Samsung’s new lineup of TVs with large displays is quite interesting right now. With the exception of the 75-inch model, Samsung’s new high-end models go south of $5,000. These are the prices that you would expect from very thin 1080p LED models a couple of years back. But 2014 looks to be the year of affordable 4K displays where you may even find some for under $1,500. Samsung doesn’t want to be a part of this category at the moment but many of the 55-inch 4K models are quite attractive and come with many of Samsung’s signature features. Stepping up to a slightly larger model like the Samsung UN65HU8550 presents an even bigger advantage as a larger display panel really makes those 8 million pixels stand out.
Samsung already knows how to make a TV that really looks like it is worth that higher premium but so do the other top brands. It is only natural for Samsung to respond to this and make their 2014 models better. The UN65HU8550 may not be flagship material as it lacks the curved display panel but it still looks gorgeous with its very thin 0.3-inch bezel that literally disappears when viewed at a normal viewing distance. What differentiates the Samsung UN65HU8550 from the older models is its redesigned “T-shape” stand that is indeed an improvement over the older one in terms of looks and stability. Other than that, you get the same arrangement of 3 USB ports and sufficient set of 4 HDMI 2.0 ports.
In addition to the ultra-high-resolution panel, Samsung is once again putting the Smart Hub experience as the star of the show. It is still version 2.0 so if you bought a recent Samsung 1080p model, you will notice that the 5-panel interface is still the same and that’s good because the interface is fairly easy for new people to use. Like most modern TVs with built-in Wi-Fi capabilities, the UN65HU8550 functions a lot like a basic tablet where you have access to a decent selection of apps in a marketplace from Facebook and Twitter to several streaming services and news sites. There is also a dedicated panel for easy access to the common social networks.
It is fully possible to navigate the Smart Hub using the standard remote control but some procedures can be quite tedious such as selecting an app from a big list or entering text. The Smart Remote Control makes it a little bit easier even though it lacks a QWERTY like some other secondary remote controls. What it does have is a small but functional touchpad that you can use to control the cursor like a mouse. Some of the buttons found in the primary remote can be found in the Smart Remote Control as well. If you are okay with the cramped layout, you should be able to use the small remote for your usual TV watching activities. There is a secret weapon that makes this one of the best remotes ever bundled in a TV. By resting your thumb on the trackpad, the Smart Remote Control immediately transforms into a pointing device so you can move the onscreen cursor in a more natural and precise fashion. The “Voice” command also lets you speak to the remote so you can issue voice commands or go as far as conducting a voice search, which the Samsung UN65HU8550 does a pretty good job in recognizing. This compact remote has a nice textured back and is powered by Bluetooth so you can use it from a greater distance.
While most of the Smart Hub 2.0 experience is the same, there is a rather interesting new feature that makes good use of the 4K display. The “Quad Screen” feature lets you literally do 4 things at once and the 65-inch display allows each of the 4 screens to show off plenty of detail. You can use the Web browser and watch a couple of videos and a live TV stream all at once on the UN65HU8550.
Mobile interaction is still a key part of the experience too and it benefits owners of the Galaxy S III and newer Samsung smartphones and tablets in the Galaxy family. The new Smart View 2.0 Android app is an exclusive treat for the Samsung UN65HU8550 and other high-end 2014 Samsung Smart TVs. It serves as an alternate remote control that works over Wi-Fi as well as a second screen where you can do interesting things like having a Blu-ray video show up on the TV while simultaneously streaming live TV to the mobile device. Multiple devices with the app installed can also queue up content to the TV.
There is no built-in camera in the UN65HU8550 so you have to get it separately if you want to engage in video conversations over Skype independently and use the Motion Control feature where you can use hand gestures to control the TV.
The Samsung UN65HU8550 has a stronger stance on future proofing too. The Smart Evolution Kit remains an option to upgrade the TV’s software and hardware capabilities but there is also a component called the One Connect Box that you can replace to upgrade the TV’s 4K features. This way, the UN65HU8550 is always prepared to handle the latest 4K formats as they are unveiled.
The Samsung UN65HU8550 proves that spending a bit extra on a 4K TV is worthwhile. The Precision Black Local Dimming technology does an excellent job in boosting the contrast resulting to really detailed images. Of course, you do get the best results if you get your hands on 4K content but fortunately, the UN65HU8550 upscales non-4K content to 4K levels so you can get some noticeably better visuals than a standard 65-inch 1080p display. The PurColor and UHD Micro Dimming technologies boost the overall image quality too. Active 3D performs well too and enabling AutoMotion Plus feature enhances the effect even more. The quad-core processor also makes the TV quite speedy in Web browsing.
The Samsung UN65HU8550 puts all 65-inch 1080p displays to shame. 1080p TVs are significantly cheaper nowadays but Samsung has managed to cram enough good features and a surprisingly awesome remote make this TV a $3,500 well spent.
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