The 4k Samsung MU9000 is a versatile TV, with very good picture quality and great motion handling. It can produce deep and uniform blacks, and supports HDR quite well. It isn't all good though as the image accuracy degrades at an angle and the range of colors produced isn't as wide as some other TVs.
The design of the MU9000 is great. The TV feels as premium as it looks, and has a few nice touches such as the thin borders and textured back. Most of the inputs are located on the OneConnect box and are easy to access.
The stand of the MU9000 is similar to other Samsung TVs such as the KS9000 from 2016. It is small enough to fit on most tables and supports the TV well, although it will wobble a bit if knocked.
Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 33.7" x 13.8"
The rear of the TV looks good. Most of the inputs are located on the OneConnect box and are easy to access. The cable management is great, as the stand of the TV is used to route the cables out of the back (visible here).
The TV is quite thin when viewed from the side. The bottom half of the TV is the thickest part, but even then it won't stick out much if wall-mounted.
The TV stays fairly cool, only getting slightly warm to the touch in a few places on the back. The OneConnect box only gets slightly warm, reaching a maximum of 32 °C.
The build quality of the MU9000 is good. Some minor gaps are present around the frame, but overall the parts feel well constructed and very durable. There is some flex when pushing on the rear plastic, but this isn't an issue.
The Samsung MU9000 4k LED TV has a very good picture quality. When set in a dark theater setup, it reproduces dark scenes very well and blacks look very deep thanks to the excellent contrast ratio and remarkable black uniformity. If set in a room with a lot of light, the high SDR peak brightness can easily overtake any glare from the sun or a bright light and the screen finish deals with reflection remarkably. The viewing angle is bad though, and once again, the best viewing position is only a narrow area in front of the TV itself. Luckily, sports fans will be happy as the gray uniformity is good and dirty screen effect is almost non-existent. Finally, HDR movies look great on the MU9000. Colors are vibrant due to the wide color gamut and small highlights really shine thanks to the high HDR peak brightness. The only downside is when it comes to the local dimming, vertical blooming is sometimes visible when there is a very bright highlight, especially in letterboxes bars.
The Samsung MU9000 has an excellent native contrast ratio just above 6000:1, which is great for people who have a dark home theater setup as it results in detailed dark scenes with deep blacks.
With the local dimming feature set to 'High', the contrast ratio remains almost the same, which shows the poor implementation of the local dimming on the MU9000.
Note that we could not completely turn off the local dimming feature on the MU9000, but simply set it to 'Low'.
The local dimming feature on the Samsung MU9000 is bad and is very similar in performance as on the MU8000 and Q7F. Since the MU9000 is an edge-lit TV and that the local dimming span across a large vertical zone, a large vertical blooming is visible following the moving highlight on our test video. The local dimming has 3 setting ('Low', 'Standard' and 'High') and we recommend to test each setting to see what is best for you. If you find that the screen luminance change too much depending on the on-screen content, set the local dimming to 'Low' or 'Standard'.
Great SDR peak brightness. The sustained brightness remains a good 400 - 600 cd/m² for all tests, yet local dimming is able to spike the brightness above 1000 cd/m² in an ideal case, though not for very long, as shown in the plot over time. This brightness behavior is very similar to the MU8000, but the MU9000 is a little brighter in every test.
Decent HDR peak brightness. The real scene brightness is good, and the TV's local dimming can make highlights in dark scenes even brighter, as shown by our smaller window tests. The 'Dynamic' picture mode is even brighter than the 'Movie' mode we test, as seen in the plot over time, but has less accurate picture quality.
The gray uniformity of the MU9000 is good. The edges of the TV are a bit darker, but this isn't too noticeable with normal content. The uniformity of the middle of the screen is very good, so there is very little dirty screen effect when panning over uniform sports fields. The 5% uniformity look even better than the 5%, which is very good.
Bad viewing angle, but fairly typical for a VA panel. Blacks turn gray and colors degrade when the TV is viewed from a small angle, while brightness decreases at a larger angle. People viewing the TV from the side will not have as good picture quality as people viewing from the front.
The overall black uniformity of the MU9000 is decent. On the native black uniformity test picture, some clouding is visible in the center of the screen, but it is very faint. Unlike the 2016 TVs with local dimming such as the KS8000 or KS9000, the local dimming on this TV can't be turned off. Instead, the 'native' picture was taken with local dimming set to 'low' and some vertical blooming is visible because of the edge-lit backlight.
The black uniformity picture with local dimming was taken with the local dimming set to 'High' and the same clouding that was visible on the native test picture is still there, but it is less obvious.
The MU9000 is excellent at handling reflections. It has a glossy finish, so reflections are defined but also significantly reduced in intensity. There is a minor purple tint, but it works to further reduce any reflections. This is a great result, even for a bright room.
Prior to calibration, the accuracy of the MU9000 is very good. The target gamma of Samsung TVs is a bit different to our target of 2.2, but the colors are very accurate and the white balance is good in the 'Warm2' color temperature. For most people, a calibration is not necessary.
The calibration works very well to improve the color and white balance tracking. This is a great result and results in a very accurate picture. Like other Samsung TVs, the white balance takes a bit longer to perform but the results are impressive.
You can see our recommended settings here.
Upscaling of DVDs or other 480p content is good. Minor halo artifacts are visible along strange lines.
720p content such as cable is upscaled well. Details are preserved and the image isn't too soft.
