By common consent, this is the best TV on the market as of now (October 2013), or at least one of the best. That will change as the 4k sets come forward and become more affordable, but for now: Number One.
The set comes well packaged: lots of polystyrene and other protection. I recommend two people to get the set out of the box (best done with the box lying down). The stand assembles very easily. This produces one of the first distinguishing features: the stand is wholly unobtrusive and the set sits very low on the table with just a couple of inches of the stand showing on each side of the set.
There is a small user guide in the box: the main manual is accessible electronically. My recommendation is to download and print it beforehand.
There is a cover that hides the connections on the the rear: they are not as easy to use as some sets I have encountered nor as clearly labelled, but it's not a job you have to do many times. The positioning of the sockets is better than on our previous Samsung, so that the HDMI cables aren't visible at the side of the set.
From the front, the narrow bezel is as small as it could possibly be: the effect, when watching, is like looking at a small, back-projected cinema screen.
Tuning the set in is automated and as easy as any I have encountered. It is quite quick too. Connecting to my wireless network and laptops was really easy: I typed in the key for the wireless router and everything else just happened automatically: so good! We have successfully played a trailer on a Samsung Android phone wirelessly into the TV and it worked a treat.
The Smart Hub works a treat: we watched programmes via BBC i-Player and 4oD and they stream effortlessly into the TV. I had been concerned lest the wireless connection was slower than the playback: no worries in practice even though the router and the TV are at opposite ends of the house.
The picture is outstanding: this has to be one of the best LED panels around and, supported by a quad-core processor with a refresh rate of 1000hz (my old set was 100hz and I thought that was good in its day), it makes for smooth and easy viewing.
The 3D effect is equally outstanding. Two sets of active glasses are included in the box. I watched the Hobbit via Blu Ray disc and the depth of field that was produced far exceeded what I expected: at times it looked as if some of the action was taking place feet in front of the set. I have also watched a Rugby match via Sky 3D and that was very good too.
The display options are distinctive: that is, switching from one to another makes a real difference so you can choose what is best for your room. I tried 'Dynamic' for a while: too bright, too colour rich! There is a useful option that adjusts the picture to match the ambient light in the room.
Sound is pretty good too, for an ultra-thin set. I pump the sound through external speakers when there's a film on but for day-to-day use, the inbuilt speakers are perfectly acceptable and they achieve a remarkably good stereo effect.
As time goes by I'll familiarise myself with the set a lot more and I may update this initial review. My feeling is: if you are tempted to treat yourself for Christmas, do it! It's a purchase you won't regret.
Update 1: I am still delighted with this purchase. Almost by accident I found a feature that I had previously overlooked. The TV is capable of generating pseudo-3D images at the press of a button. It is by no means as marked an effect as with programmes specifically recorded in 3D. But it does generate a noticeable 3D image, which I found interesting when watching a football match and an old Tom Baker episode of Doctor Who. Old Doctor Who episodes in 3D - how cool is that!
on 5 November 2013
This is indeed a lovely Tv and in a short time, with practice, it became easy to understand and operate with assistance from the well organised digital manual, which had been quite opaque at first.
Freeview reception is poor in this area so we were particularly interested in the potential for Freesat recording with F8000's pair of satellite tuners. The Tv is clearly intended to be capable of recording one Satellite channel while viewing another, but (with two examples) this caused significant and disappointing problems, which Samsung Customer Support has put down to the use of unsuitable hard drives.
Which Drives for recording?
For several years Samsung TVs have been supposedly able to provide PVR functions but the Technical Support team still apparently knows very little about the subject and only insists that USB 2.0 must be used. In fact that has been superceded by USB 3.0, which is backwards compatible, and the team is also unclear about the recording options and couldn't/wouldn't recommend specific hard drives.
Elsewhere, WD My Book AV-TV, and Buffalo HD-AVSU3 hard drives are said to work with Samsung TVs. At least with the little UE32F4500 Freeview Tv, we found that WD Elements 1TB worked fine but Seagate Expansion repeatedly went into deep sleep and needed to be re-attached to its power supply.
The manual gives minimum HDD specs and there is a dedicated USB socket for drives without a separate power supply, but we gathered this provides 0.5a, which is not enough for some, and pen drives are said mostly not to be fast enough.
Recording with Freeview or Freesat?
