The Samsung RU9000, also known as the Samsung 9 Series, is a decent 4k TV. It's well-suited for dark room viewing, as it has a high contrast ratio to produce deep blacks, and it has excellent black uniformity. However, even though it has decent reflection handling, it struggles to overcome glare in bright environments due to its low peak brightness. It has a great response time to deliver fast-moving scenes with minimal motion blur, and it has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature to further improve clarity. Its low input lag makes gaming feel incredibly responsive, and it supports variable refresh rate (VRR) support to help minimize screen tearing. Unfortunately, while it has an impressive color gamut to produce a wide range of colors in HDR, it doesn't get bright enough to make highlights pop and lacks a local dimming feature. Also, its VA panel's sub-par viewing angles make it less ideal for wide seating areas. Like all Samsung TVs, it runs on the great Tizen OS platform, which has tons of streaming services readily available.
The Samsung RU9000 is a decent TV for most uses. It performs impressively well for gaming due to its low input lag, fast response time, and VRR support. Its high contrast ratio is great for viewing movies in the dark; however, it lacks local dimming and doesn't get very bright to bring out highlights in HDR movies. Visibility can be an issue if you're watching in a well-lit environment, and its VA panel's sub-par viewing angles result in images looking washed out when viewed from the side.
The Samsung RU9000 is okay for watching movies. It performs very well in dark rooms thanks to its high contrast ratio and excellent black uniformity. It displays native 4k content without any issues and upscales lower resolution movies well. It can remove judder from all sources, but it stutters a bit in low frame rate content like movies. Sadly, it doesn't have a local dimming feature. There's some dirty screen effect; however, uniformity can vary between units.
The Samsung RU9000 is decent for watching TV shows. It upscales lower resolution content from cable boxes well, and Samsung's Tizen OS platform has tons of streaming services available. Its reflection handling is decent, but it doesn't get very bright, so it isn't ideal for well-lit rooms. Also, it isn't a good option if you like to walk around while watching due to its VA panel's narrow viewing angles.
The Samsung RU9000 is good for watching sports. Its response time is great, and it has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature to further improve motion clarity in fast-moving scenes. Unfortunately, even though it has decent reflection handling, it doesn't get very bright and might not be able to overcome glare in a well-lit environment. Also, its sub-par viewing angles cause the image to look washed out from the side, so it isn't the best option for watching with a big group of people.
The Samsung RU9000 is great for gaming. It has incredibly low input lag, a fast response time, and it supports variable refresh rate technology to reduce screen tearing. It has a high contrast ratio and excellent black uniformity, which is great for dark room gaming. Unfortunately, there's a bit of dirty screen effect as well as image duplication due to the TV's backlight flicker.
The Samsung RU9000 is okay for watching movies in HDR. Its VA panel has an excellent contrast ratio and black uniformity, making it a great choice for dark rooms. However, it doesn't get very bright, and it lacks local dimming, so highlights don't stand out the way they should. It can remove judder from all sources, but it stutters a bit due to its fast response time.
The Samsung RU9000 is good for playing games in HDR. It has low input lag, a fast response time, and VRR support. However, its HDR performance is severely limited by the low HDR peak brightness and lack of local dimming. On the upside, it has an excellent contrast ratio and black uniformity, making it a great choice for gaming in the dark.
The Samsung RU9000 is good for use as a PC monitor. It has low input lag, a fast response time, and it can display proper chroma 4:4:4 for optimal text clarity. It handles reflections decently well, but it has narrow viewing angles, so the sides of the screen can look washed out if you sit too close.
The Samsung RU9000 is a mid-range budget TV that's exclusive to North America and can only be found at certain retailers, such as Best Buy, Sam's Club, and Costco. Despite its model number suggesting that it's a 2019 model, it's actually a 2020 model that's considered as a slightly upgraded version of the Samsung RU8000. Its competitors are the LG UN8500 and the Sony X800H.
The Samsung RU9000's design is excellent. It's a simple-looking TV with a stand that gives it a modern industrial vibe. The borders are a bit thick compared to other recent high-end TVs, and they protrude from the screen.
