Samsung UE65HU8200 (HU8200) Ultra HD 4K TV Review
Does the curve make more sense in larger screen sizes?
What is the Samsung 65HU8200?
The Samsung 65HU8200 is the latest in a long line of Ultra HD TVs we’ve had in for testing from the Koreans.Moreover, each and every one has impressed us and not just with 4K material, as the scaling engines have been superb, allied to excellent contrast performance and supremely accurate colours. For completeness, we’ve previously reviewed the 55HU8200, both the 48-inch and 55-inch HU7500 and the 65” and 55” HU8500, so we’re very well acquainted with the range.
From a personal standpoint, this is the first curved TV I’ve had in the home measuring over 55-inches so I’m very keen to see if the bend is more effective in a larger size, having not been blown away so far. The 65HU8200 is currently available for around £3,600 so it’s a costly beast but if it performs like the others, definitely worth considering. Let’s see if it does…
Design & ConnectionsThe 65-inch HU8200 is both very heavy and very lovely to look at. The sweep of the curve is simply majestic and a definite talking point for any visitors you might receive. The matching base-stand is equally as striking and seems to cling to whatever it’s placed upon. It doesn’t swivel, of course, but the curve of the screen does very slightly help eliminate the washed-out effect you get when viewing the edges of the screen from fairly acute angles. The curve does mean that in daytime use you might notice some unusually distorted reflections but it does bring some light (pun intended, sorry) relief from lamps or illuminations coming in from the sides.
The HU8200 doesn’t come with Samsung’s excellent One Connect Box but you still get four HDMI 2.0 compatible inputs which all support HCDP 2.2, the HEVC Codec, 3D, ARC and MHL 3.0. Additionally, you also get the usual legacy video connections, an aerial socket, two satellite connectors, a brace of USB ports, an Ethernet port, an IR extender, a service port, a 3.5mm audio jack and an optical digital output, so it’s quite the list.
In the box are a couple of remote controls. One is the standard black, rectangular number everybody will be instantly familiar with but the new, Smart Touch handset is a far more futuristic proposition. The Smart Touch allows for voice and gesture commands and features a small touchpad at the centre, if you would prefer to scroll your way through the menus and app screens. It works very well, indeed, and we could now comfortably dispense with the services of the conventional controller.
MenusThe usual array of excellent calibration controls populate the HU8200’s picture menus so we get 2- and 10-point White Balance sliders, a full colour management system and a choice of pre-determined gamma responses. That’s in addition to the choices of picture mode, where the Movie option will avail you of the most accurate out-of-the-box images. The Picture Options submenu contains most of the more exotic processing tricks that notably include Smart LED, which is the HU8200’s LED dimming system and Motion Plus, which is a frame interpolation process. We’ll look at each later on but most of the others in there, including Black Tone, Digital Clear View and MPEG Noise Filter can be ignored for high quality sources.
As ever, bazillions of apps and features
HU8200 FeaturesIt's not easy being top dog and Samsung has chosen a conservative approach to their Smart TV platform in 2014. Cosmetically, there is little to set it apart from the 2013 iteration although there has been a slight re-jig to the Smart Hub to include a new page dedicated to games. As ever, Samsung provides an absolute wealth of apps to choose from including all the major UK catchup services and just about every major streaming service on the market. The undoubted highlight here is the new 4K service from Netflix which truly sets the picture quality benchmark for streaming, going forwards. Throw a superb mobile app, which acts as companion, content-caster and full-blown remote replacement, into the mix and one has just about as comprehensive a Smart TV platform as one could wish for but that’s just a short version of our dedicated Samsung 2014 Smart TV Platform Review and we invite you to click on the link to learn more.
That the measurements revealed an excess of green and blue energy with the default Movie mode settings was no surprise, it was clear to see their tinge in white although difficult to detect elsewhere. A highest delta Error of 5 is hardly a cause for grave concern though and the colour accuracy was even more impressive with a bit of an over-saturation in blue the only notable error.
As ever, Samsung’s calibration controls proved highly effective and it was no problem to iron out both the greyscale and gamma responses to ruler flat levels. The resultant neutral ‘canvas’ was clear to see on a ramp pattern and it also allowed the colours to shine through, exactly as they should. The red primary was ever so slightly under-saturated although that was barely noticeable by eye and we couldn’t totally bring blue back in but, in all honesty, there’s nothing to really worry about.
The expanded CIE Chart below demonstrates that colours were also tracking extremely well at lesser stimulation levels but, again, red displayed a very slight under-saturation but, also again, it was hardly noticeable with real world content.Contrast, Black Levels & Screen Uniformity
We would steer owners into using the Smart LED control at its Standard setting to achieve the best balance between black levels, shadow detail and screen uniformity. It does introduce some blooming effects on the likes of film credits but, in general use, it’s a highly effective dimming system. The 65HU8200 review sample showed some slight patchiness on very dark screens, which is reflected in the measurements from the chequerboard pattern. We measured black levels as low as 0.054cd/m2 (which is very good) but also as ‘high’ as 0.107 cd/m2 which is nearly double that and obviously not as impressive. The resultant ANSI contrast ratio of around 1,400:1 is pretty good but not as pleasing as their flat 4K TVs, so obviously some refinement of the light distribution tech is needed in the curved screens to match the contrast levels of the more conventional tellies
It’s a toss-up between Samsung and Sony as to who is employing the better scaling technologies in their Ultra HD TVs but the results with each are excellent. Even on a 65-inch screen with more than 8 million pixels to fill, a decent standard definition DVD could look impressive, still, and the results from 720p, and up, were truly excellent. Static(ish) scenes from Blu-ray discs were particularly good and sometimes looked more than their 1080p resolution. All other crucial facets of picture processing were also handled extremely well, with great video deinterlacing and faultless detection of standard definition film cadences.
