Pamsung RN55EP8000F 55-inch 3a iea Ts
It was in the Aug/Sept 2012 issue of CANADA HiFi that I reviewed Samsung’s excellent flagship PN64E8000 plasma television. Equipped with many of the latest user technologies and delivering one of the finest images available, Samsung’s reference plasma television leaves little to desire. It’s no surprise that after years of successful products and good reviews, the same can be said of the company’s LED televisions. And just so everyone is clear, and LED TV is actually an LCD TV which uses an LED backlight. The UN55ES8000F, under review here, is part of Samsung’s reference ES8000 LED series, and offers nothing but improvements over previous year’s generation, reviewed in these pages just over a year ago. Reviewing this TV felt like meeting up with an old friend; we picked up exactly where we left off but with a few new stories to tell. The UN55ES8000F retails for $2,799 and like most higher-end TVs it offers 3D functionality and smart TV capability.
The outer edge of the UN55ES8000F appears almost identical compared to last year’s D8000 series, taking the picture right out to the edge of the frame while keeping the depth incredibly thin at 3 cm. What’s new for this year is an improved base which keeps the TV much more upright and stable from edge to edge, rather than being supported only from the centre. A camera also protrudes from the top of the frame for various Smart TV functions. The connections on the back include 3 HDMI inputs, 3 USB inputs, a terrestrial/ cable RF input (and the TOSlink out for OTA), RCA component inputs including audio, and a mini-jack for composite video and audio. The UN55ES8000F has built-in Wi-Fi capability and also offers a hard-wire Ethernet option for faster and more reliable online service. A 62 page printed manual is included in the box but some owners might prefer the expanded E-manual accessed directly within the TV’s menu.
Those of you who read the PN64E8000 plasma television review in the Aug/Sept 2012 issue, might remember the many new controls the Smart TV offered. This LED set is no different in that respect. It comes with the traditional and comfortable Samsung infrared remote with large backlit buttons which is best used when not utilizing many of the Smart TV functions. The other option is the Bluetooth Smart Touch Controller which offers far more functionality. This new remote includes essential buttons for power, channel, and volume up/down as well as some new keys for menu navigation, voice control, and “slide-and-touch pad” functions. To utilize its universal remote functionality, you will need to use the external IR blaster (included) to allow this Bluetooth remote to send IR commands to other components. Android or Apple devices can be used to control this TV as well by downloading the appropriate app.
The built-in camera I mentioned earlier can be used for Skype video calling as well as “Smart Interactions” such as voice and gesture controls. The camera recognizes hand and arm movements which allow you to change volume and channels, and control menu navigation. As I quickly found out with the plasma TV, this LED TV must be mounted at a height where the camera can see you for the gesture controls to work properly. More specifically, the TV can’t be mounted too high. In practice, I found the voice and gesture controls worked quite well for basic TV functions. Maybe it’s becoming the old school way of doing things, but I did reach for the “simple” remote often just to get through items faster. Perhaps the voice and gesture controls will be more appealing to the younger crowd who are already familiar with these types of controls in their gaming systems. Give this feature a few more years to perfect and I’m sure it’ll be just as efficient as the hand-held remote. Until then, consumers have the