The Samsung RU8000 is a very good 4k TV with good picture quality. It delivers deep uniform blacks in a dark room, but lacks a local dimming feature to further improve dark room performance. The RU8000 has good SDR peak brightness and good reflection handling. The TV has a wide color gamut, but HDR peak brightness is only mediocre, so it can't display small highlights as they should be. The overall gray uniformity is good with just minimal dirty screen effect, but the viewing angles are poor and you have to sit straight in front to enjoy an accurate image. Motion handling is excellent with a fast response time that helps display crisp motion with minimal blur trail. The input lag is very low, and the TV supports FreeSync variable refresh rate technology to please gamers.
The Samsung RU8000 is a 2019 mid-range UHD TV. It is the replacement of the NU8000 in Samsung's lineup. It has similar advanced features found on the higher-end QLEDs like the Samsung Q60R or the Q70R. Its direct competitors are other mid-range LED TVs like the Sony X900F, the LG SK9500, or the Vizio P Series Quantum 2019.
The Samsung RU8000 has an excellent design. The stand is made of good quality plastic, supports the TV well, and prevents most wobbling. The back of the TV is plain with a nice texture and resembles the back of the Q60R. The TV is relatively thin and its borders are similar to the Q60R. The build quality is decent, and although we noticed a small crack in the lower left corner of the bezel (which did not affect our tests in any way), you should have no issues with the TV's build quality.
The stand is made of good quality plastic and supports the TV well. It's similar to the Samsung Q80R's stand, but the legs are not hollow to serve as cable guides. The TV wobbles a little if nudged, but it's nothing serious.
Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 35.0" x 9.3"
The back of the TV is almost identical to the Q80R, the Q70R, and the Q60R. It's made of plastic and has the typical Samsung textured pattern. There are a few grooves at the bottom that can guide the cables to the legs where a clip helps with the cable management.
Note: We only have one clip, which is unusual, but we're not sure if there were two in the box and we just lost the other one.
The picture quality is good. The TV can produce deep uniform blacks in a dark room thanks to the high native contrast ratio and excellent black uniformity. Unfortunately, it does not support a local dimming feature to further improve dark room performance. It can get reasonably bright in SDR, good for an average-lit room, and can handle reflections well so you do not have to worry if your room has a few light sources. It has a wide color gamut, but it can't get very bright in HDR, so small highlights in certain scenes don't stand out as they should. The RU8000 has good gray uniformity with minimal dirty screen effect that will satisfy even demanding sports fans, but the viewing angles are poor and the image deteriorates rapidly when viewed from the side. This doesn't make it a good choice if you often watch games with a large group of friends.
This TV has an excellent native contrast ratio. It can deliver deep blacks in a dark room, which is great for watching movies. Unfortunately, unlike last year's NU8000, the RU8000 does not have a local dimming feature to improve dark room performance.
Just like the Q60R, there is no local dimming on the RU8000. The above video is provided for reference only.
This TV has very good peak brightness. However, it is not as bright as last year's NU8000, but in the same ballpark as the Q60R. It's suitable for rooms that aren't very bright. The RU8000 has pretty consistent brightness regardless of the content it displays, except for the 2% window which is dimmed by the TV's CE (Frame) Dimming feature.
We measured the peak brightness after calibration, using the 'Movie' Picture Mode and 'Warm 2' Color Tone, with Gamma set to '2.2'. We use these settings because they give the most accurate image, and this is the maximum brightness that you can get with these settings.
If you do not care about image accuracy, you can obtain higher brightness levels. We were able to reach 396 nits on the 'Movie' Picture Mode and 'Warm 1' Color Tone. Other picture modes were not brighter, which is unexpected.
The HDR peak brightness of the RU8000 is mediocre. It's less bright than the NU8000 and has about the same peak brightness as the Q60R. The TV can't display HDR highlights as bright as they should be.
We measured the peak brightness before calibration, using the 'Movie' Picture Mode and 'Warm 2' Color Tone. We use these settings because they give the most accurate image, and this is the maximum brightness that you can get with these settings.