The stand supports the TV well and only wobbles a little bit. The feet are identical, so you don't have to worry about putting them on the wrong side, and they don't need to be screwed in as they just slide into the TV.
Footprint of the 82" TV stand: 46.5" x 15.1"
The back of the TV is made out of plastic, with a horizontal texture etched into it. All the inputs are side-facing, making them easier to access when wall-mounted. For cable management, there are grooves to guide cables towards the back of the stand, allowing to you hide them in the hollow section of the feet.
Unfortunately, the borders are on the thick side compared to other higher-end Samsung TVs, even slightly thicker than the Samsung RU8000.
The TV is fairly thin but the back isn't flat, so it sticks out a little bit when wall-mounted. The 82" model that we reviewed didn't come with any wall-mount spacers, although it may be different for the smaller sizes.
The Samsung RU9000's build quality is okay. It feels pretty sturdy despite its plastic construction, and there's very little wobble for a TV this size. There's a lot of flex in the back panel near the edges and around the inputs, but it doesn't feel flimsy and shouldn't cause any issues.
The Samsung RU9000 has an excellent contrast ratio, which is expected of most VA panels. It isn't as good as the Samsung RU8000 and sadly, there's no local dimming to further improve the black level. Note that the contrast ratio can vary between units.
The Samsung RU9000 doesn't have a local dimming feature. The video above is provided for reference only.
The SDR peak brightness is okay. It's better suited for a dark to moderately-lit room, as it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare in very bright lighting conditions. The brightness is fairly consistent except for the dimmer 2% window, which is caused by frame dimming.
We measured the SDR peak brightness after calibration, in the 'Movie' Picture Mode, with Color Temperature set to 'Warm 2' and Gamma set to 2.2.
If you don't mind losing image accuracy, you can get a brighter image by setting the Picture Mode to 'Dynamic, with Contrast Enhancer set to 'Max', and all other settings left at their default value. We achieved 362 cd/m² in the 10% window with these settings.
Unfortunately, the Samsung RU9000 has a poor HDR peak brightness, lower than its peak brightness in SDR. There's also brightness variation in the 2% window, so small highlights in dark scenes appear dimmer.
We measured the HDR peak brightness before calibration in the 'HDR Movie' Picture Mode, with Brightness and Contrast set to max, and Color Temperature set to 'Warm 2'.
If you don't care about image accuracy, you can get a brighter image in HDR by setting the Picture Mode to 'HDR Dynamic', with Contrast Enhancer set to max, and all other settings left at their default value. We achieved 372 cd/m² in the 10% window with these settings.
Gray uniformity on our Samsung RU9000 is decent; however, this can vary between individual units. The sides are visibly darker and there's some dirty screen effect at the center of the screen. There's also a bit of flashlighting in the bottom corners of the screen, but it isn't visible in regular content. Uniformity is much better in dark scenes.
Like most VA panel TVs, the Samsung RU9000 has sub-par viewing angles. This makes images look washed out when viewed from the side, so it isn't well-suited for wide seating areas.
Excellent black uniformity. There's a bit of clouding throughout the screen, but it isn't distracting and shouldn't be visible in normal content. Note that black uniformity can vary between individual units.
Decent reflection handling. The semi-gloss finish handles indirect reflections well, but not direct reflections, so it's best to avoid placing the TV opposite bright light sources.
Out-of-the-box, the Samsung RU9000 has acceptable color accuracy. Most colors are somewhat inaccurate, white balance is off, and the color temperature is much warmer than our 6500K target. Gamma doesn't follow the 2.2 target at all; most scenes are too bright while dark scenes are over-darkened. Note that color accuracy can vary between units.
After calibration, the color accuracy is outstanding. White balance is almost perfect and the color temperature is much closer to our target. Gamma is very good, although dark scenes are still darker than they should be. Some people might be able to spot the inaccuracies with reds and blues, but the inaccuracies with the other colors shouldn't be noticeable without the aid of a colorimeter.
You can see our recommended settings here.
The Samsung RU9000 upscales 480p content well and without any issues.
