Samsung NU8500 TV Review

Samsung NU8500 Picture
Usage Ratings - Version 1.3
7.9
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: no price info
7.4
Movies
7.8
TV Shows
7.6
Sports
8.6
Video Games
7.5
HDR Movies
8.3
HDR Gaming
8.5
PC Monitor
Type LED
Sub-Type
VA
Resolution 4k

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.

Our Verdict

7.9 Mixed Usage

Very good TV for mixed usage. It has good picture quality and good motion handling, which is important in sports, gaming and PC usage. The image, however, deteriorates when viewed at an angle. The TV can handle reflections as it can get bright to overcome glare and can produce deep blacks in dark rooms. HDR content is rich in detail but local dimming is disappointing. Sports fans might notice some uniformity issues, but in most other usages this will not be an issue.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
7.4 Movies

Good for watching movies in a dark room. Picture quality is good, with a high contrast ratio and good black uniformity. The Samsung NU8500 can play content without judder and with ok out-of-the-box colors. Although the local dimming isn't improving dark scenes, the TV provides a pleasant experience.

See our Movies recommendations
7.8 TV Shows

Very good for watching TV in a bright room. The TV gets bright and can counteract glare. Reflection handling is good, but image degrades at an angle. The smart interface works well for casual TV watching and upscaling cable 720p content to 4k is good.

See our TV Shows recommendations
7.6 Sports

The Samsung NU8500 is a decent TV for watching sports. Motion handling is great, so fast-moving objects appear clear. Picture quality is good but deteriorates when viewed at an angle. The TV gets bright enough to overcome the glare of bright ambiances, and the semi-gloss finish works well at diffusing direct lights off the screen.

See our Sports recommendations
8.6 Video Games

Great TV for gamers. Input lag is low, and the TV feels very responsive. Motion handling is great and the TV can clear up blur by flickering the image. The picture quality is good and, especially in a dark room, the high native contrast ratio produces deep blacks. The good gray uniformity will allow for a free from DSE gaming experience.

See our Video Games recommendations
7.5 HDR Movies

Decent TV for watching HDR movies. The picture quality is good the and the NU8500 can produce bright and vivid HDR highlights in a dark room due to wide color gamut and high peak brightness. The TV plays content without judder, but its poor local dimming affects its overall performance.

See our HDR Movies recommendations
8.3 HDR Gaming

Impressive HDR gaming with an Xbox One S or PS4 Pro with the NU8500. The good picture quality and great motion handling with fast response times are omens for a great gaming experience. The support of HDR features like a wide color gamut and the support of motion interpolation in game mode in association with the very low input lag and the slight curvature of the panel, enhance the immersive gaming experience.

See our HDR Gaming recommendations
8.5 PC Monitor

Great TV for PC use. The low input lag makes and the great motion handling make the TV feel very responsive. The text is clear due to the support of chroma 4:4:4 and gray uniformity is good for internet browsing. The viewing angle is poor, so the edges of the screen darken when viewed from up-close, although the slight curvature minimizes this effect.

See our PC Monitor recommendations
  • 7.9 Mixed Usage
  • 7.4 Movies
  • 7.8 TV Shows
  • 7.6 Sports
  • 8.6 Video Games
  • 7.5 HDR Movies
  • 8.3 HDR Gaming
  • 8.5 PC Monitor
Pros
  • Great at handling motion
  • Supports FreeSync VRR for use with a PC or Xbox
  • Great brightness
Cons
  • Image degrades when viewed at an angle
  1. Update 2/28/2019: Converted to Test Bench 1.3. Learn more about our versioned test bench system here.
  2. Update 1/9/2019: We have retested the BFI mode, and the backlight does flicker at 120 Hz when displaying a 120 Hz signal. Scores have been updated.

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Test Results

Market Context
Design
9.0
Design
Style
Curved Yes

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.

Design
Stand

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"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 200x200

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.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.39" (1.0 cm)

The borders are thin and made of metal. They look good and feel high quality.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 3.78" (9.6 cm)

Even though the TV is curved it does not look very thick and will not protrude much from the wall if mounted.

Design
Temperature
Maximum Temperature
93 °F (34 °C)
Average Temperature
88 °F (31 °C)

The NU8500 runs fairly cool with no hot spots.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

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.

Picture Quality
8.5
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
4310 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
4478 : 1

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.

1.8
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Edge

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.

8.6
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
525 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
704 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
869 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
614 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
570 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
578 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
698 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
567 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
612 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
569 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
577 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.016

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.

