What is the Samsung UE55F9000?
Design and Connections
On the UE55F9000 itself the only connections are a CI (Common Interface) slot, a USB port and a service port; this is because all the other connections are found on the One Connect box that ships with the TV. This simple idea is a very elegant solution to the issue of future proofing the UE55F9000 and once the standards of 4K UHD have been agreed and HDMI 2.0 has been introduced, it will be an easy task to replace the connection box with one that meets the new standards. As an added advantage, it also make for much tidier cable management and if you're wall mounting, there are only two cables going to the display itself. Samsung use a proprietary cable to connect the box to the display and whilst the one provided is quite long, you will be able to buy longer runs from Samsung to aid with installation. In terms of actual connections on the box, there are four HDMI inputs (including ARC and MHL support), along with 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. We really liked the One Connect box and our only criticism would be that it gets quite hot over a prolonged period of time.
Unlike most of the other 4K UHD TVs on the market, the UE55F9000 uses active shutter 3D. It comes with two pairs of RF glasses that are very light and have very little tint to the lenses, which means that images in 3D appear more accurate and brighter. However, we did find them to be a little fragile, an unfortunate side effect of their lightness, and we also didn't like the fact that can't fold the arms of the frames in. The lenses are reasonably large and just about fit over regular glasses but the lack of any sides to the frames means they can't block out ambient light, making them susceptible to flicker. The glasses provided with the UE55F9000 use batteries but you can also buy an optional USB rechargeable version if you prefer.
Within the Advanced Settings are all the key calibration controls, starting with Gamma which globally adjusts gamma across the entire image. Then there's a choice of a two-point White Balance control or a ten-point White Balance control which will allow for very accurate calibration of the greyscale. Finally, there's an option called Colour Space which gives you a choice between Auto, Native and Custom; if you choose Custom you have access to a full Colour Management System (CMS).
The CMS employed by Samsung on their TVs is extremely effective and we were able to deliver a reference performance when measured at 100% saturation. All the colours were hitting their targets for Rec.709 precisely, whilst white was measuring at its target of D65. There was a tiny amount of under-saturation in red but, just like the greyscale, this is a reference performance overall.
The video processing on the UE55F9000 is especially important because for the time being, all the content you will be watching on it will be upscaled to the native 4K panel. Thankfully the video processing was absolutely superb, with all the content we watched being deinterlaced and scaled perfectly to match the 4K panel. The UE55F9000 proved extremely competent at deinterlacing and scaling standard definition content, with clear and crisp reproduction of fine details and no unwanted ringing. The Samsung also had 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 UE55F9000 aced all the other tests as well, delivering an almost flawless performance in every regard. 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 we saw none of the frame stutter of motion handling issues that have manifested on other Samsung models. In fact we found the overall motion handling to be quite impressive for a LCD TV and even fast moving sport looked quite good.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 160W
- Calibrated – Professional Mode: 159W
- Calibrated - 3D Mode: 222W
Samsung UE55F9000 Picture Quality 4K
UE55F9000 Video Review
Samsung UE55F9000 Picture Quality 2D
The backlight uniformity on our sample was very good, although we appreciate this can be a lottery, and the S-PVA panel delivered decent blacks for a LCD panel. However the use of an S-PVA panel also means that the Samsung has a narrow optimum viewing angle and thus care should be taken when installing the TV, especially as it doesn't swivel. The UE55F9000 includes both Precision Black combined with Samsung's Micro Dimming technology and in the low setting this delivered an improved black level without crushing the blacks or reducing the detail in shadows. There was no evidence of any back door processing, such as noise reduction, on the UE55F9000 but there is also no Cinema Black feature. This is designed to turn off the LEDs in the black bars of 2.35:1 movies but we found it could result in brightness fluctuations. However we didn't find ourselves missing the feature because the local dimming did a superb job of producing deep blacks throughout the entire image. As a result the picture looked good both during the day and at night when black levels become more important. We watched a great deal of standard definition and 1080i content from Freeview, along with content from Netflix and on Blu-ray and overall the images looked excellent.
UE55F9000 Picture Quality 3D
- Impressive blacks and contrast ratio
- Good backlight uniformity
- Excellent greyscale and colour out-of-the-box
- Reference greyscale and colour after calibration
- Genuine future-proofing
- Excellent video processing
- Comprehensive calibration controls
- Quad-core processing
- Well designed and responsive menu system
- Reference Smart TV System
- Very effective remote app
- Twin tuners for both Freeview and satellite
- Built-in WiFi and camera
- Touch pad remote control
- Two pairs of 3D glasses
- Limited viewing angles
Samsung UE55F9000 4K Ultra HD TV Review
In terms of the other features, the 55UEF9000 includes Samsung's reference Smart TV platform, which is both comprehensive and, thanks to the inclusion of quad-core processing, very responsive. There is also Samsung's Smart Evolution feature that allows for another level of future-proofing in terms of the software and processing. The menu system remains a perfect example of clarity and intuitive navigation and, as always, there are extensive calibration controls. The out-of-the-box accuracy was very good and, after calibration, a reference level of accuracy could be achieved. Samsung have beefed up the sound on the F9000 and thanks to a slightly deeper chassis, the audio was actually quite good for a modern TV. The video processing was also excellent, with the F9000 perfectly scaling all content up to the native resolution of its 4K panel. The backlight uniformity was good and the black levels were excellent for a LCD TV, although the optimum viewing angles are quite limited. The power consumption was slighter higher than Samsung's comparable 1080p models, as was the input lag, which might be the result of the increased processing requirements.
Whilst there remains a lack of actual 4K content, what little we had for testing looked spectacular with an incredible level of detail that clearly distinguishes it from regular high definition. Having said that, a 55-inch screen is probably the smallest screen size that would actually benefit from the increased resolution and 4K UHD will undoubtedly be primarily used with larger screen sizes. When it came to watching 1080p content the results were almost as impressive, thanks to some very effective video processing, and all content appeared to benefit from the screen's higher pixel density. In fact, even standard definition looked very watchable and it would seem that Samsung have ironed out all the processing issues that have plagued previous models. Unlike the competition, Samsung are using active shutter 3D on their 4K UHD TVs and the results were superb, with bright and detailed images that had plenty of depth and were free of crosstalk.
Overall the Samsung UE55F9000 delivers a superb all-round performance, utilising its higher resolution screen to good effect with standard and high definition content and providing a genuine degree of future-proofing. The premium you'll pay for a 4K panel is falling all the time and if you're in the market for a new TV then the UE55F9000 looks like a very tempting proposition. All the features of a flagship TV and the inclusion of a 4K panel, all for a very reasonable price... welcome to the revolution.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
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