Samsung’s future because the (principally) undisputed champ of the price range TV world took a success final 12 months as large enhancements from some rivals coincided with a wierd dip within the South Korean model’s regular requirements. And with a lot of its power seemingly centered on its new QD-OLED ventures and retaining forward of an ever-growing chasing pack with its Mini LED units, can we actually count on Samsung to have put the laborious miles in to get extra reasonably priced units resembling this 55-inch CU8000 again on observe, too?
The UE55CU8000 prices simply $500 within the US – a really aggressive value for a 55-inch TV from the world’s number-one-selling TV model, notably because the CU8000 isn’t truly essentially the most primary mannequin in Samsung’s 2023 vary when it comes to both design or specification.
Stepping all the way down to the 55-inch model of Samsung’s CU7000 will prevent $120, however will doubtless value you a good bit of colour vary/efficiency because the CU7000 solely will get Samsung’s comparatively low-powered PurColor engine slightly than the Crystal Coloration system and Crystal Processor discovered within the CU8000.
The 55-inch CU8000 doesn’t look or really feel like a price range TV. For starters, its so-called Air Slim design finds its rear protruding simply 1 inch, making it an excellent wall-hanging possibility. It’s additionally surprisingly hefty, giving it a way more premium and sturdy really feel than you would possibly look forward to finding with such an reasonably priced 55-inch TV.
The one unfavourable word comes from its ft, that are simply pretty plain blades of darkish steel that sit far sufficient aside (904mm) beneath the display screen to doubtlessly be an issue if you wish to sit the TV on a slender piece of furnishings. Whereas the ft look a bit primary from the facet, although, they’re slim sufficient once you’re sat instantly reverse the display screen to nearly grow to be invisible.
On condition that the CU8000 sequence sits in the direction of the underside of an enormous Samsung TV vary, we should always begin this part off with somewhat checklist of issues the CU8000 doesn’t have. Particularly Mini LED lighting, Quantum Dot colours, direct LED lighting with native dimming, or any form of OLED motion.
The 55-inch CU8000 is, although, constructed on a VA slightly than IPS LCD panel, which expertise suggests will assist it produce comparatively good distinction on the expense of doubtless restricted viewing angles. It lights its display screen utilizing LEDs mounted round its edges, slightly than utilizing LEDs positioned instantly behind the display screen. Expertise reveals that edge lighting can battle to ship as a lot distinction and lightweight consistency as direct lighting, however Samsung has repeatedly acquired higher outcomes from edge lighting than arguably every other model through the years.
There’s no try to use a neighborhood dimming system to the sting lighting. There’s simply entire body dimming, the place the sting LEDs are all dimmed or brightened collectively to optimize brightness to the altering calls for of the pictures you’re watching. That is truly a smart name by Samsung, although, on condition that combining native dimming with edge lighting usually creates distracting bands of backlight clouding throughout or down the display screen.
Whereas the CU8000 doesn’t have Quantum Dots, it does get Samsung’s so-called Crystal Coloration system. This serves up a wider colour gamut (Samsung claims greater than a billion hues) than ‘primary’ LCD TVs – and the PurColor engine sported by Samsung’s step-down CU7000 vary.
The 55CU8000’s Crystal Coloration system, different image processing attributes and so-called OTS Lite sound system (which makes use of processing to attempt to place results in the appropriate place on the display screen) are all managed by a Crystal 4K Processor explicitly designed for the CU8000 vary.
The 55-inch display screen carries a local 4K decision and helps the HDR10, HLG and HDR10+ excessive dynamic vary codecs. As ever with Samsung TVs, although, the HDR assist doesn’t embrace the favored Dolby Imaginative and prescient format.
Samsung UE55CU8000 tech specs
Display measurement 55 inches (additionally out there in 43, 50, 65, 75 and 85 inches)
Backlight Edge LED
HDR codecs HLG, HDR10, HDR10+
Working system Tizen
HDMI inputs x3
Gaming options GENERAL, HGiG
Optical output? Sure
Dimensions (hwd) 49″ x 28″ x 1″
The CU8000’s display screen is barely a 60Hz one, so there’s no assist over its three HDMI ports for 4K/120Hz gaming. Neither is there assist for VRR or the HDR10+ gaming choices discovered on extra premium Samsung TVs this 12 months. There may be an choice to cater for the HGiG system, although, the place the TV deactivates its personal HDR tone mapping in order that it doesn’t intrude with HDR settings beforehand outlined on HGiG-capable gaming gadgets.
Assist for ALLM allows the CU8000 to mechanically change into its fast-responding Recreation preset when a sport supply is detected, and enter lag in that sport mode measures an impressively low 10.2ms. You additionally get Samsung’s Recreation Hub, which is a devoted menu the place all of your gaming sources, be they cloud gaming apps or exterior Recreation sources, will be simply accessed.
Maybe as a result of there are so few gaming options on the CU8000 versus extra premium Samsung 2023 fashions, it doesn’t get Samsung’s devoted Recreation Bar onscreen menu system. There’s only a small Recreation characteristic part throughout the TV’s basic menus.
The CU8000’s sensible options are supplied by Samsung’s newest Tizen system. This is identical system discovered throughout Samsung’s TV vary this 12 months, which means it helpfully refines away a few of the sluggishness and unhelpful navigation decisions launched by the debut of its large redesign in 2022. It additionally continues to supply a complete vary of streaming and catch-up TV apps, but in addition nonetheless feels slightly cumbersome and complex in some respects.
The 55-inch CU8000’s footage are a useful enchancment over these of its 2022 BU sequence predecessors, getting Samsung again on observe as one of many better-performing ‘price range’ manufacturers.
