If you're not a fan of Samsung's One Connect box, this could be the TV for you
What is the Samsung UE55HU8200?
There might not be much in the way of native 4K content at the moment but that certainly hasn't stopped manufacturers like Samsung from releasing a wide range of Ultra HD TVs.We already seen their flagship model, the curved HU8500, in two screen sizes - 55 inches and 65 inches. We've also had a look at their lower tier model, the flat screen HU7500. The 55-inch HU8500 is £2,699, whilst the similarly sized HU7500 costs £2,000. Now we've got the mid-range UE55HU8200, which costs £2,499 and appears to offer most of the features found on the flagship model. The only major difference is that there's no One Connect box on the HU8200 which, depending on your point of view, may or may not be an issue. Personally we're big fans of the One Connect box but we also know there are others who are less smitten and would prefer all the connections to be included on the UHD TV itself.The smart platform on the 55HU8200 can still be upgraded using the evolution kit slot at the rear of the panel but should there be a version of HDMI higher than 2.0, upgrading the HU8200 won't be as easy as the HU8500, where all you do is switch out the One Connect box. Aside from that it's business as usual with a gorgeous curved chassis and stand, plenty of connections, a comprehensive Smart TV platform, two remote controls and two pairs of active shutter 3D glasses. There's also HDCP 2.2 and HEVC decoding, so if you've got enough bandwidth you can take advantage of the limited programming currently available on Netflix 4K. So is it worth dropping the One Connect box to save £200? Let's see...
Design and ConnectionsAs far as the design of the HU8200 goes, it basically follows the HU8500, with the same attractive curved screen and 'Aero Curve' stand. The build quality is excellent with plenty of metal being used and a solid, well engineered feel overall. The screen is surrounded by a 1cm wide black bezel and there's a sliver strip around the outside edge.
There's an indicator light at the centre bottom, that can thankfully be turned off. At the right rear is a small control joystick, whilst in the middle is the two-pin power cable connector and on the left are the connections. There's no built-in camera but the HU8200 can be wall mounted using the included spacers.
The HU8200 is yet another winner from Samsung's design team.
In terms of connections there are four HDMI 2.0 inputs, which include support for HCDP 2.2, HEVC Codec, 3D, ARC and MHL 3.0. In addition there are all the legacy connections, an aerial socket, two satellite connectors, two USB ports, an Ethernet port, an IR extender, a service port, a 3.5mm audio jack and an optical digital output.
The HU8200 comes with two remote controls, the first of which is their standard black plastic affair, whilst the second is Samsung's new Smart Controller, which includes a motion sensor, a touch pad, video control keys and a microphone for voice control. This small controller is very ergonomic in its design, fitting comfortably in your hand, it's easy to use and very effective.
The HU8200 uses active shutter 3D and comes with two pairs of RF glasses that are very light and have very little tint to the lenses, which means that images appear more accurate and brighter. The lenses are reasonably large and fit over regular glasses but the arms can't be folded in and the lack of any sides means they can't block out ambient light, making them susceptible to flicker.
MenusThe HU8200 uses Quad Core processing, although not the faster Quad Core Plus found on the HU8500, so as a result the menu system was very responsive. It's also well designed and intuitive to use, with each page providing some useful guidance on each of the various settings. The Picture menu provides all the important controls for image accuracy , including the Picture Modes, as well as the Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness, Colour and Tint controls . From the Picture menu, you can access sub-menus for Picture Size, 3D, Advanced Settings and Picture Options; whilst you can also apply your calibrated picture mode to other inputs.
In the Picture Size sub-menu you can select the aspect ratio, whilst in the Picture Options sub-menu there are controls for Colour Tone, Digital Clear View, MPEG Noise Filter, Motion Plus and Smart LED. In the Advanced Settings sub-menu, you'll find all the key calibration controls, including Gamma, White Balance and Colour Space. There's a choice of a two-point or a ten-point White Balance control which should allow for a very accurate calibration of the greyscale. The Colour Space gives you a choice between Auto, Native and Custom; if you choose Custom you have access to a full Colour Management System (CMS).
Whilst not vastly different from last year, Samsung's Smart TV platform remains comprehensive.
FeaturesThere has been a concerted effort by the manufacturers to improve the built-in sound on their TVs and there's no doubt that this year's models have been much better in this area. The HU8200 sounds very good, with clear audio and decent stereo separation that allows for a reasonably wide front soundstage and intelligible dialogue. The audio can go quite loud without distorting and we found the HU8200 very capable of delivering room-filling sound in the World Cup games we watched. Speaking of which, don't be tempted to try Samsung's football mode, it just puts the TV into all the settings we tell you to avoid, so give it a miss.
