This tv has been discontinued.
The Samsung F8500 is the brightest plasma TV ever, and is even able to challenge some LEDs. While its blacks don't beat plasmas from Panasonic (like the ST60), they are still very good. The only downside is the anti-glare filter produces some slight horizontal dark lines.
- Brighter than any plasma. It is the only plasma that can be put in a bright room.
- Good anti-glare filter with very few reflections.
- Low input lag.
- Although its blacks are good, they aren't as good as in equivalent models from Panasonic.
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Without a doubt, Samsung has created the best plasma TV for use in bright rooms. The Samsung F8500 Plasma TV can get almost twice as bright as the competitors while still maintaining a respectable black. There is pretty much no downside to this TV. If it is within your budget, it is a no-brainer.
Questions & Answers
55 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
Have a 60 inch h7150
being delivered today. Already wondering if I should return it for a 60" F8500
or the 55 inch 2014 version of the 4k HU8550
. Been driving myself nuts. Coming from a 2011 Samsung 7000 plasma. Already wondering if I should upgrade solely off of wanting evolution kit to somewhat future-proof. Have a decently-lit room. Also, with the f8500, did you notice any buzzing or burn issues? Really appreciate your help. I'm totally over-analyzing!
Yes, you are definitely over-analyzing. First off, check out whether you like the picture quality of your H7150
. You will most likely be very satisfied and have a hard time coming up with a downside to it. Yes, our F8500
did buzz like all other plasma TVs do, and it did have slight image retention (you can see it in the uniformity picture).
Would there be a big quality difference between a UHD TV and the Samsung F8500
Plasma when playing on a PS4? Take note that the Samsung F8500 is at the far end of my budget.
Games on the PS4 are have a maximum resolution of 1080p. UHD TVs are just standard LED TVs with a higher resolution. The F8500
has better picture quality.
Would you recommend this TV for a next-gen gaming console?
Definitely. It doesn't really get any better than this.
Can you say which of the plasmas (60-65) is best for sports? We watch a lot of tennis. Having the ball get spread out when reviewing a line call is a huge disappointment. Or should I go with a 3d LED? They seem to have super fast refresh rates.
Plasma is definitely the way to go for fast-moving sports. LEDs just inflate their refresh rate number for marketing. The plasma you want will depend on your room and budget. This one, the Samsung F8500
, is really good for motion and overall picture quality.
I did not hear any kind of buzzing on my eight-year-old Panasonic plasma. You keep talking about the problem, though. Do Samsungs have louder buzzing or something?
The buzzing varies a lot per unit. Even with the same model, some units are barely audible, while others can be loud enough that you hear it even when watching normal content. It is similar to older CRTs, although on average a bit louder. The buzzing is a very high frequency, so not everyone can hear it. Also, the buzzing is correlated to the brightness of the scene displayed. The brighter the scene and the brighter the calibration of the TV, the louder it is.
I was 90% sure I want a Samsung F8500
plasma until I read about the horizontal dark lines brought out by the anti-glare filter (I have windows). I have been reading every review possible for about eight months now and have never heard of this. It sounds terrible. Please give more info.
It isn't a deal breaker. You can see it in both our bright room pictures (mostly at the top of the screen). It is only visible on completely dark images. As soon as a color is displayed, you can't see it.
Does the F8500
suffer from the panel lottery?
No, but there is of course variance even between the same panels.
I bought the Pn60f5300
because the F8500
was out of stock, however I found out that I can still get it at my local Best Buy for $1,499.99. I only care for the picture and not 3D or anything smart.
Should I return the 5300 for the 8500 just based on the picture? Is the 8500's picture that much better?
The difference is significant in terms of picture quality. If you don't mind the cost, you will definitely like the upgrade.
Awesome site, Cedric, you guys are doing a great job! I have a hard time deciding if I should buy a 51 inch f8500
or spend some extra and go for the Sony X850b 55 inch. I know there is a big money gap but I love to watch a lot of sports and movies, though I also play PS4 occasionally. What would you do in this case? I am almost ready to buy the Samsung, but I'm scared about missing out on future-proofing qualities of the Sony.
Get the 51" F8500
. The 55" X850B has an IPS panel, so while the viewing angle is better than most LEDs (but still not as good as a plasma), the blacks are a lot worse. The picture quality of the F8500 is a lot better, even if it isn't 4k.
