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Samsung UE65HU8500: 3D, Sound and Verdict

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

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Samsung UE65HU8500

Summary

Our Score:

10

User Score:

Samsung UE65HU8500: 3D Picture Quality

First impressions of the UE65HU8500’s 3D performance are a bit mixed. Using the default settings there’s some backlight clouding over dark scenes, and areas of highly contrasting detail – such as Bilbo’s writing on the parchment at the start of The Hobbit, and any distance shots over cities or landscapes – tend to suffer with a distracting glowing halo.

On the upside, though, the fact that you’re seeing a UHD 3D picture thanks to Samsung’s active 3D system rather than the mere full HD 3D picture you get on passive 3D UHD/4K TVs is immediately obvious. In fact, it’s almost too obvious, as the incredible amount of detail in the picture draws a bit too much attention to the tiny elements of the picture rather than letting you just become absorbed in the picture as a whole.

Happily it’s easy to sort out the UE65HU8500 slightly over-egged 3D preset simply by reducing the backlight and sharpness settings, as described in the set up section. Once you’ve done this it becomes much easier to appreciate the incredible pixel density, texture, clarity and curve-enhanced sense of depth in the 3D picture. For us UHD 3D continues to make us feel more immersed in the 3D world, despite it being largely created by upscaling.

There are traces of crosstalk in the UE65HU8500’s 3D pictures, but they’re actually surprisingly slight and subtle considering how bright 3D images look. What’s more, this brightness joins with a continuation of the stellar contrast performance noted with 2D footage to produce a gorgeous sense of depth and ‘layering’ in 3D scenes.

Samsung UE65HU8500

Samsung UE65HU8500: Sound Quality

Samsung has clearly worked very hard to boost the sound quality of its TVs for this year – as it needed to given the big advantage Sony racked up in the audio department in 2013.

The UE65HU8500 can go seriously loud without sounding the slightest bit cramped thanks to a much-expanded dynamic range, and the amount of bass the set can deliver is not only a vast improvement over previous Samsung TVs but some of the richest bass we’ve heard from any built-in TV speakers .

The result is a soundstage big enough, detailed enough, open enough and flexible enough to do justice to the quality and scale of the pictures the UE65HU8500 is producing. This is a significant achievement for a TV that uses down-firing speakers, and comes about through Samsung's introduction of a new longer duct system that gives the speakers much more room to operate in – something that’s especially useful for bass reproduction.

The push for bass occasionally goes a bit far, leaving some male voices sounding a touch muffled. Also, on our first test sample extended bass tones, such as the rumble behind the Dark Knight Rises menu screen, caused a distracting ‘fizzing’ noise from the chassis. However, we've now received a second sample that did not exhibit this audio flaw.

We suspect from demos we’ve had of the speakers in Sony’s upcoming ‘Wedge’ TVs that these may retain an audio edge for the Japanese brand. But that only detracts slightly from Samsung’s achievement here, and don’t forget that Sony’s audio results depend on your living room accommodating much more chassis real estate around the screen than you have with the Samsung set.

Other things to consider

Samsung UE65HU8500Unfortunately it remains the case that any review of a 4K/UHD TV has to talk about the continuing lack of readily available native UHD content. Due to the remarkable lethargy of the Blu-ray Association and the difficulties associated with streaming quality UHD content, we still find ourselves testing the UE65HU8500’s UHD capabilities with the same two hour or so demo reel we cobbled together for our 2013 4K/UHD TV tests.

However, some hope is on the horizon. Not least in the shape of Samsung’s own HD media server: a 1TB HDD pre-loaded with five UHD movies and with as many as 50 more being made available for free download in the course of 2014. At the time of launch – which we’re lead to believe is imminent – the five movies available will be World War Z, Wolverine, The Counsellor, Night At the Museum, and GI Joe: Retaliation.

Less exciting but still worthwhile is a UHD Zoo photo series available through the UE65HU8500’s Smart menus.

Netflix is set to launch a 4K streaming service in the UK at some point in 2014, and we live in perennial hope that Sky might suddenly drop a UHD broadcasting surprise on us before Christmas. And hey, maybe even the Blu-ray Association might have something to talk about by the time this year’s IFA show in Germany rolls round at the end of summer.

