In many ways, staring at this TV is healthier than being Harrison Ford in Blade Runner – Deckard may have been in a position to regulate his TV just by muttering indistinctly at it, but his TV was once fairly clearly a CRT. A little bit one, at that.
The Samsung UE55ES8000 is much larger and a ways flatter – and, as long as you discuss distinctly and don’t mumble, you'll control it via chatting with it. And that’s now not even the Samsung’s party-piece. Well, not its simplest party-piece, anyway.
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But we’re getting forward of ourselves. First issues first: this is a good-looking TV. There aren’t many things folks pays extra for to obtain much less of, but the bezel round a flatscreen TV is one among them.
It’s pretty tricky for a manufacturer to broaden a coherent design language for its TVs when all any individual wants is much less of the whole lot that isn’t display screen, however Samsung has a number of enjoy in terms of turning out a good looking, unique flatscreen – and, true to form, the Samsung ES8000 is somewhat of a looker. Admittedly that’s essentially because of its minimum bezel and correspondingly brief depth, however the advanced stand is a pleasing flourish.
By way of contrast, the specification is exhaustively complete. This is, naturally, a 3-D tv, and one who’s supplied with three tuners (analogue for outdated occasions’ sake, Freeview HD and Freesat).
The socket set is in depth: 4 HDMI inputs, a couple of USB sockets (able to play a variety of audio and video recordsdata, and likewise in a position to report from any of the TV tuners), a LAN port for connecting on your community (the Samsung does, after all, have integrated wireless too) and a 15-pin PC input.
Hidden under a decal at the again of the screen is an ‘enlargement port’ which is able to, says Samsung, allow your 2012 display to be upgraded to 2013 specification by way of a plug-in board if it turns out 2013’s Samsung TVs are significantly higher specified than this 12 months’s model.
Consider the ES8000’s dual-core processor. Add in what can hopefully be described as ‘a stack’ of Smart TV on-line capability, and a couple of far flung controls (one a quite same old all-functions wand, the other a a long way swisher affair with a properly responsive touchpad).
Ponder the ability to regulate the TV the use of gesture or voice (by way of the mic and digicam housed in that little bulge on height of the screen that mirrors the manufacturer’s brand on the backside), and also you’ll concede that the UE55ES800 is, as they like to mention in the motor trade, fully loaded.
Installation and set-up
As standard, the Samsung’s on-screen menus are a paragon of good judgment and legibility. This is a pleasant display to set up, in as much as fundamental adjustments are simple to make – it doesn’t take an expert to get the ES8000 turning in pleasant footage.
The extra assured, although, who like to delve slightly deeper into their TV’s configuration, will find plenty of scope for finessing of colour steadiness, movement processing and so forth. This isn’t an intimidating tool in any respect, on the other hand, and it doesn’t call for you spend half a day in front of it with the guide to hand sooner than you'll revel in it.
Equally essential to the ergonomic revel in is the far off control – and both of the Samsung’s are useful. The more uncomplicated handset has a button for every instance, and it’s conceivable to exploit pretty much each and every aspect of the ES8000’s efficiency with this faraway on my own.
The ritzier Smart Touch Control includes a touchpad for scrolling through menus in a computer-mouse style, and contours shortcuts to precise menu spaces, in addition to an inventory of just lately used applications for swift access.
Voice and gesture control
All of this turns out to be useful, if no longer essential – however the Smart Touch Control also includes a mic and button for having access to the voice regulate applications. It is going with out pronouncing that the mic built-in into the bezel can have bother listening to you if the TV’s in fact working, however via talking into the far flung you'll be able to vocally engage with the 8000 with no need to yell.
The vocabulary of the voice-recognition tool onboard the Samsung is remarkably subtle – we absolutely anticipated the TV to respond to vocal prompts like ‘quantity up’, ‘web browser’ and so forth, however its ability to accurately identify ‘civil war in Syria’ after we wanted to habits a Google seek is beautiful spectacular.
Once you’re over the initial weirdness and self-consciousness of verbalising your interplay together with your TV, it’s generally a relatively swift and painless approach to navigate across the ES8000’s many applications – although having to repeat ‘volume up’ each and every time you need to make an incremental increase in quantity is a bit of of a faff.