Now this input lag is extremely tempting, given the other features. Almost trading blows with Sony's LED lineups. My only concern is about setting it in PC mode. Does this mean I need a DVI to HDMI adapter? What about the picture quality in PC mode. Does it retain its amazing motion quality and color?
No need to get an adapter. PC mode means every processing option is turned off (something that you usually want when you use your TV as a computer monitor). This is actually the mode we use for testing nearly all of our Samsung TVs, because it gives a picture very close to the source (since there is no processing). So yes, the picture quality is still great in that mode.
I just bought one of the 65" versions of this PDP for $1,300, open box from Best Buy - what a bargain and what a gorgeous screen, so thanks for the review and helping me to find it and recognize it for the steal that it was. I have one question, if you don't mind. In the comments above you mentioned that you got to an input lag of 37.5ms by "setting the input name to PC." Do you mean you literally just edited the name of the Input in the Tools menu when changing Source input? That's it? Nothing else needed - it just turns off the processing when it detects that name? Thanks in advance.
Yes, check out our video review of the Samsung H6350
. Midway through it, we show you how to do it. The only thing you need to be careful about is to select 'PC' from the established list, and not enter it manually.
The input lag of the Samsung F8500 in game mode was really high (112.5ms). We were able to achieve 37.5ms by setting the input name to PC.
If you look really closely, you will see a checkboard in the uniformity picture (at the bottom). This was simply some temporary image retention left over by the pattern that we use to measure the contrast ratio. We decided to keep that picture to show that image retention can happen and there is nothing to worry about, it goes away after a few minutes.
Like all plasma TVs with an anti glare filter, the vertical viewing angle is limited, at about 30 degrees.
As usual, the contrast ratio that we reported is not the biggest one that we could achieve. It is the one that we measured on a checkboard pattern, where the white was near 100 cd / m2.
The dark scene pic of F5500 shows more details than this F8500
. Is it a problem with my TV LM7600, or is it the same in reality, too? Details that are visible in the F5500 pic but not in the ST60/F8500 pic: Clouds at the top and Floor reflection at the bottom.
This was also visible in person (although the difference was less pronounced).
What would be the difference between the PN51F8500
import model ("Brand New Factory Fresh Import Model") that is for sale online at $1,500 vs the American model that retails at $1,800?
It depends on which country it was imported from. Usually it is minor law compliance modifications like an additional language supported. Depending on the seller, though, it might not work with the manufacturer's warranty.
Is it worth buying the F8500
now, or could the 2014 model be worth waiting for? Taking into consideration that it is a rather expensive TV, for me at least.
Most of the 2013 Samsung plasma TVs got carried over to 2014, so there is no 2014 replacement for the F8500
. Samsung pretty much stopped investing in plasma TVs. If you check out our price history charts, you will see that the price hit a low plateau, so it will most likely stay that way till Spring 2015 when the F8500 is discontinued. If it is outside your budget, you might want to consider other options, like the F5500 (assuming you have a dark room so the reflections aren't an issue) or go for an LED instead.
I can sometimes hear a whistling noise. Do you know what it is and why that happens?
If it is a buzzing sound, this is something common to all plasmas. The brighter the picture being displayed, the louder the sound. Otherwise, it could be the fan noise that the TV uses when it gets too hot.
Thanks for the review. I know this is a bit outdated, but how did you measure input lag? Most other searches I was able to dig up had it in the 50-60 ms range. Your measurement of 37.5 is pretty good.
Input Lag is a decision maker for me as I am an avid gamer as well as a cinephile. I would like to meet the requirements for both.
Thanks in advance for your opinion.
In 2013 (including for this TV), we used the two screen method and adjusted the number based on the reference monitor input lag. This is more accurate than the Leo Bodnar tool for plasma TVs, but less than for LEDs.
I just bought the pn60f8500
. The picture looks much better than my eight-year-old Samsung LCD. I can't help feeling that the picture is somehow off (blurry background scenes, motion judder, etc). How do I test the TV to make sure I am getting the picture quality that everyone who has reviewed this TV is raving about?