Still, it seems likely that you’re going to be very glad of the UE65HU8500’s outstanding HD upscaling capabilities for at least another year yet.

In our discussion of the UE65HU8500’s new Smart features, we left out one rather key item: Samsung’s new ‘smart’ remote control. Shipped alongside a more straightforward remote, the new handset is a remarkably flexible beast, supporting touchpad navigation, normal cursor button navigation and even, in a new move for Samsung, point and click operation.

It has to be said that all this functionality puts quite a lot of ergonomic strain on a very small bit of remote real estate. But over time it does start to become reasonably intuitive – especially once you start to figure out which control approach suits you best for different types of use.

We do still feel, though, that a trigger on the bottom side to activate the point and click system might have been a good idea.

Naturally the prospect of gaming on the UE65HU8500 mouthwatering – especially given the immersive qualities of its curved screen. So it’s slightly disappointing to find that input lag – even when using the TV’s Game mode – comes in at around 62ms on average. That’s around twice as high as we’d really like to see.

Samsung UE65HU8500

Should I buy a Samsung UE65HU8500?

It’s obviously (very) early days in the 2014 TV race, so it’s impossible to say yet how well the UHD (and curved) competition might shape up in the coming weeks and months. However, one thing that we can already say for absolute certain is that the UE65HU8500 sets a monumentally, high bar for the chasing pack to target.

Picture quality is sublime with both native UHD and upscaled content, and the new Smart engine delivers some very significant improvements to what was already the TV world’s most sophisticated Smart engine.

The ongoing shortage of native UHD content may mean you’ll need to factor in the cost of one of Samsung’s UHD servers on top of the £4,000 you’ll need for the TV, and we guess there’s still some potential for the curve to prove divisive. However regarding this latter point, having lived with a Samsung UE65HU8500 ourselves for the best part of a week, in both living room and test room conditions, our feeling is that precious few people will actually have real problems with the curve while many may actually experience tangible benefits from it.

Verdict

We thought last year’s Samsung UHD TVs were good, but the UE65HU8500 improves on them – often substantially – in practically every way. And it does so, moreover, while costing a cool £1,000 less than the equivalent set last year. A new 4K/UHD price war? Don't mind if we do...

Next, read more TV reviews or pick from our list of the 10 best TVs

Overall Score

10

Scores In Detail

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

flaca

March 21, 2014, 1:13 pm

Just out if interest, and for when I inevitably pull the trigger on one of these or similar, what were you using for an UHD source?

Noel Grundy

March 21, 2014, 1:44 pm

How do you work your scoring out? 10,9,9,9,8,8 So basically averaging 9. Overall score 10?

Prem Desai

March 21, 2014, 4:25 pm

Losing all faith in your scoring system. At best, it is inconsistent.

Looks at the cons. Look at the price. Rubbish viewing angle. On what planet does this score 10/10?????

Utter nonsense.

ruudboek

March 21, 2014, 6:22 pm

An input lag of 62 ms is way, way too high. It's just another UHD tv is that no good for gaming.
Very disappointing of Samsung.

John Archer

March 21, 2014, 6:54 pm

Hi Prem

Fraid there's been a gremlin here. The scores for value and sound should both have read 9; the sound one was left at 8 until we got a new sample today without the fizzing flaw noted on the original sample (even though we always suspected the fizzing was a 'one-off' problem). And the value score was a mistaken throwback to a point only a couple of days ago where we thought the TV was going to be priced at £5,000, not £4,000.

The marks have been changed now and this hopefully means the overall mark makes more sense to you.

One other point to add here is that we always consider 2D picture quality as the single most important aspect of any TV.

Hope this clears things up for you, and apologies for the confusion!

John Archer

March 21, 2014, 6:55 pm

Hi Noel

Please see my reply to Prem above.

Thanks!

Taz

March 21, 2014, 9:47 pm

Where is this available for £4k? I've only seen it advertised for £5k!,

nik

March 21, 2014, 10:00 pm

Not clear anything

Where laboratory tests?

3D is very important and is not clear anything!

The screen has a 4:4:4 color ?

What true contras ?

Motion resolution (max) ?

Motion
resolution (dejudder off) ?

andyvan

March 22, 2014, 6:20 am

Just want to confirm that. John told me to change them an I forgot. My bad!

