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Samsung UE65JS9500 review

John Archer

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Samsung UE65JS9500
  • Samsung UE65JS9500
  • Samsung UE65JS9500
  • Samsung UE65JS9500
  • Samsung UE65JS9500
  • Samsung UE65JS9500
  • Samsung UE65JS9500
  • Samsung UE65JS9500
  • Samsung UE65JS9500
  • Samsung UE65JS9500

Summary

Our Score:

10

Pros

  • Incredible HDR picture quality
  • Tizen OS is slick and helpful
  • Upgradable connectivity and processors

Cons

  • It's not cheap
  • Native UHD and especially HDR content in short supply
  • The curve won't suit everyone

Key Features

  • 65-inch LCD TV with direct LED lighting and local dimming
  • Native UHD/4K resolution
  • High Dynamic Range playback
  • Nanocrystal (Quantum Dot) colour technology
  • Tizen-based Smart TV engine
  • Manufacturer: Samsung
  • Review Price: £5,999.99

What is the Samsung UE65JS9500?

It’s become pretty much customary now for Samsung to try and set the TV pace every year by being first to market with its new flagship TV. And the Korean company has thrown everything at the 65-inch Super UHD UE65JS9500 – it has HDR (high dynamic range) playback, native 4K/UHD resolution, a Nanocrystal colour system, a curved screen and the new Tizen Smart TV system.

The pace it sets is so extreme that we’re hearing reports of grown cheetahs crying. Let's see if it ends up a winner or if it outpaces itself...

SEE ALSO: What is 4K/UHD?

Samsung UE65JS9500 – Design and Features

Aesthetically the UE65JS9500 is a bold move in a number of ways. Particularly striking is the way it consciously bucks the trend for ultra-thinness. The rear is the chunkiest we’ve seen from a premium Samsung TV in years, with its central portion even approaching the depth of last year’s hefty Sony wedge TVs.

Samsung UA65JS9500

You don’t notice this depth when you’re watching from the front, though, so while the chamfered metallic bezel is also slightly wider than those wrapped around many of today’s screens, you certainly can’t accuse of it taking over an unreasonable amount of your living room.

The bezel is keener than most modern examples to make its presence felt, though. As well as boasting that gleaming metallic finish, it stands some distance proud of the screen at its edges and angles back towards the display. This creates quite a severe, angular effect in stark contrast to both the gentle curvature of the screen and the boomerang shape of the physics-defying silver stand.

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The main issue with the design is that the angled bezel can distractingly catch any strong light sources in your room – especially if you have ceiling lights. Plus, of course, some people will not like the fact that the UE65JS9500’s screen is curved…

We’re not going to get into all the pros and cons of curved screens here, as we’ve done it all before in a separate feature. But you should know that if you want the highest level of picture performance from a Samsung TV this year, you’ll need to get the UE65JS9500, curves and all. There’s not going to be a flat equivalent. Though if it helps we can say right away that one of the biggest problems with curved TVs – distorted onscreen reflections – is certainly greatly reduced on the 65JS9500 versus last year’s models. More on this later.

After what felt like a relatively small evolution with its 2014 TV range, Samsung has pulled out all the feature stops for the JS9500 series – also available in 78-inch and 88-inch sizes – to deliver a genuinely huge leap forward.

The undoubted star of the show is its high dynamic range capability, which is a way of filming and then showing content that delivers a much wider luminance range, with brighter whites, deeper blacks, and a far more extensive greyscale and colour range in between.

Demos of HDR have consistently looked remarkable, so even though there’s still a debate over the best industry standard for HDR in the living room, we’re hugely excited to be able to experience it already on the first TV of 2015. It’s interesting to note, too, that while other brands are hinting at HDR compatibility with their 2015 flagship TVs, no other brand has formally confirmed it – at least not for any models with a fairly imminent launch date. So it could be that Samsung opens up quite a lead over its rivals in HDR terms.

SEE ALSO: What is HDR TV?

