Samsung UE55KS8000 User Review

  • BAMozzy
    Great HDR10 4k TV and excellent for HDR gaming.
    Review of Samsung UE55KS8000 LED LCD TV by BAMozzy, Nov 11, 2016.
    Having had the Samsung 55KS8000 now for over 4months and using it every day, I feel I am in a good position to now review it.

    It was easy to set up and first off I connected my TV up to SkyQ. The first thing I noticed was how impressive the picture was out of the box. I haven't professionally calibrated my TV so don't know how accurate it was. The difference the black level makes is something that can't be understated. I bought this to replace a Samsung 55HU7500 4k TV (without SEK-3500) and also own a Samsung 48H6400 1080p TV - 2 well reviewed LED TV's. Both of these were what I considered 'acceptable' for the technology. However the KS8000's picture quality was far more impressive.

    I know that many of us don't actually have our TV's professionally calibrated but tweak the settings after 'borrowing' from various sites and other users. At the time I bought mine, I used a variety of different settings until I found one that I was happy with. When AVForums reviewed and published their settings for this TV, I tried those and have found these to be the most 'pleasing' - again I repeat, this is NOT professionally calibrated and cannot guarantee its the most accurate PQ. The only changes I have made is to take off 'Warm 2' as I find this adds to much yellow/orange to the picture for my liking.

    The 60w 4.1 sound system built in to this TV is remarkable. I know there is no way its going to compare to an external sound system but considering the dimensions, in particular, how slim this TV is, the sound quality is incredible. Yes it lacks the Bass of a soundbar but that doesn't mean this has no bass at all. The sound is quite a rich and full with a definite stereoscopic sound - perfect for times when you can't or don't want to use an external source. Its greatly improved over the HU7500.

    Aesthetically, I really like the design choices Samsung have made with this TV. It looks like a premium product and the floating stand is far more appealing than the 'feet' of the KS7000 to me. I opted to Wall mount anyway and the One Connect Box is another excellent design choice by Samsung - especially for those of us who like to wall mount. This reduces the number of cables to the TV and makes swapping cables, connecting new devices, using USB's etc so much easier. It would be nice if they also added the option to connect the LAN cable and maybe even a power supply too. Operation is silent as well - no fan noise in either the TV or One Connect Box. The screen does have some reflection but the 'moth filter' does minimise this. Viewing angles are good for a VA panel but if you move outside of these, the quality isn't quite up to the same standards. It is still watchable but the colours aren't as rich.

    As SkyQ at the time wasn't offering 4k, I could compare the picture directly with SDR LED TV's and the same quality source. The level of Black was the most notable difference straight out of the box. The difference this makes to the colours and overall PQ of any content is significant. Watching movies with Black Bars looks 'perfect' and no sign of Haloing or light bleed. the panel looked uniform too. Watching the same movie on either of my other TV's, even though they were 'acceptable', it became obvious how uneven the black bars are and even haloing. The most obvious difference though was during the credits of 'Pitch Black' (I believe). The credits appeared to be on a 'dark grey' background and the 'black bars' were 'almost' black on my other TV's - how I had seen this movie many times before - but with the KS8000 both the background and bars were 'black' and the only indication that black bars were there was when text was scrolling.

    Motion in general seemed very good. The only time I noticed any 'judder' was whilst watching Sky's Sports channels and occasionally whilst watching the Red Button BBC olympic coverage. The same sports didn't appear to judder though on BBC's main channels. I also noticed the odd stutter on 'ticker tape' style Sky news channels. I never saw any stutter on other channels. However this was cured with Samsungs 'auto motion' settings.

    When SkyQ turned on its 4k broadcasts, I changed SkyQ's output to 2160p 10bit. At the time I still had my auto motion settings and wasn't seeing any motion issues, no SOE, no artefacts. 4k Football looked stunning and as it was at 50hz, I turned off motion settings too. The picture looked incredible and was very smooth - no sign of judder or stutter. Since then I have not used any motion settings (off) and have had no repeat of the initial stuttering with ticker tapes.

    Overall the PQ with Standard Dynamic Range content is excellent - probably one of the best I have seen on an LED. HDR content though does show some of the weaknesses of LED technology and this being Edge Lit by strips across the top and bottom, does demonstrate these. Black Bars during HDR Movie playback are uneven at times BUT (and this is a big but) they are not distractingly uneven. At their 'worst', the black bars are still darker than a standard range LED at their best. I had to go back and watch the HDR playback again and concentrate on the black bars specifically to see any unevenness. This isn't as easy as it sounds as HDR is stunning and my eyes are drawn to the picture. There is also evidence of Haloing but generally this is only noticeable with clearly defined (like text or logos) on solid black backgrounds - usually something only seen at the end credits. I know that some may find this unacceptable but from my perspective, its only minor. It can of course be limited by turning down the backlight a bit from the maximum 20. I don't know if you are still getting over 1,000nits but as this TV can go well above that level, it may well be still delivering the minimum standards of HDR10.

