This year we have already looked at various top models of LCD LED TVs from Samsung, including the KS9000 series. But, we can go one step higher. In this review we look at the Samsung UE65KS9500, the 65-inch model in the premium KS9500 series from Samsung. The models in this series come with an impressive price tag but an equally impressive list of specifications and features.
Samsung KS9500 – specifications
You will not be surprised that the Samsung KS9500 models have everything you would expect from a premium LCD LED TV. These models are richly equipped with the best image techniques, the latest standards, various smart functions and a premium design. What is most striking is the full array LED lighting. Only the KS9500 and KS9800 series from Samsung have direct LED lighting on the back of the panel, which should provide higher contrast, with an accurate representation of deep black and bright white in one image. The other models in the 2016 line-up, including the KS9000 series, feature edge lit LED lighting (LED lighting from the sides).
We can list everything in a nice piece of text but the list below shows exactly what the Samsung UE65KS9500 exactly has.
- SUHD TV
- Full array LED backlight
- HDR 1000 (1000 nits)
- Quantum dot color
- PQI 2700
- Mega contrast
- Precision Black Pro
- Peak Illuminator Ultimate
- Supreme UHD Dimming
- Supreme Motion
- 10-bit panel
- Two tuners
- 360 degrees and Boundless design
- Samsung Smart TV (Tizen)
- Smart Remote (with One Connect)
- One Connect box
- 60 Watt speakers
- Samsung Smart View (app)
- 3x USB and 4x HDMI
- 65-inch (UE65KS9500): 4,699 euros
- 78-inch (UE78KS9500): 9,999 euros
In this review we look at the 65-inch US65KS9500. This model has been given a suggested retail price of 4,699 euros. In addition, we find the 78-inch UE78KS9500 with a suggested retail price of 9,999 euros in this series.
For this review use the Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the Marantz SR7009 receiver, a PlayStation 3 game console and Bowers & Wilkins CM S2 series speakers. We also used Netflix for testing 4K and HDR material.
Samsung KS9500 – design
In terms of design, the Ks9500 models largely correspond to the KS9000 models but something that immediately stands out is that the TV is a lot thicker than the other TVs in the 2016 line-up. That is not surprising, however, because the KS9500 models use full array LED lighting, where the LEDs are placed directly behind the panel. So more space has to be made available for these LEDs, something which obviously comes at the expense of the thickness. But, the few millimeters extra does not, in our view, make for a less sleek or attractive-looking TV. This model is still provided with a premium look, with a sleek silver frame around the screen and few bells and whistles. It must be said that there is a small gap between the panel and the frame, a place where some dust (or polystyrene) can collect which is difficult to get out of.
The UE65KS9500 is a Curved TV and that means that the screen is slightly curved, a deisgn element that Samsung uses less firmly this year. But, where the other high-end and middle-class models can be purchased in a flat and curved version, the top models in the KS9500 series can only be purchased with a curved screen. It is and remains a matter of taste.
We also see the silver finish in the chrome foot, even though it is a matte finish this time. A mounting point is placed in the middle on the back of the TV for the coupling of the foot. 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 and the screen can not run on the foot. All in all, the Samsung UE65KS9500 is a premium-looking TV with a sleek and simplistic finish and good build quality. It is a chic model that will not be out of place in many living rooms and also in our home theater (under construction) the TV knows its place perfectly.
A trend that we have already seen with Samsung is the lack of the most used connections at the back of the TV. Instead, use is made of the One Connect Box, an accessory that can be placed under / near / next to the TV. The TV only receives power via a cable and is connected to the One Connect Box with one cable. Both this cable and the power cable are not very long so keep this in mind. However, there are still a few connections to the TV itself, including a USB 2.0 port, the CI + module and an Ethernet port. The One Connect Box includes four HDMI 2.0a ports with hdcp 2.2, two USB 2.0 ports, cable and satellite connections and an optical output.
The Samsung UE65KS9500 comes with two remote controls; the standard black remote control with virtually all the buttons you need and the new Smart Controller 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 clear that little attention has been paid to this accessory.
You can also go for the somewhat more premium-looking and sensing Smart Controller 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; you have access to all buttons for simple daily use. In addition, the latest TVs that year are equipped with the Connect function with which HDMI connected to the One Connect Box via HDMI is automatically recognized and the TV set the remote control so that this equipment can be operated with. 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. Here you will find a simple view of the physical remote control and you have the possibility to share media with your TV.
