What is the Samsung UE55JS8500?
Design & Connections
Remote ControlsIn the year 2015 a TV cannot justifiably be classed as high-end unless it comes with a minimum of two control mechanisms and the UEJS8500 duly obliges with its brace of remotes. To get an idea of the standard controller, just glance at the picture beneath and you’ll need no further words on the matter. The other is more interesting, and certainly more coffee table friendly with its contoured chassis matching that of the screen. Functionality wise, the smart remote has navigation buttons and a pointer for effective motion control and is optimised for the Smart TV platform. There’s also a built in microphone for voice commands and some basic options covering the menus, channel selection and volume plus a discreet mute button placed on the left side. It’s heavier than it looks and feels good in the hand and overall we were more than happy to use it on a day to day basis.
Features & Specs
The JS8500 uses a new filter on its curved screen that is designed to reduce unwanted reflections and includes extensive calibration controls. There is the Smart LED local dimming feature with settings for Low, Standard and High, along with the Auto Motion Plus feature that can be used to reduce motion blur. Along with Nano Crystal technology, which is Samsung's proprietary version of quantum dot, the 10-bit panel also uses a new LED light source and improved transmittance. The Quad-Core processing adds content orientated picture quality enhancements and quantum colour expression to better map colours to the TV's colour space.
Samsung Tizen Smart TV Platform
The entire series of Daredevil is punctuated with scenes set very late at night, in dark and dingy backstreets where lighting is provided either in bright neon form or by a car headlamp, and here the JS8500 gets an opportunity to show off its dimming capabilities and it’s a bit of a mixed bag, to be honest. For most of the time it does hold up but it can be caught by the camera panning around and you might just notice instances where you can see the backlighting changing its luminance levels in a very obvious way. Well, the LED lighting is actually at the edges and that’s where you can see the fluctuations more easily. I certainly didn’t notice this so much with the JS9000 so this is definitely one advantage of the higher-tiered model. There’s one scene, in particular, within those first twenty minutes where a camera is panning around in a 360-degree movement where it is very easy to spot. This particular sample also showed some slight patchy uneven distribution of light towards the top-right corner, although general screen uniformity was excellent and didn’t detract from the stellar image quality of the streamed Netflix UHD content.
So does the JS8500 need the help of the dimming feature? Well, arguably not as native black levels are good at around 0.069 cd/m2 with Smart LED disengaged. On balance, however, we left it on Low as the brightness pumps are infrequent and there’s a definite benefit in perceived contrast and dynamic range for over ninety percent of the time. In that configuration we got average black levels of 0.056cd/m2 from a chequerboard pattern, resulting in an ANSI contrast ratio of 2325:1. Whilst good, that’s not a stellar number but it doesn’t really give the true idea of what the JS8500 is capable of with real world content. It does produce a lovely image, with extremely convincing colours and it’s not restricted to looking its best only with 4K content. Admittedly, almost all of the standard definition channels from the inbuilt tuners looked poor but, then, that’s exactly what they are and you should be seeking out HD alternatives whenever possible. We appreciate some people still harbour DVDs for perfectly legitimate reasons and the scaling engine in tandem with the flawless film cadence detection means that a good transfer will look perfectly fine but you can’t expect miracles.