On FreeVIEW and with My Book AV-TV 2TB HDD, recordings generally worked well and the Channel List and Previous Channel buttons proved useful, serving better than the Guide button to show what was going on and to control things. However there are times when an annoying message inexplicably says e.g. 'Do you want to stop recording BBC2 and start to record BBC2' (sic), repeated indefinitely if cancelled, and reported by at least one other user. On both Freeview and Freesat there is also an obtrusively large and unavoidable banner which appears before every recording starts, inviting a check on that channel to see if the timetable has changed.
On FreeSAT, from the start in May and since then with all firmware updates to Feb 20014's v.1114.1 and with four different hard drives which meet the specs., recording has been unreliable, both via the timer in standby and especially when using the second Freesat tuner to watch other channel and to switch between them: intermittent failure, spontaneous termination after a few minutes, or at most after little more than an hour, have been the norm.
Once recording has actually started you can't change between Freesat and Freeview, but we are experimenting with scheduling recordings from the Freesat epg for a later time. Then switching to Freeview to watch different channels and be free to switch between them, while recording eventually starts on Freesat without being interrupted. That should all be unnecessary and only partly solves the Freesat recording problem, of which Samsung seems still to be unaware.
Catch Up services like i-Player?
Quick and usually glitch free, at least with wired internet connection.
However loading i-player sometimes hangs up completely, even when restarted, while the UE32F4500 has no such problems with the internet or i-player.
We have not found the system for recommending programmes, the additional fancy remote, and the very limited 'universal remote' feature and speech and movement control functions, to be of much use. Quad core processor makes for fast navigation which is nice, but getting to the Library and deleting recordings etc. require a lot of button pushing, so a universal remote with comprehensive macro facilities such as URC-6440 or Harmony 650 is recommended.
For the address for the Samsung guide to picture settings, copy the following, leaving out the '(linkto)':-
Each of four Picture Modes can be selected or adjusted separately in Menu>Picture. The four modes can be applied globally, or a different set assigned to each Hdmi source. In addition, according to varying light conditions or different programmes, you can quickly switch between modes in the Tools menu. Much fiddling resulted in the following:-
[For viewing HD channels with the Tv's own tuners, in the Standard and Movie Modes]
Backlight12, Contrast60, Brightness36, Sharpness28, Colour44, TintR46
Advanced settings: dynamic contrastLow, Black ToneOff, Flesh Tone0, Gamma0
Picture options: Colour ToneStandard, and all off except Cinema BlackHigh
[Humax PVR9300; Standard Mode on Hdmi2]
Backlight8, Contrast20, Brightness58, Sharpness28, Colour44, TintR50
Advanced settings: dynamic contrastLow, Black ToneOff, Flesh Tone+1, Gamma0
Picture options: Colour ToneStandard, HdmiBlackLow, and all off except Cinema BlackHigh
[Foxsat HDR on Hdmi1]
Settings the same as Tv tuners
The 55" size has proved ideal for viewing at a range of 10 feet.
At this distance the viewing angle seems to matter more than it does with a smaller screen, but the view remains acceptable up to about 20degrees.
After nine months the the picture quality is still remarkable, and sound is good too. It probably will not bother most people but for us it is a disappointing that Freesat still doesn't record properly, and that the redundant screen messages persist....
on 13 May 2014
I looked at this year’s models but I just didn't like or think that the aesthetics were as good. The was also the 4K or Ultra HD models for a bit more dosh, but it will be a while before there is a lot of 4K content, although you could use an up scaling device. So all in all this is the one to get. And the price has dropped because of the new models. Getting low on supply now, hard to find, but if you can find one, get it, you will not be disappointed
on 24 March 2016
Great picture,lovely looking tv not too imposing considering the screen size,only thing is the sound,defo need a soundbar with this tv,also on occasions you only seem to hear part of the words being spoken,like some interference breaking the word up,only sporadic so don't know what this could be,all in all tho a great tv,picture quality amazing.
on 25 January 2014
I looked around for this tv and where it would be the cheapest and Currys was the cheapest especially with the 5 year guarantee as well. The TV itself is crazy, everything you need from a tv, picture quality is amazing. watched a few documentaries and the picture is out of this world. sound is ok, but i also purchased the samsung soundbar so its wirelessly connected all the time. set up procedure was a couple of mins and then you are away, same for connecting to the internet. entered my password and then it connected, searching the website was pretty especially with the separate remote control you get with a control pad to use. definitely worth the extra money to get a tv of this quality.