The Samsung NU8500 is a curved 4k UHD TV with good picture quality. It is versatile and performs well for a wide range of usages. It can produce deep and uniform dark scenes but is limited by the poor local dimming performance. It can also get bright to combat glare and supports a wide color gamut which is great for HDR. It also has a low input lag and supports FreeSync for use with a PC, Xbox One X or Xbox One S. Unfortunately the image degrades when viewed at an angle, so the best picture is only reserved for those directly in front of the TV.
The design of the Samsung NU85000 is excellent. The TV has a sturdy stand and nice cable management to promote neatness. It does not get warm, and the slight curvature captures the viewer's attention and makes the TV look nice and feel slightly premium.
The stand of the NU8500 supports the TV well, but it will wobble a bit if pushed. It is similar to the NU8000, but with a curve to match the curve of the screen.
The footprint of the stand is 31.4", 13.5"
The back of the TV is plastic. The TV's cables can be routed through the available groves towards the center stand, or towards the sides of the TV. If wall mounted, some of the ports might be difficult to access.
The borders are thin and made of metal. They look good and feel high quality.
Even though the TV is curved it does not look very thick and will not protrude much from the wall if mounted.
The NU8500 runs fairly cool with no hot spots.
The build quality of the Samsung NU8500 is average. There are no gaps on the TVs body and everything seems to fall into place. It has a slightly premium feel.
The Samsung NU8500 has great picture quality, with a high native contrast ratio that produces deep blacks well suited for a dark room. Bright room performance is good, and it gets bright enough both in SDR and HDR content, although there may be some issues with reflections. Unfortunately, due to the VA panel, it is not well suited for wide rooms due to poor viewing angles. Gray uniformity is good with a little dirty screen effect which might, however, annoy sports fans.
The Samsung NU8500 has a very good native contrast ratio. Just a bit better than the MU8500 of 2017, but lower than the Samsung NU8000. It will, however, show blacks in dark environments better than any IPS TV.
Even with local dimming set to high, the contrast ratio stays about the same due to the poor local dimming implementation.
The local dimming performance of this Samsung TV is bad. Partially due to the edge lit LED panel and due to the poor algorithm. As a result, clouding is quite visible.
The Samsung NU8500 has remarkable peak brightness with SDR content. Small highlights are very bright and stand out, whereas the TV maintains good brightness levels at all windows sizes.
This result is in the same ballpark as the NU8000.
The gray uniformity of our Samsung NU8500 is good. At the 50% gray image, some uniformity issues are visible and some dirty screen effect is expected when viewing sports.
At the 5% gray image, uniformity issues are hardly noticeable and most people will not notice any dirty screen effect.
Bad viewing angle, but expected for a VA TV. Blacks wash out quickly when the TV is viewed from an angle, while colors shift and brightness decreases at slightly larger angles. This is not good for a room where people often view the TV from the side. In this case an IPS TV like the LG SK8000 may be a better choice.
Black uniformity is decent on the NU8500. Some clouding can be seen close to the corners, but this will not disturb many people. When the local dimming is set to maximum, some more blooming becomes more obvious next to the test cross.
Note: the local dimming can't be turned off completely through the regular menu. In order to show the TV’s true native black uniformity, it is necessary to disable local dimming from the service menu. Some vertical blooming can be seen in our test picture even with local dimming off.
The black uniformity picture with local dimming was taken with the local dimming set to High.
The Samsung NU8500 has decent reflection handling. The semi-gloss finish diffuses reflection across the screen, reducing the intensity. This is very similar to the flat NU8000.
The curvature may also help avoid glare depending on where you are seated, or it may focus it to be more distracting. It is ok for not so bright environments, but not for bright ones.
The Samsung NU8500 has decent out of the box color accuracy when picture mode is set to Movie.The color temperature is warm and thus some Red/Yellow are slightly dominant. This also results in elevated white Balance dE. Gamma is significantly higher than our target of 2.2 and there is some loss of detail in dark shadows.
Update 04/12/2019: This TV was incorrectly measured with Brightness +2, instead of at 0. This only has a small impact on the results (slightly dimmer dark scenes below about 30 IRE) and so we don't plan to retest it.
The post calibration is excellent for this Samsung NU8500.
We obtained the best results in the Movie picture mode. White balance and color temperature are almost perfect after calibration, but we were unable to correct completely the color accuracy (just like with almost every other Samsung we have tested), which remains good for most people.
You can see our recommended settings here.
The TV has a good color gamut, very similar to last year MU8500. Although it supports a wide color gamut, it isn't as wide as other HDR TVs since bright outdoor scenes lack some detail due to the TV's limited cyan and green reproduction.
The TV's HDR Movie mode EOTF follows the HDR PQ curve fairly well until it starts to roll off close to its peak brightness. We can see at the Game mode EOTF that compression starts at a little higher levels but is steeper. The EOTF of PC mode starts compression a little earlier but it is smoother thus differentiating slightly greater detail.
The Samsung UN55NU8500 has an okay color volume. It displays bright colors well across its entire color gamut, but does not display deep, dark colors very well.
The Samsung NU8500 has a good gradient.A little banding is apparent in most areas of the image and some major banding in dark green, but his will not be noticeable to most people.
If you set Digital Clean View to Auto, it can help reduce banding, but it can result in a loss of some fine details.
There is no measurable temporary image retention on the Samsung NU8500, even immediately after the burn-in scene.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long term test appears immune.
The Samsung NU8500 has great motion handling. It has a very fast response time, and only a short trail follows moving objects. It supports 120 fps motion interpolation, optional 60 Hz black frame insertion, and can play 24p movies without judder. However, its backlight always flickers at 240 Hz, and that introduces some unwanted duplications during motion, and because of its fast response time, some stutter can occur during low frame rate content. This isn't noticeable to most people.
