A Review of the Samsung Electronics UN78JS8600FXZA 78″ 4K Ultra HD 240MR Smart LED TV
The Samsung UN78JS8600FXZA is not only one of Samsung’s best 2015 SUHD TVs and probably the top of the second tier lineup comparable to the UN65JS8500 of these all-around awesome models from the famous manufacturer, it’s also enormous.
This special, one size 4K SUHD TV features a massive 78 inch screen in addition to all of the other superb specs and features found in its cousins the JS8500 and the JS9000. The screen size definitely drives the price of this model upwards by quite a bit but the pleasure of enjoying razor sharp SUHD picture quality on a display that really lets you appreciate the extra 6 million pixels that 4K ultra HD resolution delivers is possibly worth the price tag.
The JS8600FXZA is not one of Samsung’s most widely reviewed or best known SUHD models but in terms of its overall specs, picture quality and connectivity, it delivers just as well as its nearest cousins among the other premium 2015 4K TVs from the company. The lack of a curved screen is one aspect of this TV that some viewers may not like, especially with such a massive display size but curvature doesn’t offer much to begin with anyhow, so the loss is minor.
Right off the bat, the JS8600FXZA impresses with size. Other models in the SUHD lineup may have a few superior features but this model beats most of them with its giant screen. This is something that not only improves your viewing experience overall, it works exceptionally well in a 4K ultra HD TV. With 4K resolution, real appreciation of the sheer clarity improvement over full HD is much more notable with 4K TVs in the 65+ inch range and at 78 inches, the JS8600FXZA goes well into massive size territory.
Moving along, the edge-lit backlighting of the JS8600FXZA is possibly the best you’ll find on the market today. Yes, it would have been great if Samsung had decided to include a full-array LED setup in this rather expensive 4K model but even with the edge-lit setup, the absolutely superb brightness of Samsung’s LEDs does a remarkably good job of providing luminance. Furthermore, the UHD dimming feature of the TV provides physical dimming of LEDs instead of the cheaper software-based dimming found in some 4K TVs, thus, the contrast on offer is better than what we expected to see.
Next up, the JS8600FXZA offers the full array of other visual features that really make the SUHD line shine. Principal among these is definitely the nanocrystal quantum dot color enhancement technology. This extra layer of quantum crystal film behind the screen creates a much more vibrant, accurate array of colors that looks particularly spectacular in this specific model, mainly thanks to that 78 inch screen we’ve already fawned over.
Finally, to save the details on visual specs for further down, the overall connectivity of this and other SUHD models is one of the best in the entire industry. Not only do you get the benefit of Samsung’s superb smart platform and all its accessories like S-Recommendation and Smart Hub, you also get a robust series of connection ports and a One-Connect Mini external box that can be replaced as new connection technologies emerge without having to buy a new Samsung or other 4K TV.
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Little can be called truly bad about the JS8600FXZA. This is a solid TV all around but it does have a few moderate deficiencies and one particular fault that might actually be a bit of a deal breaker.
For starters, the 78 inch screen has its tradeoff in terms of weight. While Samsung does a pretty good job of creating 4K TV models that are wonderfully minimalist in all possible ways, the JS8600FXZA still weighs a little over 100 lbs. This isn’t as bad as the weight we’ve seen with other TVs in this size range but it can be a hassle for moving the TV around or squeezing it into a cramped space.
Secondly, the lack of full-array backlighting is annoying. This model is particularly expensive due to its giant screen but since Samsung didn’t include a curved design they could have at least given consumers access to the really powerful benefits of a complete-screen LED array. Even Vizio M-Series manages to include the technology in its far cheaper 70+ inch 4K TVs in the M and P-Series.
Third, the off-center viewing of the JS8600FXZA is less than ideal. While we don’t expect it to be perfect as it is in LG’s OLED 4K TVs, it still leaves more than we’d like to be desired. Furthermore, this is one problem in which a curved screen would actually have helped improve the viewing angles, as we’ve noticed in a couple of other curved 4K TVs from Samsung itself.
Finally, and worst of all, the JS8600FXZA is indeed very expensive, at well over $7,000 retail, it could be cheaper even if it has a 78 inch screen. It comes only with edge-lit LED backlighting and doesn’t even include the maximum level of HDR enhancement found in the JS9500 (more on this further down).
Aside from its very high price tag, the UN78JS8600FXZA is one TV that’s seriously worth recommending. If you want a giant SUHD TV from Samsung, this model delivers most of the best specs without straying into the truly painful price range of the 78 inch JS9500 or JS9100 models.
Weight: 101 lbs wo stand/ 113.8 lbs with stand
Dimensions: (WxHxD): 69.7" x 42.2" x 12.8" inches with stand/ 69.7" x 39.8" x 1.5" inches without stand
Screen size: 78 diagonal inches
Smart TV: Yes, Smart TV with Apps, S-Recommendation, Smart Hub
HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes (all 4 HDMI ports)
Refresh Rate: 240Hz Motion Rate, 120Hz native
Screen Lighting: edge-lit LED backlighting
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes WiFi, Ethernet port
Remotes: Samsung Smart Remote Control
Connectivity: 4 x HDMI 2.0 ports, 3 x USB 2.0, Ethernet, Component/Composite, Digital Audio out, One Connect Mini Box
Dynamic Contrast Ratio: over 1 million
Audio: 20W (10W x 2) speakers with DTS Premium Sound 5.1 and DTS Studio Sound
Processor: Quad Core
To start things off, the sheer screen size of the UN78JS8600FXZA is one of its chief highlights. 4K TVs in the 60 to 65+ inch range definitely show off the 4K graphics better than their smaller counterparts and the 78 inch display on this beat of a TV is going to really let you see how good native 4K resolution looks when projected on a screen big enough to make the 6 million extra pixels notable. This alone is one of the best reasons to get your hands on a truly large 4K TV if you can afford it in terms of cash spent and space occupied.
