One of the new terms we come across this year is SUHD, a term invented by Samsung and on top of the company’s top LCD lcd TVs. In this review we look at one of these top models; the Samsung UE55JS9000 (JS9000 series), including quantum dots, HDR reproduction, the high 4K Ultra HD resolution and of course the new Tizen smart TV platform.
Samsung JS9000 – specifications
The Samsung JS9000 series is one of the premium series that Samsung brings to the Netherlands this year. Only the JS9500 series is one step up, but these TVs only come in 65-inch and larger sizes. The models in the JS9000 series are slightly smaller and therefore slightly more affordable, but still richly equipped with the latest features and functions.
The models in the JS9000 series include the high 4K Ultra HD resolution, a quantum dot filter that provides a wider color range, support for HDR material, the new Tizen smart TV platform, an octacore processor. , the One Connect box and of course the Smart Premium Remote remote control. In terms of image techniques, the TVs have a 2200 PQI, Precision Black and Peak Illuminator Pro. The screen of the JS9000 models is, as with many of the new Samsung TVs, bent.
In this review we look at the 55-inch UE55JS9000. This model has been given a suggested retail price of 3,799 euros. In addition, the JS9000 series consists of the 48-inch UE48JS9000 with a suggested retail price of 3,199 euros and the 65-inch UE65JS9000 with a suggested retail price of 5,999 euros.
This review uses the Marantz UD7007 Blu-ray player , the Marantz SR7009 receiver, a PlayStation 3 game console and Bowers & Wilkins CM S2 series loudspeakers. We also used Netflix for testing 4K material and from Samsung we received a short demo film with HDR material.
Samsung JS9000 – design
It is clear that the Samsung UE55JS9000 has a curved screen. Samsung has chosen to provide the majority of the 2015 line-up with a curved screen and although we do not fully understand it, there will certainly be a market for it. The curved screen is and remains a personal preference, especially when we look from an aesthetic point of view. You have to like it. However, it also has an influence on image quality, something that we will return to later.
The Samsung JS9000 models are very eye-catching TVs, especially thanks to the silver-colored design. The complete frame has a silver (or brushed aluminum) finish and the wide Y-foot looks as good as the same. However, it is all plastic, which is a shame for a TV from this price range. Certainly the foot could have had a bit more weight. This new foot also ensures that you can not turn the TV, something that needs to be taken into account. We prefer a darker finish of the frame because with this silver color all reflections from outside or from lights in the room come at you. Fingerprints are very quickly visible. At the bottom of the screen is not an extra edge with here cutouts for speakers (facing forward) and a status LED.
Just as with the top models of last year, the connections can not be found on the back of the TV. Only the power supply (with a too short cable unfortunately) and the One Connect box still have to be connected at the back of the TV. The One Connect box is the place for the other connections. This includes three USB ports (including one USB 3.0 port), four HDMI 2.0 inputs, an optical audio output, a smart card reader and an Ethernet port. Incidentally, this latter port does not necessarily need to be used since WiFi is built-in. However, we must immediately lose one point about this One Connect box, which is useful for the flexible connection of your components. The device makes quite a noise, something that noticed immediately after installation. It is therefore advisable to remove this box as best as possible in a closet (you).
The JS9000 models are supplied with two remote controls; the standard black remote control with virtually all the buttons you need and the new Smart Remote remote that gives you access to the most important functions with a limited number of buttons and a cursor function. The ‘normal’ remote control feels a bit cheap and does not look very premium, but if this is a problem you can use the premium looking and sensing Smart Remote remote control. It also features a built-in microphone for voice operation and a motion sensor (pointer). With this pointer, elements on the screen can be selected easily and quickly. Because of its curved shape and the structure (with notches) at the back it is easy to hold. The buttons also feel solid and high-quality. In addition to these two options, you can also control the TV through an application for your smartphone or tablet. Unfortunately, it is currently only possible to install the app on a Samsung device, something that we do not have.
Samsung JS9000 – ease of use
In terms of ease of use, not much has changed compared to last year, although of course the Tizen platform is new. But, the general menus for settings and installation have largely remained unchanged. However, Samsung has made the menu more simple, without too much color and with tight, white symbols. This is just a bit more modern and simpler, and thus the user-friendliness benefits a little.
