Samsung UN55KS8000 vs Sony XBR55X850D Review : Which is a better?
Samsung UN55KS8000 is part of Samsung’s 2016 SUHD TV lineup Series 8 while Sony XBR55X850D is part of Sony’s 2016 X850D series. Both of them offers stunning picture quality and attractive Smart TV Platform for their class and certainly, each of them has advantages and disadvantages than each other. Like other models of 2016, HDR (high Dynamic Range) is one of highlights of both. Additionally, both of them also come with attractive Smart TV platform where UN55KS8000 comes with Tizen OS while XBR55X850D comes with Android TV as their platform. But unlike the predecessor of each, both of them are not equipped with 3D technology. And of course this will be a little disappointing for the customers who care about 3D. But without any 3D technology behind them, there are a lot of interesting thing offered by them for your 4K home entertainment.
In the market, both of them are sold about $1000 where Samsung UN55KS8000 is sold about $300 more expensive than Sony XBR55X850D. But of course, this price actually is not fixed and could still change at any time. So, with the difference in price about $200, which is a better choice between them?
Samsung UN55KS8000 vs Sony XBR55X850D Key Specs
|Specs and Features||Samsung UN55KS8000||Sony XBR55X850D|
|Size||55 Inch (54.6”)||55 Inch (54.6”)|
|Resolution||4K (2160 x 3840)||4K (2160 x 3840)|
|Panel Type||VA Panel||IPS Panel|
|Backlighting||Edge Lit||Edge Lit|
|Dimming Technology||Local Dimming (Precision Black)||Frame Dimming|
|Picture Engine||HDR 1000||X1 4K Processor|
|HDR||HDR 10||HDR 10|
|Color Technology||Quantum Dot Panel||TriLuminos Display|
|Support 10 Bit||Yes||Yes|
|Other advanced technology||Ultra Clear Panel, UHD Dimming, Peak Illuminator Pro, Contrast Enhancer, etc||Dynamic Contrast Enhancer, Precision Color Mapping, etc|
|UHD Up-scaling||Yes||Yes (4K X-Reality Pro)|
|Motion Handling||Motion Rate 240||Motion Flow XR960|
|Refresh rate||Native 120 Hz||Native 120 Hz|
|Smart TV||Tizen||Android TV|
|Sound Output||40W (10W x 2, Woofer 10W x 2)||10 watts x 2|
|Price||See the price on Amazon||See the price on Amazon|
Performance of Sony XBR55X850D vs Samsung UN55KS8000
As mentioned, both of Samsung UN55KS8000 and Sony XBR55X850D offers stunning picture quality for class. But of course, each of them has advantages and disadvantages than each of others as the as the attractiveness of each. You can read my writing about Samsung UN55KS8000 Review in here or Sony XBR55X850D Review in here to know a lot features and performance that offered by each.
Although both of them equally support HDR 10 format, but HDR performance that offered by each is different. Samsung UN55KS8000 comes with Ultra HD Premium Certification that means it can display HDR10 fully in accordance with minimum standardization set by UHD Alliance while Sony XBR55X850D is not compliant with Ultra HD Premium Certification that means one of picture quality components that reached by it doesn’t meet the minimum standardization of HDR 10. Let’s discuss one by one display spec that offered by each.
One of the most important aspects that have big impact on picture quality is black level and contrast ratio. In here, UHD alliance set 0.05 nits or lower of black level should be met by HDR TV to display HDR10 contents fully. Although both of them equally come with edge Lit backlighting and local dimming, but with difference in panel technology where UN55KS8000 comes with VA Panel and while XBR55X850D comes with IPS panel, black level reached by each of them is very different. Samsung UN55KS8000 can reach about 0.016 of black level with native contrast ratio about 6900:1, lower than 0.05 nits needed by HDR 10 while deepest black level reached by XBR55X850D is about 0.084 nits with native contrast ratio about 1250:1, higher than 0.05 nits needed by HDR 10. Because UN55KS8000 reach much darker black with higher contrast ratio, details of images in shadow or dark scene will be seen more clearly on the screen of UN55KS8000 than XBR55X850D. Indirectly, this will also has an impact on the vibrancy of color especially when they are used in a dark room where color of the picture produced by UN55KS8000 will look more vibrant than what produced by XBR55X850D.
Other aspect of picture quality is the peak brightness where since HDR comes on TV, peak brightness becomes an important aspect of HDR. For SDR contents, peak brightness also important especially when a TV is used in a bright room. With higher peak brightness, the quality of the picture will be sustained in a bright room. Additionally, you need to know, for displaying HDR 10 contents fully, a HDR TV should reach at least 1000 nits of peak brightness. With a lot of technologies behind each, Samsung UN55KS8000 can reach about 1400 nits of peak brightness while XBR55X850D can reach only 420 nits of peak brightness. What reached by XBR55X850D might be quite enough to display SDR contents in a dark room, but in a brighter room, the quality of the picture will look slightly reduced. Moreover for displaying HDR 10 fully, this is still far from what is needed. Meanwhile, peak brightness reached by UN55KS8000 is very bright even exceeds 1000 nits minimum peak brightness required by HDR 10. This means in term of peak brightness, there will no issues when it is displaying HDR 10 content. The picture quality will not be affected by the light coming into the room no matter it is displaying HDR or SDR contents.
