Samsung NU8500 Review (UN55NU8500, UN65NU8500) – Samsung’s 2018 Curved 4K HDR LED TV 8 Series
Samsung NU8500 is the curved model of Samsung’s 2018 Premium 4K HDR LED TV 8 Series and also the successor of MU8500, the curved model of Samsung’s 2017 Premium TV 8 Series. As we know, like last year model, Samsung has launched two models for their premium TV series 8, NU8000 with flat panel and NU8500 with curved panel. This means, except the shape of the panel, the technology, features and performance of NU8500 is similar to NU8000 we have reviewed previously. But even so, if NU800 comes in a lot of screen sizes options, NU8500 is available on 2 screen sizes only, 55 inch (UN55NU8500) and 65 inch (UN65NU8500). In 2018, NU8500 is the top-model of Samsung’s TV lineup that doesn’t have quantum dot technology. On the market, NU8500 is sold at 1000$ – 1500$ of price range, make it sits at the middle class, the zone where most people spend for their new television. But of course, its prices are not fixed and could still change at any time and like the price of other electronic devices, usually its prices will tend to drop as time goes by. So, what features offered by it and how is its performance?
Samsung NU8500 Key Specs
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Size Available||55 Inch (UN55NU8500), 65 Inch (UN65NU8500)|
|Panel Technology||VA Panel|
|Backlight||Edge-Lit LED with Local Dimming|
|Dimming Technology||Supreme UHD Dimming with Ultra Slim Array|
|Color Technology||Dynamic Crystal Color|
|HDR Formats||HDR 10, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), HDR10+|
|4K Up-scaling||UHD Up-Scaling|
|Motion rate||Motion Rate 240 (Native 120 Hz refresh rate panel)|
|Platform||Tizen OS version 7.0|
|Key Apps||Samsung’s Bixby Voice Assistant, Web Browser, Cloud Games, Smart View, and more|
|Remote||Samsung Smart Touch Remote (TM1850A)|
|RF (Terrestrial Cable)||1|
|Total Audio Output||40W (10W x 2, Woofer 10W x 2)|
|Sound Effect||DTS Premium Sound 5.1|
|Price||See the price on Amazon|
Short Review of Samsung NU8500
Coming to the middle class, technology and features offered by Samsung NU8500 may not as great as the premium TV or higher series like QLED TV, but at least it is designed as competitive as possible to compete with the competitors where there are many models play in this zone. But since it comes with curved panel, there practically are almost no competitors in its class which compete in curved model. There is only NU7300 its brother that comes to the lower class or Q7CN that comes to higher class.
To deliver strong contrast and deep black level, Samsung N8500 comes with VA panel technology and Edge-Lit backlight with Local dimming technology called Ultra Slim Array. Additionally, there is also Supreme UHD Dimming technology behind it that also designed to maximize black level produced. But unfortunately, in improving contrast and black level, the performance of its local dimming is not as good as a TV with Full Array Local Dimming. Meanwhile, for delivering wide color gamut that required for showing colors of HDR contents so looks accurate and vivid, Samsung NU8500 is powered by Dynamic Crystal Color in lieu of quantum dot panel. Additionally, for handling motion, it is powered by Motion Rate 240 Hz based on native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. Additionally, NU8500 also have an optional 60 Hz BFI mode that very useful to help motion make clearer, particularly that caused by 60 fps persistence. Meanwhile, for connecting with other devices, it is equipped with 4 HDMI ports which have excellent input lags for games
Maximized for HDR experience, Samsung NU8500 already supports some HDR formats like HDR10, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) and the newest is HDR10+. You need to know, HDR10+ actually is based on standard HDR10. But the difference is how the metadata that required for remapping brightness and color range is sent. If standard HDR 10 uses static metadata that be sent once at the beginning of the contents, HDR10+ uses dynamic that be sent at each scene continuously. This makes color and brightness can be remapped more precisely, result in better HDR picture quality than standard HDR10. The other highlight offered by NU8000 is about its smart TV platform. It may still featuring Tizen OS as its platform, but now it has been integrated Smart Things and Samsung Bixby, A smart home and voice assistant by Samsung. And for delivering good sound quality when you are enjoying HDR entertainment, it is equipped with 2.1 channel speaker system with 40 watts of totals sound output.
