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Review: Samsung UE55NU8000 (NU8000 series) LCD LED TV

Samsung UE55NU8000
In this review we look at the 55-inch Samsung UE55NU8000 from Samsung NU8000 series. With 4K UHD TV you enjoy sharp, clear images. Discover the Premium UHD TV NU8000.

The QLED devices are the showpieces of Samsung, but that does not mean that you can lose sight of the ‘normal’ LCD TVs. This NU8000 series has to do without the design features of the QLED series, but still has a lot to offer in terms of image quality for a decent price. In this review we look at the 55-inch Samsung UE55NU8000.

Samsung UE55NU8000 – specifications

  • What: Ultra HD Edge LED-LCD-TV
  • Screen size: 65 inch (165 cm), flat
  • Connections: 4x HDMI (1xARC, 4x v2.0a), 1x optical digital out, 2x USB, 1x digital optical audio out, 3x antenna, network connection
  • Extras: HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, WiFi (802.11n / ac) built in, Tizen Smart Hub, USB / DLNA media player, dual DVB-T / C / S2, 1x CI + lock, Smart Controller, voice control
  • Dimensions: 1.227 x 787 x 322 mm (including foot)
  • Weight: 18.9 kg (incl. foot)
  • Consumption: 99 / 0.5 watt (Energy Label A)
  • Recommended price: 1.499 euro

A complete overview of all models that Samsung brought to the market in 2018 can be found in the 2018 Samsung lcd led tv line-up. Here you can also find the complete specifications per model.

Samsung UE55NU8000 – design

The NU8000 series embodies the typical designs of Samsung. A super slim profile, with a slightly curved rear so you hardly notice that the device in the middle is thicker. No frame, but rather a dark metal ribbon that goes around the screen. There is a small black border in the screen of about 7 mm.

The back is made of black plastic with a horizontal stripe pattern. At the bottom of the screen a light metal-colored strip accentuates the image. The T-shaped foot is provided at the front with the same light metal accent line. This creates a nice effect where the image is doubly underlined.

Connections

The One Connect box and Invisible Connection is one of the options that you only find on the QLED TVs. With the NU8000, the connections are simply on the device.

It is equipped with four HDMI connections, all ready for Ultra HD and HDR, a digital optical output, and two USB connections. All connections are on the side. There is no headphone connection, but the television does have Bluetooth.

Samsung UE55NU8000 – ease of use

The installation procedure is identical to that of the QLED models. You select country and language, a network connection, and if you use the built-in tuners, the TV will load the channels. SmartThings, the smartphone app that replaces the endless row of Samsung apps, can also be used on the NU8000 to go through the entire installation.

The app still does not seem to work as it should. For example, when we selected the Wi-Fi network, we still had to enter a Wi-Fi password, whereas that should just happen automatically. So there is still room for improvement. Installation is of course a one-off task, but you can also use SmartThings to use your smartphone as a remote. Then the app works fine.

The Samsung menus and Smart Hub work very smoothly, in that respect the NU8000 range should not be inferior to the QLED models. You really never have to wait on the menus. Samsung has put virtually all settings for image and sound in the ‘expert settings’. This is convenient for the average consumer who has little message about all these things. Also do not forget that some image-related settings (such as eco settings, game mode and HDMI settings) are listed separately in the ‘General’ menu.

Remote control

The slim Smart controller has remained unchanged. This version is made of black plastic, is slightly curved and slightly perfect in your hand. The keys have hardly any relief but are easy to find even on the touch. Because there are so few, you know quite quickly which test is true. The remote works perfectly with the Smart Hub and ensures smooth operation.

The Smart Controller also serves as a universal remote for your peripherals. Open the Smart Hub, go to Sources (penultimate icon on the left) and scroll in the options all the way to the right, to ‘Set universal Remote Control’. You go through a very simple installation procedure per connected device and ready. We were able to operate our set-top box for digital TV (Telenet digicorder) and Blu-ray player with the Smart Controller.

Samsung UE55NU8000 – features

Smart TV platform

We hardly notice any changes to the Smart Hub. He was already a pleasure to work in since last year. All functions, sources and settings can easily be found in the bar at the bottom. You can adjust the order of icons so that your favorite items are at the front.

Above that a larger bar appears that shows options depending on your selection at the bottom. In Netflix, for example, you get some suggestions, choose the sources below you see all possible sources.

