Reviews

Review: Samsung UE55KS9000 (KS9000 series) SUHD TV

Samsung KS9000
In this review we look at the UE55KS9000, from Samsung KS9000 Series a 55-inch S-UHD TV with HDR support, the 4K Ultra HD resolution, a curved screen and the Tizen smart TV platform.
4.6/5 - (227 votes)

Samsung announced a large number of new TVs for the Dutch market at the beginning of this year. In the higher regions of the line-up we see the 9-series back, with the KS9000 as one of the top models. In this review we look at the UE55KS9000, a 55-inch S-UHD TV with HDR support, the 4K Ultra HD resolution, a curved screen and the Tizen smart TV platform.

Samsung KS9000 – specifications

The Samsung KS9000 series is reflected in the higher regions of the 2016 line-up. They are top models with edge lit LED lighting, a curved screen, support for high dynamic range, quantum dot colors, the PQI 2400 image technology with Precision Black and Peak Illuminator Pro, two tuners, a 360 degree design, the improved Tizen smart TV platform, the One Connect Box, the new Smart Remote and 60 Watt speakers. The KS9000 series models have a curved screen. If you want a flat screen TV then you can go for the KS8000 series. These models have almost the same specifications, but therefore a flat screen.

In this review we look at the 55-inch US55KS9000. This model has been given a suggested retail price of 2,599 euros. The series also consists of the 49-inch UE49KS9000 (2,199 euros), 65-inch UE65KS9000 (3,699 euros) and the 78-inch UE78KS9000 (6,499 euros).

Review equipment

For this review use 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 and HDR material.

Samsung KS9000 – design

Samsung once again opts for a simplistic and 360 degree design, but we still see some nice improvements and adjustments. The KS9000 models are equipped with a very slim design, with a silver frame around the screen and a black plastic edge under the screen on which the logo of the manufacturer adorns. We also see the silver finish in the Chrome foot, which is a special case. The assembly is somewhat different than we are used to, with a mounting point in the middle on the back of the TV. This ensures that you do not see any connection between TV and the foot, which makes the TV – kind of – float for the standard. But, it also provides a TV that is beautifully designed from all sides, even from the rear. However, it is a hefty standard that is slightly less broad than the TV itself. The screen can not rotate on the foot.

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The TV has been given a premium finish, although we still see quite a bit of plastic, and the minimalistic look makes for a sleek and chic-looking TV. We have already indicated it before, but with curved screens we find hanging on the wall for a strange face. We still prefer the foot in these screens.

Samsung KS9000 review design

Samsung supplies the UE55KS9000 with the One Connect Box, a small box that you can place behind or next to your TV. This is connected to the TV by means of one cable and also receives power from there. The cable is long enough to put the box in a TV cabinet but the cable from the TV to the socket is again short. Although the One Connect Box is included, the TV itself also has a number of connections.

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On the left-hand side of the panel is the connection for the power, on the right is a cover behind which you can find a USB 2.0 port, a CI + module and an Ethernet port. However, it is advisable to use the connections on the box. This includes four HDMI 2.0a ports, two USB 2.0 ports, cable and satellite connections and an optical output.

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The Samsung UE55KS9000 comes 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 all important buttons are present and the operation is without problems. It is striking that the Netflix required by Netflix is ​​not on the remote control.

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You can also go for the somewhat more premium looking and sensing Smart Remote remote control. It also features a built-in microphone for voice operation, but the motion control has disappeared. This was a great function, yet ‘arrow keys’ are more accurate and faster. 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. A new feature this year is the Connect function, which automatically recognizes equipment connected via HDMI and the TV sets the remote control so that it can be operated with it. This is a useful feature, especially when you use all your devices purely for the basic functions and want to have as few remote controls as possible. In addition to these two options, you can also control the TV using the Smart View application for your smartphone or tablet.

Samsung KS9000 – ease of use

In terms of general menus and settings, not much has changed compared to last year. Yes, a few options have been moved to a more logical place. So you can now find the Sport and Game modes directly in the image mode instead of in the advanced settings. In addition, the menus have been given a lick of paint and with more options we see a small explanation about exactly what the option is for. These are minor changes, but they do have a positive effect on the user experience.