If you do not care about image accuracy, you can obtain slightly higher brightness levels. For this TV, however, we were only able to reach a brightness level of 365 nits ('Movie' Picture Mode and 'Warm 1' Color Tone), which is not much brighter than our accurate image brightness.
This TV has good gray uniformity. The edges of the screen are slightly darker, but the center is pretty uniform and very little dirty screen effect can be seen, which is great news for sports fans. The uniformity of darker scenes is very good. The corners and the edges appear slightly brighter than the center, but it is hardly noticeable in normal content. This is better behavior than the Q60R and in the same ballpark as last year's NU8000.
This TV has poor viewing angles, as expected from a VA panel TV. Even at small angles off-center, gamma shifts and black levels rise, and the image loses accuracy and looks washed out. This is not a good TV if you'll be watching from the side. If viewing angles are an issue, then check out an IPS TV like the LG SK9000.
The black uniformity is excellent. There is an almost imperceptible backlight bleed at the lower edge. This is a significantly better performance than the Q60R.
The reflection handling of the RU8000 is good. The TV handles reflections almost identically to last year's NU8000. You shouldn't have any issues with reflections in most situations. However, if you place the TV in a room with many bright windows, the reflections combined with the TV's low peak brightness might make it hard to see a clear image.
The accuracy of the RU8000 with our pre-calibration settings is decent. There are inaccuracies that people might notice both in the shades of gray and in some colors like blues and magentas. The gamma does not follow the curve well, and most scenes look a little brighter. The color temperature is a little warmer than the target of 6500K.
Excellent accuracy after calibration. The white balance dE is almost perfect. The color dE is also greatly diminished, but some people might still spot some inaccuracies in the dark blue and the dark red. The gamma tracks the curve very well and the color temperature is almost spot on the 6500K target.
You can see our recommended settings here.
There are no obvious issues or artifacts when upscaling low-quality content like DVDs.
720p, like content from a cable box, is upscaled well on the RU8000. There is no obvious over-softening or upscaling artifacts.
The 'Movie' EOTF (shown above) follows the input stimulus well until it smoothly starts to roll off near the TV's peak brightness. In 'Game' mode, the EOTF doesn't follow the stimulus closely and thus HDR gaming is slightly dimmer as shown here.
The RU8000 has good gradient banding. Some fine banding is visible in the dark greens and reds, but it's nothing too serious and certainly hard to notice in normal content. If, however, you find that banding is bothering you, set the Digital Clean View to 'Auto' to remove most of it. Unfortunately, this can also cause some loss of fine detail in certain scenes.
There is some faint image retention immediately after the long exposure of our test image, but it goes away very fast and is hardly noticeable in normal content.
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 Samsung RU8000 is excellent. The TV has a very fast response time which is great for watching sports and playing video games. It uses PWM dimming to dim its backlight, and the flicker might bother some flicker-sensitive people. On the upside, the RU8000 has an optional black frame insertion feature that can help make the image crisper and supports motion interpolation to please the soap opera effect fans. The TV also supports FreeSync variable refresh rate for a nearly tear-free gaming experience.
The response time is excellent and an improvement over last year's NU8000. It is great for fast-moving content like sports and video games. There is some small overshoot in the 0-20% transition, which can cause some haloing in really dark scenes, but it shouldn't be very noticeable. Unfortunately, there are noticeable duplications due to the backlight flicker.
The RU8000 uses Pulse Width Modulation to dim its backlight. The flicker frequency is 240Hz in 'Movie' mode but drops to 120Hz in all other modes. It also drops to 120Hz in the 'Movie' mode if you set Auto Motion Plus to either 'Custom' or 'Auto'. This is very similar what we have seen here on last year's Q6FN.
The Samsung RU8000 has a black frame insertion feature that can lower the flicker frequency to 60Hz. This can help make the image crisper. Unfortunately, this decreases the picture brightness, and 60Hz flicker can be bothersome to some people.
Enabling Auto Motion Plus automatically sets the flicker to 120Hz and enabling LED Clear Motion further reduces the flicker frequency to 60Hz.