Smart functions

The Samsung UE55NU8000 is equipped with a dual tuner for all digital TV possibilities (ether, cable, and satellite) but no double CI + lock. You can record to USB hard drive and watch another channel at the same time but only if one of the two channels is not encrypted.

Samsung’s media player has always been an almost universal player. This year, however, we notice that support for Divx and for Xvid video formats have disappeared. Now those formats have long been pensionable, so we do not really like that. What we regret is that the player no longer plays DTS soundtracks. Furthermore, Full HD, Ultra HD and HDR, encoded in H.264, HEVC or VP9 are no problem, just like subtitles. The audio player also reads FLAC and ALAC.

The Smart remote is equipped with a microphone, and with that you can give a lot of commands or say queries. For now, there is unfortunately no support for Dutch, switch the television in English if you want to use this feature.

Samsung UE55NU8000 – Image quality

The NU8000 series is equipped with an Edge LED backlight that also uses local dimming . The screen is of the VA type, and will therefore provide a good contrast but a moderate viewing angle.

Samsung UE55NU8000  Main settings

In our article on the professional calibration of a TV you can read all about the possibilities to come up with the best picture settings with a professional. Here you will find an explanation of the most important picture settings and tips for setting up your TV. With the basic settings we have come to the following settings for this TV.

The best choice starts from the film mode.

Film Mode Expert Settings Expert Settings
Picture format setting: 16: 9 standard
] Fit to screen: On
Backlighting: 22
Brightness: 0
Contrast: 45
Sharpness: 0
Color: 25
Tint (G / R): 0
Clean Digital View: Off / Low
Auto Motion Plus: *
Local Dimming: Standard
Contrast Enhancement: Off
Movie mode: Auto 2
HDR + mode: Off *
Color Tone: Warm 2
Gamma: BT.1886 / 0 *
RGB mode: Off
Color space: Auto

Explanation of main settings;

  • The backlight is in the Film mode at 22. That provides a pleasant brightness and you can, when you look at a lot of light, set the setting a whole lot higher. In that case you can also consider the light sensor, which can be found under General, Eco-solution, Detection of ambient light.
  • Clean Digital View contains all noise reduction techniques. It is advisable to activate this if you are watching DVD or other low-quality image. The ‘Auto’ mode also works with light color bands, the ‘low’ mode works a little less hard.
  • Gamma: those who rarely look in the dark can increase the range to 1 for slightly brighter midtones.
  • Auto Motion Plus: this is always a matter of taste. Car is a good all-round solution. If you want more control, choose Custom and set Haziness Reduction to 10 and vibration reduction somewhere between 6 and 8. We do not recommend LED Clear Motion, the flicker in the image is visible.
  • HDR + mode can be activated to taste. It seems to us that you lose some white detail.

General image and image processing

The image processing of the Samsung UE55NU8000 must not be inferior to that of the QLED models. The upscaling shows nicely detailed images. Anyone who wants extra sharpness can bring the ‘sharpness’ setting to 5, higher than 10 we certainly do not recommend, even between 5 and 10 you risk some false detail. Deinterlacing and detection of film and video framerates is fine, so jagged edges or moiré effects are a relatively rare sight.

With older sources (DVD, low quality youtube or digital TV) we definitely recommend ‘Clean Digital View’. The ‘low’ mode already eliminates a lot of noise, both random noise and block formation (compression noise), but it does not overload. In the ‘Auto’ position the last noise disappears as well, but that sometimes results in a somewhat soft image. In this mode, the Samsung also seems to work out light color bands. It remains a personal choice whether you activate it.

The screen provides very good sharpening, but needs to go for the Q9FN. All detail is visible, even in fast moving images, but here and there you see a slightly double or vague edge. Set “Auto Motion Plus” to Auto if you want the best detail and smooth camera shake. You have to take some image artefacts here and there. A good intermediate solution is to choose the ‘adjusted’ setting, with blurring at 8-10, and vibration reduction between 6 and 8. Although you see extra detail in fast moving images with ‘Led Clear Motion’, we advise against using your visible flicker the

The Edge led backlight offers local dimming, but it was almost impossible to estimate how many zones it uses. Our best estimate is 6 × 1 (6 columns). The device almost always activates four of them, and makes sure you never see the boundaries of dimming zones. Unfortunately, this does limit the improvement of the black value, just because the zones are rarely completely switched off.