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.

Samsung KS9000 review menu

When you switch on the UE55KS9000 for the first time, you will see the most important settings and options so that you can start immediately. You have to link the network to use the internet services, you can show channels and you have to create a Samsung account to make use of all smart TV options. The navigation within the smart TV platform, called Tizen, also runs smoothly. We did not suffer from lags or delays, there is sufficient speed and also the navigation through the smart hub (or actually beam at the bottom) is simple and fast. Also the switching between apps goes smoothly, just like browsing through app lists and menus. So it is good in terms of user experience.

Samsung KS9000 – features

Smart TV platform (Tizen)

Last year, Samsung introduced the Tizen smart TV platform, a self-developed system that is a lot simpler and clearer than the old ‘Smart Hub’. Tizen is reflected in the color of different parts but especially in the bar at the bottom. In the second version of Tizen, which was launched this year, Samsung has given this beam / fan and even more prominent place and optimized the content.

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The fan at the bottom of the screen is actually the starting point for everything. But, this year there are suggestions so that you immediately find the content that is interesting for you. You can access the settings, the inputs / sources, live TV, video streaming services, apps, games and the web browser via the fan. For all these options, shown in the lower part of the fan, suggestions, shortcuts or recently used apps or channels appear in the upper section. For example, when you select live TV, you see the recently used channels and the ability to start recording. When you select Netflix you will see suggestions for series and films. When you select the settings you will see a number of shortcuts to quick settings. 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. What we noticed here, however, is that many apps are not (anymore) present. For example NPO Gemist, Pathé Thuis and Nu.nl were missing. These are apps that we previously saw back and apps that also just belong on a Samsung smart TV. We have asked Samsung for a response and as soon as we have it, we update this article.

Samsung-KS9000 review-tizen apps

Tizen looks just like last year very slick and tight, but Samsung also has the look a bit tighter and clearer to get. The most important improvement, however, is that now everything can be found in the fan so that you immediately find what you are looking for. It is a very simple smart TV platform, without bells and whistles. That benefits the speed and the user experience.

Samsung KS9000 review tizen

Media player

In addition to the Smart View app, you can also use the built-in media player to view photos, movies and music on your TV. This allows you to connect a USB stick or through content streaming from your home network. The support of file formats is reasonably wide. For example, we also see hevc, including for 4K material. We have little to complain about the operation of the media player; the operation is simple and content is displayed without problems.

Samsung KS9000 – image quality

The Samsung KS9000 series is one of the top series for this year and that should be reflected in the image quality. The TV includes an LCD panel with edge lit LED backlighting and local dimming, quantum dot colors, HDR support with a 1000 nits brightness, a PQI 2400 imaging technique, Peak Illuminator Pro and Precision Black. In short, everything that must be present for an optimal image display.

Main settings

We almost never go to work with a TV without checking the settings and adjusting them where necessary. A professional calibration is not, you often do not do that at home, but with some small adjustments you can provide optimal image quality.

Samsung KS9000 review settings

 

General Advanced Image options
Picture mode: Film
Backlighting: 8
Contrast: 90
Brightness: 46
Sharpness: 0
Color: 50
Tint: G50 / R50
Digital Clean View: Off
Dynamic contrast: Off
Gamma: -1
HDMI UHD Color: On (HDR)
Color tone: Warm2
Auto Motion Plus: Custom
LED Clear Motion: Off / On
Smart LED: Low

The above settings are a guideline that you can follow, and especially for those who want the best picture quality in a dark environment, they already make more of it. Why we have used certain institutions, we explain as always. The Movie mode is the best mode from the box to start with. For standard dynamic range content, we do not set the backlight too high, in order to prevent adverse effects in dark areas of the screen. We turn off Digital Clean View, but you can always activate this with lesser quality content. It reduces the noise in the image. Samsung calls local dimming Smart LED, which enables or disables specific areas of the backlight independently of each other. We have not completely opened this option because it is too clear with the lighting is played and for example the image around the subtitle is too gray / light. With HDR content this option must be fully open to get the maximum brightness from the panel. 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. You can find more about the HDR settings later in the review.

