A Review of the Samsung UN65HU8550 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD 120Hz 3D Smart LED TV
If you’re looking for one of the best flat screen LCD TVs of 2014 because you’re not interested in the gimmicky style of curved screens, then the Samsung UN65HU8550 65 inch 4K TV is your best bet for a happy purchase.
As a 4K ultra HD TV, the HU8550 comes with the majority of the premium features that Samsung normally packs into its higher end 4K TVs but at the same time, this particular model also manages to cost over one thousand dollars less than the comparably sized Samsung HU9000 65 inch curved screen 4K TV.
Furthermore, the few features that are lacking in the HU8550 happen to be those you least need and trust us, you’re not missing anything other than a superficial style change by foregoing the curved screen of the equally feature packed but more expensive HU9000.
This TV may not be the best or biggest in the Samsung line of UHD sets but among the more affordable 2014 4K ultra HD televisions, it’s definitely one of the best choices when you balance out size, price and overall quality of specs.
The good features on the HU8550 are not as numerous as those of the HU9000 but there are still plenty of them and what you do get, you get for a much lower price than should be necessary for a 65 inch 4K TV.
For starters, the 8550’s greatest aspect is probably its price. For the screen size and features this TV gives you, the $2,997 price tag compares very nicely to that of the HU9000 and a number of other 4K TVs from LG or Sony. This isn’t to say that this TV is as ideally priced, it just does better in this regard than other arguably over-priced counterparts and Samsung cousins.
Next, there are all the features. As we’d already mentioned, they are numerous and quite comprehensive. From Ultra Clear Panel technology to HEVC decoding to the full Smart TV package with Smart Hub, the H8550 has almost everything you could want in a 4K TV and lacks only a few features that you don’t really need anyhow.
Furthermore, the screen size is excellent. At 65 inches, this model offers a package that is neither cumbersomely large nor underwhelmingly small. In fact, it’s perfect even for larger home entertainment spaces.
Other excellent aspects of the HU5880 include its great local dimming technology (more on this later), an awesome Active 3D performance that genuinely impresses and a Smart Touch remote that’s similar to those found with other high end Samsung 4K TVs. CNET.com has called this the best remote control device on the market today.
Finally, because this is a late 2014 Samsung TV, it offers some truly excellent compatibility with a wide variety of third party 4K content services like Dish, Netflix, UltraFlix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and even a couple of services that other brands of 4K TVs can’t yet access, like Samsung’s own 4K content service and the newly arrived UHD offers from Comcast’s Xfinity service and M-Go.
4.2 - 323 Reviews
Despite the typical Samsung quality that you’ll find in the HU5880, not all is perfect with this TV.
For starters, it only offers edge-lit LED backlighting, which is markedly inferior to the more advanced full-array LED backlighting setup found in much more expensive and newer Samsung models. The kicker, however, is that this feature doesn’t have to be so exclusive. Vizio included it in its line of P-Series 4K TVs that were released all the way back in October of 2014 and those sets cost a lot less than almost any Samsung 4K TV model.
Next, there is the matter of off-angle viewing on the TV. Its built-in Ultra Clear Panel technology offers a wonderful value by clearing up glare and contrast problems with direct viewing of the screen but it then also fails when something is watched from an off-angle point of view. This is often common with LED panels but it’s worse than it could be on the HU5880 and only gets worse if content is watched in 3D.
Finally, the sound quality on the HU5880 is nothing to write home about. This doesn’t mean that it’s bad, and in fact it does surprisingly well considering that this model doesn’t come with a sound bar or subwoofer but the overall quality of the sound from the TVs built-in speakers could be better for the price tag of just under $3,000.
Our final thoughts about the Samsung UN65HU8550 are that it’s definitely an excellent flat screen LED TV even for the high standards of ultra HD sets. While its price could be a bit lower, it’s also not grossly high and still allows you to get some excellent home entertainment value by getting your hands on one of these models.
• Screen size: 64.5 diagonal inches
• Smart TV: Yes
• HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
• HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
• HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
• Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate
• Screen Lighting: Edge-lit LED backlighting with Local dimming
• Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
• Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes built-in WiFi, Bluetooth and WiFi Direct
• Remotes: Smart Touch remote with voice recognition controls and touchpad
• Connectivity: 4 HDMI 2.0 ports, 3 USB, Ethernet, Component, mini jack audio out, RF in, Component/composite, optical digital audio output
• Sound: 10W x 2 / Woofer 10W x 2 with DTS Studio Sound and Premium Sound 5.1
• Dynamic Contrast Ratio: over 1 million
• Other Display Features: Ready for One Connect external box, Connectshare, Smart Evolution Ready, motion control
• TV weight with/without stand: 54.2 lbs/62.6 lbs
• Dimensions: 57.1" x 32.8" x 1.4" inches; With stand: 57.1" x 33.0" x 11.6" inches
• Processor: Quad core
When put alongside the Samsung UN65HU9000, the HU5880 manages to hold its own weight very nicely and comes with almost all of the same features as the more expensive curved screen 4K TV, and it does this despite a considerably lower price tag that mostly comes from the weaker speakers and lack of screen curvature (which is no big loss anyhow).