Samsung KS9500 – ease of use
If we look at the settings menus and the smart TV platform, there is little to discover on the Samsung UE65KS9500, at least in a general sense. Positive is that Samsung had already arranged this well so we can not fault it. Compared to last year, the menus have received a smaller make-over and work has been done on the ease of use by indicating more options where that option actually serves. All in all, the user experience has improved slightly and Samsung still shows that it is leading the way.
As soon as the TV is turned on, you get the most important settings for, among other things, the TV channels and the connection to the network directly presented so you can get started within a few minutes. For the novice user the number of submenus and setting possibilities can be a bit overwhelming but the experienced user is probably only happy with it. You can dive deep into the settings to completely calibrate the TV and adjust each part to your liking.
Also about Tizen, which we discuss in more detail below, is actually only something positive to report in terms of ease of use. The platform has been further simplified and improved compared to last year, which means that you can get even more interesting content. It no longer runs on different screens and menus but on one tight bar at the bottom of your screen that gives you access to everything. With the speed is also good; you can easily switch between sources, menus and apps.
Samsung KS9500 – features
Smart TV platform (Tizen)
The Samsung UE65KS9500 is, like most TVs in the Samsung range, equipped with Tizen. Tizen is the smart TV platform from Samsung and a drastic improvement compared to the smart hub of a few years ago. In the past two years Samsung has managed to improve Tizen and that now results in a fairly simple but very handy and user-friendly smart TV interface.
The interface is a bar / fan at the bottom of the screen where everything appears that you need to select your sources, change settings and find interesting content. 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.
From the fan you can also visit the app library of Samsung, the place where you can discover and install new applications. Here, however, we come across a minus point because the app offer is relatively minimal compared to two years ago. Yes, the most important apps are present but popular apps like NPO Gemist, Pathé Thuis and Nu.nl are missing in the library. Since Samsung was leading the way in this area, we can assume that hard work is being done behind the scenes to get it up to standard again.
A TV is now no longer used only for watching TV channels or movies on a disc. The Samsung Ue65KS9500 is therefore equipped with a built-in media player that allows content to be displayed from your home network or from a USB device. Through WiFi and DLNa can be communicated easily and quickly with devices in the home network and the TV comes with a broad support for file formats so that almost all popular video and audio files can be displayed. Since it is a SUHD TV, there is of course support for 4K content with the Hevc codec. The media player also works quite intuitively and quickly, in line with the other software.
Samsung KS9500 – image quality
The Samsung UE65KS9500 is on paper the best model that Samsung brings to the market this year and we should of course see that in the image quality. The TV comes with full array LED backlighting, quantom dot colors, the high 4K Ultra HD resolution, support for HDR material with a maximum brightness of 1000 nits, the PQI 2700 technology, Precision Black Pro and Peak Illuminator Ultimate. .
Especially with a TV of this caliber you want to find the best settings for the image to enjoy your screen optimally. If you spend so much on a TV, we can only recommend one thing; have your TV professionally calibrated. For a price between 100 and 300 euros you can have this done by a professional and that way you get the most out of your TV. But, if you do not want that, you can use a few small adjustments to get a very good view from your screen. We keep this in our reviews so that everyone can work with the settings for optimum image quality.
|Picture mode: Film
Tint: G50 / R50
|Digital Clean View: Off
Dynamic contrast: Off
HDMI UHD Color: On (HDR)
|Color tone: Warm2
Auto Motion Plus: Custom
LED Clear Motion: Off / On
Smart LED: Low (High for HDR)
As indicated, many of the settings depend on personal preferences and the room in which the TV is located, but if you have a dark room and especially watch TV in the evening, these are the settings that you use to get a lot out of your screen. At a number of institutions, we explain why we have opted for this and what they do.
The Movie mode is the best mode from the box to start with. This mode offers a fairly well calibrated screen for watching in a dark environment. 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. Digital Clean View for removing noise, etc. we turn off, but you can always activate this with lesser quality content. 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 lighter parts than something is dimmed. 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 set Blur and Judder reduction to your own taste. This option provides a slightly smoother and sharper view of fast moving images and objects, without introducing negative effects such as ghosting, stuttering or a home video effect. You can find more about the HDR settings later in the review.
As in every review, we first look at the general characteristics of the TV, including the black value, the collection of movements, the uniformity of the screen, the color reproduction and the appearance or absence of errors in the image. To immediately fall in with the door; in all these areas the Samsung UE65KS9500 performs extremely well.
