Samsung MU8500 Review (UN55MU8500, UN65MU8500)
Samsung MU8500 is the curved model of Samsung’s 2017 4K HDR TV Lineup Series 8. It is the successor KS8500 series that is a part of Samsung’s 2016 SUHD TV lineup and also comes with curved panel. In the market, it is only available on 2 screen sizes, 55 Inch (UN55MU8500) and 65 Inch (UN65MU8500). As a newer model, it precisely loses quantum dot technology that becomes one of the major technologies of KS8500 series and also as a technology differentiator between Samsung’s 2016 UHD TV and SUHD TV. This certainly makes the performance of MU8500 series is not as great as the predecessor KS8500. Nevertheless, refers to their price when they are first released, Samsung MU8500 is sold hundreds dollar cheaper than KS8500, of course this is understandable.
Lack of quantum dot panel might make color gamut delivered by Samsung MU8500 is not as wide as the predecessor KS8500, but with 4K Color Drive Extreme as the instead, color of the picture produced by MU8500 series still looks very accurate. Meanwhile, still focus on HDR, MU8500 series is powered by UHD Remastering Engine and 4K HDR Extreme as its picture engine and HDR signals processors. Like the predecessor, it support HDR 10 format only. Nevertheless, it is also designed to be able to support HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), so once HLG standardization is confirmed, there is a firmware update that already support HLG.
Like the predecessor, Samsung MU8500 uses Edge-Lit LED backlight as its backlight technology with local dimming technology (Precision Black). For improving blacks, there are UHD Dimming and Triple Black technologies that make blacks of picture looks absolute dark even in a dark room. Otherwise, for improving peak brightness, there is Peak Illuminator Pro behind it and Ultra` Clear Panel technology that designed for minimizing reflection and glare. Still about picture quality, Samsung MU8500 series is equipped great performance UHD Up-scaling engine that allows you to enjoy lower resolution contents with the quality close to 4K quality. And with Motion Rate 240 based on native 120 Hz refresh rate panel, it allows you to enjoy sports or other fast moving images with clear and smooth picture quality. Additionally, the input lag of Samsung MU8500 under game mode and PC mode is very low that make it very comfortable when used for playing any kind of games. Meanwhile, that is not less attractive is about smart TV platform where with Tizen OS 2017 as its platform and powered by a quad core processor, it offers attractive and responsive smart TV that provide tons of useful and interesting apps.
Because it uses VA panel technology, poor side viewing becomes its major downside. Nevertheless, because all of VA TVs also have the same problem about viewing angle, this certainly is not a serious problem for MU8500. Additionally, as long as you don’t often watch TV from side viewing angle, this is also not a big problem for you. The other major downside, it is not equipped with 3D technology. As we know, Samsung has removed 3D technology from their TV lineup since 2016.
Samsung MU8500 Key Specification
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Size Available||55” (UN55MU8500), 65” (UN65MU8500)|
|Backlight||Edge Lit LED|
|Local Dimming||Yes (Precision Black)|
|Dimming Technology||UHD Dimming|
|Blacks Technology||Triple Black|
|Ultra Clear Panel||Yes|
|Color Technology||4K Color Drive Extreme|
|Picture Engine||UHD Remastering Engine|
|HDR||4K HDR Extreme|
|HDR Formats||HDR 10, HLG (a software update required)|
|4K Up-scaling||UHD Up-Scaling|
|Motion rate||Motion Rate 240 (Native 120 Hz refresh rate panel)|
|Key Apps||Full Browser, Cloud Games, Smart View, and more|
|Remote||Samsung Smart Touch Remote (TM1650A)|
|RF (Terrestrial Cable)||1|
|Speaker Type||Down Firing + Front Firing|
|Total Audio Output||40W (10W x 2, Woofer 10W x 2)|
|Sound Effect||DTS Premium Sound 5.1|
Performance of Samsung MU8500
The excepting of what affected by curved panel, what features by Samsung MU8500 is identical to its brother MU8000 series we have reviewed previously. Overall, picture quality of Samsung MU8500 is amazing for its class. Although not as dark as what reached by OLED TV, for LED TV, Black level of MU8500 is very dark. Even when used in a dark room, blacks didn’t look tend to grey like on IPS TV. This makes detail of images in dark scenes or shadows looks very clearly, particularly when displaying HDR content. As we know, HDR 10 require at least 0.05 nits of blacks level or lower while black level reached by MU8500 is even lower than 0.02 nits. Of course, this is very good, whether it is displaying SDR or HDR contents. Additionally, deep black level also makes the color still look accurate in a dark scene. Essentially, there is no issue about black level produced by MU8500.
