Samsung UNKS8500 Series 4K TV Review
Despite what critics may think, curved TVs have found a solid footing in the consumer market. The Samsung UNKS8500 series are prime example of curved, 4K TVs that do not compromise on quality for aesthetics.
The KS8500 series can be found in various versions including the UN49KS8500, UN55KS8500, and UN65KS8500. For the purposes of this review, we will be focusing on the latter, 65-inch model. However, all versions should perform identically.
Complete review for Samsung UNKS8500 Series 4K TV
Pros and Cons
As has become the norm with these types of TVs, Samsung has focused most of its efforts in producing great video quality with some features suffering in return.Pros:
- Excellent, accurate colors.
- Great contrast.
- Integration with smart products.
- Intuitive setup process.
- Poor audio quality.
- Viewing from angles deteriorates the image.
While OLED panels are now taking flight, Samsung has actually developed its very own technology called “Quantum Dots” to compete in the LED LCD market. These nanocrystals which can enhance the displayed color palette in a dynamic way.
Essentially, the TV features a layer of those Quantum Dots that can indeed improve both light output and color. While this is still a LED LCD screen, this technology puts it a step further than the competition instead of being a simple marketing gimmick.
Like always, Samsung has also focused strongly on providing a sleek TV that will fit well in any modern home. While some find the idea of curved screens uninteresting, anyone with the slightest appreciation of curved displays will most likely adore the UNKS8500 series.
Interestingly, Samsung has also improved a lot of its smart features. Its OneConnect box makes it easy to install almost any device, provided that it is supported by the company. Even better, supported devices like the Xbox One and the Roku boxes can also be controlled via the TV’s own remote.
Design and build
It is no secret that Samsung has a soft spot for curved TVs. After all, it was Samsung and LG who mainly pushed for wider launches of curved displays back in 2014. The UN65KS8500, along with the rest of the series, shows the company’s continued commitment to this cause.
Thus, this design choice will most likely influence a potential buyer’s decision from the very start. From a pure design standpoint, however, it is hard to argue that the UN65KS8500 looks absolutely fantastic.
The borders of the screen are perfectly thin, making for a minimalist design which is complemented by a black palette with hints of silver at the bottom and at the borders. While it is not ground-breaking in terms of design, it will look great in any home.
Finally, the OneConnect box is either a blessing or a curse, depending on your setup. With some extra work and an additional stand (or a simple Velcro strip), you can easily affix the box out of view and keep everything neat and tidy.
On paper, the UN65KS8500 should perform fantastically. The solid panel with Quantum Dots alone should provide an exceptional image quality. While that does hold true in most cases, there are some caveats to its performance.
In perfect conditions, the colors are fantastic with the 4K resolution with HDR features taking center stage. The contrasts also look great with bright areas looking detailed and the black levels appearing solid.
Those perfect conditions, however, cannot always be achieved. If you are planning on placing this TV in a dark room in a cinema-like composition, then you should expect to be dissatisfied with the contrast.
Surprisingly, it seems like the edge lit backlight may be the cause for this inferior performance. Local dimming does not work as smoothly as it does on models of a similar price range.
With all that said, the performance of Samsung’s video processing is still more than decent. This is especially true for its upscaling technology. While native 4K HDR content will obviously look the best, your 1080p Blu-Rays will still look better on this TV than you might expect.
The quality for video gaming is also fantastic. The HDR panel can display 1080P video gaming content in incredible detail with minimal input lag for a TV of this type. With a PS4 or Xbox One, expect the input lag to hover around 22-25ms for most content.
Fast-paced and competitive titles will not perform very well on this TV, but games with vast, open-worlds will look absolutely stunning. For instance, the Witcher 3, Uncharted 4, and Horizon Zero Dawn will look vivid, bright, and extremely colorful.
1. Picture quality
As mentioned before, the picture quality is unfortunately dependent on the exact type of setup you have. If you are the only one who is going to be using this TV, then you can and should spend some time calibrating everything in the room to be perfect.
Decent lighting and a position not too far from the centre of the TV, for example, will yield you the best results. Conversely, watching a movie in a dark room from the TV’s angles will have a significant negative effect on image quality.
The fact that Samsung seems bent on fine-tuning its edge-lit systems instead of opting for a full-array backlight is definitely detrimental to the overall picture quality of this TV. This is especially true when considering that similarly-priced models from other companies have managed just fine in this regard.
Going back to angles, this is perhaps the most important pitfall of the UN65KS8500. Like the previous series, the image in all of the curved models is obviously worse when looking at it from an angle.
Another thing that should be mentioned is motion blur. For a TV that does gaming so well, motion blur is quite visible when displaying specific types of content such as fast-paced action movies. While this will not be obvious to everyone, it is a hindrance for the trained eye.
2. Sound quality
So far, very few TVs have actually managed to include a well-rounded audio system that is bundled in the TV itself. Unfortunately, the UN65KS8500 is not one of those TVs.
Looking at the design itself should tell you everything you need to know. The 2.1 speaker can output audio at 40 watts while there is even a small sub-woofer included.
Despite that, the TV delivers average sound performance at best. If you are going to invest this much on a 4K TV, then you might as well get a decent sound system or a sound bar too. In fact, a silver sound bar would pair exceptionally well with the UN65KS8500.
If you are dead-set on getting a curved TV, then the Samsung UN65KS8500 is one of the most solid choices in the market. The custom 4K HDR panel will give you bright, accurate images. Its smart features are also surprisingly well-done, particularly since Samsung had trouble with its UI in the past.
At this price point, however, you may be able to find something better, depending on what you want. If picture quality is all you are after, then you might wish to consider a similarly-priced LG panel instead.
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