Assuming you have a good video source (not low bit-rate content like HD channels or streaming videos), it is relatively straightforward. Disable all processing options, but leave Film Mode on. Also, set the color tone to Warm2. This should give you a good base.
Day after day my F8500
makes a buzzing sound really quick and loud when I turn on my plasma. Is it normal?
Yes. As long as the buzzing doesn't increase, don't worry about it.
I've decided on the F8500
, and as a gamer I'm setting it to PC mode. Do you have calibration settings for this display in that mode? Thanks!
Unfortunately,no, but it is relatively easy in that mode because almost every thing is off by default (which is what you want). Set the color tone to Warm2 and it should be a good start.
Great site. Very informative!
Quick question. I'm also looking to either get the F8500
or the H7150
and am a bit concerned about using the F8500 in a bright room. I currently have a Samsung UN55B6000 LED and have the settings at Backlight 10/10, Contrast at 95/100 and Brightness at 40/100, and am very happy with those settings. I assume the F8500 can match those since my brightness is not set very high on the LED, correct?
It depends on the picture displayed. Plasma TVs vary the brightness depending on the picture (this is called Auto Brightness Limiter or ABL). With the checkboard pattern, the maximum brightness that we measured should be slightly lower than your LED. With a fully white picture (like if you are watching hockey), it is substantially lower. Overall, it will be slightly darker than your current LED.
It's come down to the Samsung PN60F8500
or the UN60F8000 for my living room. Viewing distance is approx 15'. The issue is two large (6' x 8') south-facing windows - one that will be directly opposite the TV - and one similar size window on the East wall. Lots of daylight.
Will the plasma be able to handle that much light?
Even if the PN60F8500
can get very bright compared to other plasma TVs, it can't match the brightness of an LED like the UN60F8000. Get the UN60F8000 instead.
Between the Samsung F8500
51" and the Vizio M492i-B2, which is the better TV overall? I am ready to purchase one for my bedroom - I just can't decide.
As far as picture quality goes, the F8500
wins by far. As long as your bedroom isn't very bright, it is a great choice.
Any idea where I can find a 51 inch F8500
? I have been looking for a few days and it seems to be sold out everywhere.
Good luck. They are really rare now. You could try calling a few independent local stores. Some still have demo models on the floor.
Thank you for your great reviews! Strangely, I am a huge fan of the soap opera effect, because I like to have people appear lifelike, as if they are in the room (I actually bought two Philips TVs because I liked their pixel plus technology), and I am now considering the Samsung F8500
versus the Samsung UN65F9000 or UN55F9000. Is the soap opera effect better with LEDs, such as the F9000 series, that make it worth choosing over a top plasma such as the F8500? Which one do you recommend that I get? I don't care about 3D or curved versus flat screens.
Yes, the soap opera effect is usually better on LED TVs. Get the UN65F9000, although the UN65H7150
has the same picture quality and it is probably cheaper.
Hello, I am wondering why picture settings that I have taken from various websites and have tried to use are making for a bad picture, worse than the MOVIE MODE preset. I am wondering if the constant firmware updates are rendering these early pro calibrations useless? I had great luck with my non-smart older Panasonics.
Could be, but I would guess instead that you have a different preference for what you consider to be good picture quality. Professional reviewers, including us, calibrate TVs to display the picture as close as possible to the source (aka, a reference picture). A lot of people subjectively find this too dull, even though it is technically accurate. If you are that kind of person, you might prefer more vivid/saturated/contrasted colors, which can be achieved through the TV's processing features.
Between the Samsung hu8550
and the f8500
, which TV will I most likely be happier with in the next five years?
It depends on how far away you sit from it and how big the TV is. The overall picture quality of the F8500
is better, but the higher resolution of the HU8500 could be nice if you sit closer than 8' for a 65". But even without considering the very low availability of 4k content, you will most likely be happier with the Samsung F8500, due to the better picture quality. This is assuming you are fine with the few downsides of plasma TVs (slight buzzing, dithering, etc).
Did you test this with the Black Optimizer on or off? Also, it looks like a few LCD televisions, like the Sony R450
and the Samsung H6400
, tested with lower black levels and brighter whites. That is opposite to what I'd expect. Were the TVs tested differently?
