Its image quality and motion smoothing could be better, but it's packed full of great online services and smart features
51in, Analogue, Freeview HD, Freesat HD, 1,920×1,080 resolution, 3D: yes, 3x HDMI
The E8000 is Samsung’s flagship plasma TV and it comes in 51in and 64in models. It also has all the extras you expect from a Samsung smart TV, such as a host of internet services accessed via the Smart Hub, an integrated media player, 3D, and many control methods. There’s even a second remote control with a touchpad, and an IR blaster that lets you use one Samsung remote for all your devices.
Plasma panels are known for their high contrast, but the E8000’s image quality never felt quite right to us. Colours and contrast are far better than those of LCD TVs, but we found the image too dark. You can use the separate Dynamic Contrast and Black Tone options to increase contrast to taste. We also advise setting the Colour Tone to a warmer temperature than the default.
Even so, we found that light or dark areas were saturated, with little middle ground. In Casino Royale’s night-time airport scene, for example, the wet tarmac shone brilliantly, but the detailing on the bad guy’s black leather boots was missing. In the Casino scenes, all detail in Le Chiffre’s black velvet dinner jacket was missing.
The E8000’s Smart Hub is jam-packed with apps and features. It has a good selection of well-known internet services and tons of apps and tools. Sadly, the quality is inconsistent, with poor translations evident in lots of apps. Some apps are obviously aimed at a foreign audience (there’s one for monitoring your bills with a Dubai utilities company, for example), but there some gems too, such as the 3D section’s documentaries.
Samsung’s AllShare app lets you access photos, videos and music on connected USB drives, as well as your home network and the SugarSync cloud-based storage service. It’s nice to have all this integrated in one interface. Conveniently, it remembers your recently used items. You can also use a USB drive to record TV. You need to format it first, but you can use drives as small as 2GB.
There’s also 3D support, but unlike Samsung’s LCD TVs, the E8000 uses active-shutter glasses that are dark and suffer from flicker. We found the image way too dark, but the 3D effect was convincing.
Voice and gesture control are neat features, but it takes a while to get used to them. The hand gestures require a ‘Korean wave’ to initiate (it’s a bit like a royal wave) and it has to be done in a certain area in front of the TV. You can select actions by ‘grabbing’, but these actions are currently limited to changing volume and channel. Voice commands are initiated by saying “Hi TV”. There are more commands at your disposal with voice control than gesture control, but we did feel a bit self-conscious as we barked commands at the TV.
The E8000’s image quality is good, but not as good as that of Panasonic’s plasma TVs, and its motion-smoothing doesn’t seem to work very well. Despite that, we were mightily impressed by its smart features and media playback. We prefer the Panasonic Viera TX-P42ST50B or the high-end Panasonic Viera TX-P50VT50.
|Contrast ratio||7,000:1 (1,000,000:1 dynamic)|
|Audio outputs||optical S/PDIF out|
|Other||3.5mm audio input, 3x USB, LAN port, CI slot adaptor|
|Tuner type||Analogue, Freeview HD, Freesat HD|
|Power consumption standby||1W|
|Power consumption on||315W|
|Warranty||one year onsite|