A Review of the Samsung JS8500 SUHD 4K Ultra HD LED 3D TV Series (2015 Flat Screen Model) – UN48JS8500, UN55JS8500, UN65JS8500
Samsung has been one of the top manufacturers of 4K TVs since they came into existence and their 2015 lineup of new TVs is not only no exception, it goes beyond even the quality of 2014’s 4K TVs to deliver a newly defined ultra HD viewing experience.
This applies particularly to the new Samsung SUHD 4K TVs and the JS8500 4K Ultra HD LED 3D TV Series ranks among these new models. The JS8500 line is in many ways the same as its more expensive and more feature loaded JS9500 cousins, which we’ve also reviewed here. However, because of its more economical price it lacks a few details such as full HDR-readiness, a higher Clear Motion Rate, full-array LED backlighting and a webcam. Furthermore, the maximum brightness of its LEDs is less than that of the JS9500.
Nonetheless, this is one heck of a fantastic 2015 4K TV and despite these moderate downgrades from the JS9500, the JS8500 line offers a robust package of awesome specs and new color technologies.
While the JS8500 lacks the full-array LED lighting of its pricier cousin the JS9500, the edge-lit array available here is nonetheless made up of the brightest LEDs on the market and this does plenty to compensate in terms of luminance. Thus, what you still get is an excellent level of picture brightness that’s augmented further still by quantum dot nano-crystal technology.
This brings us to the second excellent feature of the JS8500 series, their quantum dots. These, consisting of a fine layer of molecular particles of different shapes layered into the screen, create a range of color vibrancy that absolutely permeates the screen and delivers color saturation of a far more varied, brilliant and realistic type. Combined with the brightness of Samsung’s own LEDs, the Nano-Crystals of the JS8500 and all other SUHD TVs are one of the key features that really make these models stand out among even other highly advanced competitor products like LG’s OLED 4K TVs.
Aside from this, there is also the high dynamic range of the SUHD line, which comes included with the JS8500. While the overall brilliance of this particular model line is definitely inferior to that of the JS9500, it’s still more than enough for almost any user and contributes brilliantly to better contrast levels.
Finally, there is Samsung’s proprietary HD to UHD upscaling engine, as one of the best on the entire market (possibly beaten only by Sony), it turns any SD HD or Full HD content you view on the JS8500 TVs into something that definitely looks much better.
4.4 - 132 Reviews
As far as bad aspects of the JS8500 go, there really aren’t any that we could call glaring. This is a genuinely superb 4K TV line that will leave anyone satisfied.
The TVs only defect is the fact that they’re not as good as their more expensive JS9500 cousins. Thus, with the JS8500, Samsung hasn’t included some of the peak luminance that their better models have, contrast levels are also consequently a bit weaker than those of SUHD models with full-array LED backlighting.
Finally, most annoying of all is the fact that full-array LED backlighting is still being installed only as a luxury feature. Given that even Vizio’s highly affordable 4K TVs include full-array backlighting in all their versions, there’s no reason Samsung couldn’t have installed this excellent feature in its JS8500 line just like it did in the more expensive JS9500 SUHD 4K TVs.
If you want the awesome visual qualities and superb technological advancements of the Samsung SUHD line without forking over a very big chunk of change for the top models available for these TVs, then the JS8500 SUHD TVs, in their 55 - UN55JS8500, 65 - UN65JS8500 and 48 inch UN48JS8500 models, are an excellent choice. They offer the overwhelming majority of their more expensive cousins’ features while costing much less.
Screen size: 48 inch - UN48JS8500 , 55 inch - UN55JS8500, and 65 diagonal inches - UN65JS8500.
Smart TV: Yes
HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
HD to UHD upscaling: Yes, Samsung UHD upscaling
HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
Refresh Rate: 240 CMR (120Hz native refresh)
Screen Lighting: edge-lit LED backlighting
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes WiFi, Blue Tooth, NFC and Ethernet port
Remotes: Samsung Smart Control (TM1560B)
Connectivity: 4 HDMI 2.0 ports, 3 USB 2.0, component, Digital Audio out, Composite, Ethernet
Native Contrast Ratio: 3561 : 1/ black level: 0.029 cd/m2 / white level: 106.2 cd/m2
Audio: Dolby MS11 40W (10W x 2, Woofer 10W x 2) Front Firing (2.2CH) with DTS Premium Sound 5.1
55” model weight with/without stand: 41.9 lbs/47 lbs
Dimensions 55” model: with stand: 49.1" x 30" x 9.1", TV without stand: 49.1" x 28.1" x 1.2"
Processor: Quad-Core processor
The Samsung JS8500 comes with many of the same highlight features that we had earlier covered for the JS9500 series.
To start off, this line of TVs offer dynamic range augmentation of a slightly limited sort. This means that while you don’t get the full HDR-readiness like that of Peak Illuminator Ultimate found in the JS9500 SUHD line, you still get some great dynamic range performance thanks to the JS8500’s Peak Illuminator Pro, brightness enhancing technology.
Unlike 4K resolution, which often isn’t visible unless you’re seeing it on a truly large 80+ inch screen, HDR is something anyone with normal eyesight can notice immediately at any distance on almost any screen size. This is something the JS8500 SUHD TVs are modestly aiming for through technologies like Peak Illuminator Pro and Precision Black augmentation, both of which work together to deliver both heightened brightness in illuminated areas and maximal dimness in dark spots. Of course, the LG OLED TVs beat any Samsung TV when it comes to delivering perfect dark but The JS8500 and its SUHD cousins easily give LG a run for its money as far as overall brilliance goes.
