The UE65JS9000 is one step down in Samsung’s 2015 TV range from the deliriously good but also scarily expensive UE65JS9500. Mercifully it costs far less than its flagship sibling, coming in at "just" £4000 versus the UE65JS9500’s £6000 – yet it still delivers Samsung’s new Tizen smart system, HDR (high dynamic range) picture support, a curved screen and a native 4K resolution. So can it really be £2000 worse than the admittedly wondrous UE65JS9500?
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While the UE65JS9000 is clearly from the same aesthetic stable as its costlier sibling, there are subtle differences. One is that the edges don’t angle sharply back towards the screen, meaning the design doesn’t ‘funnel’ you into the picture as much.
Oddly, the flatter look to the UE65JS9000’s frame also makes you feel more aware of the curvature of its screen. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – even people who have other objections to curved TVs would generally admit that they’re certainly attractive TV specimens.
The UE65JS9000’s frame is a little wider at the sides too – a result, perhaps, of the shift to edge LED lighting rather than direct LED lighting. The main aesthetic difference, though, is reserved for the TV’s rear, where the ultra-smooth finish of the JS9500s is replaced by a striking corrugated effect which might be cool if any of us actually spent time looking at our TV’s backsides.
The UE65JS9000 has two ‘hero’ features (or maybe three if you count the curved screen) – native 4K UHD resolution and HDR playback compatibility. The first finds it carrying a 3840 x 2160 pixel count delivering four times the resolution of normal high definition screens. The second finds it capable of playing back video content mastered to a high dynamic range standard – content which, in other words, contains a far wider luminance and colour range than the normal home video formats we’ve been stuck with for decades now.
Unfortunately there’s currently still not much native UHD and absolutely zero HDR content to enjoy. In fact, in HDR’s case there’s still not a fully agreed working standard. But both formats are on the up, especially as UHD Blu-rays will start to appear towards the end of this year. And both picture advances, to be clear, are hugely exciting based on our experience of them to date – including, as we’ll discover, our experience of them on this Samsung TV…
The UE65JS9000 supports its HDR playback with an extremely bright edge-lit panel capable of delivering a claimed 1000 Nits of brightness, and wide colour gamut technology courtesy of Samsung’s Nanocrystal technology. Derived from Quantum Dot technology, nanocrystal panels can produce as much as 93% of the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) colour space – far in excess of anything achievable using normal LCD panels.
While you will need to use a native HDR source to get the maximum impact from the UE65JS9000, it’s important to stress that the brightness and colour technologies it employs can also be used improve the appearance of normal non-HDR content.
The UE65JS9000 uses powerful processing (remarkably the set features an Octa-core processing chip at its heart) to convert HD and even standard definition sources to the screen’s 3840 x 2160 resolution. We’ll be looking at the quality of this upscaling in the Picture Quality section.
Other picture features of note include comprehensive control over all aspects of the picture's colour handling, white balance, and video processing systems – systems which include multiple noise reduction and motion processing options.
The UE65JS9000 joins the UE65JS9500 in sporting Samsung’s shiny new Tizen-based operating system. Looking strikingly similar to LG’s trend-setting Web OS, this does a far more effective job of streamlining the content-finding process than Samsung’s previous rather cumbersome Smart TV engine. It occasionally runs a touch sluggishly at the time of writing, and it still feels like a work in progress. For instance, there’s still no sign of Samsung’s recommendations system being integrated into the system. But updates appear to be happening almost weekly at the moment, so there’s no reason to doubt that Tizen will soon be as fully featured as Samsung’s previous smart engine.
One last massively attractive feature of the UE65JS9000 is its One Connect system. This places all the key connections onto an external box that connects to the TV via a single proprietary digital cable. And since this external box also contains all of the TV’s key processing and smart TV chipsets, you could upgrade your TV in the future with new One Connect boxes containing Samsung’s latest chipsets, smart features and even connection types should the push for HDR and UHD lead to current HDMI technology becoming inadequate.
One of our biggest concerns about the UE65JS9000’s screen specification was its combination of a super-bright HDR image with an edge LED lighting system. For while the UE65JS9500’s direct LED lighting system allowed for impressively localised control over its ultra-bright lighting, experience suggests that trying to distribute intense lighting evenly across a 65-inch screen from an edge-mounted LED array could be a challenge.
To some extent our concerns are justified, as if we tried to leave the backlight setting as high as we did with the UE65JS9500 dark scenes could suffer with quite noticeable backlight ‘clouds’, especially in the bottom right quadrant. The Movie picture preset, ironically, is a particularly bad offender in this respect. Our recommendation would be that you reduce the backlight to around its 13 or 14 level for dark room viewing, the contrast setting to around 85, and set the dynamic contrast setting to medium. With content containing particularly extreme contrast ranges you might need to reduce the backlight a little more.
Our other recommendations would be: turn off all noise reduction settings for HD and especially UHD content; use the motion processing on either its Clear setting or a custom mode with the blur and judder elements set to around their ‘three’ levels; and employ the Cinema Black system when watching films to reduce instances of distracting backlight clouding in the black bars you get above and below most films.