The first thing to consider when purchasing this Set is the Price. I don't believe the ES8000 Models is in any significantly way better than the es7000 model, therefore I advise you choose the ES7000 model if you want one of Samsung's top 2012 TV. The ES7000 is almost identical with the exception of the Micro dimming mode which is supposedly more advanced in the 8000 model. The only other difference i could find is the stand, it's the same panel, same LCD, led Edge lit technology. You will most likely hardly notice any difference, as I've seen both models.
Its ultra clear panel (as I believe it's called) is only on the 7000/8000 models & as the name suggests, it is indeed very clear in comparison to other sets I saw in the shops. Picture quality is extremely good, particularly with HD content on disk/usb/usbhdd/network/etc. Other digital files or streamed online via netflix/lovefilm is also quite impressive. Standard definition picture works well. You will notice the picture is bright & crisp. The TV is overloaded with settings, users will generally get themselves lost for the first couple of weeks until you get the hang of menus and adjust the presets to suit. You will find most default settings are too high so they will need to be fine tuned. Once adjusted, you can quickly access the presets to suit your programmes. You will probably have read about the lighting issues, there are some bright spots & slightly bluish edges when the screen in black & in very low light conditions. It isn't particularly something that has bothered me much, & can't normally be seen unless in very low light.
3D as I've heard is fantastic, so far I've seen 1 or 2 videos were cool but otherwise 3d gives me a headache so I'm not bothering with that. If you want to try it out, there is a fruit fight demo on the Samsung 3d content services, very nice but that's about it.
Inputs are all there but could be better, 3x HDMI's can be quickly used up with modern devices, Enough usb's, Digital out however
There isn't proper full analogue output, there is a headphones socket but of course it isn't ideal for connecting to an analogue home stereo. The Special HDD usb port works great, powers my usb hdd which instantly allows the tv to access hundreds of Gigabytes of digital content. It handles movies with ease, the file browser is smooth and simply designed. Photos, videos & music play quickly and easily. If you content gets more advances like 720/1080p HD MKV's for example, it works great, allowing you to select audio track and sub titles if integrated. At this time I have not tested sub files in addition to the movie file. You have Ethernet/built in wifi.
Sound is ok, will need some adjusting with the EQ to get a clearer fuller sound but it does a fair job consider how slim the tv is.
Ideally if you want the cinema experience you need a sound system up to the job.
Smart services work well, the Skype, lovefilm/Netflix, VOD services have been the ones mainly used. There is an integrated mic/camera which is believe is HD. Picture quality is fair on skype calls. The Opera browser isn't something I could get use to, firstly the browsing experience is sluggish & you'd probably need additional keyboards / mouse to get proper control. Using your pc/laptop is much less hassle. If you really want smart services, there are loads of additional devices you can purchase and connect to your existing set.
Its other services such as Voice/Motion control just isn't practical, I wouldn't waste my time. If you want to play around, try it out but you will soon get annoyed by its lack of or inaccurate response. For voice, you can use its secondary remote which has a built in mic if you really need to try voice search but again, it doesn't work well. Of course you have
You should get 2 remotes & IR blaster. I tend to use the main remote most of the time. It does a good job once you get use to it and find the right buttons including that colourful smarthub button which I thought was the logo. It a long remote so some functions are more accessible using 2 hands, remote design, they all need work. Software access shortcuts to settings could be smarter; otherwise you might find yourself lost in the menus again.
RRP @ £2,300 (UE55es7000) & £2,500 (UE55ES8000), quite the price tag isn't it. Even discounted between £1500 - £1999 towards the end of 2012 into 2012 it is still a high price to pay. Compared to other sets from Sony or Panasonic, Samsung's pricing is high, while at the same time their high end 2012 models are only led edge lit lcd screens. I've seen some full led screens from Panasonic / LG
So it's a shame Samsung couldn't include that yet. The glass on the Sony HX is gorilla, but very reflective, while its tand/soundbar designs couldn't work for my layout. Panasonic & LG have some good looking models but they all very highly priced as well.
I luckily got an extremely good deal on the set almost brand new, otherwise the 7000 model would have been my 1st choice. Depending on your budget of course, the 6000 series looks like it does a good job as well but you'll need to compare them side by side to see if you think its worth the extra for the ultra clear panel.
Very good TV, Fair Sound, Fantastic Picture, Complicated settings, Some good smart services but many things like browsing, Voice/motion just doesn't work. For a premium price, you expect its premium features to work & their not quite there yet in 2012.
As they stand all manufactures have issues but of the Sony, Panasonic, LG & Samsung I stick with my choice for an overall quality experience.