Contrast performance is not as good as the flat 4K Samsung's but the video processing is
We wish Samsung would sort their act out concerning the best method to achieve lowest input latency. Sometimes activating the Game Mode in the Setup Menu is enough but other times you are required to edit one of the HDMI Source labels to PC. Either way, it’s unnecessarily laborious but in this case it was the latter method which yielded best results, with a lowest input lag of 55.2 milliseconds. This isn’t too bad for a 4K TV but if you’re seeking a set for major competitive gaming duties, there are 1080p panels that go far lower.
The following measurements were taken with a full screen 50% white pattern:
Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 136W
Calibrated – Professional Mode: 134W
Calibrated - 3D Mode: 188W
Samsung HU8200 Video Review
Samsung HU8200 Picture QualityWhen you have a very accurate colour palette, superb video processing and good contrast levels there’s not an awful lot that can go wrong, unless there’s some major unexpected nasty lying in wait. The only real flaw of the 65HU8200 is a common one to Samsung TVs from the 6 Series, and up, and that is the occasional stuttering motion issue which can often be seen when watching sports. It’s not exclusive to that subject matter, just that the frequent changes of pace highlight the fact the CMR (Clear Motion Rate) panel driving sometimes can’t keep up. CMR is independent of the Motion Plus option settings in the Menus but we wish we had the option of disabling it.
Other than that, there’s very little to fall out with and images look superbly detailed and natural with plenty of impact, thanks to the cleverness of the dimming system. On the question of whether a larger screen gives the curve more impact, we would say it does but not by a great deal. You will get the odd scene – especially those using depth of field effects – where there is just the slight sense that the screen is that bit deeper but in honesty, they are few and far between and we don’t think it adds much to 2D images. Even native 4K material doesn’t benefit from the bend in any meaningful way but that didn’t stop us enjoying UHD Breaking Bad and House of Cards from Netflix’s roster of content - immensely. We’ve more on that coming very soon in a dedicated piece.
Dare we say it but we can see more of a point to the large, contoured screen when it came to 3D pictures and the HU8200 is able to deliver imagery with absolutely tons of depth and pop. It does so without introducing any troubling crosstalk but we did spy a little with objects in extreme negative parallax (popping out of the screen) when the action panned. The active shutter system is commendably flicker-free too and, although the supplied glasses aren’t our favourites and don’t offer much protection from ambient light, they are very light, relatively free of tint and you get two pairs gratis in the box.
A great TV by any estimation
- Excellent scaling
- Almost perfect colours
- Top-notch processing
- Design is gorgeous
- Tons of Smart TV features
- 4K Netflix
- Super 3D
- Very good contrast
- Some patchiness on dark screens
- Sporadic stuttering motion issues
- Does the curve really add anything meaningful
Samsung UE65HU8200 (HU8200) Ultra HD 4K TV ReviewThe line-up of curved Ultra HD TVs from Samsung keeps growing, so they must be doing well at retail and we can see why because, as a piece of design, they look stunning. The 65HU8200 is no exception and the aero curve and accompanying base stand are incredibly fetching. There are an excellent set of connections around the back, too, with four HDMI 2.0 compatible inputs, 3 USB and both wired and wireless LAN options included.
You get two remote controls in the box; the standard controller doesn’t really require any further explanation but the new Smart Touch is considerably more interesting. It features both voice and motion controls and a scroll pad in the centre, which makes navigating around the considerable number of Smart TV features that bit faster and smoother.
The out of the box image accuracy of the HU8200 was typically impressive and it required only a small amount of tinkering with the excellent calibration controls to bring it totally into line. The standard of video processing is also top-notch with scaling of sub 4K signals thoroughly convincing. Of course, it looked at its best with a good Blu-ray or the Netflix UHD content but provided you don’t subject the HU8200 to very low bitrate dross, it will deliver the goods.
Contrast performance was very good rather than great and there’s no doubt Samsung’s flat 4K TVs are currently outperforming their curvy counterparts here and, in terms of the 2D images, we still don’t think the contoured screen adds much in the way of increasing the immersion factor. Only the odd scene benefits from the extra depth but then it doesn’t really detract either, so if you’re a fan of the bend, you can rest fairly easy but we see no compelling reason to buy in, other than for aesthetic reasons. 3D fans might see it differently, however, as we can see ever so slightly more point to it here, with just that added sense of depth noticeable.
On the minus side, the supplied sample didn’t have quite the same level of magnificent dark screen uniformity we’ve witnessed with other TVs from Samsung in 2014 but it does share the ‘random' stuttering issues the CMR driving seems to bring with it. Both issues were relatively minor but this TV costs the best part of four grand so we wish they weren’t there. Still, this is still a very good TV by anybody’s standards and well worthy of our hearty recommendation.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £3,699.99
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
3D Picture Quality8
Ease Of Use8
Value for Money8
Our Review Ethos
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