The gesture reputation is, in fairness, a less successful approach to operate the Samsung. The self-consciousness factor is much more strongly in play here, and the ES8000 is less certain of itself when it comes to recognising gestures than it is voices.
Until the tool is in a position to differentiating between a round wave and a side-to-side wave with consistency (and that day is most indisputably coming), we’d stick to running the TV by the use of a mix of voice and touchpad. After a couple of hours it’s an entirely intuitive approach of navigating.
There’s also something Samsung is asking an ‘IR blaster’ come with some of the ES8000’s many equipment. This permits any devices connected to the TV – set-top field, perhaps, or Blu-ray participant – to be operated by the use of voice- or gesture-recognition too. Never let it be said that this isn’t a totally specified product.
Picture high quality
This level of interactivity is all smartly and just right, after all (and as a trademark of the way in which the TV marketplace is heading it’s a clear signpost), but it’s far from the be-all and end-all: if a TV doesn’t perform its primary functions adequately, all of the ergonomic sophistication on this planet won’t save you it from being an also-ran.
So it’s a pleasure to document the UE55ES8000 is never less than competent and, more steadily, slightly remarkable in terms of photo quality.
There’s surely not anything to whinge about where native high-definition 1080p pictures are involved. A Blu-ray reproduction of Clint Eastwood’s strangely sentimental The Hereafter seems to be undoubtedly lustrous, with beautifully deep and detailed black tones coexisting luckily with shiny, blank and similarly detailed whites – contrast is strong.
This is, in part, due to the Samsung’s dual-core configuration – there’s enough processing power on board to permit very specifically targeted micro-dimming of the screen’s backlighting even if backlighting LEDs are arrayed best along the vertical aspects of the display.
Skin tones and pores and skin textures are equally spectacular, being convincingly life like and realistic. There’s some extent of detail on display that lays each pockmark, each broken blood-vessel and each different blemish naked. This wide-ranging tonal and textural variance is a made from the in depth colour palette, which permits each scene to be coloured solely persuasively.
The edges the Samsung attracts are smooth, too, even when movement is at its maximum testing – the ES8000’s motion processing is exemplary. Or, to be strictly correct, it’s exemplary once you’ve spent just a little trial-and-error time within the ‘complex’ segment of the set-up menus.
3-D performance + gaming
Switch as much as three-D Blu-ray (on this instance the dull however visually luxurious Sanctum) and it’s in an instant obvious that Samsung has made significant strides over its 2011 vary of TVs. These are the brightest three-D photographs we’ve seen from a TV thus far – even the subterranean scenes revel in quite a lot of low-light detail.
Overall element levels are dizzyingly high by means of prevailing three-D standards, picture-noise is notable through its absence and Samsung has suppressed cross-talk beautiful well.
Motion, once more, is dealt with relatively expectantly, and the steadiness of the ES8000’s three-D images makes the viewing revel in some distance less tiring than from any of the company’s earlier offerings.
At this level it’s most likely pertinent to say the ES8000’s 3-D glasses. The worth includes two pairs and, by the standards of active-shutter, powered 3D glasses, they’re gratifyingly mild and slim (although the battery compartment in the bridge of the nose is fairly flimsy).
Part in their airy attraction is undermined moderately via the volume of light this is allowed in from the aspect of the body, but if that’s the trade-off for not having to put on a large, heavy pair of bins that could easily double as blinkers, neatly, we’ll take it.
Even playing three-D console games is a some distance less annoying workout than would were conceivable from any 2011 3D TV. Veteran favourite Wipeout HD 3-d on Sony’s PS3 is as anxious as ever, the display busy with knowledge, however such is the three-D facility the Samsung demonstrates that it’s imaginable to play for quite some time prior to fatigue sets in. Which, given what an intense sport Wipeout is to play even in 2D, is announcing one thing.
In any event, the ES8000 is a very worthy gamer’s TV. Even though ‘sport’ mode is hidden away in some not likely nook of the set-up menus, and even supposing the ‘game’ mode defeats the majority of the lag-inducing movement processing protocols, the Samsung offers with fast movement well and responds to a participant’s instructions with alacrity.
It’s value noting that video games aren’t immune to some photo noise and flaring in extremis, but the total enjoy is high-contrast, vibrant and gratifyingly stable.