Unlike on contrast where they come with significant difference in performance, what offered by them in term of color performance is not much different. As we see on comparison table above, Samsung UN55KS8000 comes with Quantum Dot Panel while Sony XBR55X850D comes with TriLuminos Display technology. We can discuss in details about both of these technologies but essentially, these technologies are developed for improving color gamut. The result UN55KS8000 can cover about 95% of DCI P3 color space while XBR55X850D can cover about 93% of DCI P3 color space. This goes beyond 90% of CI P3 color space what required by HDR 10 as the minimum standardization. This means when they are displaying HDR 10 contents, the color of the picture can get very rich. In other hand, both of them also already support 10 bit panel, which means both of them can deliver about 1.07 billion shades of color that makes color gradient of the picture produced by them looks very smooth without gradation or color banding. It is also according to what required by HDR 10. But even so, although both of them offer smooth color gradient, compare between them, XBR55X850D offers slight better color gradations than UN55KS8000.
From display specs offered by them as we have discussed a lot above, can be ascertained Samsung UN55KS8000 offers better picture quality than XBR55X850D, whether it is in HDR or SDR. Even the amazing HDR performance by UN55KS8000 is confirmed by Ultra HD Premium Certification, an award for a HDR TV that meet all standardizations of HDR 10 set by UHD Alliance. The excellence in black level, contrast ratio, and peak brightness makes the picture displayed on the screen of UN55KS8000 looks much better, no matter the lighting conditions in the room. But we should remember, XBR55X850D comes with IPS Panel and for IPS Panel, what offered by it can be said great. In other hand, Sony XBR55X850D with IPS panel offers other advantage in viewing angle.
Viewing angle is a big impact due the difference in type panel that used by them. As we know, Samsung UN55KS8000 comes with VA panel while SonyXBR55x850D comes with IPS panel. It is a downside of UN55KS8000 while XBR55X850D offers much better. Like other TV with VA panel, the black level will be reduced and color will look faded if viewers watch TV from 20 degrees of more off center and front. Additionally, although it is not as good as what offered by OLED TV, at least XBR55X850D offers much wider viewing angle coverage than UN55KS8000, that is about 36 degrees off center and front. This has an impact when you are setting your seat and TV in your room. For UN555KS8000, to get the best viewing, you should set your seat straight in ahead your TV, but for XBR55X850D, you will more easily set the position of your seat to get the best viewing.
It is not a major that should be considered before buying 4K TVs because every 4K TVs certainly are already equipped with great performance of UHD Up-scaling, especially for big names like Samsun, LG, Sony, but at least, it is still useful particularly when you want to watch movies or other video contents in 4K quality where the source has lower resolution than 4K and offered by both of Samsung UN55KS8000 and SonyXBR55X850D is really great. No matter the resolution of video sources, you will enjoy them in 4K quality clearly and sharply on each of their screen, even the lower resolution like DVDs with 480p looks well and sharply. And certainly, the higher resolution of video source like HDTV with 720p or Blu-ay Movies with1080p the result is sharper and clearer with more noticeable small details. Although performance offered by them is the same great, but compare between them, Sony XBR55X850D is slight superior to Samsung UN55KS8000.
When handling motion blur or playing 24p movies, Samsung UN55KS8000 is powered by Motion Rate 240 based on native120 Hz refresh rate panel while Sony XBR55X850D is powered by Motion Flow XR960 and also based on native 120 Hz refresh rate panel. But even so, although both of them based on the same native 120 Hz refresh rate panel, XBR55X850D offers faster pixel response time than UN55KS8000. This means when they are displaying fast moving images like sport program or fast movies, in certain scenes, XBR55X850D offers clearer and smoother picture quality than UN55KS8000 and motion blur will be more noticeable on the screen of UN55KS8000. But even so, with untrained eyes, the picture produced by them looks the same clear and smooth. In other hand, when they are playing 24p contents like Blu-Ray movies, both of them show their perfect performance. This means, there is no judder on the picture that produced. Even when they are playing 24p contents via 60i and 60p signals, the picture produced is also perfect and free from judder.