General

In each review we always look first at the general characteristics of the TV, the panel. For example, we look at how the backlight is placed and has an influence on an even black image, white image and a uniform color. This gives us an idea about the uniformity of the screen, problems with clouding and blooming, the depth of the black values ​​and problems with, among other things, halo effects. Although the US55KS9000 on a complete black image is not completely smooth, we see some spots of light here and there, this is not noticed during normal TV viewing. With a complete white and red image the screen is almost uniform, without clear darker or lighter parts. However, the use of LED lighting on the underside here and there is blooming, a white haze around light objects around a dark background. This too only stands out when one light object is visible on a black background and is hardly or not visible during normal TV viewing. When the option Smart LED is off and the backlight is on maximum, the blooming issues become more prominent. The higher backlight can provide a greyish haze over the black bars below and above the screen in HDR mode.

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With the above points we actually mentioned all (small) negatives. As far as the rest is concerned, the KS9000 series throws high eyes. There are no noticeable banding problems visible, which we saw last year in the HU7500 series during football matches, and other adverse effects or artefacts is not there. The black values ​​are impressively deep and even in HDR mode the TV knows how to hold it very well. 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. A dark coat with many shades of gray remains detailed and does not fall off against the black background.

Samsung has made progress with respect to managing fast movements. The KS9000 series models have the Auto Motion Plus option but we are still not charmed by this. This option introduces the so-called soap opera effect in automatic mode, which gives films a soap-look, an effect that we do not want. Fortunately, there is an ‘adjusted’ setting that allows you to switch on the LED Clear Motion option. 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. With this option enabled, we see a very tight representation of fast moving objects or fast movements of the camera.

The color reproduction is also a big plus of the UE55KS9000. Thanks to the larger color range (provided there is compatible content) and the quantum dots, a very lively and dynamic but at the same time natural image is displayed. The colors splash from the screen but without direction the red, green or blue to exaggerate. Skin tones are naturally transmitted and the yellowish desert in Mad Max remains a natural yellow shade, while the sky is deep blue. In our view, the TV provides a true-to-nature and very accurate color reproduction.

SD and HD content

If you still have content in standard definition, then it is good to know that the UE55KS9000 handles this perfectly. We advise you to switch on the Clean Digital View option for this content to reduce noise and artifacts, but after this adjustment the TV delivers a clean and dynamic picture. The upscaling function does a great job and even knows how to make a decent image from a low resolution that is comfortable to watch.

But, HD content is the minimum that this TV deserves and with this content the UE55KS9000 only shows what it really can do. The Blu-ray from Gravity was our choice. What was especially noticeable was the very impressive depth of the black, with no appreciable blooming effects. The TV provides a lively picture, with high contrast, deep black values ​​and realistic color reproduction. The details are razor-sharp and the upscaler also does an impressive job here to show subtle details accurately and accurately. In the many dark scenes of the film a lot of detail is and remains visible, which only attracts more in the film.

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4K Ultra HD display

4K Ultra HD content we watched through Netflix and through an Ultra HD Blu-ray player of the competition. It is our first time to test a TV with a real Ultra HD Blu-ray player and it immediately becomes clear that compressed content, via services like Netflix, really does not make it to a disc where everything is in its purest and best form state. With an Ultra HD disc, in this case Mad Max (in SDR), you experience all the details in the purest form and you get the most sleek and clean view. Combine this with a larger color range and you have a film experience that we have not had before, even without HDR. Content from Netflix continues to show signs of compression, with slightly more artefacts and noise. Subtle details also appear slightly less lively. The Ultra HD Blu-ray disc is still preferred by us and the Samsung KS9000 models get the most out of this.

HDR support

The Samsung UE55KS9000 has support for HDR (High Dynamic Range). Put simply, this means that the TV has a higher contrast with more color gradations, deeper black levels and more intense whites. We watched HDR content via Netflix, a USB stick with demo material and an Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Unfortunately, the TV did not recognize HDR content from Netflix as such (perhaps there should be another update) so we left this option quickly left. The Ultra HD Blu-ray player is the competitor (Panasonic) and therefore you have to select HDMI UHD Color in the settings and set the connected HDMI input to ‘on’. Only then is HDR recognized by the TV. That said, we can move on to the quality of HDR.

