There is no single TV model that can rule it all as different technologies has its advantages and disadvantages. Even when you consider all those cool next-gen TVs, making a decision on exactly what model to get can still be confusing as the next-gen category branches out to some pricey but exciting models. But Samsung hopes to have all those grounds covered by bringing out the significantly overpriced but gorgeous OLED displays, the cutting-edge curved displays and the increasingly mainstream 4K displays. The Samsung UN55HU8550 is one of Samsung’s latest models to grace the 4K category and is fortunately more affordable. It is slightly more expensive than Samsung’s 1080p curved model so you are essentially choosing between the cool curves and an ultra-high-definition panel if you have about $2,500 to spare.
Samsung has made so many attractive TV designs that it makes the UN55HU8550 look a bit more ordinary. But average consumers won’t be disappointed with the nearly non-existent bezel measuring 0.3 inches and refined stand. Samsung refers to this stand as the “T-shape” design which actually looks better than the ones that previous models were equipped with. Curved TVs still look a lot more futuristic but the Samsung UN55HU8550 still screams modern. Like many of the large 1080p models, the UN55HU8550 measures 55 inches diagonally and is a popular size choice because it looks very big while keeping the price low. As for the connectivity, this Samsung TV doesn’t pull any surprises as it features 3 USB ports and 4 HDMI ports.
Samsung considers the Samsung UN55HU8550 a “Smart TV” for a variety of reasons. The Smart Hub interface ties all these smart features together and the interface takes a similar approach to the 2013 models. That’s acceptable because the Smart Hub is pretty easy to use as it organizes the different sections to just 5 categories. Similar to a basic tablet, you can go ahead and stream content from various online services, access social networks, install apps and games and access multimedia in the local network. Some noteworthy features found in the Smart Hub include the S-Recommendation feature which goes as far as recommending which shows to watch based on your set preferences.
The UN55HU8550 also offers a couple of extra ways to interact with the TV aside from the trusty remote control. A second remote called the Smart Remote Control is also included in the package. Bundling a second remote control is a rather common thing for high-end TVs but Samsung’s secondary remote is rather small. It has an oblong shape featuring a small touchpad surrounded by arrows for easier Smart Hub navigation. It can also be used as a basic remote control since the channel and volume buttons are present along with a few other playback and TV buttons tightly crammed into the front of the remote. This remote also comes with a built-in microphone which you can activate with the “Voice” button. With the Smart Interaction feature, you can issue basic voice commands to the remote so you can do things like going back to the last channel or turning off the Samsung UN55HU8550 with ease. A gyro sensor is built into the remote as well so you can use this remote as a pointing device.
A select number of mobile devices are invited into the Smart Hub experience too. With Smart View 2.0, it is possible to stream live TV, Netflix or Video on Demand to supported mobile devices. You must install the Smart View 2.0 app on your device to use this feature.
The camera accessory is sold separately and it opens up 2 additional features. The obvious addition is the ability to start video chats using compatible apps like Skype. The second feature is called Motion Control and it allows you to control the TV experience and apps using hand gestures.
One of the newer features of the UN55HU8550 takes the multi-screen concept a bit further. Called “Quad Screen”, this feature separates the large 55-inch display into 4 quadrants so you can browse the Web in one area and watch live TV and other video clips on other screens. The ultra-high-resolution nature of the Samsung UN55HU8550 means that these 4 smaller screens still look very detailed.
Like older models, the UN55HU8550 is upgradable via the Smart Evolution Kit so you can improve the performance of the TV and add new features. One Connect Box also makes sure that the TV is updated on the 4K side of things ensuring that any new standards are applied.
High-end TVs like the Samsung UN55HU8550 have reached a point where picture quality is just too good for average customers to get critical. It has fantastic black levels and contrast and highly accurate colors all thanks to a combination of technologies that Samsung fans will be most familiar with. This includes the UHD Micro Dimming, Precision Black Local Dimming and Wide Color Enhancer Plus. The UHD Upscaling technology also does a fine job in upconverting all sorts of low-res sources to ultra-high-definition quality.
But for TV enthusiasts, it might be worth noting that the UN55HU8550 isn’t really the best looking TV out there as the OLED displays look even better. The side viewing angles of the Samsung UN55HU8550 actually highlight the weaker side although it isn’t worse than most other LED models. On the upside, 3D performance is decent and the Active 3D glasses have a refined feel being lighter and sleeker. Finally, the UN55HU8550 features a quad-core processor that really helps drive the smoothness of the interface and responsiveness of the Samsung apps.
For a rich set of features and stellar visuals, the Samsung UN55HU8550 counts as one of those purchases that you shouldn’t really regret. 4K TVs have finally reached a position of affordability even though the content selection is still lacking. Surprisingly, there are even cheaper 4K TVs than this but the upgradability of this Samsung TV makes it a lot more appealing if future proof is your concern (and it should be). Some of Samsung’s displays are highly ambitious on the innovative side and the UN55HU8550 doesn’t show that so much. What it does show instead is how it can bundle a clever set of features and functionality for just under $2,500.
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