The menus of the TV are easy to navigate, respond fairly quickly to input and with most options is briefly explained what they contain so you also know what you do when you play with the settings. However, there are many submenus for the novice user. You can dive completely into the setting of, for example, the image view, for example to adjust the movement correction or advanced color options. You can of course make it as crazy as you want in terms of settings, but more about this under the heading about image quality.
When you switch on the JS9000 models for the first time, you will be guided through the most important settings fairly quickly, including searching stations, setting up your WiFi network and creating a Samsung account to make full use of the Tizen smart TV platform. This smart TV platform, which we will discuss in more detail later, works quite smoothly thanks to an octacore processor. Switching between apps hardly causes any delays and scrolling through app lists and menus is fairly fast. However, it must be said that it takes a bit too long before the TV on the remote responds after switching on.
Samsung JS9000 – features
Smart TV platform (Smart Hub)
In the field of smart TV software, a lot has changed at Samsung this year. The Korean manufacturer now uses the Tizen operating system. This software is the future according to Samsung and should also appear on devices such as smartphones, tablets and even printers.
The smart TV platform looks drastically different this year and although we were fan of last year’s software, it must be said that this year is better. The whole platform is a lot simpler, with less advanced pages or options, clear elements and easier operation.
If you watch TV or watch a video (outside of the smart TV platform in Netflix for example) you will get four choices presented by touching the pointer button on the Smart Remote. At the top of the screen you will see an icon that gives you access to a large number of quick settings, including settings for the image and the audio, and also shows a number block with which you can quickly find a particular channel. On the left we find an icon for quickly changing the volume, on the right an icon appears with which you get access to the channels and the guide. At the bottom the icon of the Smart Hub appears.
The Smart Hub is the component that is also drastically minimized. You no longer enter a real hub (read: page) with all smart TV options. Instead, at the bottom of the screen, in a kind of fan / bar, you can see the most recently used apps and inputs and a small block with recommended apps. Click on the small block and you will see a larger range of apps that Samsung recommends. You can also access the app library from this range. In this library you will find a complete new overview of all available apps, sorted by category. The most popular and well-known apps can be found here, but Samsung does not yet seem to be on the same level as last year. For example, we could not find Pathé Thuis, Nu.nl and Videoland.
As you read and see, the smart TV platform has become a lot easier, without extra pages that are actually not needed at all. The Tizen software has a low learning curve and you quickly get to where you need to be for certain functions. If you also want to get an overview of all inputs directly, the source button on the remote control is for that. With this you get a fan at the top of the screen with the available inputs. The Tizen software is reasonably fast and switching between apps is smooth. Unfortunately, the app offer is not yet what we are used to from Samsung, but we expect that this will change rapidly during this year.
A TV is no longer only operated by means of a remote control. Samsung is leading the way in this area and implements several other options. This way you can control the TV by means of voice and movements and an app has been developed so that the TV can be operated via a smartphone or tablet.
Motion recognition for hands and fingers is only available on models with a camera and thus the JS9000 series is not equipped. However, the pointer of the Smart Remote can be used and that works fairly accurately. By placing your thumb on the pointer button you can quickly select elements on the screen but sometimes, in different applications (including the browser), it takes a while before the cursor has found its place. The cursor also does not work in third-party apps. A popular app like Netflix should simply be operated with the arrow keys.
The Smart Remote remote control also includes a microphone that allows you to use certain voice commands. For example, it is possible to call ‘Start Netflix’ or ‘Start Smart Hub’ and then the corresponding function is automatically opened by the TV. The voice operation works fairly accurately but it is rather difficult for the beginner to estimate what is and what is not recognized. Unfortunately, a detailed explanation of the possibilities is missing. In addition, more is a feature to show what is possible, which is not bar much. Well, the most annoying thing is that the function can only be activated via an on-screen menu and not via the remote control. The use is cumbersome, unclear and simply does not really invite you to repeat.
Like all other software within the smart TV platform, the browser has also been updated. Samsung has kept the new browser fairly simple, but we are less satisfied than last year. In particular, the pointer / cursor has difficulty in the browser, when filling in the address and scrolling, making the browser simply less inviting to be used. In terms of speed we have few complaints, but it is a pity that this browser is not an improvement but rather a deterioration.
Samsung JS9000 – image quality
It is all about one thing, of course; the image quality. Samsung has equipped the JS9000 models, including the UE55JS9000, with the latest technologies and features, including edge lit LED backlighting with pseudo-local dimming, a 2200 PQI, Precision Black and Peak Illuminator Pro, Wide Color and a powerful upscaler with which low resolution content can be improved.