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It is best that we immediately drop into the house with the TV; HDR content is impressive to look at, especially when you watch the content in the dark (in the evening). During the day, with a lot of light, the difference with SDR content looks too small and the picture seems to have been dimmed. The maximum you will only get from HDR content when the ambient light is minimal. But, the film we watched, Mad Max, actually splashed off the screen, with intense white parts and deep black levels. HDR is not about the general standard brightness of the screen, but the peaks that can be achieved when, for example, the sun appears. The dynamic contrast rises at such a moment and comes closer to how we experience it with our own eyes. The sun is white and very clear, while the rest of the image retains its contrast and black values. However, it must be said that the higher settings of, among other things, the backlight, the LEDs should shine hard and become more visible in the black bars at the bottom of the screen. The LEDs are, after all, under the screen with this model. It is noticeable when you look at it but it is also a disadvantage that immediately falls away from the impressive viewing experience that HDR offers.

It is also important to know that a number of other image settings are required for HDR content. The TV recognizes HDR content and indicates this in a notification at the top of the screen. When you then adjust the settings for the image, they are remembered for specific HDR content. What we have changed; the backlight on up to (20), LED Clear Motion on, Contrast on 100, Gamma on 1 and Smart LED on high to take full advantage of the possibilities of the screen. All this in Film mode.

Gaming

For the fanatical gamers amongst us the input lag is of great importance and it is therefore good to know that the Samsung UE55KS9000 excels at this level. The input lag is 21ms and that is just very good. For this, however, the game mode, found in the system menu oddly enough, must be enabled. 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

Samsung is using a new filter this year to minimize reflections and thanks to the new quantum dot technology, the viewing angles must also increase. We see clear improvements in comparison with the previous generation. As long as you stay within an angle of 90 degrees, hardly any decay occurs in the contrast and the color rendering. However, the light spot of the LEDs becomes slightly more visible. Fortunately, there are few situations in which you look at the TV at an even greater angle, when the quality matters. From every acceptable angle, you can easily look at the screen. The reflections are also well prevented thanks to the new moth-eye filter. Only bright light sources, such as a lamp in the back of the room or sunshine through the window, remain visible. And it still has to be said; the curved screen is more sensitive to reflections than a flat screen.

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Samsung KS9000 – audio quality

With such a slim TV, where the speakers in the housing are processed, you can not expect much of the audio quality. But, the Samsung UE55KS9000 certainly does not disappoint, and even performs well beyond expectations. The speakers sit at the bottom of the screen and are sent to the user by a plastic piece. This ensures a clear and clear display of dialogues. There is also a fairly good stereo effect and quite a bit low for a simple TV program or a simple series. The high tones are not very convincing, there let Samsung fall some stings. The volume can be set quite high without distortion, even if you use the TV as a music system for a pleasant evening. Keep in mind that in terms of music you will soon miss the bass. Overall, the audio quality above average is good, especially when we look at the small speakers in the slim design.

Samsung KS9000 – conclusion

If we take everything together, you will not be surprised that we find the Samsung UE55KS9000 one of the best, if not the best, TVs of the moment. Actually Samsung does everything right with this model, from the design and the smart TV interface to the image quality and the sound quality. You pay a lot of money for it but certainly in the field of image quality you can not get much better at the moment. If you want to be prepared for what is to come (or is already there) then you are good with this model. HDR is a real added value, especially for those hard movie fans who prefer to enjoy movies in the evening, and the 4K resolution with the larger color range provides a viewing experience in which you get even more into the content. Are there no improvement points at all? Yes. We miss some important apps within the smart TV platform, the screen is not completely uniform and the curved screen still suffers more from reflections than a flat screen. Oh yes, and 3D-view is missing this year .. But, then we are about to nitpick. The Samsung US55KS9000 is just a high-end TV, on almost every level, and therefore an absolute must.

Cons

  • Small issues with uniformity screen
  • Smart TV platform lacks popular apps
  • No 3D display (yes ..)

Pros

  • Simplistic and user-friendly Tizen platform
  • Sleek and premium design
  • Impressive image quality; HD, 4K and HDR