Samsung 40ES8000 - Elegant Looks, Stunning Picture

10/2/2012 9:14:02 AM

Ratings: 5/5

Price: $2175

Description: Samsung UEES8000

Samsung 40ES8000

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 work efficiently.

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

Description: 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 and sharp.

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 Blu-ray player.

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 using them.

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

Ratings: 5/5

Price: Free

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.


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