definition TV to date (assuming you’re not lucky enough to consider the brand’s £35,000 UE85S9 to be mainstream!). This means it should provide the perfect forum for showing off the picture quality benefits of the higher resolution format. Or for highlighting any potential flaws it might have…

Samsung UE65F9000: Design and Features

Considering what a cutting-edge TV it is, the UE65F9000 is just a touch ‘normal’ looking by Samsung’s usual mouthwatering standards. It’s still attractive enough – not least because it manages to support 65 inches of screen inside a bezel only slightly wider than 1cm across. But personally we slightly prefer the looks of Samsung’s F7000 and F8000 Full HD TVs.

Samsung UE65F9000

The UE65F9000’s rear features startlingly few connections. But don’t worry; this is only because the vast majority of its jacks are found on an external box. This approach means you only have to have one video cable going into the screen – handy if you’re thinking of wall-hanging the set. But more importantly it also provides Samsung with a way of upgrading its TV (by replacing the external box) with both future Smart TV systems and potential future UHD input systems.

These will include, of course, the recently announced HDMI 2.0 standard, with its support for 60Hz UHD picture feeds (current HDMI jacks can only handle UHD up to 30 frames per second unless they compromise in other areas, such as colour fidelity).

In essence, then, the UE65F9000’s external connections box replaces the Smart Evolution Kit boxes available for Samsung E7000, E8000, F7000 and F8000 TVs. There’s not yet any pricing information on how much replacement connection boxes might cost when they become available, but the main point at this stage in the UHD game is that Samsung has a clearer and more flexible upgrade path than any other manufacturer we’ve seen to date, and that can only be a good thing when you’re spending £5,000 on a TV.

Samsung UE65F9000

Four paragraphs into this section of the review, and we still haven’t focussed properly on the single most important feature of the UE65F9000: its UHD resolution. This means it carries 3840x2160 pixels instead of the usual full HD 1920x1080 resolution, delivering four times as much picture information. Native UHD/4K sources are currently very hard to come by, it has to be said, but they’re coming. And in the meantime the set can upscale current HD and even standard definition sources to its UHD resolution.

If you’ve read our previous reviews of UHD/4K TVs, you’ll know that they’re capable of having a transformational effect on 3D as well as 2D pictures. With the UE65F9000 this effect should be particularly interesting, since Samsung’s preference for the Active 3D format means the set will have to upscale 3D Blu-rays to a UHD resolution. Rival UHD TVs that use the passive 3D format use their extra resolution instead to make sure you get to see all 1080 lines of a 3D Blu-ray picture.

Backing up the UE65F9000’s UHD resolution are an impressive sounding 1000Hz-emulating motion driving engine, propelled by a native 200Hz panel.

Also promising is the set’s local dimming technology, whereby sectors of the edge LED lighting system can have their brightness controlled individually to boost contrast. Given how impressive the contrast performance of Samsung’s F8000 TVs was without using local dimming, we can’t wait to see what the locally dimmed UE65F9000 can do with our favourite dark movie scenes.

Inevitably the UE65F9000 is equipped with Samsung’s latest content-rich and sophisticated Samsung Smart TV system. Particular highlights of this are the class-leading amount of streaming video services available (including LoveFilm, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD, Demand 5, BlinkBox and Know How Movies) and a recommendations system based around an analysis of your viewing habits.

Samsung UE65F9000

The set can also stream a wide variety of photo, video and music files from networked DLNA computers, and thanks to built-in cameras and a microphone in the touchpad remote control Samsung supplies with the TV you can also operate the TV by waving your hands about or issuing instructions vocally.

We’ll look at these alternative control methods in the Other Points To Consider section later – or you can check out our in-depth look at Samsung’s 2013 Smart TV offering in this earlier feature.

Samsung UE65F9000: Ideal Settings and Set Up

As you would expect of a set as high-end and cutting edge as the UE65F9000, it carries a huge suite of picture calibration tools – easily enough to keep any professional installer happy, despite Samsung not having pursued an official endorsement for the set from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF).