Charles

March 22, 2014, 9:40 am

Currys are advertising this set as £1000 more than the competition.My local Hughes in Norwich has these sets on their system at £4000 and on line companies like Simply Electricals,AV Lounge,Spatial etc all have them for within £5 of £4000.

godafoss

March 23, 2014, 9:40 pm

Still as clear as mud how this TV got a 10/10 overall. It's clearly not perfect, not even close to perfect. It's poor value, how it rates a 9 is a joke, maybe a 6 would be generous, it's lag is woeful, the reflections caused by the curve are terrible and let's face this is jts a high priced gimmick to extract even more money from suckers, the remote looks like something off a $200 cheap Chinese knockoff. It's your typical Samsung, that always seems to have quality issues and come to Australia and see how they handle warranty issues. This a company that had a class action taken against them in the USA and despite making changes to policy their, made no changes in Australia.

Benzyl

March 24, 2014, 12:07 pm

Lets face it you are prepared to spend £2000 or more on a TV then why do you care about the sound on it?
Why don't they just make the sets without speakers just have Audio return on the connections!

momo

March 24, 2014, 2:54 pm

There is another review which has very poor performance measured in ANSI contrast. What could you say about it? Thank you very much and best regards.

Evan

March 24, 2014, 3:35 pm

Because many people don't like the idea of cluttering up their living space with soundbars or surround sound systems. Sony's take on actually providing decent sound on the likes of the KDL-55X9005A is interesting, works well and looks pretty good too in my opinion. It's a toss up between having lovely slim bezels like the Samsung or better sound without a separate set of speakers. It will depend on personal preference.

torjs99

March 25, 2014, 10:51 pm

the only reason for buying a bent tv is to sort out keystone issues in an adsa carpark bought camcorder pirate, thou if you got 4k you could buy the bluray

anton

March 26, 2014, 8:18 am

It is confirmed that the ANSI contrast is not as good: 1,036:1. Much poorer than in the lower range models. Inexplicable.

gedgetdisqusser

March 29, 2014, 9:01 pm

Clouding here ...clouding there... No thanx ....

simon sazdov

March 31, 2014, 2:23 pm

Wasn`t this model supposed to be a flat uhd tv? And if not, what is the model for that one?

Andrew Nicholson

April 2, 2014, 7:57 am

May I ask if you tested the TV with a PS4 and how the games looked upscaled (regardless of the input lag)?

Patrik Gårdewall

April 4, 2014, 2:12 pm

Clouding? Im not supprised :)
Samsung had it already in 2009 with its LED TVs.
The Amateur Techs at Samsung must be idiots.
They should have solved it by now

As for the ANSI contrast haha
What a joke!
My Pioneer Kuro from 2008 has 41000:1 in ANSI contrast.
Thats what im talking about.

Patrik Gårdewall

April 4, 2014, 2:13 pm

Compare it to my modified Kuro at 41000:1 ANSI Contrast and you can see that time is standing still for the LED LCD tvs

Patrik Gårdewall

April 4, 2014, 2:23 pm

Right.
And what about rec2020 Gamut that all 4K tvs should have as it is the new standard.
Is it still the washed out low color SRGB Gamut here?

andyvan

April 8, 2014, 2:33 pm

Just further to the points above, our scores are not based on averages. From our scores guide: http://www.trustedreviews.com/...

"10 - ExceptionalA score of 10 indicates that the product sets the benchmark, or reference, from which to judge other products. Only the very best products need apply and TrustedReviews evaluates every 10/10 very carefully. Any product that scores 10/10 overall must be approved by the Editor and is awarded the TrustedReviews Editor's Choice award.

The key thing to remember about a 10/10 product is that it doesn't mean it's perfect. There's no such thing as a perfect product. What a 10/10 will do, however, is reset our expectations of other products in that category. For example, the Motorola Moto G is the only phone we gave a 10/10 to in 2013 because it was head and shoulders above any other 'cheap' phone.

Ton

April 18, 2014, 2:08 pm

thats the 7500 model, quite a bit cheaper, but with most of this ones features

simon sazdov

April 18, 2014, 3:58 pm

Thanks for the info.

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