Meanwhile, Samsung MU8500 is able to produce bright picture even quite bright to make its HDR performance is great. In a bright room, glare can be minimized that makes detail of images still look clearly. Nevertheless, compare to the predecessor KS8500 series, peak brightness reached by MU8500 is still below the KS8500. So, when used in a very bright room with sunlight coming in through the window, peak brightness of Samsung MU8500 is still not quite bright. Additionally, despite its HDR performance can be said great, but because it is still below 1000 nits, this certainly would be a bit issue on brightness of picture when it is displaying HDR. As we know, for displaying HDR 10 contents fully, it needs at least 1000 nits of peak brightness.
In term of color performance, lack of quantum dot panel might have an impact on color gamut delivered. The result, color gamut that can be covered by MU8500 is not as wide as KS8500 series. Nevertheless, with 4K Color Drive Extreme behind it, color of the picture displayed on the screen of MU8500 still looks very accurate, even it still support wide color gamut for displaying HDR 10 content fully. This means, color gamut that can be covered by MU8500 series is more than 90% of DCI P3 color space as the minimum recommendation for displaying HDR 10 contents fully that have been set by UHD Alliance. Additionally 4K color drive extreme technology also makes it already supports 10 bit color. The result, it can deliver more than 1 billion shades of color that makes color gradient of the picture produced looks very smooth.
Still about picture quality, Samsung MU8500 is also equipped with great performance UHD Up-scaling engine. Considering 4K contents that available in the market is still scarce, of course it is very useful. No matter the resolution of video sources, you can watch them with the quality close to 4K quality. Even when the source is 480p like movies from DVDs, the final image in 4K that produced look sharply and clearly. And of course, when the source is 720p contents like videos contents from Cable TV or 1080p like Blu-Ray movies, the final images that resulted looks far sharper and clearer with small details is still preserved very well.
As we have mentioned above, Samsung MU8500 used VA Panel technology and we all know, poor viewing angle is a native characteristic of VA panel. So, although Samsung has claimed the use if curved panel can improve side viewing angle, even if there is an improvement, this improvement is not too significant. In fact, the quality of the picture look degraded when watched from side viewing angle. So, watching TV from side viewing angle should be avoided if you don’t want to lose picture quality.
Motion Blur and 24p Movies handling
As we have mentioned above, for handling motion blur and 24p movies, Samsung MU8500 is powered by Motion Rate 240 based on native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. The result, Samsung does a good job when handling motion blur. Its pixel response time is very low that makes the picture looks very smooth with virtually no motion blur when used for watching fast moving images like sport program or fast movies. Following fast moving object, there is only a short trail where most of people don’t notice it. Meanwhile, when displaying 24p movies even via 60i/60p signal like movies from Satellite TV or Streaming Media, Samsung MU8500 also offers smooth picture quality without judder. For removing judder without adding soap opera effect, you just need to set “Auto Motion Plus Setting” to “Custom”, “Blur Reduction” to “0” and “Judder Reduction” to “0” on its picture setting. Additionally, since Samsung MU8500 has 120 Hz Native refresh rate panel, it is able to interpolate any contents that have lower frame rate like 30 fps or 60 fps.
