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Samsung UE65KS8000 review: Serious 4K HDR performance - but now long outdated

Tom Bruce Vincent Teoh
11 Oct 2017
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,999
inc VAT

For it's time this was a premium UHD TV with great all-round performance. Should you buy it now?

Pros 
Gorgeous design
Great 4K and HDR image quality
Best-in-class input lag
Cons 
Best viewed head-on
Backlighting visible in dark rooms
No Dolby Vision
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Is the Samsung UE65KS8000 still worth it?

At the time of our original 2017 review, the Samsung UE65KS8000 was a cracking 4K TV that offered plenty of great features and strong picture quality for a competitive price. Though sorely outdated, you can still buy it from select retailers such as Amazon for around £1,250 - that's £750 off its launch price.

Should you? Most defininitely not. Samsung has launched multiple generations of its flagship 4K HDR TVs since then, and some 2019 models are not only better but can be bought for less. At a more-than-reasonable £1,200 you could bag a new Samsung Q80R QLED with HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG support from Currys PC World

For the latest and greatest 4K TVs to suit any budget, head on our over to our roundup of the best TVs of the year

Our original review continues below: 

Samsung is known for its world-class TVs, in fact, the South Korean manufacturer is the world's number one TV manufacturer. The South Korean company has more TV models than you can count, offering a lineup bigger than any other brand.

So, how does the television fair in our tests, and can one justify the price? We originally reviewed the TV at around £2,000 - it has, however, dropped in price.

Samsung UE65KS8000 review: What you need to know

Samsung's screens routinely serve up a good all-round picture quality even at entry-level or mid-range price points. The UE65KS8000, a 65-inch HDR-capable television isn't cheap, nor does it come with Dolby Vision or has a curvature for greater immersion.

Still, if you're looking for an excellent UHD Premium-certified TV that has a best-in-class input lag, then for £1,529 (through Reliant Direct) it's the one to go for.

Samsung UE65KS8000 review: Design and features

The design is attractive: the 65in flat panel is framed by an impressively slim black bezel featuring a brushed metallic trim around the sides. Together with the recessed Y-shaped pedestal stand, this almost makes it look like the UE65KS8000 is floating in the air – it would make a fine centrepiece for any contemporary living room. Even the rear looks supremely clean too and is free from any visible screws or rivets. Unlike some, this is a TV that’s a pleasure to look at from any angle.

Extending the minimalistic theme is a breakout connection box – a Samsung trademark for several years now – that houses four HDMI ports, each of which can properly handle the latest HDR signal from 4K Blu-ray players. Two remote controls – a Smart wand and a more traditional button-laden one – are also included. Note that there’s no 3D support on the 65KS8000 – Samsung has dropped 3D across its entire 2016 TV range.

Samsung UE65KS8000 review: Image quality

After a quick trip into the user menu to adjust some picture settings (there are many, but Samsung stows them away under the [Expert Settings] submenu to avoid confusing the average user), we’re rewarded with beautiful picture performance. Black level looks convincingly deep for an LED LCD, and shadow detail just above black is faithfully retained. Colours appear very natural too, maintaining good saturation without ever veering towards the overblown or cartoonish.

As an LCD-based display, the Samsung KS8000’s blacks and colours become washed out once you move beyond 30 degrees off-axis. In a pitch-black room, watching the TV from the sides would also bring attention to large vertical chunks of backlight flaring surrounding bright objects against a dark background. This is caused by the edge LED backlighting on the Samsung UE65KS8000, where the entire screen is illuminated through reflector plates from a single strip of LED modules along the bottom of the panel. For the best viewing experience, you’d be advised to always try to sit directly in front of the screen, and put on some gentle ambient lights.

Samsung UE65KS8000 review: Gaming performance and HDR

What the 65KS8000 truly excels at is gaming responsiveness – a crucial benefit for gamers who play titles demanding fast reflexes such as first-person shooters and racing games. Like almost every midrange/ high-end Samsung displays since 2015, there’s only around 20ms of input lag on the UE65KS8000, which comfortably makes it the fastest of any 4K TV we’ve tested. Best of all, you can enjoy this low level of lag for playing HDR games such as Gears of War 4 or Forza Horizon 3. The only mild annoyance is that you’ll have to manually input HDR-friendly settings into the [Game] picture mode, as by default it duplicates the same settings as the TV’s SDR (standard dynamic range) mode. You can be sure that Samsung will fix this in a future firmware update, though.

Another strength of the Samsung KS8000 is how it handles on-screen motion – something which will immediately endear it to sports fans. As a slight aside, the reason that old-school CRT and plasma TVs still rival today’s TVs for motion clarity is because the way they display images – and more specifically, the natural decay of organic phosphors in the screen – creates blank frames which refreshes our retinal persistence and gives the impression of smooth motion. The UE65KS8000 takes inspiration from this and offers an [LED Clear Motion] option in the [Expert Settings] > [Auto Motion Plus] “Custom” submenu, which inserts blank frames to create the impression of clearer motion. Those who are particularly sensitive to flicker may not like it, but you can always turn it off.

The Samsung UE65KS8000 supports HDR10 format but not Dolby Vision. We tested the TV with a wide range of 4K HDR material, ranging from Ultra HD Blu-rays to The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime streaming, and the TV did a great job, displaying the reflective glints off cars and richer colour spectrum without much difficulty.

If you want to peruse the detailed TV test results then click here to head over to HDTVtest

Samsung UE65KS8000 review: Verdict

In summary, whilst not a world-beater, the Samsung UE65KS8000 is a good all-rounder, suitable for gamers, sports fans and those wishing to dip their toes into HDR. If you’re looking for a king-sized 4K HDR TV for under £2,000, then this is one TV you definitely need to consider. Given its price drop to around £1,500, the UE65KS8000 now provides even better value for money and is definitely one you should consider if you're in the market for a 65in TV.

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