Samsung have made various upgrades to their Smart TV platform, improving both the features available and how you interact with them. Aside from the previously mentioned Smart Controller, new for this year is a multi-screen feature, faster processing, improved motion and voice control, an improved remote app and the addition of a mini Smart Hub along the bottom of the screen. The Smart Hub itself has also had a slight facelift, with all the photo, video, music and social features being combined in one multimedia screen, thus making room for a new screen dedicated to games. You can read our in-depth review of Samsung's 2014 Smart TV Platform here.
The out-of-the-box accuracy was exceptional, with all the errors below the tolerance threshold.
As is aways the case with Samsung TVs, the best out-of-the-box choice is the Movie mode, which will deliver a performance that matches the industry standards as closely as possible for a factory setting. A list of suggested settings based on the measurements taken during the review can be found here.
As the graphs above show, the HU8200 delivered an excellent greyscale performance out-of-the-box, apart from a minor deficit of red and a slight excess of blue; whilst the gamma was tracking at our target of 2.2. The colour gamut performance was also impressive, with all the colours measuring very close to their targets. In fact the combined DeltaEs (errors) of both the greyscale and the colours were all below the visible threshold of three, so overall this is a superb performance before we've even started calibrating.
The HU8200 includes both a two- and a ten-point white balance control, so it was a simple task to get all three primary colours to measure in equal amounts. This resulted in errors that were well below the acuity of the human eye, delivering a smooth transition from black to white that was free of discolouration. The gamma was still tracking precisely at our target of 2.2 and overall this is a reference performance. The CMS employed by Samsung on their TVs is extremely effective and they were also able to deliver a reference performance when measured at 100% saturation.
All the colours were hitting their respective coordinates for Rec.709 precisely, whilst white was also measuring exactly at its target of D65. There was a tiny amount of under-saturation in red but this certainly wasn't visible and, just like the greyscale, this is a reference colour performance overall. This impressive level of colour accuracy continued when we measured at lower saturation points and most of the colours were at or very near their targets.Black Levels, Contrast Ratio and Dynamic Range
The HU8200 delivered a nicely uniform backlight, as evidenced by the ANSI graphic below, which shows measurements for each of the black and white squares. Samsung are definitely getting better at generating a backlight from LEDs along the edge and the results speak for themselves. The HU8200 was also pleasingly free of the two other common issues often found on LED LCD TVs - dirty screen effect and banding - which is just as well given all the football that's on TV at the moment. Samsung use an SPVA panel on the HU8200 and in our testing we measured the native black level at 0.08cd/m2 which is very good for a LCD TV. The Samsung includes their Smart LED feature and when activated the measured black levels reduced to 0.01cd/m2 in the low, which is the best option in terms of maintaining image accuracy.
The HU8200 is also bright, hitting our target of 120cd/m2 for white easily, which resulted in a very good on/off contrast ratio of 1,500:1 and a suitably wide dynamic range. The ANSI contrast ratio was also quite reasonable, coming in at 1,123:1. The use of a SPVA panel may deliver better blacks than an IPS panel but it also results in a narrower optimum viewing angle with anything outside a 90 degree radius looking a bit washed out, so correct placement will be critical, especially since the panel can't be swivelled. However the curved nature of the screen does actually help in this aspect because when viewing at an angle the far edge of the screen is curved towards the viewer and thus isn't as washed out. Unlike the more expensive HU8500, the HU8200 doesn't include Samsung's Auto Depth Enhancer feature.Video Processing
The video processing on the HU8200 was absolutely superb, with all the content we watched being deinterlaced and scaled perfectly to match the 4K panel. It deinterlaced and scaled standard definition content, with clear and crisp reproduction of fine details and no unwanted ringing. It also no problems detecting both 3:2 and 2:2 cadence correctly and, as long as the Auto2 Film Mode was selected, scrolling video text over film was also delivered perfectly. The quality of the video deinterlacing at 1080i50 was just as good as it was for standard definition and there were no apparent issues with 24p content. All this content was perfectly scaled to match the panel and the motion handling also proved to be quite impressive for a LCD TV.
The HU8200 has a Clear Motion Rate (CMR) of 1000Hz, as opposed to the 1200Hz CMR found on the HU8500, and overall we found the motion handling to be very good for an LCD TV. We didn't feel the need to employ Motion Plus frame interpolation whilst watching World Cup matches but that feature is available for fast-paced sports action. The only issue we experienced with the HU8200 was that occasionally, whilst watching World Cup games, there was a momentary pause when the action cut from a close up to a wide shot of the pitch. We only noticed this on the football and it was only very occasionally. However we have informed Samsung, who are looking into it and once they've established what's causing it they will address the issue with a firmware update.