Like the predecessor KS8500 series, Samsung MU8500 is also equipped with 4 HDMI ports that already support any format what required for HDMI connection like HDCP 2.2, CEC, Audi Return Channel, and more. For connecting with USB Drive, Digital Camera, Camcorder, and more, there are 3 USB ports provided. Additionally, there is also Ethernet Port, Built In Wi-Fi, RF In (Terrestrial), Digital Audio Out (optical), and more. But unfortunately, if you have old devices like DVD Player where AV In or Component In as their major connectivity, you need a converter to connect them onto MU8500. Like MU8000 series, it is not equipped with AV In and Component In. And unlike most of TVS where all of their inputs/output ports are located on behind or side of panel, most of its inputs/outputs ports are located on separated box called “One Connect Box Mini”. Meanwhile, talking about input lag, Samsung MU8500 has low input lags at both 1080p and 4K resolution under “Game Mode” or “PC Mode”. This allows you to play any kind of games comfortably without feel laggy, even for fast paced games or 4K HDR games.
Smart TV platform of Samsung MU8500 is also not different what featured by its brother MU8000 series. As we see on specification table above, it features Tizen OS 2017 as its smart TV platform and powered by a quad core processor. Talking about its performance, it is not far different to last year version where it is fast and responsive. This course makes loading time of an app is very fast and selecting between apps also feel responsive. Additionally, deep menus navigation also feels simple. A bit difference to last year version is about the appearance where it this version, Tizen OS comes with white them and nicer animation. Meanwhile, talking about apps provided, Tizen OS provides tons of interesting apps. In addition default apps like VoD Service, Web Browser, Screen Mirroring, Cloud Game, and many more, there are also tons of apps provided where you can download from your TV via Samsung apps store.
Meanwhile, about the controller, Samsung MU85000 uses “Samsung Smart Controller” like what used by the predecessor KS8000. In addition it is very comfortable to use, it is also equipped with built in Microphone for Google Voice Search and Voice Navigation functionality. Additionally, the remote control also can be functioned as universal remote. There are tons of IR commands embedded that allows you to control other devices which connected onto your Samsung TV via HDMI Ports
Lacks of quantum dot panel and some technologies might make its picture quality is not as good as and HDR performance is not as great as what offered by the predecessor KS8500, but as a mid-tier TV, overall, picture quality of Samsung MU8500 is good. Black level is deep and contrast is strong that makes its dark room performance is great. Additionally color also looks accurate and peak brightness is above average that makes the picture produced still looks well when used in a bright room. HDR performance is also great and above average. While picture quality of MU8500 is great for its class whether it is displaying SDR or HDR contents, MU8500 also does a good job when handling motion blur that makes the picture looks smoothly when used for watching fast moving images like sport program. Additionally, since it can remove judder at any source, it also a good TV when used for watching 24p movies. Input lag is also very low that makes it is very comfortable when used to play games, even for fast games that require fast reflexes. The only major downside of MU8500 is about no 3D technology and poor side viewing angle. But even so, as long as you don’t often watch TV from side viewing angle, you can ignore its poor side viewing angle.
Should I Buy this TV? As long as KS8500 series is still available in the market, you should consider the older model considering in addition to it offers better HDR performance and picture quality, it is also sold hundreds dollar cheaper than MU8500 series. Nevertheless, once KS8500 is discontinued, Samsung MU8500 is also not a bad choice. In addition to it is a newer model, what offered by MU8500 is in accordance with the price that offered. Finally, before you decide to make it as your choice, there are a lot of opinions from its real customers where you can make as your further consideration.
- Deep Black Level and Strong Contrast
- Good Motion Handling and 24p Playback
- Low Input Lag
- Great UHD Up-scaling Engine
- Attractive Tizen OS
- No 3D Technology
- Poor Side Viewing Angle
- Curved panel didn't give a lot of benefits