Samsung NU8500 Performance
Contrast and Black Level
Like its brother NU8000, overall, Samsung NU8500 has good picture quality. Since it uses VA panel, this makes it has strong native contrast ratio, allow it can produce deep black level. But a bit unfortunate, its local dimming doesn’t work as well as Full Array Local Dimming in improving the contrast. The result, there is almost no improvement in contrast ratio produced, even when the local dimming is set to high. Fortunately, it has strong native contrast ratio, so although its local dimming doesn’t work effectively in improving the contrast, but it can still produce deep black level. Its contrast ratio may not as deep as produced by its brother NU8000, but it is still better than MU8500 the predecessor and black level produced is still dark enough to show blacks of images looks really black in a dark scene. Additionally, black level [produced by NU8500 is also dark enough to reveal details in dark scene of HDR images like the intended. Combined to its good black uniformity, dark scene displayed on its screen looks excellent, even when it is set in a dark room. With good performance in showing dark scene, this certainly make it is a good TV with for watching thriller or horror movies.
On the other hand, Samsung NU8500 is also a good performer in a bright room. When playing SDR content, its peak brightness is brighter than 500 nits that means it is bright enough to combat the glare in most bright room. Its peak brightness even is similar to the Q6FN the higher series. Additionally, NU8500 also has good reflection handling. By combining bright peak brightness and good reflection handling, the picture displayed on their screen will look remain goods in a bright room. Meanwhile, when playing HDR content, its peak brightness is tend to similar to when it is playing SDR content. Nevertheless, more than 500 nits for real scene actually is bright enough to show HDR images so looks excellently. Additionally, its local dimming is also very effective to brighten a bright small window, makes highlight of HDR images can be shown brighter. When showing bigger bright window, its peak brightness may still drop, but the decline is not as significant as OLED TV. Even when it is showing the whole screen is bright, its peak brightness is still brighter than 500 nits. But a bit unfortunate, since its peak brightness is less than 1000 nits, it is unable to show highlight of HDR images at 1000 – 4000 nits of peak brightness like the movie creator’s intended. Additionally, since the dimming zones of its local dimming is lacking, when it is showing a small bright scene in a dark room, unwanted adjacent light around bright object or called “blooming” is still visible. Nevertheless, overall, performance of NU8500 is showing bright scene of HDR images is great for its class.
Lack of quantum dot technology, color gamut of Samsung NU8500 may be not as wide as provide by Samsung QLED TV lineup, but with Dynamic Crystal Color behind it, at least it is still able to provide wide color gamut, similar to MU8500 the predecessor. Most of colors in DCI P3 color space can be well covered, that means it is good for HDR content. But a bit unfortunate, it struggles to show cyan and green as saturated as other colors. This will cause the picture produced lacks some details, particularly when showing bright outdoor scene. But even so, this actually is not its own problem due most modern TV also has an issue in producing greens. Additionally, overall, color volume of NU8500 is also fairly good for its class. It is able to show bright color at its entire brightness range. But, since its local dimming performance is not so good, it cannot show very deep colors as accurate as bright colors. Still about color performance, color gradient of Samsung NU8500 is also fairly good. Some little color banding may be still visible at certain colors, but most people may not notice this much. Overall, color gradient of images displayed on its screen looks smooth, particularly for 10 bit content like HDR images. Although not as good as QLED TV, combination of its good color gamut, color volume, and color gradient makes its color reproductions is fairly good for its price level.
Side Viewing Angle
Like other TVs with VA panel, Samsung NU8500 also has poor side viewing angle. Started at around 20 degrees off center and front, color will look shift. Black level produced even start to degrade at less than 15 degrees off center and front. And the wider angle you are watching from, the color shift and black level degradation will be more significant. The result, when viewed from the side, the picture is not as good as when viewed from the center. And from the wider angle, the picture will look worse, though with untrained eyes, the degradation actually is not too striking. If you frequently watch TV with a group of your family where usually they watch TV from multiple angles, you must set your seat in such a way so they are still within its viewing angle coverage. But even so, since all VA TV also have the same issue on side viewing angle, this certainly is not its own problem.
Motion Handling and 24p Playback
Although not as low as the competitors, Samsung NU8500 has low pixel response time that means it is great for fast moving contents. The result, when playing fast moving images like sports or fast movies, the picture looks very smooth and clear with almost no motion blur visible. Following fast moving object, there is only a short ghosting trail where most people may not notice this. Meanwhile, the blur that may appear is more caused by 60fps persistence than pixel response time. On the other hand, to dim its backlight, NU8500 uses PWM System with 240 Hz of dimming frequency. With this dimming frequency, backlight flicker may be still visible, more than TVs that uses higher dimming frequency like Sony X900F. But on the other hand, the use backlight flicker makes motion looks slightly clearer. IN addition to it has 240 Hz of frequency dimming as its default frequency, Samsung NU8500 also has an optional 60 Hz backlight flicker (BFI mode) that can be activated by enabling “LED Clear Motion” on the “Auto Motion Plus” Menu. This will makes motion looks far clearer, particularly that caused by 60fps persistence like sports or fast video games, but on the other hand, this will make backlight flicker is more visible. This gives you 2 options. For you who are not too comfort with flicker, you can disable this mode, but otherwise, if you more comfort with flicker than blur, you can enable this mode.