On the coronary heart of this enchancment is healthier dealing with of its edge-based lighting system. This manages to ship deeper black ranges whereas additionally suppressing extra successfully the backlight clouding and inconsistencies that affected these 2022 BU fashions. There’s sometimes a faint trace of sunshine ‘jetting’ within the backside corners, however this rarely attracts your eye except you’re actively in search of it.
Contemplating there’s no native dimming at work right here, solely full body dimming, the 55-inch CU8000 additionally manages to keep up a good quantity of brightness for such an reasonably priced 55-inch TV with brilliant objects that seem in opposition to darkish backgrounds. Scenes that fill the display screen with brilliant, colourful photos look punchier and extra vibrant than they do on many equally priced rivals, too.
We must always qualify this instantly by saying that the 55-inch CU8000’s black ranges are good by price range TV requirements; there’s extra greyness hovering over darkish scenes than you’d hope to see with a costlier mid-range or premium TV. There’s additionally barely distracting brightness ‘leaping’ when an HDR scene cuts very sharply between very darkish and really brilliant pictures, and the display screen turns off its backlight absolutely throughout fade-to-black moments, inflicting a noticeable ‘lights off, lights again on’ impact.
The form of content material that may trigger the brightness leaping and ‘lights off/on’ points is sort of uncommon, although, so for essentially the most half the improved black ranges and distinction that the 55-inch CU8000’s mild management mechanisms ship really feel well worth the occasional undesirable uncomfortable side effects. Particularly because the TV manages to retain glorious quantities of delicate shadow element always, slightly than greying or crushing such particulars out.
We also needs to make clear that the CU8000’s brightness falls in need of that of most mid-range 55-inch TVs. However at its newest value, it’s actually extra a price range than mid-range mannequin. And in that firm its footage are punchier than most.
Additionally spectacular for its cash is how a lot self-discipline the CU8000’s Crystal Processor 4K applies to its colours. Exterior of the Dynamic preset, which is de facto simply designed for shops slightly than lounge use, colours look clear, crisp, well-balanced, pure (particularly within the Film and Filmmaker presets) and so they’re delivered with sufficient subtlety to keep away from colour striping/banding points and assist objects look engagingly three-dimensional.
Colours aren’t typically fairly as vivid as these of Samsung’s Quantum Dot TVs, it must be mentioned. However because the CU8000 doesn’t have to deal with the form of excessive brightness that may begin to ‘bleach’ colours on much less well-balanced TV performers, it nonetheless achieves good ranges of total richness and precision by typical price range TV requirements.
The CU8000’s colour precision and Samsung’s long-running prowess with dealing with each native 4K and upscaled HD content material contribute to an impressively sharp, detailed and clear image. Even low-rent streams look extra watchable than you’d usually count on them to on such an reasonably priced display screen.
The 55-inch CU8000 retains its readability properly when there’s movement within the body too. Supplied, that’s, you’re taking the difficulty to modify off the TV’s messy default Image Readability movement processing settings and as an alternative select a Customized setting with the Judder Discount device set to someplace under its degree 5 setting.
There are a trio of different niggles. First, there will be fairly pronounced clipping (lack of delicate shading) within the very brightest elements of HDR footage, leaving them wanting fairly flared out – like white holes ripped within the image slightly than pure, absolutely realized image parts.
Second, whereas the Filmmaker Mode and Film image presets ship essentially the most correct and nuanced colours, they each are inclined to undergo from greyer-looking darkish scenes and extra seen backlight clouding than you get within the Commonplace mode. It seems that the 55-inch CU8000 actually wants the assistance of its Distinction Enhancer and HDR Tone Mapping options (each of that are off by default in Film and Filmmaker Mode) to get the most effective from its edge-lit panel.
Lastly, the 55-inch CU8000’s viewing angles earlier than the picture begins to lose colour saturation and distinction are actually fairly restricted.
Just about all of the niggles about this TV, although, can both be resolved satisfactorily by tinkering with the TV’s set-up options, or else are just about par for the course for a TV at this form of value. It’s truly its strengths, due to this fact, that the majority stand out, placing Samsung again in the direction of the highest of the reasonably priced TV tree.
First, a phrase of recommendation: go into the CU8000’s menus as quickly because the TV is put in and activate the ‘Amplify’ sound possibility. This creates a extra well-rounded and convincing sound than the severely weedy audio expertise you get with out it.
Even with Amplify on, although, it nonetheless sounds fairly skinny with potent film soundtracks. Excessive-pitched voices can sound a bit shrill, the soundstage stays fairly slender with restricted projection from the TV’s bodywork, and bass is nearly non-existent, including no actual depth or heft to motion scenes. Bass can be changed by crackling distortions in the course of the very deepest low-frequency drops.
There isn’t sufficient dynamic vary or uncooked quantity, both, to assist the sound escalate to accommodate the challenges of a very good motion scene. Every part sounds just about flat.
The 55-inch CU8000’s sound does have one saving grace, although: except for the crackling with excessive bass drops, it usually sounds engagingly clear, crisp and detailed. Sufficient, no less than, to deal with most mainstream TV viewing or ‘mild and fluffy’ film soundtracks fairly respectably. Simply don’t count on it to rock your foundations and flap your trousers when hordes of dinosaurs are stampeding throughout the display screen.
Whereas not fairly a price range traditional on the extent Samsung used to ship routinely, the 55-inch CU8000 nonetheless delivers good image high quality and impressively complete sensible options for such an reasonably priced TV – all wrapped up in a pretty, well-built and slender design.
- Image 4
- Sound 3
- Options 4
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