It’s a measure of simply how succesful the Samsung is that while DVD upscaling is where it’s at its least effective, its footage are nonetheless eminently watchable. A DVD replica of Crazy Heart revels in the same far-ranging color palette, strong contrasts and secure motion-tracking as its Blu-ray counterpart, but there’s some photo noise offered along with just a little softness and a drop-off in positive element ranges.
On balance, we’d be vulnerable to go away upscaling tasks for your disc-player (we discovered our Panasonic DMP-BDT310 gave quite crisper, slightly extra detailed effects in comparison to the ES8000), but the Samsung’s a forged performer nevertheless.
Smart TV performance
We want connect no such caveats to the performance served up by means of the Samsung’s TV tuners. Admittedly the photographs delivered by means of the analogue tuner are helpful handiest to remind you ways unmourned analogue proclaims might be once they after all bite the dust this 12 months, however the Freeview HD and, to an even larger extent, the Freesat tuners generate stable, vibrant and detailed pictures.
We’d probably pay the one-off price of getting a dish put in in order to experience the additional black-tone fidelity of the Freesat tuner, but both manner the Samsung’s ready to offer any set-top box you care to name a run for its cash. As a pure television, the ES8000 is as good as any flatscreen we’ve observed.
Any dialogue of the Samsung’s Smart TV capability needs to begin with the startling stage of photo high quality it is in a position to wring from the most marginal of sources. It’s one thing to make the likes of the BBC’s iPlayer, with its 1280 x 720 resolution, look blank, glossy and safe; it’s reasonably any other to clean the frankly hopeless high quality of YouTube (accessed by way of the 8000’s vivid, clear internet browser) up to something that’s watchable even on a 55in TV.
Clean, unblocky and relative strong with motion, the Samsung’s a long way and away the most productive TV we’ve ever seen with regards to tarting up inferior high quality video content.
Elsewhere, the Smart TV content is a mixture of the completely predictable (iPlayer, Netflix, LoveFilm, Facebook, Twitter) and the more thoughtful and bespoke.
Family Story, for instance, allows you to identify a private community with other Smart software users for painless sharing of footage and so forth; Fitness permits you to report your growth on plenty of fitness-related apps in relation to time spent, energy burned and what-have-you – there are videos of workouts so that you can apply if you happen to’re feeling as much as it, and the Samsung’s fine quality digicam means that you can see your self along the fiddle-fit instructor (ostensibly this is to make sure your posture and actions fit the ones of the trainer, although the simply discouraged will most likely dwell at the gulf between the frame of a front-room exerciser and that of the on-screen fitness coach).
There’s also a Kids section, which moves a pleasing balance between entertainment and schooling – and it’s imaginable to praise just right work, behaviour and the like with digital stickers in a virtual sticker e book. As any mother or father knows, there’s little the under-10s won’t do if there’s a sticker in it for them.
And while Skype is hardly ever a ground-breaking function, the quality of the ES8000’s digital camera (shown underneath) manner chances are you'll need to check your appearance for a second ahead of making any video calls.
You received’t be staggered to be told that the ES8000 (which is, let’s now not omit, a slice of plastic and glass which is, at simply 3cm deep, shaped like a gigantic bank card) struggles slightly to supply any significant sound under the ground of the midrange. This is a ways from strange where flatscreens are concerned, and the Samsung a minimum of has the decency to keep away from any overt harshness at the height finish.
Nevertheless, there’s nonetheless a large gulf between how exciting the picture quality will also be and the way humdrum the sound is. If you can’t countenance a complete surround-sound device, the least you should imagine is a soundbar. Buying the UE55ES8000 and then relying on its audio system isn’t a plan of action we will be able to totally get in the back of.
It will have to be obvious through now that the Samsung UE55ES8000 is a thoroughly (no, make that exhaustively) specified device. It’s got some novelty price in its many and quite a lot of keep watch over interfaces, and it’s were given some diverting and worthwhile on-line capability too.
Above all, regardless that, it’s were given an abundance of skill the place picture-making is anxious, and that must be on the heart of any tv. In purely performance terms, the ES8000s is definitely worth its 5 stars – the entirety else is, mainly, jam on it.
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