The only slight surprise about the many picture set up tools is that they don’t include anything specifically devoted to the set’s UHD resolution. Sony and Toshiba have both provided picture tweaks dedicated specifically to their 4K upscaling capabilities, but Samsung just provides the same tweaks you would get on one of its high-end full HD sets.

In truth, though, this isn’t as problematic as it may sound, for we didn’t have much trouble at all in using the provided toolset to get outstanding native and upscaled 4K pictures from the set.

Samsung UE65F9000

We were really pleased during set up, too, to find that Samsung has provided a couple of presets – the Standard default one and a Movie one – which show a keen appreciation for the main picture quality concerns (noise levels and colour levels) that most interest your average home cinephile.

If you really want to mine every last drop of quality out of the screen, though, there are a few manual tweaks you might want to play with. The sharpness tool has the single biggest impact on the balance between noise and detail in upscaled UHD pictures. We personally wouldn’t have this set higher than 20-25, but you could perhaps push it higher if your viewing position is a particularly long way from the screen.

We’d recommend only using the local dimming engine on its lowest power setting to minimise the opportunity for spotting light ‘blocks’ around bright objects, and the dynamic contrast functionality should also only be used on its lowest level – if at all – to prevent the image becoming unstable and flickery during dark scenes.

We’d also urge caution with the set’s Motion Plus processing. Personally we preferred to leave the feature off when watching 2D Blu-rays, and while we did use it for 3D, we still only did so on either its relatively low-powered Clear setting or on a manual setting with judder and blur cancellation both set to around their three levels.

Finally we would strongly recommend reducing the set’s backlight output to below 10 if you’re watching in a dark room, to avoid backlight clouding.

Prem Desai

October 15, 2013, 9:52 am

10/10 for a set costing 5 grand with only average audio?

Come on guys - you're giving these away too easily.

Additionally, this and other 4k sets are too early - they need to have hdmi 2 connections to exploit the 4k side of things.

Samsung has been smart in this case by keeping the connections in an external box. But I have been stung by this approach twice previously. Firstly, the new upgraded box on its own will be very hard to buy. Second, the price will be extortionate.

Better to wait for the 'proper' version to be released.

torjs99

October 15, 2013, 2:35 pm

any cons then thats a nine. especially when its lcd and costs five grand

smx

October 15, 2013, 3:18 pm

@Prem Desai
the person, who is buying tv for 5 grand doesn't care for sound at all, 'cause he has separate sound system. I have much cheaper samsung 52", but have and stand alone speakers and receivers

dpanch_89

October 15, 2013, 9:10 pm

i dont know why they bother putting speakers on tvs of this size. Chances are it will be used with a separate sound system.

Tase

October 16, 2013, 6:13 am

I was told by a Samsung employee recently that the upgrade box will cost in the region of £200

andyvan

October 16, 2013, 7:45 am

Yes, that's right. We've actually reviewed it here: http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

Mike G

October 16, 2013, 9:57 pm

10/10 for a tv that shows the usual LED traits of clouding and no doubt the black level performance (the single most important aspect of picture quality) will be no where near as good as the best plasmas???

Please justify the 10/10 score for 2D picture quality with these two factors!

John Heron

April 22, 2014, 8:23 am

I bought one of these TV's. Prices in Australia have plummeted to about $4000 now. It's a terrible TV in my opinion. I've only owned it for a month and have had nothing but trouble. It's very confusing to set up the "smart TV' interface and add apps or change regions etc. There's constant notifications that appear on the screen that can't be turned off and spoil viewing. It constantly drops the internet connection both wifi and wired. Calls to Samsung to send a technician to fix it are fobbed off. Looks like I have to resort to legal action to get my money back.

Andrew White

June 4, 2014, 1:47 pm

Set up with Sony's surround sound and just brillant. Upscales really well, in fact it's mind blowing.
In Australia I bought this TV at $5850, which is a steal when a month ago it was $6999.
Could not be more impressed. Recommend you purchase, because $13,000 (100") devices are not as good.... seriously.
There is so much cutting edge tech in this device that it really does beg the question.....why invest more money in any thing else.

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