And that was four paragraphs without mentioning the curve. The reason for that is quite simple, I was barely aware of it when the TV was switched on, which probably gives you a fair indication of my feelings on it; I neither like nor dislike it, it’s just there, although perhaps it does add just a little more depth with 3D content. There’s a hint of crosstalk now and again in high contrast scenes but that generally doesn’t detract from the highly detailed and engaging experience. The brightness capacity of the panel also helps the 3D look both vivid and natural, although as we’ve seen with others in the range there’s a slight ‘soapiness’ in the motion handling, regardless of any motion processing settings being engaged or not. Curiously, setting Motion Plus to ‘Clear’ provided the most natural looking motion handling but it’s still not quite ‘right’. It’s definitely not a deal-breaker for me, however, but then I’m not exactly a fan of the format and it seems Samsung care as much as I do about 3D since they don’t include any 3D eyewear in the box. You don’t need special specs for HDR – well maybe sunglasses - but on the subject of sunshine – he says, shoe-horning it in here because he nearly forgot – Samsung has made major improvements in the ant-reflective properties of the screen coating which means the JS8500 is normally very watchable in the daytime, i.e. you don’t feel like you’re at the funfair, in the hall of mirrors, like some of last year’s curved TVs could make you feel. Viewing angles are a concern, however, and there is very noticeable contrast drop-off once you move 35-40 degrees off-centre.
How future-proof is this TV?
|4K Ultra HD Resolution|
|Colour Space (percentage of DCI - 100% best)||92%|
|HDMI 2.0a Inputs|
|HDCP 2.2 Support|
|4K Streaming Services|
|Smart TV Platform|
|Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10)||7|
|What do these mean?|
- Gorgeous design
- Great connectivity
- Tizen UI is smart
- Highly impressive dynamic range
- Ultra-low input lag
- Generally great screen uniformity
- Some key apps missing from Tizen
- Dimming system could be better
- Some slight dark screen uniformity concerns
Samsung UE55JS8500 (JS8500) Ultra HD 4K TV Review
Should I buy the Samsung UE55JS8500?Well it’s a thing of beauty, if you value looks, that’s for sure. The curve of the screen is quite gentle and the base stand swoops in tandem with it to provide a super-sleek design. The JS8500 also features great connectivity with no less than four HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 inputs housed in the One Connect Mini, which also offers a tidy wire management solution; unlike the full sixed One Connect Box, the Mini offers no processing upgrade path, however, although it is somewhat questionable how much that feature has actually been worth it in the past. Even one of the remote controls is curved but it is also highly effective in providing motion pointing and voice control which really come in to their own when using the Tizen Smart TV platform.
Talking of which, the suite of video streaming apps is not yet on a par with that of previous generations so, for now, we’re missing BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and Demand 5 (not a big miss, admittedly) but there are a couple of jewels in the crown with both Amazon Prime Instant and Netflix allowing for Ultra HD video streaming. Thanks to its very strong contrast and superb colour palette, the JS8500 made 4K images look predictably superb but, to be fair, anything 720p and upwards looked smashing. The dimming system employed is not without flaws however – and certainly not as good as that in the JS900 – but impressive native black levels and generally excellent dark screen uniformity mean you won’t necessarily need it. There were a couple of small patches where the edge lighting wasn’t being distributed evenly but they were far from over-intrusive.
On the subject of the curve we’re still not really convinced, although perhaps with 3D it does lend just a little more depth. More importantly it doesn’t cause any issues and the reflectivity of the JS8500 is commendably now, thanks to improvements made in the coating. All in all, the Samsung UEJS8500 provides everything we would expect from a high-end Samsung TV - great design, cutting edge tech, a bevy of well thought-out Smart TV features but, above all, high quality pictures. Recommended.
What else could I buy?The good news is that amongst the ’name’ brands, at least, it is easier to find a top-notch Ultra HD TV than it is a 1080p one. My first port of call for a demo would be the Panasonic TX-55CX802B which provides pretty much exactly the same deal in terms of picture quality, future-proofing and Smart TV features (Panasonic's isn’t quite finished either) for a price around £200 less than the JS8500; it’s not as good looking, however. If you want to go the other way with price, then we would probably point you in the direction of the Samsung UE55JS900 which boasts a better dimming system than the JS8500 but comes with a premium of about £400 on top but for that you will get the full One Connect box. And if you fancy a size hike, you might want to think about the 65-inch LG UF850V which is actually some £250 less expensive than the Samsung. It doesn’t have the black levels nor the dynamic range of the Samsung but it does provide a very creditable image.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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