To deliver on its HDR promise, the UE65JS9500 claims a huge native brightness output of 1000 nits – versus a typical 300-500 nits – and claims to be able to deliver up to 93 per cent of the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) colour range you see at commercial cinemas.

How has Samsung achieved this? First it’s developed a new proprietary nanocrystal take on Quantum Dot colour technology. Second, it’s developed a new 10-bit – versus the normal 8-bit – panel with high light transmittance capabilities. Third, it’s employed a new type of light source, which in the JS9500’s case is positioned directly behind the screen and driven by local dimming for enhanced contrast. And finally it’s developed a new processing engine focused on optimising the new Quantum colour engine, better controlling the lights and darks in the HDR image range, and being cleverer about recognising and then accurately dealing with different types of picture content.

It also, of course, has the processing knowhow to both recognise HDR content when it’s fed in, and potentially "scale" that HDR to fit its screen’s parameters and capabilities. Arguably even more importantly, given that HDR content is currently non-existent to consumers, is that the UE65JS9500 has the processing power to upgrade non-HDR content to fit with the expanded brightness and colour range its panel can deliver.

This is potentially as controversial as it is intriguing, with a certain type of videophile likely arguing that they want to see things that look faithful to the format they were created in – usually the Rec 709 image standard – rather than material that’s gone through some sort of "expansion processing". But fear not; if that sounds like you, there's a setting on the TV that lets you see images accurate to the Rec 709 standard. Our experience, though, has been that once you’ve seen anything "HDR'd", going back to a standard that was developed for CRTs decades ago feels almost painful.

Returning briefly to the current lack of native HDR content, there is some good news in that Netflix is now mastering most, if not all, of its home-grown shows in HDR, and intends to start streaming them this year. Samsung is in discussions with Netflix to nail down the specifics of how this HDR streaming will happen, but it assures us that the 65JS9500 will be able to handle the HDR streams when they go live.

We also wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung launched some sort of HDR Video Pack, like the UHD Video Pack launched for its 4K TVs last year – especially as it’s already able to provide HDR showcase reels for The Life Of Pi and Exodus.

Inevitably the UE65JS95000 sports a native UHD (aka 4K) pixel count of 3840 x 2160, to deliver four times HD levels of detail. And Samsung claims to have improved the quality of its 4K upscaling engine from last year’s already high level.

SEE ALSO: What are quantum dots?

As for the curved screen, it features seemingly the same degree of curvature that Samsung was using last year, though the brand claims to have enhanced the depth enhancement processing it applies to images to make them more suited to a curved environment.

This processing, too, could be a source of controversy, given that you can’t turn it off. But at least Samsung has genuinely improved the way it works, as we’ll cover later.

Yet another key feature of the UE65JS9500 is its new powered-by-Tizen Smart TV engine. As usual we’ll be covering this in depth in a separate article, but here’s a flavour of it to keep you going until then.

Powered, along with the video processing, by a new Octa Core brain, the new Smart engine represents a substantial shift from last year’s content-rich but long-winded and sometimes confusing system, delivering a much more friendly, stripped down and useful experience. Most of the Smart menus are now overlaid on a relatively small part of the image, so they don’t disrupt your viewing, and they’re much more focused on getting you faster to the content you want. A huge part of this involves treating everything – including individual TV channels and each input – as its own app, so that they can populate a Recently Watched list that pops up as soon as you hit the Smart TV button.

Samsung UA65JS9500

It’s all pretty reminiscent of the LG webOS system, to be honest, but this is no bad thing. And Samsung has introduced a few neat ideas of its own, including icons that crop up in the centre of each side of the screen when using gesture control or the remote’s point-and-click function as shortcuts to volume control, setup menu access, Smart menu access and channel shifting/EPG access.

One final thing worth stressing about Tizen – indeed, arguably its biggest selling point – is the way it claims to hugely simplify integration with your Smart devices, to the point where if you have a Samsung phone from the S4/Note 3 onwards the TV will detect that phone’s presence as soon as it enters the room, and automatically establish communications with it. The feature wasn’t ready in time for this review, but it’s safe to say that when it’s working, removing the usual manual labour from such connectivity will make it much more likely that you'll engage with second-screen features such as video sharing between devices.

