SAM­SUNG HU8500

HWM (Singapore) - - TEST -

While Sam­sung has re­served its best tech­nolo­gies for its flag­ship HU9000 curved TV, the HU8500 (avail­able in 48, 55, 65, and 85-inch screen sizes) is still very much a high­end TV, sport­ing fea­tures like a Clear Mo­tion Rate of 1,000 (it’s a 100Hz panel), a new lo­cal dim­ming method called UHD Dim­ming, a quad-core pro­ces­sor to en­sure op­er­a­tion smooth­ness, and a built-in DVB-T2 tuner for tun­ing in to dig­i­tal TV broad­cast. But un­like the HU9000, the HU8500 lacks a built-in cam­era. De­sign-wise, we like that Sam­sung didn’t try to be too fancy, and has gone for a sim­ple brushed metal stand (non-swivel though) and a thin metal trim around the frame. The fo­cus is on the gi­ant panel, and rightly so.

Speak­ing of fu­ture­proof­ing, ar­guably our fa­vorite fea­ture of the HU8500 (in fact, for all of Sam­sung’s 4K TVs) is its abil­ity to up­grade to the lat­est hard­ware (sans the panel, of course) and soft­ware sim­ply by plug­ging in an ex­ter­nal box that Sam­sung calls the One Connect box or Evo­lu­tion Kit down the road. With this up­grade path, your in­vest­ment will not be­come ob­so­lete as fast com­pared to other TVs. That said, it’s not as if the HU8500 is lack­ing any­thing. Out of the box, it al­ready sup­ports stan­dards like HEVC, HDMI 2.0, MHL 3.0, and HDCP 2.2.

Sam­sung’s 2014 Smart Con­trol re­mote con­nects to the TV via Blue­tooth, and is de­light­ful to use. We find the touch­pad handy for scrolling web­pages; and even for menus that don’t sup­port it, there are ar­row keys to fall back on (or you can just use the stan­dard re­mote). On the UI front, Sam­sung con­tin­ues to im­prove its Smart Hub in­ter­face, and this ver­sion has a new Mul­ti­me­dia panel that com­bines the pre­vi­ous Photo, Video, Mu­sic, and So­cial pan­els. Com­pared to LG’s gen­er­ous use of an­i­ma­tions, it can still look a tad in­tim­i­dat­ing, es­pe­cially to non-ad­vanced users.

An­other fea­ture we like is Multi-Link Screen, a con­tex­tual mul­ti­task­ing mode that lets you split the screen real es­tate, so you can do things like hav­ing live TV on one half of the screen and con­tex­tual search re­sults on the Web browser, rel­e­vant YouTube video con­tent, or a com­pat­i­ble app up on the other half at the same time. A Soc­cer mode that al­lows you to en­large a se­lected area on the screen is also pretty nifty, but we aren’t fans of the pumped up colors and con­trast this mode brings.

Good set of smart TV fea­tures. Com­pet­i­tively priced. Doesn’t sport all of Sam­sung’s top-end hard­ware fea­tures.

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