Samsung 8000 and 9000 Series TVs review
Is it worth paying this much for TVs nowadays?
- Bright, vibrant colours
- Curved units available
- Mediocre upscaling
- Disappointing blacks
Samsung's top-end TVs will impress anyone when displaying high-quality content. The curved models can help deflect reflections in bright rooms too. But they're expensive and there's better value and performance elsewhere.
Watching the top-end UHD demos on the Series 9000 Samsung TVs is enough to impress anyone. All colours are incredibly bright and impressive – rivalling LG’s OLED TV. Next to the 8000 Series it’s an obvious step up although few people would be upset with the 8000.
The colour gamut is very high Blue, Green, Red Yellow, everything really, is incredibly bright and vibrant. And yet black performance is impressive too – so long as you’re not in a dark room.
Samsung goes into a great deal of science regarding which technologies allow for fewer reflections at the front while keeping blacks black. In daylight, everything can look amazing but in a dark room, the letterbox bars are still noticeable – we see why Samsung is pushing these TVs as perfect for bright, Australian homes. We watched The Martian on UHD Blu-ray in a very dark room and were expecting great things. However, to make all the dark, space scenes look good with a black screen we had to turn it into Movie Mode which dramatically dims the colours and stops them popping. The fact is, blacks aren’t as good as rivals from LG, Sony and also Hisense and you’ll have to sacrifice that amazing colour that you’ve paid so much for in order to enjoy decent contrast.
Another disappointment is that upscaling still is not great. If you’re watching Standard Definition content you’ll see artefacts and jagged edges to just about everything – especially on low-rent cable TV programs like the Kids networks and E! Entertainment. This carries on to Standard Definition free-to-air programs and YouTube where low-quality content looks mediocre. It’s not dire but we’ve seen better from Sony and Hisense.
The 9000 series comes in the following variants: flat 55in (UA55KS9000W - $3,999), 65in (UA65KS9000W - $5,999) and 75in (UA75KS9005W - $10,999); curved 55in (UA55KS9500W - $4,299) and 65in (UA65KS9500W - $6,299). However, there are also 78in (UA78KS9500W - $12,999) and 88-inch models (Reviewed - UA88KS9800W - $24,999) which are significantly different and are described separately below.
Ultimately, however, you’re paying a huge amount for Samsung’s flagship here. Yes it’s superb at displaying top-quality UHD content, but then so are most UHD TVs with Sony’s and Hisense’s flagships still rivalling it in the LED-lit technology space. It is noticeably better than the 8000 series but not by much. Ultimately, it’s still a poor-man’s LG OLED TV (LG also offers curved TVs). LG offers true blacks and flawless contrast in addition to the stunning colours. It also has a better operating environment with WebOS being better supported than Samsung’s Tizen. Both struggle with low-quality content, so if money is no object, and you only watch UHD content, the LG is better. However, as all-round performers go in the flat-panel space, Hisense and Sony are better buys.
Read more: TCL L50E5000F3DE 3D LED TV
Samsung 78-in (UA78KS9500W - $12,999) and 88-inch UA88KS9800W (Reviewed - $24,999)
LG’s OLED TV goes up to 65 inches and costs $8,999. While we see other manufacturers offering 75-inch TVs, Samsung’s 78-inch and 88-inch monsters are worth a mention. They're not lit from the side because the screens are too wide even for the black magic-based physics to light the middle of the screen properly with the side-mounted LEDs. However, this means that contrast is actually better – the screen is much thicker but the dimmable rear lighting means that blacks get much blacker.
Everyone who saw it wanted this TV. It’s ridiculously big but decent-quality content on it looks amazing. Picture foibles are otherwise similar to the rest of the 9000 Series – upscaling is mediocre and really shown up when you’re close to the screen. However, when the picture is this big and this bright, we found we didn’t care. It’s silly money. But we loved it.
Next page: Conclusion
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