The last key feature of the UE65JS9500 we need to cover is its connectivity. As with the past couple of generations of Samsung’s high-end TVs, the 65JS9500 ships with an external One Connect device containing all of its sockets. These include four USB ports and four HDMIs, but the most important point about using an external connections box – which also houses the TV’s brains – is that it can be replaced with an updated model as new chipsets and even, potentially, new connections become available.

Samsung UA65JS9500

This is a potentially very significant feature. After all, we’ve already seen a recent shift from HDMI 1.4 to HDMI 2.0 to support UHD at 50/60Hz, and there’s plenty of talk of a second wave of UHD quality requiring yet another connection upgrade in the next two to three years. So offering an easily upgradable connections system is a great future proof touch that we’re frankly surprised other brands haven’t started to copy.

Samsung UE65JS9500 – Setup

First, some really great news: the 65JS9500 is much more forgiving in picture setup terms than previous Samsung TVs. In fact, while once again we find ourselves wishing Samsung would include more preset options than four – plus a hidden game one – the Standard preset is now pretty usable without you having to make wholesale changes to it.

That said, there are a few settings we’d suggest you invest time in to really optimise things. First, turn off all noise reduction systems for UHD, and arguably even HD, sources. Drop the contrast level to between 85 and 90 from the 100 preset level. Set the Dynamic Contrast to Medium or even, at a push, High – the new panel design supports and even relishes this in a way the previous generation of panels never could. Leave the Black Tone feature off – you just don’t need it, and it can suppress shadow detail – and make sure you track down the Game preset in the General submenu of the Systems menu when gaming.

Finally we’d recommend that you set up a custom mode for the Auto Motion Plus processing that sets the Blur and Judder reduction elements to around 4 each.

Even if you do precisely none of these changes, though, the UE65JS9500’s pictures will instantly have your mouth hanging open in awe. Especially if you’ve managed to secure some native HDR content.

toboev

February 23, 2015, 1:01 pm

"You don’t notice this depth when you’re watching from the front..."
Yea, kudos for that refreshingly honest comment. I just hate it when manufacturers are whipped along by crass reviews castigating them for things no one else notices or cares about (until they read too many reviews...) to the point where they have to chase the irrelevant.

LeeTronix

February 23, 2015, 2:09 pm

I am not against technology but the costs they charge are stupid and absolutely ridiculous and a picture quality that is in a development work in progress phase, well still to be asking people waste silly money is greedy.

Edmund Holler

February 23, 2015, 8:08 pm

Thanks for the review, but how is it possible that your colleagues from hdtvtest measured a 21 ms input lag (Leo Bodnar)? Unless you measured PC Mode? Oh, and did you have the TV in your own test lab or was that a model that Samsung let you test in their own premises?

John Smith

February 23, 2015, 11:54 pm

How does this compare to the picture quality of an OLED though?

jimv1983

February 24, 2015, 12:38 am

"Samsung’s motion processing could still be improved too, we feel. There’s a little judder without any motion processing in play – especially during 3D viewing – and while the motion processing can fix this, it’s difficult to find a setting which delivers an absolutely perfect balance between motion clarity and unwanted processing side effects."

This is the biggest thing pushing me to by a LG OLED over the new Samsung. The blacks and colors of OLED are pretty convincing too.

Mar1ne

February 24, 2015, 3:15 am

Do you know how much they have to pay engineers and computer experts to design these? Do you realize how much money they spend simply on research and design? Neither of these take into account the cost of materials, machines, and general workers. Having said all of that they are still making a profit, but not as much as you would think. Besides, there are many of us that are very willing to spend our hard earned money on these beautiful creations!!

LeeTronix

February 24, 2015, 3:28 am

It is good to exchange opinions and actually I understand this all too well which is why I made that comment. I suppose I could of been more strategic about it but decided to simplify thoughts and delve into cost accounting and share profit over negative investments etc.