    A lot of people that are reading this maybe looking to buy as its rated one of (if not the) best 4k HDR10 TV's for gaming - at least as far as input lag is concerned. I have both the XB1s and PS4 Pro - both offering HDR gaming. Input Lag in game mode feels non-existent and ultra responsive. Picture Quality is stunning too - especially with HDR content. As games don't tend to be in the 21:9 ratio, there is no black bars and therefore no evidence of unevenness. Playing through Gears of War 4 in HDR also didn't highlight any Haloing issues either. The only downside is that whilst the TV recognises HDR in game mode, you have to manually adjust the TV to get the contrast ratio. Colours (if set to set to native) offer the Wide Colour Gamut but unless you increase the backlight yourself, you are not going to get the Peak Brightness that HDR offers - a minor annoyance at the moment - Maybe Samsung can patch in some way of automatically doing this or even a '2nd' game mode so we can switch settings between HDR and SDR quickly. I am not discussing the difference between Xbox One S and Playstation 4 Pro (both have their merits and offer something to KS8000 owners) but the PS4 Pro's extra resolution looks absolutely stunning and really adds to the HDR experience. I know HDR is by far the biggest upgrade and most noticeable difference we have seen since HD came along. However games are generally sharper than films and the extra resolution really helps with HDR and the detail. If you can only pick between HDR or the higher pixel count - go for HDR. This TV really shines with gaming - whether in SDR or HDR and the input lag feels non-existent.

    The Smart functionality of this TV is an area that's still a 'work in progress'. Most of the expected Apps are here and function well. Youtube though does have issues with overlaying all video's on top of each other making the text unreadable - you can scroll right on this and it separates all the video's out again. I don't know if this is Samsungs problem or youtubes (I assume youtube as its their app). I hear youtube are bringing HDR content to Samsungs 2016 TV's in the future. Most of the UK TV apps are present but C5 is still missing (at time of writing). I rarely use Samsungs Tizen (not really needed with SkyQ) but it seems OK and the layout is easy to use. When youtube updates its App to playback HDR, I can see myself using it more but at the moment, I only watch the occasional 4k video.

    The KS8000 comes with 2 controllers - the standard IR type with all the buttons you will need and a 'smart' bluetooth one with a very minimal approach. Neither offer the 'pointer' function previous remotes have. The smart remote though does automatically connect and control other devices (like Sky and Xbox) which maybe handy for some. Personally I much prefer the standard. I don't like having my part of my picture blocked out by a menu or operating guide. For example if I want to use the red, green, yellow, blue buttons, I have to press a button which brings up a sizeable circle on the right hand side of the picture - blocking out everything underneath - just to show which part of the remote I need to press to use a specific colour. With the standard remote, I can just press the required button. If I want to key in numbers, I need to press a button to open up a numeric strip across the bottom and scroll left or right to the number I want, press a button to select that number etc - a much more long winded way of operating a TV. Channels like 191 for example are much longer to access than just pressing 1,9,1 on the standard remote. Maybe I am just 'old' but I do find these 'smart' remotes more hassle than the potential benefits they can offer. I would prefer it if the 'standard' remote had Bluetooth and some of the smart functionality but still retained the buttons.

    In the time I have owned this TV, I have only really encountered one issue. The source list disappeared for a while and whilst it was still there in essence, the 'picture' of each source was missing. A full reset though brought these back and so far, they have remained.

    Overall I am very happy and impressed with this TV. I know its expensive although prices have dropped for a lot of the HDR10 TV's since I bought mine. For what I wanted, my personal set of circumstances based on the content I predominantly use it for and expected to be viewing for the next few years at least, this TV has exceeded my expectations. As a gamer, its quite possibly the best TV available (along with the other KS series). For SDR content, its excellent - better than any SDR 4k LED TV I have seen and the upscaling of SD to HD content appears flawless. Of course SD content isn't 'great' but considering the amount of pixels that have to be inserted to fit the screen, its still watchable. HDR does show the technologies limitations although dimming does a great job. As an all rounder and for the price compared to other HDR10 (those that can actually meet the minimum standards) TV's, its probably the best value for money.

    I would certainly recommend this for anyone looking to buy a 4k HDR TV - especially those looking to buy a HDR10 TV for gaming. With HDR movies and content still in short supply, the majority of your time is most likely going to be with SDR content and this TV has an excellent PQ with all SDR content and the variety of resolution this comes in. HDR may have its limitations but for the most part, the KS8000 handles this very well with only a few minor blemishes in certain situations - like 21.9 ratio content and/or defined logos/text on solid black backgrounds - although these can often be missed or not apparent because the HDR image is stunning.

    Having lived with my TV for over 4months now and using it every day, I can honestly say I would definitely buy again if I had the opportunity to do so - even more so now since the price has dropped...
    This item was purchased for £1799 from Richer Sounds in 2016. The reviewer still owns this product.

    Pros

    • Quality of the gaming experience including with HDR games
    • Quality of the Picture - especially with SDR and HDR looks stunning!
    • Ease of use
    • Great sound for such a slim design - certainly usable
    • Aesthetically pleasing
    • General all-round performance and features
    • Motion handling and upscaling is great
    • One Connect Box is a great design choice - especially if you wall-mount
    • Value for money compared to other full HDR10 TV's
    • Black level for an LED and dimming quality

    Cons

    • HDR isn't perfect and can show the technologies limitations in certain situtions
    • Tizen is a 'work in progress' and some apps are missing or don't function properly
    • Viewing angles are quite narrow to get the best picture quality
    • No 3D - not an issue for me but maybe for some

    Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

    9

    Screen Uniformity

    9

    Video Processing

    9

    2D Picture Quality

    9

    Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box

    8

    Sound Quality

    9

    Smart Features

    8

    Build Quality

    9

    Ease Of Use

    9

    Value for Money

    9

    Verdict

    9
    1. kosch, Andrew1472, Crunchie and 2 others like this.
    No comments have been posted on this review yet.
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