Meanwhile, Samsung NU8500 can do a great job when handling judder. No matter it is playing native 24p content like DVD or Blu-Ray movies, movies from streaming apps like Netflix, YouTube, or Amazon Videos, 24p videos via 60i signal like movies from satellite TV, or even via 60 signal like movies from streaming devices like Apple TV or Fire TV, all of them will be shown clearly and smoothly with judder-free. But for this, you must make some certain settings like set “Auto Motion Plus” to “Custom” and set both “Judder Reduction” and “Blur Reduction” to “0”.
Unlike the some other models of Samsung TVs that comes with one connect box as the “house” of their inputs/outputs, it is not equipped with “One Connect Box” and all of its inputs/outputs are installed on the backside of its panel. Like other models, it also has 4 HDMI ports as its major connectivity where all of their ports already support HDCP 2.2, CEC, and HDMI 2.0 full bandwidth and 1 port also support ARC (Audio Return Channel) that is HDMI 4. However, unlike most middle to higher TV which have 3 USB ports, it is only equipped with 2 USB ports where all of them are USB2.0. In addition to USB and HDMI ports, it is also equipped with 1 Antenna In (RF In), 1 Digital Audio Out (Optical) and 1 Ethernet port. NU8500 doesn’t have composite In and Component In. And as its wireless connectivity, it is also equipped with built in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Meanwhile, Samsung NU8500 has outstanding input lags in “PC” and “Game“ mode. With about 15 ms of input lags or even lower at any resolution, its input lags is great for any games, even for fast paced games which require fast reflexes. Combined its good picture quality, excellent motion handling, risk free form permanent burn-in, this makes NU8500 as a good option for most gamers.
Like other model of Samsung’s 2018 TV lineup, Samsung NU8500 is also featuring Tizen OS 2018 version as its smart TV platform and powered by a quad core processor. Compared to last year version, there are no major changes on their user interface. The core of this platform is the customizable “strip bar” at the bottom across the screen that contains shortcuts to many apps, menus, and others. To make navigation is faster and easy, you can customize this “strip bar” by moving the most frequent used apps to the front, while the rare apps can be sent to the back. IN addition to preinstalled apps that provided like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Videos, Live TVs, Web Browser, Cloud Games, and many more, you can also download tons of apps, games, and contents provided by its apps store called “Samsung Apps Store”. The highlight, in this year, Tizen OS has been integrated with Samsung’s Bixby Voice Assistant that significantly improves its voice command functionality. Additionally, it also has been integrated with Smart Things, a smart home assistant like ThinQ AI by LG or Google Home Assistant by Android TV that allow you to control other Smart Things Compatible devices like Air Conditioner, Dish Washer, Refrigerator, and more via your Samsung TV. But unlike other platform that already supports Amazon Alexa, Smart Things doesn’t Alexa. A lot of apps and features provided might makes it is more attractive, but on the other hand, this cause its performance is inconsistent. Frequently, when an app is launched, there is lag before it opens. Animations are also often choppy and frame also drops frequently. But overall, Tizen OS is good.
Like most other models of Samsung TVs, Samsung NU8500 also comes with Samsung Smart Controller TM1850A as its controller. Its remote is not too big and the buttons provided are also limited, there are no “number buttons” and quick access buttons. So, for navigating in deep menu, you must navigate through the menu or use voice command. Fortunately, with Samsung’s Bixby voice Assistant makes its voice navigation is far better and can do more jobs. Not even just the TV functions, you can also use voice command to controller other Smart Things compatible devices connected on your Samsung TV. Additionally, this remote also has universal ability. And with “One Remote” feature, not only compatible CEC devices that can be controlled by this remote, but also other devices which don’t support CEC also can be controlled with this remote.
Overall, Samsung NU8500 has good picture quality. Almost of aspect of picture quality like black level, color, peak brightness, reflection handling and others can be well-delivered, makes the picture displayed on its screen looks fairly good in most room, whether it is a dark room or a bright room. Additionally, combined to its good motion handling, excellent 24p movies handling, and low input lags also makes it offers very performance for mixed usage. Additionally, its HDR performance is also pretty good. Deep black level reached is dark enough to show shadow details like the intended. Meanwhile, although not as good as QLED TV, Samsung NU8500 can also produce wide color gamut and decent color volume, makes most colors of HDR images can be shown fairly accurate. Additionally, its peak brightness is also bright enough to show HDR images so looks good in most bright room. But as mentioned, since its peak brightness is still less than 1000 nits, NU8500 is not able to show highlight of HDR images brighter than 1000 nits like the creator intended. And like other TVs with VA panel, although the use of curved panel is claimed can improve side viewing angle, but Samsung NU8500 also has poor side viewing angle, makes the picture quality deteriorates when viewed from the side. The other interesting thing offered is on its smart TV platform where it now has been integrated with Smart Things and Samsung’s Bixby Voice assistant, allow you to enjoy more attractive smart TV experience.