I also believe that beauty should not come at a premium cost but should part of any design and process. That said if you look at a company like Naim Audio then your not buying beauty but you buy superb quality and solid tech. Anyway glad you enjoy spending on these things, I have no problem with that and yes there are many who do buy into this :-)

Mar1ne

February 24, 2015, 3:41 am

Believe me I wish they didn't cost this much. Honestly I wish I could afford the 88", but I could not in my wildest dreams. My ex-wife and I raised four kids in a trailer in Muskogee, Oklahoma. I know how much I wanted a big screen TV back then, but I couldn't afford a 32" tube tv. For that reason, I hate they they price them so high.

Unfortunately, there a enough people that can afford it and are willing to pay this much, otherwise they wouldn't be able to charge this much. I really wonder if the flagship TV's are really worth the extra money that they charge over their lower models. Yeah, I know they do say they have a bunch of extra features, but I question how much they increase PQ and how much it really costs to add those features.

I like to exchange opinions as well. I hope I didn't come off as a jerk with the way I replied. Although my ex-wife would tell you, and I would agree, I am often a jerk. It is good to exchange ideas though. While it doesn't always change someone else's thinking it does often challenge their thinking. Now having said that, I sure wish everyone just thought the way I do, or at least do what I say. It would make this journey so much easier. ;)

ray

February 24, 2015, 3:47 am

overall would this tv be considered "better" than the top plasmas from a few years ago?

Matthew Bunton

February 24, 2015, 2:56 pm

So is this finally a tv to beat the Pioneer Kuro's?

TheBusterMan

February 24, 2015, 3:16 pm

Poor input lag for gamers.

LeeTronix

February 24, 2015, 4:07 pm

I do agree with what your saying and when a flagship TV is released its only a flagship for a short period. Its a bit like printers, the tech is the same underneath but the outside looks different.
For example if you buy a B&O TV it will be a philips screen inside with super high price. The other thing is they all hire each others patents of each other and often will cost virtually nothing on production but will pay back a share of the sales instead so its a lose lose for the consumer and a win win for them!
Ps. I have a similar problem according to my wife as well hehehe...

Patrik Gårdewall

February 24, 2015, 8:28 pm

i just read the other review over at hdtvtest.co.uk and judging by the specs and the great calibration results it will come close.
But im sure the Kuro will still stay on top as for microcontrast.
its still an FALD TV you have here.

with blacks close to 0 with "Smart LED" set to Low or Standard and with no issues like the current OLEDs has like low motion resolution/color tints/high ABL dimming/bad near black uniformity/broken calibration settings i cant see any reason for it to not comre closer to the Kuro than the current OLED tvs does.
also the usual problem with FALD seems to be gone here with no Blooming or Haloes in the picture.

Where it will stay behind is with microcontrast.
its a huge difference between 154? dimming zones and 2073600 as the Kuro has ;)
No FALD LCD has ever as i know came up to the same level for microcontrast as the Kuro has.
they all have a small haze to the picture from its native higher MLL.
not even the current OLED tvs can beat the Kuro for microcontrast (probably due to the wrgb colorfilter)

the problem with FALD is that even if the blacks can go down to 0 the native blacklevel is much higher around 0.05Y as it is here.
and its from 0.05Y the colors starts.

remember the old Pioneer statement.
Black is the canvas (still true to this day)
its from there you build the image.
with 0.05Y as the native blacklevel you lost alot of contrast and gradings in the colors that should have been there if the blacks where lower.

in other words you lost the last punch in the colors with this tv.
you will get 0 blacks but the colors will remain at the regular LCD LED level.

for colors to look real they must start from 0 and they are not doing it here.

Examples of how a LG Infinia FALD tv compares to a Kuro.

FALD
http://privat.bahnhof.se/wb192...

KURO
http://privat.bahnhof.se/wb192...

FALD
http://privat.bahnhof.se/wb192...

