Samsung UN60D8000YF Review
Samsung's action-packed flagship LCD retails for a whopping $4299 (MSRP).
This monstrously pricy LCD powerhouse from Samsung has a giant's handful of extra features peppered within and without its lustrous frame—and yet, many of Samsung's 2011 LCDs and plasmas will offer these same features for a lower price.
What you're really paying for (the MSRP is over $4000) is picture quality. While the D8000 didn't let us down, it did showcase some familiar strengths and weaknesses we've seen from Samsung in years past.
The D8000's narrow viewing angle could prove a problem.
Viewing angle is one of the simpler concepts we deal with when testing the electronic labyrinths that laymen call "televisions." A TV's total viewing angle dictates how much flexibility you have in where you watch it from. Can you sit three feet from center (90°) and still see what's going on? That's why we test viewing angle, so you don't wall mount something that has the visual flexibility of a high school microscope.
The Samsung PN60D8000's viewing angle maxed out at a total of 29°—that's 14.5° from center to either side. If you're very close to the screen, you won't notice this problem as much, but if you're across the room, it could limit your optimal viewing area to as little as two or three feet of lateral space. This is the kind of thing that seems like a negligible problem on the whole, but turns into repetitive little annoyances over a longer period of time. The D8000's narrow viewing angle limits group watching and individual flexibility, and it's the biggest drawback of this TV's performance. More on how we test viewing angle.
The D8000's most impressive single feat was its peak brightness.
The Samsung UN60D8000 had no problem hitting those bright whites, peaking at 357.93 cd/m2 —that's considerably bright, almost twice as bright as a room lit naturally by sunlight. This huge brightness is advantageous in a number of ways, not the least of which is adding detail to the highlight end of its color spectrum. It also means you can compete with most any ambient lighting situation, plus, since you have the option to adjust the backlight (light output) manually, you can dim the TV down with no loss in contrast or color performance to suit a darker room.
The Samsung UN60D8000’s contrast ratio was clocked at 5966:1, according to our tests. That’s a fairly impressive performance and bears some explanation as to how we think it was done. Like most LED-backlit and LED-edgelit LCDs, the UN60D8000 uses local dimming, which means that the lighting elements in one part of the screen can be dimmed while another is fully illuminated. It’s all based on screen content. A white wall should be displayed as brightly as possible, but those spooky shadows should be as dark as possible, all in the same shot. Samsung’s website claims that they don’t use local dimming but rather “Micro Dimming,” which seems to have exactly the same effect.
Our tests indicated that the auto-dimming (local dimming or whole-screen dimming, it’s difficult to tell) worked effectively. It clearly gave it an advantage in our tests. However, an all-black screen resulted in the entire backlighting array shutting off, exactly as if you’d turned the power off. This was particularly distracting in any fade-to-black scenarios. Even for the briefest all-black shots, boom… the screen shuts off. We kept scrambling to see if we’d accidentally sat on the remote control’s power button. There doesn’t seem to be any way to turn this off. There are, however, settings on the TV to amplify the dynamic contrast even further. More on how we test contrast.
Our gallery offers further information as to this television's time in our lab.
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