But no worries, the combination of the VA panel with the local dimming guarantees a very good black value. Since we can not completely disable the local dimming, the personal contrast of the screen is difficult to estimate, but with some extra testing we see that it is easily around 4500: 1, in itself already excellent. With local dimming that goes even further to 30000: 1 on test images, in reality the improvement is much smaller. In dark scenes, the black bands above and below a film remain slightly visible, which is of course no surprise given the dimming approach of this device.

We saw hardly any negative effects of the dimming (such as changing brightness), and if that is all case (as in our torture test with subtitles on dark image), then the effect was limited, and not excessively disturbing. The gamma value is around 2.4 and that is quite high, making the image a bit dark. Unless you look a lot at eclipse, you better set the gamma value 1.

The screen has good uniformity. The calibration of the film mode is good, but can certainly be better. The gray scale has a somewhat erratic course in the brightest tones, presumably due to the local dimming (can not be switched off). The errors are small enough to barely stand out. The color temperature is slightly cool in the bright shades (slightly blayw-cyan tint). The gamma value is quite high (2.4), ideal for looking at darkening but slightly too dark for typical living room use. The color reproduction is fine. The images are very natural and thanks to the good contrast the image has a lot of depth.

HDR

Samsung supports HDR10, HLG and HDR10+. HDR reproduction is of course one of the characteristics that you strongly surrender to the QLED models. The maximum brightness clocks to about 822 nits, still an excellent result. After a while she falls back to 548 nits. On a completely white field, you still get about 570 nits (peak). The color range is sufficiently large with 88% DCI-P3 and 64% Rec2020.

In the HDR mode film, the gray scale is well calibrated. The device neatly displays all white detail up to 1000 nits, but clippes everything that is higher. Color reproduction is pretty good, and the end result is a more than decent HDR reproduction. Anyone who likes to have a clearer picture can put the Contrast Improvement on low. In the highest position you lose white detail and the image sometimes becomes a bit too dull, that is to be avoided.

By activating HDR + in the Expert settings of the picture menus, you give SDR content an HDR editing. The images then become very clear, so it seems especially useful if you have a lot of sun in the living room.

Reflections and viewing angles

The viewing angle of the VA panel is rather limited. Colors and contrast fade as soon as you are more than 20 ° out of the way. That is no surprise but certainly something to take into account. The screen reflects reflections but rather moderately.

Gaming

In the film image mode we measure a lag of 76.8 ms. That is a lot for a good game experience. With the game mode active, the lag drops to 28.5 ms and that is a great result. Do not forget to activate that mode, you can find it in the settings, under General, Manage external devices, Game Mode. Samsung has also added Motion Plus settings so you can now also edit the motion sharpness in game mode. If you set the Motion Plus setting there, the lag will drop to 16.1 ms, a very good result.

Samsung UE55NU8000 – Audio quality

The NU8000 series has a decent audio quality. You can not expect thunderous bass from the thin frame, but the sound has sufficient low and sufficient volume to ensure a good, solid experience. If the volume is too high you can hear the bass remaining behind, and you can hear very limited distortion. For everyday use the sound is fine, an occasional movie and some background music can also. If you have more pronounced musical ambitions or film desires, then you better look for a soundbar.

Samsung has built in a new ‘auto volume’ function that makes the volume of different programs and different sources somewhat equal. Do you regularly hear loud advertising, or the difference between some of your sources, that provides a good solution.

Review equipment

For the lag measurement we use a Leo Bodnar Display lag meter. For all other measurements we rely on a Spectracal C6 HDR2000 Colorimeter Xrite i1 Pro spectrophotometer, a VideoForge Pro pattern generator, and the Spectracal Calman for Business software. To analyze any HDR problems we use HDFury Vertex.

Samsung UE55NU8000 – Conclusion

This Samsung UE55NU8000 shows that an edge LED backlight that uses local dimming has to make important compromises. If you are too aggressive, the zones are clearly visible. If you dim more subtly (like this Samsung), the improvement of the contrast is limited. Together with the relatively small viewing angle, these are the main drawbacks of this device.

On the plus side we find a television with excellent image processing, good motion sharpness, and plenty of brightness for use in a well-lit living room. The audio quality is also good, especially when we look at the narrow design. Thanks to a strong contrast, for many film lovers he will also be able to display very attractive images with a bit of darkening. And for a very reasonable price you get good HDR performance, although they obviously can not match the images of his big QLED brothers.

Cons

  • Viewing angle is quite limited
  • Added value of local dimming is limited
  • Smartthings app needs some improvement (installation)

Pros

  • Color rendering
  • Good motion sharpness
  • Excellent contrast and black value
  • Good HDR result

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