Samsung UE55HU8200 review

Samsung's cheapest curved screen delivers superb 4K/UHD picture quality

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Our Verdict

This is one of the best-looking TVs around. As well as UHD awesomeness, the UE55HU8200 treats Blu-ray and Freeview HD very well with high detail, accurate colour and bags of contrast but struggles with its voice control and motion blur.

For

  • Impressive design
  • 4K-ready
  • HEVC/Netflix 4K support
  • Smart Hub apps

Against

  • Some motion blur
  • Poor voice control
  • High price
  • Better value alternatives
Ratings in depth

Design 4 5 5
Features 4 5 5
Performance 4 5
Usability 4 5
Value 2 5 5

To produce a range of curved TVs is one thing, but to produce three?

This is the third incarnation of what many people regard as a crazy piece of marketing, but does the 55-inch UE55HU8200 represent a bona fide product category?

We know the arguments against. A curve in the screen just increases reflections and makes it tricky to position, and that curve actually makes the TV's footprint bigger. It's the perfect example of Emperor's new clothes product design.

Or is that curve actually worth something? There's no doubting its value as a design proposition, since the UE55HU8200 looks an absolute picture.

The black bezel around the UE55HU8200 measures 6mm at the top and sides and 20mm at the bottom, and has a strip of chrome on the exterior. The actual curve isn't as dramatic as it could be, but its impact is huge; there can be few better-looking TVs than the UE55HU8200.

The brushed metallic desktop stand is well designed, too, sporting a UHD logo and measuring 265mm in depth.

Features

Despite its curved Edge LED-backlit LCD screen, the UE55HU8200's main feature has to be that 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution panel that makes it 4K-ready. There's more though.

Inside are Freesat HD and Freeview HD tuners, active 3D, a new version of Samsung's Smart Touch remote control, S-Recommendation that includes voice control (though not gestures – there's no built-in camera), a Quad Core processor, which is arguably the minimum necessary to drive such a feature-packed 4K TV.

There's also a HEVC decoder (and so compatible with Netflix 4K) and some Clear Motion Rate tech rated at 1,000Hz (though that's an algorithm, not the native speed of the panel).

Apps

There's no doubting the quality of Samsung's Smart Hub, which is bound to star on the UE55HU8200, despite being overshadow by its 4K curves.

Samsung UE55HU8200
The Samsung UE55HU8200 has apps aplenty, including all the UK terrestrial catch-up services

As well as Netflix 4K, the UE55HU8200 hosts must-have apps like Amazon Instant, YouTube, BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand Five – and those latter four makes it the only brand to offer all UK terrestrial TV catch-up apps.

Ins and outs

The UE55HU8200 has a great selection of the latest and greatest ins and outs. First, the usuals; on the rear is an RGB Scart, a set of component video inputs, composite video, stereo phonos and Ethernet LAN, though the UE55HU8200 also includes a Wi-Fi module.

On the back panel is also a HDMI input that's not only ARC-compatible, but also boasts the latest HDMI 2.0 specification (and so supports native 4K material at 50 and 60 frames per second, which differentiates this from a cheap 4K TV), as do three more HDMI inputs on a nearby side-panel.

Samsung UE55HU8200
You won't struggle to plug in an extra device with all the ins and outs on the Samsung UE55HU8200

One is designed for attaching a set-top box, one for hard-wiring a smartphone or tablet. That unusually completist side-panel also includes three USB slots, a digital optical audio output for hooking-up to an AV amp or home cinema system, an RF in for Freeview HD, an LNB for Freesat HD, and a One Connect slot.

The latter is almost irrelevant, but is included for future iterations of Samsung's external media box. Between the rear and side panels is a Common Interface slot for adding extra channels to the TV tuners.

Hardware

Two pairs of active shutter 3D glasses are included in the UE55HU8200's over-sized box. These ultra-light SSG-5100GB glasses come in three pieces and use a watch battery. Comfy to wear they might be, but they still collect a lot of reflections from light sources from behind and sides.

There's a choice of remote controls, too, with a regular long version and a newly redesigned Smart Touch remote control that has a built-in mic. I like the braille-like buttons on the latter, though both could do with some glow-in-the-dark buttons that would work much better in darkened home cinema conditions.

The Smart Touch has some useful shortcuts, including ones for the TV guide and the Smart Hub, as well as toggles for volume and channels.

Also available

The UE55HU8200 sold for £2,499 at the time of writing. Elsewhere in the HU8200 Series is the 65-inch UE65HU8200 (£3,799), but Samsung has far more curved TVs up its sleeve.

The flagship HU8500 Series of curved TVs, which comprises the 55-inch 55HU8500 (£2,699), 65-inch 65HU8500 (£3,999) and 78-inch 78HU8500 (£6,499), also has a 4K resolution and adds a Quad-Core Plus processor as well as a built-in pop-up camera, 1200Hz processing and a One Connect box to take all the ins and outs.

The cheapest way to get a curved TV is via the H8000 Series, which comprises the 55-inch UE55H8000 (£1,899) and 65-inch UE65H8000 (£2,899), though their panels are merely Full HD.