The black optimizer setting didn't change our measurement on the checkboard pattern, so we left it off. We do the contrast ratio measurements for plasma and LCD TVs the same way. Woth the checkboard pattern that we used, some LCD TVs really do have better black levels (when the white level is near the 100 cd/m2 target). However, keep in mind the ABL feature of plasma TVs. The ABL limits the contrast ratio on a checkboard pattern. If it was a simple white dot in the middle of the screen, we would have measured a far better contrast ratio with our plasma TVs.
Is the source for the dark screen shot identical across TV reviews? Looking at a comparison of the Samsung F8500
, F5500, F6300
and Panasonic VT60; the clouds over the water in the background are not visible on the F8500, and barely visible on the VT60. They only are clear on the two TVs with lower contrast ratios. Is this an effect of the camera used to take these pictures not being able to handle the higher contrast of the screens?
Across our 2013 reviews, yes, the camera settings were exactly the same. The problem is exactly what you mentioned. With the picture that we displayed, our camera couldn't capture the full contrast ratio of these TVs. Therefore, clouds on the lower contrast TVs were more visible. This is why we changed our test picture in 2014.
Awesome site! Love the Q&A's! Narrowed my choices down to UN60H7150
(down to $1,300 right now), PN60F8500
($1,700), Vizio P602ui-B (will be only $1k at Sam's Club on 11-15-14) and PN64H5000 ($1,250). We sit about 13ft away. Light can be controlled fairly easily. I am leaning towards the PN60F8500, but simply because of price ($700 less) and 4K, I am seriously considering the Vizio P602ui, but I read some reviews that said it was not great. I don't care about the smart TV options. 3D is a plus, but really not necessary. For these reasons, I've considered the 64" PN64H5000, but if the PN60F8500 is a lot better, then I am not sure the extra 4" is really worth it. I am aware of Plasma's issues and that doesn't bother me. Picture and motion is the most important quality to me. I watch sports and movies. Two questions: If price was no issue, which TV would you recommend? If price was factored in, which TV would you recommend?
Get the PN60F8500
. It has better picture quality than the LEDs, including the 4k ones. Even with the price factored in, you will be more satisfied with that one (especially since you said you are OK with plasma TVs' issues).
I bought an open box 60inch F8500
which sadly ended up having two dead pixels and was missing a dead remote and all 3D glasses (Which was not told in the open-box condition). Now we can't order anymore F8500s. Best Buy told me to bring it back and for $1,500 find something comparable. What would be comparable to the F8500, or do you think me taking ownership and having Samsung replace the defect pixels under warranty is best? I just don't want to lose this awesome picture quality. Of course they tried pitching me on 4k, which I think is not comparable to this Plasma.
There is not a similar TV to the F8500
. If you want another TV, you will have to go for an LED. The H7150
is a great one. The uniformity will not be as perfect as on the F8500, but it's not bad either. Taking ownership of a TV with defects and missing pieces is risky, so I am not sure that you would want to go that route.
Good job! This is one of the best TV review websites I've ever seen (and I've seen them all).
I have ordered the PN60F5500
for $900. I can get the PN60F8500
for $1,999.99. Is the 8500 worth $1,100 more?
That depends on you. The picture quality difference is pretty big, especially in a bright room (less glare and twice as bright). If the price difference seems big to you, you will probably be happier with the cheaper one. But if you can afford it, there is no doubt the F8500
is a big improvement.
Ok, so I went with the F8500
on the recommendation of C. Demers, the author of this review, and I have to say the picture of this TV is beautiful. Very little reflection and super smooth when watching sports. As for the Plasma Buzz issue everyone seems to be talking about, with my sound bar muted, standing right next to the TV, I could hardly hear anything at all. So for me that is a non-issue. Where to find this incredible TV? Sears.com had them as of yesterday, electronics for less.ca still has them at a great price, and 2001 audio/video has a couple hundred in stock. If you get this TV and it works as it should, you will not be disappointed. The picture crushes anything I have ever seen in LED. Until 4K and OLED get their bugs worked out and their prices drop, this is the best TV available on the market at this price. FYI I got mine for $1,810 CDN delivered with a free HDMI cable and paid half price for the matching Samsung 3D blue ray player. Thanks for the recommendation, Cedric! 5 Stars!
Thank you for sharing your experience with it! It is a great TV. Enjoy it!