Should I buy this TV? Keep in mind, Samsung NU8500 comes with curved panel where with the same performance, it is usually sold more expensive than its brother NU8000 that comes with flat panel and has similar performance, while the benefits offered is not too major. But sometimes, at certain screen sizes, it is sold with the same price. Now the decision comes back to your own preference. If you like with the aesthetic offered by curved panel, it is not a bad choice considering the price offered is comparable to performance and picture quality produced. But if you like flat panel, there is Samsung NU8000 with flat panel that has similar performance and picture quality.
Compared to the Competitor
Samsung NU8500 vs NU8000
Samsung NU800 is the flat model of Samsung’s 2018 8 Series. The excepting of the panel shape, technologies and features offered are the same to NU8500. Meanwhile, with the same screen (UN65NU8500 vs UN65NU8000, UN55NU8500 vs UN65NU8000), NU8000 is sold cheaper than NU8500. The excepting that caused by curved panel, performance and picture quality produced by NU8000 is almost similar to NU8000. If you don’t like curved TV, it can be a good alternative for you beside it is also sold cheaper. Please click here to read complete reviews of Samsung NU8000.
Samsung NU8500 vs NU7300
One level under NU8500, Samsung NU7300 is part of Samsung’s 2018 7 Series that also comes with curved panel. With the same screen (UN55NU7300 vs UN55NU8500, UN65NU7300 vs UN65NU8500), NU7300 is sold hundreds dollar cheaper than NU8500.It may have deeper black level, but color gamut and peak brightness is not as good as NU8500. Additionally, it also lacks local dimming technology. Its ability in handling motion and 24p movies is also not as good as NU8500. Overall, picture quality and HDR performance of NU7300 is not as good as NU8500, but the benefit, you can save hundreds dollar of your money to get the same curved TV. In term of smart TV experience, it also lacks Smart Things and Samsung’s Bixby Voice assistant, while as its controller, it is only equipped with standard remote. Overall, its picture quality is good for its price level, but its HDR performance is still far from the expectation.
Samsung NU8500 vs Q6FN
Samsung Q6FN is the lowest model of Samsung’s 2018 QLED TV lineup. With the same screen (UN55NU8500 vs QN55Q6FN, QN55NU8500 vs QN65Q6FN), Q6FN is sold hundreds dollar more expensive than NU8500. The major advantage, it comes with quantum dot panel technology that allows it to wider color gamut than NU8500. Additionally, equally coming with VA panel with edge lit backlight and local dimming technology, Samsung Q6FN also has deeper black level and better black uniformity. Meanwhile, their peak brightness is similar. Overall, the excepting of contrast ratio and color reproduction, performance of Samsung Q6FN is similar to NU8500. And of course, since Q6FN has deeper black level and wider color gamut, picture quality and HDR performance is better than NU8500. Please click here to read complete feature of Samsung Q6FN
Samsung NU8500 vs Sony X900F
Sony X900F is the top model of Sony’s 2018 4K HDR LED TV lineup. With the same screen (UN55NU8500 vs XBR55X900F, UN65NU8500 vs XBR65X900F), X900F is sold hundreds dollar more expensive than NU8500. Unlike NU8500 that comes with Edge Lit backlight, SONY X900F comes with direct LED with Full Array Local Dimming. Its black level is deeper and it also has brighter peak brightness than NU8500, while its color gamut is a bit better. Overall, Sony X900F has better picture quality and HDR performance. Additionally, it also has better pixel response time and less visible flicker. X900F also has an option BFI mode, but the lowest possible frequency of flickering pattern is 120 Hz. The impact, performance of X900F is not as good as NU8500 in removing blur that caused by persistence, particularly when it is playing 60 fps content like sports or video games. Its input lag at 4K is also not as low as NU8500, but still low enough to for most gamers. However, it has a bit issue on 1080p inputs where its input lag at 1080p resolution is too high for fast paced games. Overall, X900F is better than Samsung NU8500, but to get it, you must spend more hundreds dollar. To read complete review of Sony X900F, please click here.
- Excellent Input lags in Game and PC Mode
- Good Motion Handling
- Attractive Smart TV platform
- Poor Side Viewing Angle