Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player review

The Samsung K8500 is a solid first-gen 4K player

Samsung UBD-K8500
Samsung UBD-K8500

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Overall, the K8500 can be considered a solid first-gen 4K player. However, factor in the journeyman built quality and you're paying a high price for 4K functionality.

One last point on price: Bizarrely, the player sells for $399 in the US, but commands an inflated sterling ticket of £430, which suggests a rather major markup is occurring – even when you consider the fact that the player comes with a free copy of The Martian bundled.

We liked

The K8500 is currently the cheapest route into 4K Blu-ray and probably offers pound-for-pound the best looking images you'll see on your 4K HDR TV. It's also a useful hub for 4K OTT services from Netflix and Amazon. While the design is a bit Marmite, I'm consistently impressed by its loading speed and colourful UI.

We disliked

Early adopters might well be disappointed at its overall lack of finesse this Samsung offers – it's simply not up to par with other Samsung products. And while the compact remote control looks cool, Samsung's design decision to use a coin battery instead of standard AAAs seems almost wilfully annoying.

Final verdict

If you want your 4K HDR TV to look its best, then you can't beat 4K Blu-ray. And when it comes to sheer image fidelity, the UBD-K8500 certainly impresses.

Having 4K Netflix and Amazon Video on board further heightens its appeal, and though it may lack the audiophile credentials of Panasonic's DMP-UB900, that's no reason to complain.

Having a choice of high and low price points for a new format like 4K Blu-ray will serve the industry better than two identical models.

That said, I might even go so far as to recommend the K8500 if its UK price wasn't so out of whack with the US.

Steve May
Home entertainment AV specialist

Steve has been writing about AV and home cinema since the dawn of time, or more accurately, since the glory days of VHS and Betamax. He has strong opinions on the latest TV technology, Hi-Fi and Blu-ray/media players, and likes nothing better than to crank up his ludicrously powerful home theatre system to binge-watch TV shows.