When 'Game' mode is enabled, the flicker frequency is always 120Hz, but if you enable LED Clear Motion in Game Motion Plus, the flicker frequency changes to 60Hz and makes the image even crisper.
The RU8000 can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120fps. To enable motion interpolation, you must enable Auto Motion Plus and adjust the available sliders.
See here for more information regarding the settings that control the RU8000's motion interpolation feature.
Note that just setting Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom' changes the backlight flicker to 120Hz.
The 49" model has a 60Hz panel and can only interpolate content to 60fps.
The RU8000 has a very fast response time, which makes the image appear to stutter in movies or other lower frame rate content. If stutter bothers you, motion interpolation or the optional black frame insertion feature can help.
The RU8000 can remove judder from all sources.
See our recommended settings on how to remove judder here.
Update 11/28/2019: Although not officially supported by NVIDIA, the RU8000 works with NVIDIA's new G-SYNC compatible mode when connected to a recent NVIDIA graphics card. Unlike officially supported TVs, like the LG C9, this must be manually enabled from the NVIDIA Control Center.
The Samsung RU8000 has a native refresh rate of 120Hz. It supports the FreeSync variable refresh rate technology for a nearly tear-free gaming experience for those with a compatible AMD card or an Xbox One. The VRR range is excellent and it is the same at 1080p and at 1440p. At 4k, however, the range is narrower, as the TV only supports resolutions up to 4k @ 60Hz.
We tested the TV on 'Game' mode, without interpolation or any other gaming processing setting, and we set FreeSync to 'Ultimate' to obtain the widest possible range.
If FreeSync is enabled on a connected device, auto game mode doesn't work at all; it will always stay in game mode.
Note that the 49" model has a 60Hz panel and doesn't support FreeSync.
The Samsung RU8000 has an outstanding low input lag in most modes. It supports the most common resolutions and refresh rates and can display proper chroma 4:4:4 when in PC mode. It has a good selection of inputs but doesn't support eARC or DTS passthrough.
The RU8000 has an excellent low input lag, great for gaming. The input lag is only slightly higher than the input lag of the 2019 QLEDs and a little lower than the NU8000. To get the lowest input lag, you must set the TV to 'Game Mode.' However, when in 'PC Mode,' you get the same low input lag without having to set the TV to 'Game' mode. To display proper chroma 4:4:4 you must set the TV to 'PC mode.'
Note: When the TV was set to 'PC mode' or 'Game Mode' and we sent a 120Hz signal, the TV skipped every second frame, just like the Q70R and the Q80R. Therefore, in order to measure the input lag of a proper 120Hz video, like in the case of the 1080p @ 120Hz and the 1440p @ 120Hz, we set the TV to 'Movie' mode. However, when a true VRR 120Hz signal was sent in fullscreen exclusive mode, there was no frame skipping and the video displayed properly, so we measured the VRR input lag using 'Game Mode' as normal.
When motion interpolation is enabled in 'Game Mode' through the Game Motion Plus menu, the input lag is 38.6ms when you interpolate to 60fps and 39.9ms for 120fps.
To find out more about what settings to use to obtain those numbers, and about the Auto Low Latency Mode, see our recommended settings for Gaming.
The RU8000, just like the Q70R, the Q80R, and the Q90R, supports most common resolutions, including 1440p @ 60Hz, which isn't supported on the 2018 NU8000. You must set the TV to 'PC Mode' to display proper chroma 4:4:4. Unfortunately, the TV, just like other 2019 Samsungs, skips frames when sent 120Hz in 'PC Mode' or 'Game Mode,' so you cannot have proper 120Hz and proper 4:4:4 simultaneously.
The 49" model has a 60Hz panel, and does not support 120Hz inputs.
The sound on the Samsung RU8000 is decent and nearly identical to the NU8000. It gets reasonably loud, but may not be loud enough for busy environments. It doesn't have deep bass and won't produce any thump or rumble, but it will deliver clear and intelligible dialog. For a better sound, it's recommended to add dedicated speakers or a soundbar (see our recommendations for the best soundbars).