The Samsung NU8000 is a versatile 4k LED TV with good picture quality and HDR support. It also has great motion handling, as only a short trail follows fast moving objects and the TV can flicker to clear up blur.
The smart features also work well and the platform is intuitive. The TV includes the Bixby assistant for voice control. Unfortunately, the picture quality degrades when viewed at an angle and vertical blooming is visible in a completely dark room.
Stand Samsung NU8000
he stands is very different than the ones on the two previous models (the MU8000 and KS8000). It is very similar to the stand found on the JU7100. The TV is very stable and there is a very little wobble.
Footprint of the 55″ TV stand: 12.5″ x 31.4″.
Samsung NU8000 Design
We have some qualms about the NU8000 series, but none of them concern the design itself: out of the box, this is an incredibly visually appealing TV.
The shining design feature of the NU8000 – and the attribute that sets it apart from other TVs in its class – is its lack of a plastic frame around the top and sides of the screen. Without the frame, the TV is ultra-minimalist, clearly taking a page from Samsung’s mobile division.
To prevent any damage to the screen while unboxing it, Samsung provides cardboard guards that stick to the sides and protect the screen – showing that the designers have thought through the setup process from start to finish.
To further maximize this minimalist aesthetic is Samsung’s T-shaped stand with removable back cover that hides wires. It takes seconds to unclip the back covering, weave cables through the stand itself, and come out with a clean install each and every time.
If there’s any nitpick to be made about the TV’s design, it’s that the screen uses a VA panel with edge-lit LED lighting. Despite its best efforts, local screen dimming isn’t excellent and nowhere near as good as OLED panels in a similar price range – but more on that in the performance sections down below.
Samsung NU8000 Smart TV
While this generally holds true, it does mean creating a login for Samsung’s SmartThings or remembering a password that you made ages ago. If it saves you time in the long run will ultimately depend how quickly you can sign up for the service or remember said password – any delay, and it might just be that Samsung’s new-and-improved setup takes longer than it did last year.
Samsung NU8000 screen
That said, what you are treated to once you get past the login screen is a phenomenally robust, blazing-fast interface. Navigating the nooks and crannies of Tizen feels like an exciting treasure hunt as you never quite know what goodie you’re going to uncover next.
You might try your hand at using Samsung’s TV Plus mode that piles in free streaming channels on top of your existing line-up from your cable provider or OTA antenna. You might wander into the app store, shop around the universal guide, or set up a new smart home device with Samsung SmartThings. There are a gallery mode and a slow-but-tolerable web browser.
Overall, there’s enough on offer here without feeling hopelessly overwhelming, all while providing the key essential streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in 4K Ultra HD.
Samsung NU8000 Performance
When it comes to taking old HD and SD content and transforming it into fantastic-looking 4K, you need a great upscaling engine. Thankfully, Samsung is no slouch in that arena. To that end, Samsung’s NU8000 does surprisingly well with 1080p – even if it’s a tinge darker and a bit less detailed than similar content played in 4K/HDR.
For example, we played the original Iron Man through FXNow and Chromecast, and it looked surprisingly good for a movie that came out 10-plus years ago. Even though dark scenes lacked a bit of detail they weren’t very grainy – which speaks volumes about the TV’s ability to clean up old content.
Another scene, though, proves there’s still some room to improve: In Iron Man 2, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark interrogates Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash and the color gradation is super obvious – a problem that might be worse if you’re watching it via Apple TV as the NU8000 automatically changes it to Game Mode.
The issue with HDR+ (and something you’ll want to immediately correct in the settings) is that it automatically changes the color tone to warm – adding a sepia-like filter to the content. If you want to remove the warm hue, you’ll need to go into the settings and set the Color Tone back to standard.
Without any tampering the images are fine – most times, they’re bright and beautiful. But if you don’t like motion smoothing or are inadvertently put into Game Mode by mistake while watching a movie, however, image quality can go downhill quickly.
HD/SDR TL;DR: It’s not the best upscaling in the world, but the NU8000 definitely has the chops to turn old HD content into watchable faux-4K HDR
4K/HDR Performance Samsung NU8000
A lot of what was said above in the HD/SDR section applies here in the 4K/HDR section: Most times, images look outstanding with a few minor exceptions.
One of the test pieces of content we used was Planet Earth II on Netflix. In beautiful 4K with HDR+ mode turned on, Planet Earth II looked simply astounding. The colors of the rainforest and the stark contrast-rich areas of the mountains will brighten any AV enthusiast’s day.
Of course, Planet Earth II plays to the TV’s strengths. There’s more color in rainforests and oceans than your typical football stadium, and fast motion is relatively infrequent in the highest mountains in the world. Even when there is motion, it’s usually captured in broad shots with slow pans – rarely is it done by flipping back and forth between cameras.
4K HDR Performance TL;DR:
While weird motion handling hurts the overall image quality, 4K HDR images are bright and beautiful, with good color reproduction.
Sound Samsung NU8000
One might think that, with 40-watt speakers, the NU8000 would have some of the best sound on a flatpanel TV. Sadly, that isn’t the case.
Bass rattles the screen, high volume sound crackles and pops, and mids and highs sound confined. And that’s just some of the issues here.
Concerned that we were hearing something that didn’t exist, we invited friends to try the TV for themselves. Each time, around 50% volume they said they could hear audible crackling and rattling bass – issues that just couldn’t be ignored.
If there’s a bright spot here its that Samsung is attempting to dovetail the great work that its sound labs have done in California with its TV manufacturing business in Korea.
The NU8000’s overall score depends on which screen size you’re after: many of the prices have changed since we first published this review, but right now the 55-inch TV is priced at $1,000 (£799 / AU$1460). At those prices, it’s hard to give the NU8000 a glowing recommendation. The best deal, in our opinion, is the 49-inch model, which has also changed since the first publication and now comes in at just $850 / £679.
- Bright, beautiful colors
- Frame-less trim
- HDR+ Mode
- Edge-lit LED
- Motion issues
- Bixby hurts more than bits of help