Thus, the highlights of the UN65HU8550 are much the same as those of its more expensive curved cousin, which we’ve also reviewed here. Let’s get down to some of these:
First of all, the HU5880 is fully future proofed against changes in standards and connectivity technologies. Out of the box, it comes with a fixed set of connection ports (see “specs”) but you also have the option of getting your hands on one of Samsung’s One Connect boxes (sold separately) which can hook into the TV with a single cable and immediately provide you with connections that fit the latest standards down the road. This is a useful and rather unique way of buying the TV with the safety of knowing that you won’t have to completely replace it because of some new technological quirk in playback standards a year or two down the road.
Moving on, we come to a number of display technology and content accessibility highlights that are a great part of Samsung’s better 4K TVs.
The first of these is the UHD Dimming and Precision Black Local Dimming combination of technologies that provides the HU5880 with a genuinely rich level of contrast between deep blacks and bright screen elements thanks to the use of sophisticated scanning algorithms that change lighting across the screen with extreme precision. The Precision Black Local Dimming only adds to this by dimming LEDs behind the darkest parts of the screen for even more improved contrast and rich darkness.
Finally, we come down to features like the Smart TV user interface and its associated Smart Hub arrangement. These two, taken together, give you a truly fluid, intuitive and easy to navigate experience. With the Smart Hub in particular, you can organize content, apps, social media pages and games across 5 different panels that you can flip between.
The UN65HU5880 has a bit of a problem with light bleed along the edges of the TV thanks to its edge-lit LED backlighting, but this is why Samsung slightly expanded the size of the bezel in a way that doesn’t decrease modern elegance while minimizing the bleed effect of LED light along the edges.
Nonetheless, the screen uniformity on the TV is excellent with superb brightness existing alongside deep, rich dark levels thanks to the already mentioned dimming technologies used in the screen. We can thank the Ultra Clear Panel technology that this and many other 4K TVs we’ve reviewed have for these excellent contrast levels.
The Ultra Clear Panel does however come with the downside of creating a downgraded viewing experience when the HU5880’s screen is looked at from off-axis angles and the effect grows worse if you’re using the TV to watch 3D content.
Finally, the 4K resolution performance of the TV is superb and especially so on the large 65 inch screen. The smoothness of what you watch is helped along even more by the 120Hz refresh rate and the clear motion rate of 1200.
On the other hand, the upscaling engine doesn’t dramatically increase the clarity of augmented 1080p HD content on the pixel-filled 4K screen, though it does create a definite improvement.
Connectivity is solidly covered in the HU5880. You get the standard package of Ethernet, WiFi and Wifi direct connectivity options with Bluetooth also included to complete the picture. Of course, because this is a smart TV, it also comes with a full array of apps for accessing content, music and other entertainment from numerous online sources.
Thanks to the TV's HEVC compatibility and 4 HDMI 2.0 ports, you can also access the latest and best native ultra HD content from streaming sources like Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant video. To complete the connectivity picture, there is also a web browser that lets you navigate the web just like you would on a PC.
Starting at $1,497.99 and up to $9,997.99, (current retail price on Amazon.com), the Samsung UN65HU8550 is not the cheapest premium 4K TV in its class or size range but it is definitely one of the lower priced models.
4.2 - 323 Reviews
As we’d already covered above, the “not so great” aspects of the HU5880 are few and relatively minor when weighed against the excellent overall quality of this TV.
It could use an upgrade to Full-array LED backlighting, it’s Ultra Clear Panel technology does do a bit of harm to the quality of experience when you view the screen from off-angles and the speakers on the TV aren’t anything extraordinary –even though they’re not bad either.
These things aside, this particular Samsung model fully lives up to the 4K TV quality reputation that its manufacturer is known for.
• One of Samsung’s best flat screen 4K TVs from 2014
• Excellent brightness
• UHD upscaling delivers value even on HD content
• Excellent contrast btw black/bright
• Smart Hub and Smart TV work wonderfully
• Not a bad price
• Broad compatibility with 4K content sources
• Ultra Clear Panel causes reflection at off angles
• Minor edgelight bleeding
• Lacks full array LED backlighting
4.2 - 323 Reviews