If the top end plasmas have the best picture quality but it's harder and harder to find them then what televisions especially 65" or more are the best next step down from them? I also have a darker room so if you could take that into consideration with your answer I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
None will match the picture quality in a dark room, but some LED TVs are still good. The Samsung UN65H7150
is a good choice if you don't care about 4k (and if you do, get the UN65HU8550
I would love to buy the F8500
in the 64" size, but can't find it. I am replacing a Panasonic Plasma TH-50PZ700U of 2008 vintage. It's in a room with some windows, but I haven't found glare objectionable, and I have really enjoyed the picture quality. I can still get a Samsung PN64H5000 Plasma. You didn't review this 2014 model, but do you have an opinion about how it compares to the 2013 line? Is it close to the F8500? Or should I give up on plasma and buy the H7150
? I wouldn't get much value from 3D or a smart TV. Or should I just forget about Plasma and go with the H7150?
Plasma will offer you much better picture quality than LED. The PN64H5000 is comparable to the Samsung F5300
. It's a good TV, but it's a little more prone to glare than the F8500
. Still, given that you're coming from a plasma and don't find that objectionable, this shouldn't be a problem. Go for the PN64H5000.
If you do decide to go for an LED (the H7150
would be a great choice), keep in mind that only low-end TVs do not come with smart features. You might not need 3D or apps, but they're included by default. Just think of them as extras.
Hi! I bought the f8500
for $800 in an estate sale, and it is only a year old. It is working perfectly, but is too big for my studio apartment. I researched the distance for a 60" TV and it's 8 ft 4 inches, which is what I have, but I just feel it's too big. Only concern is the size and the energy consumption. Is it worth keeping? Thank you.
It can take a bit of time to adjust to a larger TV. Give yourself a week and see if you get used to it, and then sell if it you don't. Plasma TVs do cost more to run, but not an outrageous amount. You can try using our calculator
to get an idea of how your plasma TV compares to a comparable LED TV.
I just wanted to add that I had great luck with the settings from this site
Thank you for letting us know! That might help other owners of the Samsung F8500
You mentioned in a previous post that you intend to review the Samsung F8500
plasma again due to it being carried over and you have changed your testing. Any idea when this will be? I am very interested in seeing if there have been any changes to the picture quality or input lag as a result of firmware updates. I'm on the fence about which TV to buy, but I am leaning heavily towards the F8500 as the last great plasma that is available. Anyways, thanks so much for the great and in-depth reviews, I am especially a fan of the motion blur testing!
Probably in a month or so. I doubt the input lag will be any lower. Even for 2014, Samsung TVs all pretty much have an input lag in the 40s.
I'm looking for 65 inch TV for my den. It will be placed in the corner of the room. The seating for the TV will not be directly in front, therefore, the viewing angle for some seats will be about 40 degrees. There are three large windows with southern exposure in the room. Should I be looking at an Samsung F8500
plasma or a h7150
Because of your seating position, you will most likely prefer the Samsung F8500
. The contrast ratio of the H7150
is greatly reduced at an angle.
I understand that there are various suppliers for plasma panels in the Samsung PN60F8500
line. Are there any significant differences between the various suppliers? There is a significant cost difference with some online retailers, depending on which supplier the plasma screen is from.
There is no difference that we know of between panels.
I recently bought the PN60F8500
since prices have fallen so much. I can't wait for it to come, but I'm a bit apprehensive about watching sports on this TV because of the image retention/burn-in issues. Should I be worried? I like to watch both College and NFL, so it will go on for a while. I watch movies, but during football season it's mostly sports.
Don't worry about it, as long as you don't set the Cell Light setting to the max. Image retention will happen, but it will go away after a few minutes, so it isn't something to worry about.
I read that "The only way to achieve the correct film cadence of 1080p/24 sources, like most Blu-ray movies, is to engage the Cinema Smooth setting under Film Mode -- which lightens black levels somewhat."
When you performed your tests, was this setting enabled? What would your recommendation be and how much does enabling this setting degrade black levels?
Our contrast ratio measurement was at 60p, not 24p, so Film Mode was unavailable. We haven't measured the contrast with 24p media, so we can't tell if that statement is true or not.