Good wide color gamut, though not as wide as the KS8000 from last year. The TV can produce fairly saturated red and blue, but struggles with saturated green, though this is common for modern TVs. The TV also isn't very accurate at showing the colors its able to. The MU8000 has better accuracy and a very similar color gamut.
The TV's EOTF in the 'Movie' picture mode we test follows the HDR PQ curve very well, up until where it clips at its peak brightness. The EOTFs in Game and PC mode here and here are also very accurate, but have less peak brightness than Movie mode because local dimming is not applied.
Mediocre color volume, though only really limited by its color gamut and dark color performance. The TV shows its wide color gamut almost perfectly throughout its entire brightness range except for really dark colors. The TV's poor local dimming was unable to make our black-with-white-border slide very dark in the center, so the black point, while still good, isn't as low as a TV with good local dimming like the Sony X900E.
As with other TVs of the 2017 MU line of Samsung, the MU9000 can display how gradient test image without any banding associated with an 8-bit panel. Overall the gradient looks smooth, but there is some imperfection, mostly in the darker green color. Luckily, we did not see any major banding while looking at some particularly demanding scene from HDR movies, which is great.
Like other Samsung VA TVs, the MU9000 doesn't suffer from any temporary image retention.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
The motion handling of the MU9000 is great. The response time is fast, resulting in only a very short trail of blur following fast moving objects. The TV flickers to dim, so motion isn't as smooth as some other TVs but most people won't notice it. Movies from any source can be played smoothly, and the TV is able to interpolate content up to 120Hz for fans of the soap opera effect.
The MU9000 uses PWM at 120Hz to dim the backlight, starting at 20/20 backlight setting. Lowering the setting down to 14/20 lowers backlight amplitude, while lowering it from 13/20 shortens the duty cycle, while amplitude remains constant. Backlight that uses PWM results in duplications following moving objects but does clear up motion slightly.
Update 03/30/2018: Scaled the 'Luminosity' axis of the plots; now the Flicker-Free plots and the new BFI plot have the same 'Luminosity' axis.
Update 03/30/2018: It was discovered that many 2017 Samsung TVs change their BFI frequency to 60 Hz when a lot of 60 Hz motion is detected on screen. The score, photo and plots have been updated.
The MU9000 has a 120Hz panel which can interpolate lower frame rate content. To do so, set 'Auto Motion Plus' to 'Custom' and increase the 'De-judder' and 'De-blur' sliders. The 'De-judder' slider affects 30 fps or lower content, and the 'De-blur' slider affects 60fps content. Note that any motion interpolation will introduce artifacts, so use a small value unless you really like the soap opera effect.
The MU9000 is able to display 24p movies from all sources with the correct cadence. To remove judder without adding the soap opera effect, set 'Auto Motion Plus' to 'Custom' and both sliders ('Blur Reduction' and 'Judder Reduction') to 0. The 'LED Clear Motion' feature is not related to judder, but to the black frame insertion feature.
Like other 2017 TVs, the MU9000 doesn't support a variable refresh rate.
The MU9000 can display nearly any content, including HDR. It has low input lag which will please all but the most competitive gamers.
Low input lag, which will please all but the most competitive gamers. Both Game mode and PC mode have low input lag, though only PC mode can show 4:4:4 color properly. The PC mode input lag is an improvement over the KS9000.
Most common resolutions are supported. 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 color is only supported when 'HDMI UHD Color' is enabled for the input used. 4:4:4 color is only properly displayed when the input's icon is set to 'PC' (aka PC mode).
PC mode cannot be activated for some input resolutions, such as 24 Hz. The icon will still be PC, but the picture settings that are disabled in PC mode are not disabled, indicating that the TV isn't in PC mode.
Only one of Dolby Digital or DTS can be enabled at a time, the TV will not switch between them automatically.
As with most TVs, the MU9000 doesn't deliver a particularly compelling audio experience. Adding in a soundbar or stereo speakers to your system will produce a great boost in audio quality.
Poor frequency response. The MU9000 shows a strong overemphasis onlower frequencies, and significant pumping and compression appears at higher volumes causing to drastically reduce clarity of content.
Subpar THD performance. The MU9000 shows significant distortion at every volume. It is free of aliasing though, which is good.
The MU9000 runs Samsung's Tizen 2017 smart platform, also called Smart Hub. It's simple and easy to navigate and has an excellent voice command feature. The center of the interface is the Smart Hub itself, whose simple layout makes it fast and easy to find what you're looking for. Navigating the interface is fairly smooth, but has more frame drops and small moments of lag than last year's Tizen platform. The remote has a microphone for voice commands, which can do many things like directly change settings, change between inputs and apps, and search for content. The remote doesn't have many buttons, so users need to navigate the Smart Hub or use voice commands to change most things.
The TV did not show ads during our testing, but ads on Samsung TVs are often inconsistent. It can be assumed to have ads because all Samsung TVs since 2016 have had ads in the Smart Hub.
The TV is preinstalled with a few apps, such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Video. More can be downloaded from the app menu. Apps run smoothly with minimal lag.
The remote is fairly simple with few buttons, requiring the user to navigate the Smart Hub or use voice commands to do most things. It has a microphone for Samsung's excellent voice command feature, which can do numerous things like changing between inputs and apps, directly changing settings, searching for content and searching through the web browser. The remote can also be used to control other devices, even ones that do not support HDMI CEC, using Samsung's OneRemote feature.