Samsung UE48JS8500 review

Entry-level SUHD provides an ultra-colourful backdrop

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Our Verdict

Nano-crystals or quantum dot? Call it what you will; the march of LED-backlit LCD TVs continues on this 48-incher with blistering colour to spare, though this decent value SUHD TV is not quite the finished article.

For

  • Superb colour
  • Smooth motion
  • 4K detail & upscaling
  • Good internal audio

Against

  • Black crush
  • Lacks processing speed
  • No desktop stand swivel
  • Separate connections box

If the spectre of 'another curved TV' isn't welcome, the appearance of this, the most affordable TV from Samsung's SUHD line-up, certainly is. For the UE48JS8500 – available in the US and UK selling for $1,499 and £1,649 respectively – represents the latest and greatest LCD tech, pointless curve not withstanding.

I don't hate curved TVs. They actually work really well in the corners of a room, maximizing the space really well. However, look at them head on and I find the effect frankly bizarre.

Why would you want a curved screen in a home cinema (which is where this TV is headed), or any other situation where you will be staring at the screen from the sweet spot? It serves no purpose, and no amount of popularisation will convince me otherwise.

Luckily there's a lot more to like about the Samsung UE48JS8500.

Features

Rather confusingly, SUHD doesn't really mean anything.

Is Samsung hoping we all presume it means 'Super Ultra HD'? Perhaps so.

Samsung UE48JS8500

At the heart of the UE48JS8500 is an Ultra Clear Pro panel – an Edge LCD-backlit LCD, to be precise – whose slice of nano-crystal quantum dot tech promises to produce a brighter, more colourful image. In fact, that's '64 times more colour expression than conventional UHD TVs' according to Samsung's website, though it also gives a more conservative figure of 1.2!

It also promises twice the black levels from its Precision Black Pro processing, though the key figure is the eight million pixels it gets from its 4K Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 resolution.

Also lurking inside the UE48JS8500 is an all-new Smart Hub suite of apps built for the first time on Samsung's own Tizen OS, which is a mostly successful attempt to stop Google's Android TV in its tracks. Though initially promised to dominate its phones, Samsung has produced only one Tizen phone so far.

Other features include a quad core processor, built-in twin Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners, record TV to USB, Wi-Fi, active shutter 3D (though weirdly no 3D specs are included), and – of course – HEVC decoding for 4K video streaming from Netflix and Amazon.

Design

The UE48JS8500 performs some balancing act, perching (solidly) on a T-shaped stand whose curved column reaches under and behind the TV, where it attaches. The main piece of the stand curves slightly, too. It's all a brushed metallic design, of course, with excellent construction quality – as with the TV itself, which has a super-slim bezel. As usual with curved TVs, you can't swivel the TV.

Ins and outs

The UE48JS8500 comes with a separate box for the majority of connections.

Samsung UE48JS8500

That's understandable for TVs that are so darned slim and space-efficient that they just don't have room for the electronics, but as a curved TV the UE48JS8500 actually takes up quite a lot of space already.

The box itself – which houses four HDMI inputs (all HDCP 2.2-compliant), two USB slots and an optical digital audio output – connects to the UE48JS8500 via a proprietary cable.

Next door is an Ethernet LAN slot, a USB slot, a headphones slot, RF ins, and slots for component video/composite video adaptors.

Samsung UE48JS8500

Also available

Alongside the 48-inch UE48JS8500 in Samsung's 8 Series is the 55-inch UE55JS8500 and 65-inch UE65JS8500. There are also two non-curved versions, the 50-inch UE50JU6800 and 60-inch UE60JU6800.

Further down are the non-SUHD JU7000 Series and the curved JU7500 Series, which are otherwise identical. All have Ultra HD 4K panels.

A slight step-up from the UE48JS8500 are Samsung's flagship TVs for 2015, the 48-inch UE48JS9000, 55-inch UE55JS9000 and 65-inch UE65JS9000, which all have curved panels, as do the 65-inch UE65JS9500T and two sizes that only those who've never heard of the concept of a home cinema projector could countenance, the 78-inch UE78JS9500T and 88-inch UE88JS9500T.