KURO
http://privat.bahnhof.se/wb192...

http://privat.bahnhof.se/wb192...

but i think that when HDR content arrives and its set up properly it will be a big step forward for any tv.
Kuro or not

John Hansen

February 25, 2015, 4:36 am

It is just a normal poor Slamsung LCD panel (LCD=when you have seen one LCD-TV, you have seen them all) B&O put inside, and NOT Philips (not that it would have made them better) It was back in the old CRT days B&O used Philips !
P.s. Samsung is the biggest marketing scam company (yes Sony go home to 1980) in this century - and people on planet earth swallow it all (also (un)trustedreviews, but if I, was to get a TV for free, for writing positive bullshit - I would properly do the same !)

John Hansen

February 25, 2015, 4:44 am

They get paid to write bull.......Samsung is just big box marketing scam

dag

February 25, 2015, 7:32 am

this one is actually pretty good, only 21.4 ms in game mode, lower than all other uhd sets on the market

LeeTronix

February 25, 2015, 1:31 pm

Ah interesting and thanks for the update. I knew it use to be Philips but I didn't know they now use samsouless rubbish ehem samsung! Either way I am sick of being ripped off with all this.

LeeTronix

February 25, 2015, 1:32 pm

Well said, I am guessing you will not receive a reply some how!

LeeTronix

February 25, 2015, 1:37 pm

The thing is Samsung do not make well built equipment whether phones, TV, computers etc, they use below to average components and charge high prices or ridiculous prices in certain cases.
I do think particularly on their mobile devices ie phones/tablets their screens are excellent no doubt, but the TV market is a different case.
I think there are far better screens out there generally than Samsung, I would wage any Panasonic screen any day against a Samsung in my opinion of course.

LeeTronix

February 25, 2015, 1:40 pm

I agree and to add to your point there are far more TV models around with literally vast multiples being produced just from one manufacturer let alone all of them as a collective. So these reviews need to be far more involved and detailed.

LeeTronix

February 25, 2015, 3:19 pm

Hmm it is well noted but they still use cheap materials. Putting a very thin layer of a metal around the edge still does not qualify as top notch. I own a note edge and a blackberry passport and while the edge is constructed well with the screen the actual build is just nothing compared to the build quality of the passport as an example. I think there is major difference between a nice look and the use of quality and build quality. At the end of the day it's a matter of opinion and equally important consumer choice. For sure though I believe the build quality of gear today is no way as good as it use to be in the days of years long past.

Jacob Geertsen

February 25, 2015, 9:25 pm

:-) B&O / Bang & Olufsen is known for s..., in Denmark where I am , and B&O has been made since the 1950 as the biggest Hans Christian Andersson fairytale called "kejserens nye klæder" - Translated to "the empires new clothes" = The empire (like north Korea Kim Il-sung) tells his "people" that he wears very fine clothes, but actually he is naked (but people believe he has very expensive clothes on, until a boy says "but he is not wearing anything"???) Just like Bang & Olufsen - It is all fake and old electronics like you said :-) HAHA, that shows how people are getting fouled every day - And somehow they like it and love it - very funny (sad) world

Matthew Bunton

February 26, 2015, 1:50 pm

Lol you really are into all this aren't you. You lost me at paragraph 3.

Patrik Gårdewall

February 26, 2015, 2:11 pm

nah not really.

paragraph 3
2073600 is the number of individual controlled pixels which have the same purpose as the 154 dimming zones has.
=control of contrast.

see it as a difference in resolution for both details and microcontrast.

you cant get the same small details on a 154 pixels display as you can on a display with 2073600 pixels right.

LCD tvs doesnt have self illuminated pixels so you need backlight to control it.
154 zones cant control light down to pixel level.
you get lower microcontrast and a more washed out image with a haze all over it.

as you can see from the comparison pictures its like removing a filter when you compare it to the Kuro.

Matthew Bunton

February 26, 2015, 2:25 pm

You missed my point, I understood what you wrote I was merely trying to infer that perhaps were going a little to technical ie. more than necessary.

But thanks for the info.

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