Then there are the quantum nano-crystals that have been built into the JS8500 line. These are Samsung’s version of quantum dot technology and go by the name of Nano Crystal Color. What they do is create special light filtration layer of tiny molecular nano-crystals of assorted shapes, which go between the LEDS/LCDs and the outer display glass of the TV screen. As light from the LEDs passes through this nano-crystal layer, it gets dispersed in ways that enhance its overall vibrancy and add a much wider variation to the colors on the screen itself.
The overall effect of this is a color experience that’s more refined, cleaner and more realistic than what you’d see in any normal UHD LCD LED TV display. The quantum dots enhance performance on color by at least 10% and this makes a difference in visual appeal.
Finally --and this is another crucial highlight of all the 2015 SUHD TVs-- there is the new Tizen operating system that is currently only available to the assorted SUHD lines of TVs.
Tizen is definitely more responsive, faster and more intuitive than any previous Samsung OS and it definitely beats many competitor Smart TV OS platforms that currently exist on the market. The Tizen redevelopment is Samsung’s version of an industry wide trend in redesigning 4K TV Smart TV platforms and OS systems across the board. Sony has done the same with the addition of an Android TV platform from Google and Panasonic is doing its version of the same with their new Firefox-for-TV OS.
In Samsung’s case, they’ve definitely gotten their Tizen OS down right and the response time of on-screen commands is downright impressive. Furthermore, aside from faster speed, the TV remembers where you left off in a previously running program, thus saving you the hassle of fast-forwarding as used to be the case with the Samsung OS of last year’s models.
Furthermore, the Smart Hub that comes as part of the Tizen OS has been redesigned with a new menu for easier organization programs and web apps
4.3 - 132 Reviews
We’ve already covered a number of the JS8500 line’s visual features above in our descriptions of the TV’s quantum nano-crystal technology and LED illumination but to go into a bit of further detail, the three main specs that make the JS8500 such an effective TV consist of: quantum dot color enhancement that has been further augmented by a new color palette expanding system known as DCI P3, powerful Samsung LEDs that make even the edge-lit backlight of the TV work wonderfully at creating luminance in the screen and Samsung’s edge-lit dimming technology which the company calls “UHD Dimming”.
Of these three key visual specs, the quantum dots/DCI P3 system are really the core of the SUHD models quality. DCI P3 starts things off by expanding the overall range of colors that the TVs pixels can create and these colors are further enhanced by the light dispersal technology inherent inside the quantum nano-crystal film layer inside the TV screen. Samsung claims this results in 20 to 30% more color gamut but visually, it might be a little less, more like 10 to 20%.
Next up, the LED lighting of the TV: While the edge-lit array on the JS8500 definitely doesn’t compare to the kind of luminance you’d get with one of the JS9500 full-array TVs or a new Sony Full-array Bravia model from their 2015 4K TV line, Samsung’s LEDs are exceptionally bright and what you do get with this TV is more than enough for any normal contrast enhancement and luminance needs. They even beat possibly beat LG’s OLED TVs in terms of visible on-screen brightness.
Finally, the UHD dimming technology of the edge-lit JS8500 makes the best of the fact that these TVs lack full-array backlighting. While it certainly doesn’t compare to the exceptional contrast generated by full-array local micro dimming, it does still create a very good overall level of contrast.
As far as connectivity goes, Samsung makes sure to offer the whole nine yards of future-proofing and essential technologies to all of its newer 4K TVs (and they even give older 4K models modernized connection options thanks to the replaceable OneConnect box).
This means that the JS8500, as one of the main Samsung 4K TV lines of 2015, is more than ready with everything you need to enjoy full web access and access to all possible sources of 4K UHD and other content.
The TV comes with full HEVC and VP9 compression codec compatibility and its HDMI 2.0 ports, of which there are 4, are built with HDCP 2.2 content copy protection in them. The compression codecs mean that your JS8500 will be fully compatible with 4K video streams from Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant video and just about any other source that emerges. And as for the HDCP 2.2 compatibility, it means full functionality with 4K content that comes from any of the VOD set-top boxes on sale today, including Sony’s 4K media player and its library of hundreds of hours of ultra HD content.
Furthermore, Samsung’s Tizen OS offers the Smart Hub smart TV menu which gives you access to web browsing, thousands of online apps and all sorts of non-4K media sources.
The price of the Samsung JS8500 line of 4K TVs varies by screen size, but all are more affordable than their JS9500 counterparts, by thousands of dollars. The 55-inch UN55JS8500 is retailing on Amazon for $1,797.99 while the 48 inch UN48JS8500 and 65 inch UN65JS8500 models are selling for $1,497.99 and $2,497.99 respectively.
4.4 - 132 Reviews
As we already said, the JS8500 is a fantastic 4K TV for its price range from such a superb brand. However, to summarize quickly, it does offer the somewhat glaring defect of still only offering edge-lit LED backlighting. As such it offers lower contrast ratios, lower quality backlight dimming precision and less overall vibrancy than what a full-array model would offer.
• Superb Tizen OS
• Exquisite color thanks to quantum dots
• Full connectivity package
• Great dynamic range
• No full-array backlighting