720p content such as from a cable box is upscaled without any obvious artifacts.
4k content looks amazing, but there's some sub-pixel dimming that results in crosshatching, and there's some dithering as well. That said, they're very difficult to spot unless you're an inch away from the screen. The dithering can be seen in this photo if you zoom into the shadowy parts, as it causes a slight purplish hue.
The Samsung RU9000 uses a BGR sub-pixel structure. This doesn't affect image quality, but it can affect the way text is rendered when using the TV as a PC monitor. You can find out more about it here.
The Samsung RU9000 has a great HDR color gamut. It has outstanding coverage of the DCI P3 color space used in most content, and decent coverage of the wider Rec 2020. The 'HDR Movie' EOTF follows the PQ curve almost perfectly until the roll-off, which starts earlier than the Samsung RU8000. The 'Game' mode EOTF doesn't follow the curve as well and most scenes are too bright, but the roll-off starts later.
If you find HDR content too dim, you can make it brighter by setting the Picture Mode to 'HDR Movie', with Contrast Enhancer set to 'High', ST.2084 set to max, and Color Temperature set to 'Warm 2'. These settings result in this EOTF.
The color volume is okay. The TV can display dark colors well due to its high contrast ratio, but it struggles with bright colors.
Good gradient handling. Although there's banding in all colors, it's only noticeable in reds and greens. The banding in other colors is in the darker shades, so it's not as obvious. Enabling Digital Clean View can smooth out most of it, but it may cause the loss of fine details in some scenes.
The Samsung RU9000 doesn't show any signs of temporary image retention; however, this can vary between units.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
The Samsung RU9000 has impressive response time, which results in very little motion blur in fast-moving scenes. There's a small amount of overshoot in the 0-20% transition, causing some motion artifacts in dark scenes. There's a bit of image duplication due to the backlight's flicker.
The backlight is flicker-free only when the brightness is at maximum. If the brightness is set below maximum, the backlight flickers at 240Hz in all picture modes. With LED Clear Motion Plus enabled in the Game Motion Plus Settings menu, the flickering frequency drops to 120Hz. With LED Clear Motion enabled in the Auto Motion Plus Settings menu, the flicker frequency is 60Hz.
The Samsung RU9000 has an optional Black Frame Insertion feature that can help improve motion clarity. To use it, set Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom' and LED Clear Motion to 'On'. To use this feature while gaming, perform the same steps within the Game Motion Plus Settings menu.
This TV can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120fps to make motion look smoother. It works quite well, and the TV continues to interpolate in more intense scenes without causing too many artifacts. To use motion interpolation, set Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom', and adjust the Judder Reduction to max for native 30fps content, or adjust the Blur Reduction slider to max for native 60fps content.
Due to the TV's fast response time, lower frame rate content such as movies can stutter. If it bothers you, using motion interpolation can help.
This TV can remove judder from all sources. To do so, set Auto Motion Plus to 'On'.
Update 08/19/2020: We changed HDMI Forum VRR to 'Unknown' because we currently don't have an accurate way to test for HDMI Forum VRR compatibility. Once we do, we'll test for it and update the review.
The Samsung RU9000 supports FreeSync to reduce screen tearing when gaming. To use it, set FreeSync to 'Ultimate' in the Game Mode Settings menu.
The Samsung RU9000 has excellent low input lag. It should be good enough for most gamers, especially when playing at 120Hz. To get the lowest input lag, you only need to be in 'Game' mode, and PC users only need to have the input in use labeled 'PC'.
This TV allows the use of motion interpolation when gaming. The settings are located in a separate menu called Game Motion Plus Settings, but it has the same options as the Auto Motion Plus Settings menu. There are sliders for Blur Reduction and Judder Reduction, which you can adjust to your preference, and an LED Clear Motion toggle for the Black Frame Insertion feature. Using motion interpolation when gaming adds a bit of input lag, but it shouldn't be noticeable for most people.
There's an 'Auto Low Latency' mode that puts you in 'Game' mode automatically when the TV detects a game being launched from a compatible device. To use it, enable Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) in the External Device Manager settings menu.