Samsung UN55B8500 LCD TV Review

December 20, 2009
Buy from Amazon.com

Samsung UN55B85000 has grabbed the crown of best 55 inch LCD TV on the market, even though its off-angle viewing could be better. Only Pioneer Kuro plasma outperforms the UN55B8500 in picture quality. Samsung’s B6000, B7000, and B8000 models can’t quite touch the quality of the UN55B8500 because its LED backlighting is based on localized dimming LEDs arranged throughout the screen. It also has an abundance of interactive features as well, including Yahoo widgets and built-in content.

Samsung UN55B8500 shares the same features and performance as all models in the Samsung UN B8500 LCD HDTV series. This review here is slightly shorter than the Samsung UN46B8500 review. If you want to find out a bit more about this model (especially about its features), feel free to consult that review as well.

Pros

  • Black levels beat out all other LCDs on the market
  • Customizable dejudder processing
  • Blooming not as apparent as other localized dimming LED-based LCDs
  • Color detail very accurate
  • Yahoo widgets and built-in content included
  • Superb shadow detail

Cons

  • Glossy screen causes reflections
  • Quite expensive
  • Off-angle viewing very poor

Brief Specifications of UN55B8500

  • Resolution: 1080p (standard), 1920 x 1080 (exact)
  • Contrast Ratio: 40000:1 (native), 7,000000:1 (dynamic)
  • 240Hz Auto Motion Plus processing
  • Ethernet: YES
  • Picture-in-Picture: YES
  • Anti-glare filter: Ultra Clear Panel
  • 24p cinema mode: YES
  • USB: Yes (2 on side)
  • Yahoo Widgets
  • Energy Star 3.0 rated
  • Four HDMI Inputs

While LG and Sony work a bit faster wit their Yahoo widgets compared to Samsung, the UN55B8500 includes more widget content overall. Samsung UN55B8500 widgets can be downloaded through the set with an Ethernet connection. Widgets include YouTube, Yahoo video, Twitter, weather, games news, Flickr photos, stocks, and sports scores. The widgets include a new one called Rallycast which lets users, Facebook message, text message and track a fantasy sports teams from various provider, for a $15 monthly payment.

Performance

When viewers leave the UN55B8500 sweet spot, they will instantly notice that the set’s blacks degrade severely. While the set’s color accuracy, color video processing, and shadow detail are exceptional, its fine color temperature controls aren’t as thorough as LG’s sets. That won’t be a problem however, as the controls available on UN55B8500 are enough to calibrate it for a perfect picture. While some LCD TVs perform better when viewed from an angle, the grayscale on the UN55B8500 is very solid overall, something we can not say about most of the LCD HDTV models.

Black Levels

The Pioneer Kuro plasma has easily the best black levels of any HDTV, but the UN55B8500’s blacks are still quite notable, until the viewer moves off screen. The UN558500 black levels are good enough to beat out any other LCD TV on the market and at least match Panasonic V10 plasma TV models.

Color Accuracy

The UN55B8500 black levels cause its colors to be brilliant. While the UN55B8500 doesn’t have the color accuracy of LG’s LH90 or the Kuro, Samsung’s primary and secondary colors are solid and quite impressive. However, at times they can add a bluish tint in midrange tones.

Video Processing

Samsung UN55B8500’s Auto Motion Pro 240Hz and LED Motion Plus functions give the set its best possible picture while switched on. Its Blur Reduction slider and customizable dejudder processing lowers the amount of processing issues. It beats out LG’s best HDTVs, the LH90 as well as Sony’s high-end models in motion resolution. Its capabilities in handling motion are even equal to the Kuro and Panasonic’s V10 plasmas.

Standard definition

The UN55B8500 noise reduction is solid, and works decently with standard-definition sources. It can take a DVD source and not lose much detail at all. The set does a good job at lowering the amount of jaggies from video-based sources as well. As a matter of fact, this set, and most Samsung HDTVs, do a great job with SDTV content, as opposed to Panasonic’s models.

Glare and Reflections

Samsung’s set holds its contrast and black levels when placed in ambient lighting at a better rate than LG and Sony’s matte-screened LCDs. But the UN55B8500 glossy screen doesn’t do much to prevent reflections, which can get quite distracting if sunlight hits the screen.

Conclusion

The Samsung UN55B8500s has a LED Motion Plus feature that is aimed at sequential backlight scanning. LG LH90 and Pioneer Kuro Elite still outperform Samsung’s set in color accuracy. But its black levels are some of the best on the market, at a tie with Panasonic V10 plasma TVs. Its remote is equipped with RF capability, allowing users to control the set from another room than the set. It is Energy Star 3.0 compliant and while its hefty price tag is a lot to afford, there’s no denying that this TV sets a new standard in LCD TVs. If you want the best HDTV on the market and you can live with the poor off-axis performance, this set is one of the best choices.

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