As their inputs and outputs, both of Samsung UN55KS8000 and Sony XBR5X850D are equally equipped with 4 HDMI Ports and 3 USB Ports. The other connectivity behind them are 1 Ethernet Port, 1 Digital Audio Out (Optical), and 1 RF Port (antenna In). The difference, UN55KS8000 is not equipped with AV In (Composite In) and Component In, while XBR55X850D s still equipped with these inputs. The other difference between them is where these connectivity ports are installed. All of input/output ports of XBR5X850D are installed on rear and side of the panel, while all HDMI Ports, 2 USB Port and RF In of UN55KS8000 are located in a separate box called “One Connect Box”. This has a benefit when there is an update of HDMI or USB firmware where you just need upgrade or change the box.
Additionally, talking input lag of their HDMI ports, Samsung UN55KS8000 offers lower input lag than XBR55X850D at all sources. This means, UN55KS8000 is better when used for video game, especially for competitive games which required very low input lag. For casual 1080p games, input lag of XBR55X850D might be quite low, but for competitive games or 4K HDR games, it is still a bit too high. In other hand, input lag of UN55KS8000 is great, even for competitive game or 4K HDR sources.
As we see on comparison table above, Samsung UN55KS8000 is equipped with 2.1 with 40 watts total power speaker while Sony XBR55X850D is equipped with 2 channels speaker system with 20 watts power speaker. The difference, there is no built-in woofer behind XBR55X850D that makes its bass performance is not as steady as what offered by UN55KS8000, it even doesn’t produce bass at all. Additionally, the frequency response of UN55KS8000 is also better with more loud maximum loudness than XBR55X850D. This makes sound quality of UN55KS8000 is heard more impressive than XBR55X850D. But even so, although for some people, sound quality that offered by UN55KS8000 is quite impressive but for some other people who care about sound quality, it is not quite enough. This means the additional external sound bar still needed for UN55KS8000, moreover for XBR55X850D that has poor sound quality.
As their Smart TV Platform, Samsung UN55KS8000 features Tizen OS while Sony XBR55X850D features Android TVs. Both of these Smart TVs are very attractive with intuitive user interface. They are also fast and very responsive in launching apps or navigating through different menu. But compared between them, Tizen’s user interface is simpler and more straightforward. Talking about apps, both of Android TV and Tizen OS are also equipped a lot useful and popular apps like Netflix, YouTube, HuluPLus, and many ore. Both of them are also equipped with fast and light web browser that makes you comfort when surfing on the internet. Not only that, there is also Apps and Contents Store like Google Play Store behind Android TV and Samsung apps store behind Tizen OS. Additionally, both of them are also equipped with game services apps that allow you to play experience games without a console. Sony XBR55X850D comes with PlayStation Now while Samsung UN55KS8000 comes with PlayStation Now and GameFly. But about apps, Tizen OS is more focused on the apps what people want from Smart TV.
As their Controller, Samsung UN55KS8000 comes with Samsung Smart Controller. It is simple and comfortable to use without a lot of buttons. Additionally, it also can be served as universal remote that can control other devices connected onto TV. Voice command is still provide but there is no “Point and click” function like on Samsung Smart Touch Remote. Mean while, Sony XBR55X850D is equipped with smart remote that also can be used voice commands. Unlike Samsung Smart Controller that is simple with minimal button, there are a lot of buttons on Sony remote. This might give benefit but in other case, this will be a bit confusing for people who are not familiar with this remote.
|Performance||Samsung UN55KS8000||Sony XBR55X850D|
|Side Viewing Angle|
As we have discussed a lot above, each of Samsung UN55KS8000 and Sony XBR55X850D has advantages and disadvantages than each other. The main advantage of UN55KS8000 is about back level and peak brightness where it offers deeper blacks and brighter whites than XBR55X850D which certainly has a great impact on the picture and HDR performance offered. Even about HDR, UN55KS8000 is compliant with Ultra HD Premium Certification as an award for its display specs that meet the minimum standardization of HDR 10. The other advantage of UN55KS8000 is about input lag where with lower input lag, of course it is also better used for video games even for competitive and HDR games that required low input lag. Additionally, although both of them offer the same attractive and responsive smart TV but in my opinion, Tizen OS is still better than Android TV. The other advantages of is about sound quality where it offers more impressive sound quality than XBR55X850D.
Otherwise, although Sony XBR55X850D is sold cheaper than Samsung UN55KS8000, but this doesn’t mean it has no advantage. The main advantage is about viewing angle coverage where with IPS panel, it offers wider side viewing angle than UN55KS8000. Additionally, XBR55X850D also does slightly better when handling motion blur and up-scaling lower resolution to 4K quality.
So, which is a better choice between them? As mentioned, in the market, Samsung UN55KS8000 is sold about $300 more expensive than Sony XBR55X850D. But of course, this is comparable to the advantages that offered. Now, the decision comes back to you according to your preferences. If you need a brighter TV or you care about picture quality and HDR performance, of course UN55KS8000 is a better choice because it is featuring Ultra HD premium certification. But if you need a TV with wider viewing angle, of course XBR55X850D is a better choice for you. But even so, before you decide choose one of them, there are a lot of opinions from each of their real customers which you can make as your further consideration.