7.7
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
538 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
721 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
885 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
629 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
597 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
581 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
715 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
582 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
627 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
595 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
579 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.012

The HDR Peak Brightness of the NU8500 is good. The TV can get the whole screen quite bright, but it isn't able to produce significantly brighter highlights. This is similar to the flat NU8000, and significantly better than the MU8000 of last year.

7.6
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.885 %
50% DSE
0.174 %
5% Std. Dev.
1.200 %
5% DSE
0.099 %

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.

5.3
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
22 °
Color Shift
21 °
Brightness Loss
31 °
Black Level Raise
17 °
Gamma Shift
21 °

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.

7.2
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.183 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
1.195 %

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.

7.3
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
6.2 %
Indirect Reflections
0.6 %

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.

7.4
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
2.93
Color dE
3.17
Gamma
2.22
Color Temperature
6000 K
Picture Mode
Movie
Color Temp Setting
Warm 2
Gamma Setting
BT.1886 +2, Brightness +2

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.

9.0
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.27
Color dE
2.35
Gamma
2.19
Color Temperature
6495 K
White Balance Calibration
20 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
No

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.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Upscaling of DVDs or other 480p content is good.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content such as cable TV looks good.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content such as Blu-rays or game consoles are upscaled well.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

Native 4k (UHD) content looks great.

7.8
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
85.63 %
DCI P3 uv
92.09 %
Rec 2020 xy
62.98 %
Rec 2020 uv
70.87 %

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.

7.2
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
80.7 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
43.4 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
62.6 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
33.7 %

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.

7.5
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.120 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.138 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.102 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.139 dE

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.

10
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

There is no measurable temporary image retention on the Samsung NU8500, even immediately after the burn-in scene.

10
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
No

We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long term test appears immune.

Picture Quality
Pixels
Motion
8.5
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
5.9 ms
100% Response Time
13.1 ms

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.

6.0
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
240 Hz

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).

10
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
60 Hz

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.

10
Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

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.

7.4
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
28.6 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
3.6 ms

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.

10
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

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.

8.2
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
FreeSync
4k VRR Maximum
60 Hz
4k VRR Minimum
48 Hz
1080p VRR Maximum
120 Hz
1080p VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors
HDMI

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.

Inputs
9.6
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
15.4 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
77.0 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
N/A
4k @ 60 Hz
15.4 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
15.7 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
15.8 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
63.4 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
21.4 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
9.3 ms
1440p @ 120 Hz
9.3 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
6.4 ms
1440p with VRR
6.4 ms
4k with VRR
15.2 ms
8k with VRR
N/A
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Yes

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.

8.8
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 60 Hz
No
1440p @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
4k @ 60 Hz
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120 Hz
No
8k @ 30 Hz or 24 Hz
No
8k @ 60 Hz
No

The Samsung NU8500 is great at supporting numerous resolutions. However, the following settings have to be implemented:

  • 4k@60Hz 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 is only supported when HDMI UHD Color is enabled
  • 4:4:4 chroma is only properly displayed when the input icon is set to PC (aka PC mode)
  • Although 1440p@60 isn't supported, 1440p@120 is supported, but doesn't have proper 4:4:4 even in when in PC mode
  • Finally, Sharpness is at 10 (the default) and it means no added sharpness.

Inputs
Input Photos
Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI 4
USB 2
Digital Optical Audio Out 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 0
Analog Audio Out RCA 0
Component In 0
Composite In 0
Tuner (Cable/Ant) 1
Ethernet 1
DisplayPort 0
IR In 0
SD/SDHC 0
Inputs
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Yes
HDR10+
Yes
Dolby Vision
No
HLG
Yes
3D
No
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
HDMI 2.1
No
CEC Yes
HDCP 2.2 Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
USB 3.0
No
Variable Analog Audio Out No
Wi-Fi Support Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

The TV can not passthrough DTS signal.

Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) is needed for ARC, which passes on HDMI 4 only.

Inputs
Audio Passthrough
ARC
Yes (HDMI 4)
eARC support
No
Dolby Atmos via TrueHD via eARC
No
DTS:X via DTS-HD MA via eARC
No
5.1 Dolby Digital via ARC
Yes
5.1 DTS via ARC
No
5.1 Dolby Digital via Optical
Yes
5.1 DTS via Optical
No
Sound Quality
5.8
Sound Quality
Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
71.27 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
4.52 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
5.75 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
7.72 dB
Max