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Samsung UA55B8000 LED-lit LCD TV
This model is Samsung’s highest end offering, and hails from the “farce family” of TVs that Samsung calls LED TV. It’s not actually an LED TV, but rather they are LCD TVs with LED lighting. LED TV is a widely fallacious marketing ply, but then again, what isn’t these days. The panel is still an LCD panel, just the lighting is done via LEDs, along the edge. Nonetheless, this model is from the dizzying 8000 range of Samsung’s flagship stallions. We got the big daddy in, a 55 incher, the model name is UA55B8000.
Design and features
This TV is ultra slim, due to its edge lit LED system, thus removing the extra mm resulting from a bulky backlight. The bezel is flat and neat with a gloss black finish. The edges are rimmed by a transparent border jutting out, adding aesthetic appeal to the front view. This model has something I have actually not seen before, a transparent circular neck stalk, that is attached to a metallic brush finished stand. The transparent stalk looks good why? Because the bottom edge has a blue LED light that glows and reflects off its structure, when the TV is powered on. Overall it’s a minimal, futuristic design.
In terms of build quality, the joint is very sturdy, and even though the TV is light overall we have a sturdy and rigid body. The connectors are a wide spread bouquet, owing to the numerous features tossed in. We have 4 HDMI 1.3s, 2 USB ports, component in, composite in, VGA in and RCA audio input/output. There is no Digital audio out, and no headphone out.
As for extra features, just like the 7000 series, in this model we have an Ethernet port to connect to select sites like Youtube and Flickr. Then there is an on board 1 GB HDD, to store multimedia data that we download. All this is accessible via the remote through a well designed and colorful User interface, which is categorized into gaming, cooking etc. These folders contain some videos, and can be updated via the net connection.
The rated Dynamic Contrast is written as ‘mega’. No more comments there. No brightness rating is measured, maybe Samsung doesn’t need to, but we do, so our candela spotmeter says 298 cd/m2 on max backlight, center screen. The blacks of this TV are actually quite deep, but more on that in the next page. The res is full HD 1920 x 1080. This model has a 200 Hz motion compensation engine, thus we expect even smoother motion.
As a ritual we slid in our test material first, with the grayscale being the first test. In higher IRE whites, that is, in bright shades of grey, we saw a slight coloration, a warmer tinge. There is no blooming in high whites, and overall it is bright. On the other end of the dynamic range, we have quite a deep level of black, in the center screen. The sides actually display a slight flaw, as there is unevenness in the black levels, I assume due to the edge lighting. It's slightly brighter in the edges.
But then once we actually explore the deep menu, there are at least 4 options, with which one can play, to set a good black level. The Backlight, HDMI black level, Black Tone, and Brightness settings all actually affect the quality of blacks, and one can surely dial in a good scene.
Colors are spectacular, no better words to describe it. The R, G and B has good saturation, more or less accurate in their depiction. Another small issue is sharpness, which needs to be turned down a notch or two. This is because Samsung engine, right through from their lower models, has this one problem of slight haloing around minute details, when sharpness is higher than halfpoint.
We watched Kung Fu Panda Blu-ray (can't get enough of it, no) and also some nice HD trailers, of Avatar and Nine. The motion clearly is enhanced with 200 Hz on, but it’s not judderfree. A slight level of motion blur and jaggies are encountered.
The reason we have been a little strict in our scrutiny, is that the TV is 3,50,000. That’s steep. It’s a flagship model no doubt, and does come across as one, but for that price we need a level near to flawlessness. This model is not flawless. It’s a very well built, good looking TV, and performs really well in basic visual departments like motion and colors. It’s a little steeply priced though.