All the TVs
we’ve seen so far in this test have taken advantage of smartphone functionality
to have their own control apps alongside the traditional remote. Samsung has
gone even further with the 8000 series, adding motion gesture and voice control
to the list of ways you can navigate your set.
While these new control methods work fine,
the novelty soon wears off. We were happier using either of the two remotes – a
traditional unit with a backlight, and a Smart Touch Control, both of which
This is the only set here to have a camera
built in – useful for Skype video calls. It also uses face recognition software
to sign in to personalized apps/accounts such as Twitter.
Samsung’s user interface is slick and it
makes the Smart Hub and Smart Apps portals fun to use. There are loads of
features, from the regular film, TV and music-on-demand services such as
YouTube, BBC iPlayer and Acetrax, to Samsung’s own family and lifestyle apps.
You can also access media stored on NAS devices, computer, smartphones or USB
stick over a home network via the built-in Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection.
Elegant looks, stunning picture
The 40ES8000’s thin-bezel frame and curved
stand make for an elegant set. Even more impressive is the picture quality.
This TV comes equipped with both Freesat and Freeview HD tuners; while Freesat
channels are crisper, Freeview HD looks good as well, with BBC HD looking clean
Fine details are dug out of every image, a
trait even more evident when you play Blu-ray discs. Colours are rich and
textured without straying too far into overblown territory, while the contrast
between deep blacks and sharp whites is strong. The Panasonic GT50 still has
better low-level detail without compromising the depth of black, but in
brighter scenes the Samsung edges ahead at displaying tiny details.
This detail helps when watching in 3D,
where great depth levels and stable motion make this active 3D set easy
viewing. Two pairs of lightweight active glasses are included.
We play the Mission Impossible 4 DVD
to test the set’s up scaling. It’s a surprisingly faltering performance: it’s a
decent picture, but there’s a hint of graininess and the colors aren’t as
exciting or convincing compared with its handling of Blu-rays – or with the up
scaling talents of the Sony set. We’d leave the up scaling duties to a decent
Sound is on the usual thin side, with
dialogue unclear until you increase the volume. There are sound modes to try:
Clear Voice enhances dialogue but surrounding noise is then compromised, while
Amplify aims to make a bigger, punchier sound, although things get a bit too
harsh. There are different picture modes too, but we saw no real benefit in
The 40ES8000 is the most expensive TV in
this test, and it is bristling with features. Its comparatively poor showing
with DVD up scaling gives other sets a certain edge, but it’s a gorgeous screen
that certainly sets a high standard.
Remote control app
Name: Samsung Remote
Devices: Android, iOS
One of the better designed smartphone apps,
this app is great to use to control almost all aspects of the TV. The Tron-like
blue-on-black color scheme and the free cursor leaving shiny trails when in use
are cool, and it’s super responsive as well.