Samsung UE55HU8500 review

Samsung's flagship 4K/UHD TV with curved screen and enhanced Smart TV features

Samsung UE55HU8500
Editor's Choice

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First let's get the bad stuff out of the way. Watching (and listening) in football mode is probably about as enjoyable as watching Honduras. The picture is over-saturated and excessively bright, whilst the sound is devoid of any low-end richness, making it sound uncomfortably shrill.

It's a shame, as the football mode does have another (albeit flawed) use – allowing you to automatically record highlights of any sporting event to a USB-connected hard disk. It's fun but the problem is that it's not totally reliable so it might miss a Rooney goal, which is too rare to risk happening.

Samsung UE55HU8500

The biggest disappointment of the UE55HU8500 is football mode but now the World Cup is over you can get back to your regular programming and ignore the feature

Gimmicks aside, this is a superb screen in terms of its pictures, which takes full advantage of its extra pixels. The absolute cream is House of Cards in 4K on Netflix, which has a sumptuousness and clarity to it that has to be seen to be believed.

The real advantage is in scenes of a low ambient light, where the screen has enough contrast and shadow detail to cope with conditions that often end up as areas of amorphous blackness on inferior screens. There's no hint of noise caused by over-processing or milky greyness, which happens elsewhere when you compensate for crushed blacks by increasing the brightness.

Samsung UE55HU8500

Even the best TV settings may need adjusting

In a way, this is to be expected, but what proves so satisfying is the way in which Full HD content is upscaled. The utterly-lamentable BBC drama Jamaica Inn has many similarly gloomy scenes but the UE55HU8500 excels in serving up beautifully presented images, full of contrast and lovely colours including the browns, greys and greens inside and outside the inn, whilst skin tones look subtle and natural.

Throw on a Blu-ray and it gets even better. The mole, scar and bristles on Tom Cruise's face in Oblivion are so much more detailed than on an HD screen. With judder reduction set to its middle setting, movement such as the helicopter taking off and darting through the canyon, is smooth and unfettered by artefacts or noise. All in all, there's such a highly engaging and blemish-free picture you're more immersed in what you're seeing.

Samsung UE55HU8500

If you aren't finding the picture utterly engaging you can use the UE55HU8500 to browse the web at the same time

The flip side to all this presentational excellence is that sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. Watching Match of the Day I kept finding myself staring at the lines in Gary Lineker's neck and not in a good way. There will be no shortage of TV presenters and actors dreading this step-up in clarity. Still on footy, the screen is also great for watching the action (in movie mode), again thanks to good motion resolution.

The screen is a little reflective so you may need to reduce bright ambient light or single point light sources in the vicinity may need switching off. Also, when watching off-axis you tend to look at what's opposite you and are drawn to the far end of the screen, rather than the middle.

On the other hand, contrast and colour fidelity don't drop off as you move to more acute angles. If 3D floats your TV boat, rest assured that the active-3D system used by the UE55HU8500 delivers the goods in terms of cross-talk and clarity.