If we look at the uniformity of the screen, with complete white, complete red and black with a single light element, we see a very fine, uniform and uniform appearance. Light spots that we still saw light on lower models are not present and the backlight does not make any sense on the screen for dark areas or visible horizontal or vertical bands. We have not encountered problems such as blooming and clouding, but when the backlight is set to maximum, a slight form of clouding can be seen from the corners.
In the field of black levels, Samsung shows that LCD LED TVs are no longer lagging behind with respect to plasma. The KS9500 models show the best combination of extremely deep black and clear white with the Smart LED ‘Low’ setting. We also have little to no halo effects, with light around lighter objects on a dark background. The full array backlight certainly contributes to this. The black values are thus impressive 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.
Another advantage of the KS9500 models is that fast moving objects or images are collected very tightly and cleanly. When you set the Motion-setting to ‘adjusted’ and play here with the settings, you get a smooth and tight reproduction, without introducing a flicker effect or a soap opera effect. However, do not use the ‘Auto’ option because it provides ghosting and thus introduces the soap opera effect. In previous reviews of Samsung TVs we often preferred the LED Clear Motion option but it seems to have more disadvantages than advantages in this model, especially in the field of ghosting.
The Samsung UE65KS9500 is of course an SUHD TV and that means that the quantum dot filter is available for a more vivid and accurate color reproduction. The colors also splash off the screen, without being unnatural or saturated. With the basic film mode from the box, the color reproduction is already very nicely adjusted. Skin tones are presented realistically and in detail, blue skies are crystal clear and sleek and the landscape in The Martian retains a realistic red tint without overdoing it. The color palette is very wide, with a lot of color detail.
SD and HD content
Chances are that you still have a lot of SD content, for example if you have a DVD collection, stream content or watch TV. With a big TV like this you might expect a fuzzy display with many image errors but nothing is less true. Samsung has for years shown that it has developed a very good upscale function and the UE65KS9500 is also equipped with this. Although the source material is of course pretty bad (in terms of resolution in any case) the TV knows how to make a nice picture of it. This relatively clean and tight image is due to the high contrast, the deep black values, the accurate color reproduction and the effective full array backlight. There are some artifacts and noise here and there, but in general you will not easily see that you are watching sd content.
But, HD content is the minimum thing this TV deserves and with this content the UE65KS9500 only shows what it really can do. This time we have chosen the Blu-ray versions of Gravity and Inglorious Bastards. The features we mentioned above, plus a powerful engine that converts hd material to the 4K resolution, makes you actually look at 4K Ultra HD content. Samsung takes a lot of detail from the source material and knows how to add dynamism and life to the image through color and contrast. In the many dark scenes of Gravity a lot of detail is and remains visible, which only attracts more in the film. The TV knows how to significantly increase the impact of a standard Blu-ray and that is why we are particularly impressed by the performance of this model,
4K Ultra HD display
Since the screen of the UE65KS9500 has a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels (4K), native 4K Ultra HD content comes into its own best. We have tested this content through streaming via Netflix, demo content from Samsung itself and the Ultra HD Blu-ray disc from The Martian. For the display we use the Samsung BD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player.
It is clear that the TV with native 4K content gets the most out of your content. Stimulation via Netflix (Marco Polo) offers a sharp display with subtle details, a sleek reproduction of fast moving images and an extremely large color range. The deep black values with high contrast provide a lively image, full of dynamism. However, we still prefer an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, especially because streaming introduces some artefacts and noise and you also benefit from the wider color range of the source and HDR with an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc (later on). Lake). The Martian was the film we started with and was immediately impressed. With Ultra HD Blu-ray you can experience all the details in the purest form and get the most clean and sleek display. The high contrast gives extra depth to the film and razor-sharp subtle details only pull you further.
is a term that we see frequently this year and with which, combined with the higher resolution and the larger color range, we give an extra dimension to a film. Put simply, this means that the TV has a higher contrast with more color gradations, deeper black levels and more intense whites. HDR content is not widely available at the moment but Netflix already offers a number of films and series in HDR and most Ultra HD Blu-ray discs have HDR playback.
We mentioned it earlier in the review of the Samsung KS9000 series; HDR is a clear added value and a step forward. When you are in a darkened environment and use native HDR content, the standard offers an extra dimension to watching movies. Deep black remains deep black while clear areas of the screen are extremely bright. 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.