All the Ultra HD TVs we have tested to date seem to be using a lot of processing, resulting in higher input lag measurements and the HU8200 was no exception. In its calibrated Movie mode there was a delay of 135ms, although this be could reduced to 72ms by selecting the Game mode. Whilst this is still too high for serious gamers, renaming the input 'PC' managed to get the lag down to 40ms which is much better performance. This is about average for most TVs we've reviewed this year and certainly won't bother casual gamers, although it might be noticed by the more hardcore amongst you. We didn't experience any problems playing Killzone on our PS4 and overall we found it to be an enjoyable and responsive gaming experience, whilst the upscaled high definition graphics looked wonderful.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 141W
- Calibrated – Professional Mode: 174W
- Calibrated - 3D Mode: 197W
Samsung UE55HU8200 Video Review
Samsung UE55HU8200 Picture QualitySamsung's line-up of TVs this year has been really impressive and the reason is simple, they've concentrated on getting the basics right before they even moved onto the fancier features. The HU8200 is a perfect example of the company's approach to picture quality, with a bright, detailed and accurate image that is hard to fault. The out-of-the-box accuracy was excellent and the highly effective calibration controls make getting a reference performance easy. The video processing is also superb, meaning that all the non-4K content you watch, which will be pretty much everything for the foreseeable future, is accurately scaled to match the panel. Samsung's hard work in terms of backlight uniformity has also paid dividends, with an image that is free of clouding or banding, a decent black level and an impressive dynamic range for an LCD TV.
The upshot of all these factors is that when watching content on the HU8200, it always looked excellent. The bright, detailed and accurate images looked great during the day but, unlike previous generations of Samsung TVs, they also looked impressive at night. We were surprised at how good standard definition DVDs and broadcasts looked, especially when you consider how much of the image is being guessed by the TV itself, and obviously high definition broadcasts looked fantastic. A fair amount of football has been watched recently and, aside from the minor motion hiccup mentioned earlier, it looked great with bags of detailed and natural colours. The last few episodes of season four of Game of Thrones also looked excellent, with the siege of Castle Black - a tough test for any TV - looking suitably dark without losing shadow detail.
When it came to Blu-ray the results were so good that at times you needed to remind yourself that the images weren't actually 4K. Our recently arrived copy of The Lego Movie was a great test of the TV's ability to deliver every last pixel of detail from the Blu-ray, and the film is a riot of colour and action that the HU8200 captured perfectly. When moving onto live action material like 3 Days to Kill the results were just as impressive, with natural colours and the 24p signal handled with no absolutely no issues. The 3D Blu-ray of the Russian film Stalingrad gave us a chance to put the HU8200 through its paces and the resulting 3D performance was excellent. The active shutter system employed by Samsung delivered a bright and detailed 3D image, with plenty of depth, great motion handling and no crosstalk. Our 4K test material remains limited but what little we had looked incredible on the HU8200, although 55 inches is probably the lower limit in terms of optimum screen size for Ultra HD. Sadly we couldn't take advantage of Netflix 4K due to the limitations of our current broadband connection.
The HU8200 delivered a superb picture that concentrated on getting the basics right before adding extra features.
- Great native contrast performance
- Nicely uniform backlight
- Superb colour palette
- Good 3D performance
- Excellent scaling and processing
- A highly effective dimming system
- Decent sound
- Comprehensive smart features
- Gorgeous looks
- 4K Netflix
- Very occasional motion artefacts
- Give the football mode a miss
Samsung UE55HU8200 (HU8200) 4K Curved TV ReviewThe UE55HU8200 is another great addition to Samsung's growing line-up of Ultra HD 4K TVs and, as with its stablemates, it delivers an impressive combination of performance, design and features. The picture quality is excellent, with accurate images out-of-the-box, superb video processing and a nicely uniform backlight. Samsung have concentrated on getting the basics of picture performance right and it really has paid dividends this year, with a range of TVs that all deliver knock-out images. The HU8200 is an impressive performer, regardless of whether you're watching standard or high definition content, the 3D is also excellent and if you can find any 4K content, the results are spectacular. The motion handling, black levels and dynamic range are good for an LCD TV and the input lag can be brought down to a level that will be tolerable for most gamers.
In terms of other features, the HU8200 uses a curved design and has an excellent level of build quality. There are two remote controls and two pairs of active shutter 3D glasses included, although it doesn't have the built-in camera found on the more expensive HU8500. The HU8200 includes Samsung's comprehensive Smart TV platform, which includes all the catch-up and most of the streaming services, although it has Quad Core rather than the faster Quad Core Plus processing found on the HU8500. Other differences include 1000Hz CMR instead of 1200Hz, no Auto Depth Enhancer feature and no One Connect box.
Whether you feel these missing features are worth the £200 premium for the HU8500 is a matter of personal opinion, although we feel the more flexible upgrade path provided by the One Connect box justifies the extra cost. However if you do decide to go for the UE55HU8200 you certainly won't be disappointed, it's an excellent Ultra HD 4K TV that combines a solid performance with Samsung's usual flair.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
2D Picture Quality9
3D Picture Quality9
Ease Of Use8
Value for Money9
Our Review Ethos
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