I bought the pn64f8500
and was absolutely astounded by the picture quality, with one exception. During TV playback, the screen would flicker during white or bright scenes. I have since found out this is common for plasma TVs, but that most people are not able to see it. For Blu-rays, I would engage the Cinema Smooth feature that would raise the refresh rate to 96, and the flicker was gone. Why don't they offer a TV setting that raises the refresh rate? I had to return the TV because I couldn't stand the "plasma flicker".
This is normal. Few people are bothered by this, but it is also a deal breaker for me. I don't know why they can't increase the flickering frequency for 60 fps media. Maybe because it also increases the phosphor trail? Or the shorter frame time prevents them?
Black levels aside, and given the glare issue that the F5300
has, what makes the F8500
have better picture?
It has a higher contrast ratio because it can get brighter.
Just opened and unpacked my new 60" and started to run some slides through the USB. Do you recommend any slides and/or settings while running the slides for the first 150 - 200 hours? The touchpad remote back seems to not fit flush and has an edge. Did you also experience this?
Slides with solid colors at different saturation and brightness should be fine. Keep in mind that breaking it in isn't really required, especially if you don't plan on having it professionally calibrated after. And yes, the remote is built cheaply, although ours didn't have an edge sticking out.
Does the buzz get better or worse with time? I seem to get a headache after a few minutes and was wondering if anything can be done to help with the buzz.
It will stay the same. There is nothing you can do about it except to reduce the luminosity of the screen. If it bothers you, you should return it and go for an LED instead.
This is a great discussion on a dying breed. It just so happens that I need a new TV after my daughter's friend launched a Wii controller into my Panasonic Z1. I am so happy to get one of the last 60" F8500
's. It will be here Jan 7th. Anyway, after reading lots on this set, I haven't read anything describing the Evolution Kit that allows one to upgrade the TV in the future but how? Is this for the Smart TV part? So this is unlike firmware updating. I wonder if Samsung will support this or will it be a forgotten gimmick.
The Evolution Kit is only for the smart features, not the picture quality. So yes, it is mostly a gimmick.
Do you have the settings that you ended up with after calibration?
No, not for that one. We forgot to note them (which is why now we always take full pictures of the menus).
I just got the PNF8500 and while I love the picture, it definitely has some "flickering" going on. It's like the effect when you choose a lower refresh rate on your PC (or, as if the power is cycling at lower than 60Hz, if that makes any sense). Other than that the panel is flawless. I called Samsung and they are sending someone here, but I'm nervous that given the halt in production for this panel, I'm going to be forced into the LED camp. :( Any suggestions for what I can do to try and fix it?
This isn't a defect. It is normal. Every plasma does this. Some people don't see it, but it gives some people headaches. It is even worse if your source is 24 fps and you enable that feature.
I recently just bought a 51 inch f8500
and I am happy with it so far. However, although the viewing angles are very good, if I stand above it or below it the screen darkens out. Do you know why this is?
This is normal for every plasma TV with an anti-glare filter (like the F8500
). The anti-glare filter assumes you won't be watching at a vertical angle. This is useful because most of the light that needs to be blocked comes in at an angle (like from an overhead light).
Picture quality wise is the PN64H5000 closer to the 64" F8500
or the 64" F5300
Do any of these tvs have HDMI out?
We didn't test the PN64H5000, but we expect it to be closer to the F5300
than the F8500
. No TV has an HDMI out.
For the guy who was having a problem finding the PN60F8500
. Sears.com has them in stock. It's not giving pricing for the 60F8500 but the 64F8500 is selling for $2599 and free delivery. If crossing the border is an option Electronics for Less.ca has the 60F8500 for $1999 as does 2001 Audio Video.
If the F8500
is out of my price range, what would be the best non-4k LED TV to buy?
The TV that scored the highest on our tests in 2014 was the Samsung H7150
, so we would recommend that one. It has great overall picture and good smart features, too.
Can you please provide the link for the calibration/settings suggestions for the Samsung F8500
We don't have the screenshots of the settings we used for the Samsung F8500
(we didn't had a 'Settings' page back when we reviewed that TV). But for Samsung TVs we always use the 'Movie' picture mode and select 'Warm 2' as the color tone. We also turn off any video processing such as the soap opera effect. This will get you close to the picture we had when we reviewed the TV.
We are not taking any more questions for this product because we no longer have it in our lab.