The response time of the Samsung UN55NU8500 is great.
It results in only a very short trail following moving objects, which is great for sports fans or gamers. The blur shown in the photo is due to 60fps persistence.
The TV dims its backlight by using PWM flicker at 240 Hz. It is present at all brightness levels but diminishes at high brightness. It helps fast motion look a little more clear, but it also introduces some unwanted duplications, that can be seen in the response time box photo.
Unlike in QLED models, the flicker of this TV stays constant at 240Hz. It's also worth noting that it is becoming more common to find TVs that use flicker to clear motion. Several of the 2018 TV models we have tested use flicker and the ones that perform better in this aspect have a flicker frequency greater than or equal to 480Hz (like the Vizio M Series 2018, TCL R617, Samsung Q8FN).
Just like the NU8000, the Samsung NU8500 also has an optional 60 Hz flicker mode, activated by enabling LED Clear Motion in the Auto Motion Plus menu. It can greatly help clear up motion during 60 fps content, but flicker can be bothersome to some people. It can also be activated in Game mode, by using the Game Motion Plus menu.
Update 01/09/2019: We have retested the backlight flicker at 120 Hz, and can confirm that the NU8500 does flicker at 120 Hz when displaying a 120 Hz signal.
Since Samsung 55NU8500 has a 120 Hz panel, it can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120 fps making motion much smoother. It can, however, look strange to some people (the so-called soap opera effect). Also sometimes it can add unwanted artifacts during fast motion.
Interpolation is activated by setting Auto Motion Plus to Custom and then increasing the Judder Reduction slider to interpolate low frame rate content(up to 60Hz). To interpolate content above 60fps, increase the Blur Reduction slider.
Game mode also has motion interpolation, Game Motion Plus, which doesn't look as good as Auto Motion Plus but adds much less input lag, as shown in the Input Lag box.
The NU8500 has very little stutter in sports and TV shows. However, some stutter will be noticeable for low frame rate content such as 24p movies due to the fast response time, which results in only a short transition between frames. In slow panning shots, some stutter may be more apparent due to the lack of blur that would otherwise smooth motion between frames.
The Samsung NU8500 is able to display 24p movies without judder from any source.
To remove judder, set Auto Motion Plus to Custom and then set both sliders (Blur Reduction and Judder Reduction) to 0.
The TV supports Variable Refresh Rate through Freesync. We used an Xbox One S and Radeon RX 580 to test it.
First set Game mode to On and then choose FreeSync Ultimate.
The Ultimate setting has the widest sync Hz range. The Basic has a more narrow range that is only recommended if your game is having problems with Ultimate.
The Samsung 55NU8500 has excellent low input lag to satisfy even the most competitive console gamers. It also supports most input signals, including 1440p @ 120 Hz and HDR - but no 1440p @ 60Hz.
Care should be given to the settings to achieve the desired result.
1440p@120Hz is 9.3ms.
The NU85000 has excellent input lag that will please even the most demanding gamers.
PC mode is required for proper 4:4:4 display.
The TV always has low input lag in PC mode and you do not need to activate PC and Game mode at the same time. However, with PC and Game mode you have access to the Game Motion Plus motion interpolation features
The input lag is 21.4ms for 60Hz motion interpolation activated. (Game Motion Plus on, Judder Reduction 10, Blur Reduction 0) and at 27.9ms for 120Hz interpolation (Game Motion Plus on, Judder Reduction 10, Blur Reduction 10)
Outside of Game mode the TV skips a frame every ~5 mins, so the input lag swings by 16.7ms and what you see as a score is the average.
The Samsung NU8500 is great at supporting numerous resolutions. However, the following settings have to be implemented:
The TV can not passthrough DTS signal.
Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) is needed for ARC, which passes on HDMI 4 only.
The Samsung NU8500 has a sub-par sound quality. This TV doesn't get loud, produces pumping and compression under heavier loads, and doesn't have an extended-enough bass for producing thumps and rumbles. However, it does have a decent amount of punch and body to its bass and is capable of producing clear enough dialogs. For a better sound, dedicated speakers or a soundbar is recommended.
The frequency response is sub-par. The LFE (low-frequency extension) of 71Hz is decent for a TV. This suggests a bass that although doesn't produce any thump or rumble, has a decent amount of body and punch to it. The response above the TV's LFE is also decent, but compression and pumping artifacts start to show even in the 80dB pass. This also correlates with the mediocre maximum loudness of 84dB SPL achieved by this TV. Additionally, this TV doesn't come with a room correction system and therefore, wasn't able to remove the modes of our test room around 200Hz.
The Samsung NU8500 has a sub-par distortion performance. The overall amount of THD is elevated, but it doesn't rise dramatically at Max volume. This is a good thing, however, since the TV doesn't get very loud doesn't say much about the TV's handling of heavy loads. This TV also produces a lot of IMD, which suggests aliasing at higher frequencies.
The TV comes with the latest version of Tizen Smart platform from Samsung, also called Smart Hub. Well-organized and easy to navigate, it provides access to numerous apps via the Samsung app store. It comes equipped with the very handy Bixby voice assistant. The interface, however, has choppy animations, and is not really an improvement from last year's interface. The menu ads certainly are not a plus and can sometimes become annoying.
The interface of the UN55NU8500 is well organized and intuitive. The Smart Hub is the center of the interface through which you can access everything else. Thus, it might take you more time than if you could go directly. Animations in the interface do not lag but are choppy and experience frame drops quite often.
The Samsung NU8500 has ads throughout the home menu, just like all of the latest Samsung TVs. The ads are intermittent. Suggested content is present within the app store. There is no option to disable them.