As mentioned above, we use a few other image settings for HDR content in order to get the maximum brightness with the maximum dynamic contrast out of the screen. 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. In HDR mode, for example, the brightness and contrast have been set to a maximum, and the Smart LED option is set to High. With this we let the LEDs behind the screen work hard and they can provide the maximum brightness on specific parts of the screen, while on other parts of the screen deep black is retained. These settings provide a bit more noise in the image and sometimes some banding in large flat surfaces but nothing that negatively affects the viewing experience, or in other words; nothing that can withstand the higher dynamic range. A disadvantage that we saw with the edge-lit models, the greyish tint of the letterbox bars, is also absent on this model thanks to the full array backlight. These beams, above and below the image, remain deep black. All in all, the full array backlight in combination with HDR offers an exceptional view of detail, color and range. Compared with standard Blu-ray you get more detail in clear parts, a higher brightness of these parts, deep black with convincing shades of gray and colors splashing from your screen.
Since a few weeks the Samsung SUHD TVs with HDR have a special HDR + mode that can be switched on via the picture settings. This mode makes it possible to upgrade SDR (standard dynamic range) content to HDR (high dynamic range). You can compare it with the upscale function for hd / sd to 4K Ultra HD. We look at the image of the source and use software and algorithms to create an HDR version. Of course it is never the way the filmmaker meant it and besides, no details in shadows or clear parts can be added, the source is SDR, but you do benefit from the HDR capabilities of your screen.
We have tried the HDR + mode with a number of standard Blu-ray discs. The added value becomes immediately clear; the clarity jumps up and there seems to be a bit more life and dynamics in the picture. Black remains tight black and clear parts are displayed more emphatically. But, HDR + also has some disadvantages. What is immediately noticeable is that there is more noise in the picture, that sharp edges become jagged and that artifacts appear, in flat surfaces and during horizontal movements. So it has its advantages and disadvantages, so the use actually depends on whether you take the disadvantages for granted (read: see).
If you buy a TV of this caliber then you obviously want to play decent games. If you are a fanatic gamer, the input lag is of great importance. This meeting tells you how much delay there is between performing an action on your controller and performing the action on the image. As far as the input lag is concerned, the UE65KS9500 is not inferior to the KS9000 models. The input lag is 21ms in both cases and that is very good. However, the game mode must be activated for this.
Reflections and viewing angles
In terms of viewing angles, we always have something to say when we look at a curved screen, but we have to admit this time that hardly anything can be noticed. Samsung has managed to put a good picture in front of each other within a 90-degree angle. Are you going to sit even more out of the middle, yes then the va-panel has a bit more trouble to maintain the tight color reproduction and high brightness. There are also some halos outside here, but nothing to really trip over. Reflections are still visible even though it is minimized by a new filter. If the TV is next to a window, the reflection is clearly visible, but a dim light in the back of the room or sunlight from a window on the other side of the room does not stand out. However, it remains the case that a curved screen in our view is slightly more sensitive to reflections than a flat screen.
Samsung KS9500 – audio quality
The Samsung UE65KS9500 is a lot thicker than the other models and it is also a great model. There is therefore more room for a sound audio system and that is also noticeable. The audio reproduction is richer and more dynamic than we are used to with the average LCD LED TV, and the size of the TV provides a clearer stereo image. High tones are displayed clearly and tightly, dialogs are easy to understand and warm, and even in the area of bass the UE65KS9500 impresses. The volume can be nicely boosted without the audio distorting. For general TV viewing, the audio system is more than sufficient but the real home cinema experience, with the full range, you only achieve with an external audio system.
Samsung KS9500 – conclusion
It is not surprising that our conclusion is actually only positive. The Samsung UE65KS9500 is one of the best TVs we have tested and shows what is possible with the new generation of content (HDR and Ultra HD). Especially in that area, the TV blows us away, with a realistic and dynamic display, sharp details, a high contrast and extremely deep black. HDR content in the 4K resolution is the only thing we want from now on, we can not live without it. But, the TV can do more than that. You have, apart from 3D, the disposal of everything that you may wish for from a high-end TV. The Tizen platform is user-friendly and complete – although there are some apps missing – the TV is equipped with a sleek and high-quality design, the viewing angles are considerably improved, the audio reproduction is impressive for a flat screen TV and the user-friendliness is also good. In short, a very complete TV with a premium price tag but certainly also a premium quality.