Right after the obviously visible size of the JS8600FXZA, we move onto some of its key visual specs. We’ll cover these in a bit more detail in the next section but sufficed to say that the combination of nanocrystal quantum dot color, HDR enhancement via Peak Illuminator PRO and Precision Black technologies and UHD dimming work together to create a 4k display that really delivers some spectacular color vibrancy, excellent dark tones and strong, refined bright spots. In fact, if there is one thing in which the higher end SUHD TVs beat out their rivals the 4K OLED models from LG, it’s in the area of luminance. OLED is superb but it can’t quite yet compete with LCD LED in terms of screen brightness, and the JS8600FXZA excels at this despite having an edge-lit LED screen.
The slightly limited HDR of the JS8600FXZA isn’t quite on par with that found in the Samsung SUHD flagship TV the JS9500 but it’s still excellent and unlike 4K, HDR is immediately notable, especially if your TV is also letting you get your hands on native High Dynamic Range content from a source like Amazon Prime Instant Video (which now offers HDR 4K programming. Thus, with the JS8600FXZA you not only get the benefit of a screen big enough to really notice the 4K graphics, you also get the enhancements offered by HDR.
Finally, the new Tizen Operating System that the JS8600FXZA and the other SUHD TVs offer is a serious improvement over last year’s Samsung OS.
Tizen is not only more responsive and user-friendly, it’s also one of the best 4K Smart TV OS platforms on the market today. The Smart Hub, motion control and S-Recommendation engine features of Tizen are particularly great and the motion control feature is something Samsung has excelled at creating. It definitely created a much smoother navigation experience for us. The new 2015 Samsung Smart Remote is a bit weak on button controls however, even though the motion control features compensate for this to some extent.
WE should also mention the quad core processor in the JS8600FXZA. While not as massively powerful as the Octa Core version found in the very top TVs of the SUHD line, this model’s Quad Core version still provides more than enough power for any web browsing, TV programming and general smart functionality.
There are two particular aspects of SUHD TVs that set them apart from other Samsung models and from a wide majority of 4K TVs on the market in general. These are quantum dots and HDR.
For the quantum dots, Samsung refuses to use the more common terminology and instead went with “nanocrystal color” But a rose by any other name is still a rose and quantum dots –just like those in Sony XBR55x850C and LG TVs—are what we have in the JS8600FXZA and other SUHD TVs. This technology in effect involves a film of tiny particles of semiconducting material that is interposed between the TV’s LED backlight and the LCD display. These little crystals then do two things: first, they create a brighter level of lighting, thus creating more luminance with the same backlight and second, they expand the vibrancy and spectrum of colors to more closely simulate color in real life.
The effect in the JS8600FXZA and other SUHD TVs is quite impressive and definitely puts these models a cut above most 4K LCD LED TVs.
The second major technology that makes the JS8600FXZA and its SUHD cousins unique is their HDR capability. In the JS8600FXZA, you don’t get the same broad range of High Dynamic Range as you do in the SUHD flagship the JS9500 but what the screen does offer is almost invisibly inferior to the flagship model. Peak Illuminator Pro technology for enhanced brightness and Precision Black for enhanced and more accurate dark tones work together to create the JS8600FXZA’s HDR, if you can get your hands on content with high dynamic range programmed into it, the effect will be particularly notable and impressive.
Finally, the native refresh rate of the JS8600FXZA is 120Hz, which is pretty standard for this caliber of 4K TV. However, Samsung JU6500 and the JU7100 has also enhanced this through their Motion Rate technology to create a pseudo 240Hz refresh rate, with sometimes mixed results. We should also mention that the UHD dimming for the TV’s backlights uses actual local dimming technology instead of trying for the effect through software-programmed dimming. Samsung is secretive about the number of dimming zones in the JS8600FXZA but the resulting dimming precision is pretty decent for an edge-lit 4K TV.
One of the really interesting aspects of the UN78JS8600FXZA is its One Connect Mini connectivity box. This little external device houses the majority of the TV’s inputs and outputs and thus offers a type of future-proofing against eventual changes in connectivity standards. If new HDMI, USB or other connection technologies become standard in the near future, you can simply replace the box for an updated version instead of having to streaming online 4K video and 4K video from external media players. Also, the JS8600FXZA comes with full web browsing capacity and access to thousands of apps through the Smart Hub in the Tizen platform.
The JS8600FXZA is not a cheap TV and is retailing for $7,999. This is largely due to its massive size so if this isn’t a major need-to-have feature, you might find smaller SUHD models such as the UN88JS9500 more to your taste with their much lower price tags.
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To summarize briefly, the UN78JS8600FXZA should have come with full-array LED backlighting for its very hefty price. Furthermore, the TV is more expensive than we like. Finally, the size of this TV also means that it’s pretty heavy, though not ridiculously so since Samsung is better than average when it comes to minimizing weight and bulk in its TV models.
• Superb Nanocrystal color
• Excellent brightness for an edge-lit model
• Great contrast thanks to HDR
• Massive screen
• One Connect Mini box
• Heavy TV
• No full-array LED backlighting
• Poor off-center viewing
• Too expensive