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Samsung UE40B8000 review

This LED/LCD TV from samsung is undeniably desirable, but there are performance imperfections Tested at £1390.00

Our Verdict

The Samsung’s desirability is undeniable, but some superb competition highlights a couple of performance imperfections

For

  • Extremely pretty and amazingly thin design
  • clean, detailed and punchy pictures from all sources
  • very deep blacks
  • capable motion processing

Against

  • Especially weak sound
  • can be beaten for black insight and colour balance

Ultra slim TVs usually have their innards in a separate media box. Not so with the Samsung UE40B8000.

Here the frankly astonishing depth of less than 3cm has been achieved with all of the electronics onboard.

Those electronics include a 200Hz Motion Plus processor, four HDMI inputs, two USB sockets, internet connectivity, and Samsung's much-hyped LED backlight.

Calibration is a bit of a chore

Calibrating the UE40B8000 isn't as easy as with some of its rivals. Partly this is because the remote is rather unpleasant to use, but it's also because of an abundance of picture options such as Dynamic Contrast, Colour Space, Edge Enhancement and 200Hz Motion Plus.

The Samsung's backlight works by having LEDs dotted around the outside edge of the panel, which generate light that stretches across the screen.

This system combines with a tinted panel to produce a picture that combines impressively deep blacks with nice, punchy whites.

The Knowing Blu-ray's stunning plane crash scene benefits from this in a big way. As Nic Cage makes his way through the wreckage, explosions light up the dusky sky thrillingly.

The handheld camera is tough for a TV to keep hold of, but if the Samsung's 200Hz motion processing doesn't quite have the infallible solidity of its rivals it's not far behind.

Pleasingly high resolution
There's an element of the Samsung using its black depth to highlight detail, but there's no denying its pleasingly high resolution, and you can't say the image lacks definition.

These qualities hold true when you switch to SD content, with DVDs and Freeview proving detailed and stable.

The problem is that there's a degree of unsubtlety to the set's delivery. Blacks might be very deep, but they also consume too much detail.

See all our 42in TV reviews

Colours are close to neutral, too, but there's a slight pinkness and a lack of organic gradation. You get pale skin with concentrations of pink on the cheeks, but not enough in between.

The Samsung's other issue is audio. Flatscreens generally sound poor, but this indirect, thin and sibilant delivery is especially weak.

So, although there's lots to love about the UE40B8000, these little imperfections are enough to hold it back from five stars.

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