With every TV we test, we try to create the optimum picture quality with as few advanced adjustments as possible. For the Samsung JS9000 models, the Film Mode offers the best picture quality from the box (Samsung has this mode over time to a fairly high level), but with some small adjustments you can get some extras.
Please note; it depends on your own preferences and also the space in which the TV stands. Do you want to professionally calibrate your TV or start working on it yourself? Then go through our tips articles in the home cinema information guide. Although it is not professional calibration, we have adjusted the TV to our preferences and that is where the following basic settings came from;
|Picture mode: Film
Tint: G50 / R50
|Dynamic contrast: Off
Black tones: Off
Skin color: 0
RGB mode: Off
|Color tone: Warm2
Digital Clean View: Off
MPEG noise filter: Off
HDMI black level: Auto
Motion Plus: Custom
Film Black: On
Smart LED: Low
With the above settings we have a few additions. For example, it is advisable to enable Smart LED (pseudo-local dimming) because this minimizes most clouding and backlight issues. In addition, this option provides deeper black values. The difference between the three institutions is minimal but we have chosen ‘Low’. In addition, we set the option Auto Motion Plus to ‘Custom’ and then enable LED Clear Motion. This option provides a slightly smoother and sharper reproduction of fast moving images and objects, without introducing negative effects such as a home video effect. The only small disadvantage is that some people perceive a flicker effect due to this option and that the brightness deteriorates slightly. It remains a compromise.
Before we go further into the picture quality we have to mention that this model of Samsung is an SUHD TV and that this means that Samsung uses . Put simply, this means that the TV can display a larger color range, something that can be achieved by setting the color range to ‘own’ in the menu. However, the content must also have a larger color range to take advantage of this and at this moment there is no content available with a larger color spectrum than rec709 standard. If you use the larger color range with this content, this will result in a saturated and unnatural display. So it is more a preparation for what is to come.
In a review of a TV, we always look first at the general picture properties, including the backlight and its uniformity, the black values, clouding issues and possible problems with, among other things, halo effects. Although it is not perfect, we have little to complain about these general features of the JS9000 models. The screen has minimal clouding issues but these disappear almost completely with the aforementioned ‘Smart LED option’ switched on and around light objects on a dark background is (not entirely illogical given the edge lit lighting) a very light haze visible .
But, the latter also does not interfere to an extent that it affects the viewing experience. Note that these minus points become clearer at an angle of more than 30 degrees. The black values of this top model are impressive, better than many top models of LCD TV that we have seen in recent times. So it is absolutely good in terms of contrast; even in scenes with, for example, a lot of shadows subtle and dark details remain very visible.
Although you should not even think about SD content with a TV of this caliber, you might still encounter a TV broadcast or movie with a low resolution. Then it is good to know that the UE55JS9000 has very little trouble with this. Samsung has mastered the upscaling of low resolution content, both SD and HD, that has been showing the company for years. The JS9000 models are able to make full use of the large number of pixels without any notable negative side effects. Here and there, there is slight noise and artifacts, but this also hardly affects the viewing experience. It is a bit inherent in lesser quality content. With the LED Clear Motion option enabled, fast movements are also perfectly taken care of, but with SD content, the automatic ‘Clear’ option provides a slightly quieter view.
The Blu-ray movies that we now find in the store are, just like many content on services such as Netflix and digital TV channels, in HD quality and in this area the UE55JS9000 shows absolutely that it is a top model. The TV offers a sharp image thanks to an excellent scaler and shows a very wide but at the same time natural and realistic color spectrum. Black values are impressively deep and the gray gradations also show that we are dealing with a top model. In dark parts of the screen (or the scene) a lot of detail is and remains visible, which only attracts more in a film or series. When displaying HD content, we recommend that you leave the LED Clear Motion option on, since without this option, especially in content where fast movements occur (for example, sport or action), you may sometimes experience somewhat stuttering images.
The Samsung UE55JS9000 is of course a 4K Ultra HD TV, or as Samsung calls it, an SUHD TV. This means that you have a large number of pixels at your disposal and only make full and optimal use of this when viewing native 4K content. Unfortunately, the supply of this is not yet great and we are still waiting for the first . But, if you have a subscription to Netflix and are looking for nice 4K content on YouTube, you can already fully enjoy this screen. Among other things, we have looked at DareDevil and House of Cards in 4K resolution on the UE55JS9000.
