Heading into the UE55C9000’s extremely pretty onscreen menus, there are plenty of tools to help you calibrate the picture to suit your tastes – as you would expect on such a large, premium TV. You can adjust the black tone, the extremity of the dynamic contrast system, the extent to which the TV pushes shadow detail, the picture’s gamma level, Wide or Native colour space settings, a flesh tone adjustment, an edge enhancement tool, and last but certainly not least, Samsung’s LED Motion Plus system. This uses processing to reduce judder and blur from the picture, and helpfully features a series of preset ‘strengths’ (including our preferred Clear mode), as well as allowing you to tweak the relative strength it applies to its separate judder and blur components.
Other bits and bobs worth knowing about the UE55C9000 are that the technology driving the extraordinarily thin screen is, of course, edge LED, with a full HD resolution. And its 3D technology is, as you’d expect, the ‘premium’ active shutter, full HD system.
One rather key thing we’ve not mentioned about the UE55C9000 yet is that it also breaks new ground with its remote control. In fact, it comes with two remotes: one cute but simple pebble style one that just gives you access to volume and channel adjustments, and an anything-but-simple touchscreen remote, with full colour display and Wi-Fi connection to the TV.
This ability to ‘talk’ with the TV allows you to enjoy a rather cool trick, whereby you can watch pictures from the TV on the remote. In fact, you can watch one channel on the remote and another on the TV! The decently large, clean screen also ‘does an iPhone’, in that the picture rotates automatically if you turn the remote on its side.
The remote can even ‘learn’ the controls from your other remotes, and lets you set simple macros, where a single button press kicks off a series of pre-programmed control signals.
Sounds good, right? Pity, then, that it’s a real chore to use. It’s painfully easy to select the wrong onscreen ‘button’, as they’re often crammed very close together, and it’s often difficult to recall exactly where you’re supposed to go to find the option you want. We actually found ourselves turning fairly quickly to the remote control of a Samsung C7000 model we had lying around!
The 55C9000 gets back on track with its 2D picture quality, however. We’d been worried that the set’s extraordinary slimness must inevitably lead to picture quality compromises, but this really isn’t the case – or at least, not as much as we’d feared.
Colours, for a start, are impressive, combining excellent saturations and vividness with some natural tones. What’s particularly good about this is that you can get a surprisingly natural colour response without having to spend much time calibrating the TV; just avoid the dynamic preset, and make sure the colour temperature is set to Normal or Warm. Actually, this is just as well given that Samsung hasn’t pursued endorsements from either the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) or THX – something that might have been nice with a TV as high-end as this.
Also impressive about the UE55C9000’s 2D pictures is how sharp they look. The vast size of the screen lets you fully appreciate the extra detail, clarity, texture and sharpness of good quality HD sources – especially as there’s gratifyingly little trouble with LCD’s usual motion blur problem.
The blur is particularly reduced if you employ Samsung’s LED Motion Plus system, though this isn’t a feature we’d necessarily recommend using for much of the time. It tends to generate some obvious processing side effects, including the classic ‘disappearing ball’ phenomenon when watching tennis or cricket. The Clear setting is the only Motion Plus setting we’d personally use, as anything more potent also produces flickering and haloing artefacts.