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Samsung UE60D8000 review

LED TV is the ultimate mix of Smart technology and picture performance

Samsung UE60D8000
The D8000 Series from Samsung may be pricey, but the picture quality is near faultless

Samsung ue60d8000

With a Blu-ray player connected, these minor niggles fade away, as the UE60D8000 offers some of the best HD images I've ever set eyes on, both with 2D and 3D material.

The best way to describe its performance is 'cinematic'. The new hi-octane petrol-head movie Fast Five features a fine layer of film grain that comes across with absolute clarity. As such, watching it on the UE60D8000 is akin to being at your local movie-plex.

Exquisite detail abounds. In the movie's physics-defying bank robbery sequence, I was startled by the beads of sweat trickling from The Rock's forehead, or the grains of dirt and dust thrown up by spinning car tyres. Meanwhile, edges are deadly sharp.

The UE60D8000 doesn't mind fast-motion either. Yes, there's a drop in clarity when quick camera pans occur, and 24p material exhibits a slight judder, but nothing that's going to keep me awake a night. And Samsung's Motion Plus frame interpolation wizardry manages to increase detail levels without introducing much in the way of horrible artefacts. (Although it still makes everyone look like they are on ice skates, so, as always, I prefer to leave it off.)

Another string in the Samsung's bow is its colour reproduction. With the movie preset activated and the colour temperature set to Warm 2, the palette is beautifully natural. The sun-bleached concrete buildings, light blue cop uniforms and green palm trees of Fast Five's Rio de Janeiro locations are instantly believable. I did, however, feel the need to experiment with both the backlight and brightness picture tweaks to give the Movie preset a little more punch - some people might find it too understated.

The UE60D8000's accurate colour reproduction (as long as you avoid its Dynamic and Natural modes) is matched by a solid contrast range. The screen's unobtrusive edge LED lighting is capable of displaying bright whites and inky blacks at the same time, and dark areas retain shadow detail in all but the most testing of circumstances. Again, fiddling with the set's numerous picture parameters reaps rewards.

With standard-def Freeview material, there's an immediate drop in picture quality. Images are far softer, and lose some colour vibrancy. Mosquito noise and ringing around the edges of objects becomes apparent, although macro-blocking wasn't a concern. Essentially, the UE60D8000 offers a stable standard-def presentation that will be adequate, but not awe-inspiring, for regular telly viewing.

Switching back to hi-def 3D sources and the UE60D8000 once again has the power to astound. Stereoscopic Blu-rays come through the frame-packing process with almost as much sharpness and clarity as their 2D counterparts, and Samsung's new Bluetooth glasses (of which you get two sets supplied) don't darken the image as much as I was expecting.

Furthermore, 3D distractions like double imaging and flicker were generally absent. In fact, the picture was so stable and the 3D effect so believable that I was soon chucking every 3D disc I could find into my player - Avatar, Ice Age 3, Step Up 3D, Resident Evil, various demo discs - trying to find something I didn't like. Eventually I stumbled upon some racing car footage that looked a bit ropey, but it was obvious the source material was to blame. The UE608000's 3D performance is near faultless - and the TV's 60-inch screen makes it all the more immersive.

All this 3D goodness was achieved without fiddling with the UE60D8000's 3D effect tweaks, You can adjust the depth effect if you wish, but this brought about double images at the extreme levels, so I left it on '0'. Other options include a 3D-2D mode which, er, flattens the image completely. Why? I have no idea.

The UE60D8000 also stocks 2D-3D processing, should you want to watch everything in 3D. It works, sort of, but I doubt it'll get much action - why dabble with faux 3D when the screen's 2D hi-def performance is so exquisite?