Although the content on Netflix is compressed using the HEVC codec, the quality is extremely impressive. Especially the sharpness of the screen, with a natural and dynamic color reproduction, deep black and a convincing display of details. Here and there you can suffer from artifacts because of the compression, but here too you can quickly see through. The processing of fast movements, of the camera or of objects in the picture is almost perfectly arranged in both HD and 4K.
The Samsung JS9000 models have support for . Put simply, this means that the TVs have a higher contrast with more color gradations, deeper black levels and more intense whites. However, here too the rule applies that we have mentioned at the cup quantum dots; the content must be available in HDR. Now HDR is still a difficult story because there are different standards and it is not entirely clear which standard is now exactly compatible with the JS9000 models from Samsung. In addition, the UE55JS9000 has no particularly high contrast or particularly high brightness to display HDR material in full glory. And then we are not even talking about the fact that as a consumer you can hardly get any HDR material. But, we got a short demo video from Samsung and this looked very nice. The TV was able to reproduce very intense white tones without compromising on deep black levels. In addition, the colors (with more gradations) splash from the screen, without appearing unnatural.
Unfortunately, there are no 3D glasses with the JS9000 models delivered, so they must be purchased separately, and that while there is just 3D support is present. We think this is an important minus, certainly looking at the price you have to pay for these top models. Two pairs of glasses had to be there, whether or not we were done with 3D.
Unfortunately we have not been able to test the 3D display, but we expect that Samsung has invested little more in this area. The chances are that the 3D experience matches the models of last year and that was fine. The development then already stood still. However, the known drawbacks of active 3D are still present. For example, the glasses are pricey, you can have a chance of flicker effects and crosstalk remains present to a small extent.
When you play a lot of games where the reaction speed is of great importance then the UE55JS9000 is one of the best options of the moment. This model has an input lag of 24 ms in game mode and is therefore a very good performing model. The low input lag ensures that the actions you perform with a controller are displayed faster on TV and you can respond better / faster in games where this is of great importance.
Reflections and viewing angles
When we look at the viewing angles, it is immediately clear that we are dealing with a curved screen. If you sit more than 30 degrees out of the middle, the image quality deteriorates quickly. This results in lower brightness and lifeless (low contrast) images. It also comes from a corner that there is something about backlight bleeding and clouding. So it is not a TV that you sit around with the whole family, something that we have also mentioned in previous reviews of curved TVs. For reflections, this model is slightly less sensitive because Samsung has developed a new filter for this. But, due to the curvature of the screen, more objects fall into the living room or the objects outside (when the TV is hanging by the window).
Samsung JS9000 – audio quality
In the field of audio playback, the JS9000 models fortunately do not disappoint. Samsung has chosen to place the speakers under the screen and so let it point to the front. The ‘list’ contains two 20 Watt speakers, accompanied by dual 20 Watt subwoofers at the rear. This combination provides a fairly rich, dynamic and full sound, much better than the sound of the average flat screen (or curved) TV. The UE55JS9000 manages to create a reasonably wide sound field, with sufficient separation between left and right, sufficient warmth and clarity in dialogues and even quite a few low tones. At high volumes, the TV is still standing well, without the sound starts to distort. For music the system sounds a bit too woolly but you can not often listen to music through your TV. As always, we recommend buying a good audio system with a TV of this caliber. Then you get more out of your home cinema experience.
Samsung JS9000 – conclusion
Is the Samsung UE55JS9000 the perfect TV for nearly 3,800 euros? After all, it is a rather hefty price tag. That price tag is one of the downsides, because not everyone has such a budget. But, further downsides do not actually relate to the most important characteristics of image and audio. The One Connect box makes too much noise in our view and the 3D glasses should of course have been included for this money. But, furthermore, there is little to complain about. The JS9000 models offer great value for money, especially in the area of user-friendly smart TV software (with the hope that the app offers fast growth), impressive image quality and excellent audio reproduction. For a premium price, thanks to the quantum dots, you are prepared for content with a larger color range and thanks to HDR support on content with a larger dynamic range. These last two features, however, still have to prove themselves as soon as we have sufficient access to this as a consumer. All in all, the JS9000 is definitely a top-of-the-range LCD LED TV where you, as a consumer looking for an optimal image and audio reproduction with sufficient smart TV options, will not soon regret it.