The Final Word
Having placed the display through its paces, it is now time for the ES8000's reckoning. And here's our verdict. Overall, Samsung's Series 8 is the best 3D Full-HD model they've coughed up so far. However the display is still plagued by a number of shortcomings which we'll highlight as we go along. Aesthetically, Samsung's combination of a single-glass design, extremely thin bezel, and sleek styling, easily makes it one of the more attractive LED edge-lit models in the HDTV market today. LG's LM9600 Cinema 3D TV, by far, is the only model we know which trumps the ES8000 in terms of its design presentation. Features-wise, we fancy the upgraded Smart Hub interface in HD (smart move, Samsung), but apart from the newly minted Kids, Fitness, and Family Story online services, there is little else on Samsung's portfolio to pique our interest. And while the whole slew of interactive controls are nice to have, we'd rather use a point-and-click option to navigate a Smart TV's interface. It's more practical and effective, especially with applications like a web browser for instance.
We can't fault the ES8000 much with regards to its visual performance. There are, however, some caveats which Samsung might want to address. For instance, color reproduction was accurate enough, while black depths were commendable but not great for an LED edge-lit model. More pertinently, the panel remained prone to subtle 'clouding' which requires a bit of assistance from its dynamic lighting functions to compensate for. As for standard definition content, the TV coped well in general with a decent display of detailing. On the other hand, its inability to eradicate motion noise effectively proved to be a thorn in some instances. It was only with higher resolution HD sources that the ES8000 could realize its full potential, judging by the concise and punchy visuals. As for its 3D score card, Samsung's latest Series 8 is most definitely an improvement over the D8000 we reviewed last year. There were lesser instances of crosstalk, and Samsung's 3D depth and clarity are quite impeccable as well. All said, although it is unlikely we'd shell out S$6,499 for the 55-inch Series 8, Samsung has most definitely made a leap in the right direction as far as HDTV and 3D TV technologies are concerned. They might want to rethink their approach for the Smart TV controls though; they are advanced, but a more straightforward approach would be better.