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Review: Samsung 55-inch 4K (S)UHD Smart TV (UN55JS8500)

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Here we are the day after Thanksgiving, full as a one could possibly be before falling deep into a food coma and I seem to be one of the few people willing to show up because everyone else is apparently too busy doing their Black Friday shopping. Honestly, I didn’t see much this time around to get excited about outside of TVs and average game console bundles. I have a couple TVs that I am more than proud of, therefore I don’t have a need for anything new just yet (although some of these prices are enjoyable, especially with certain 4K models involved). Instead of finding new TVs for myself, I figure I would share some with you.

Today’s topic is 4K and I am bringing you the Samsung UN55JS8500 55-inch 4K (S)UHD Smart LED TV. Skipping the curved fad that causes TVs to sell at horribly overpriced values (no one needs curved TVs at this size), Samsung’s 55-inch model here delivers an image that makes you want to rip it off the TV stand and use it as a computer monitor or take it with you everywhere you go. They have been marketing all of their SUHD models pretty hard since CES that all deliver an outstanding picture compared to the other options you may finding sitting or hanging on the store shelves. Their OLED models are even better (some of the best we have ever seen so far). So naturally, I chose to write about this one before someone else pops in and beats me to the punch (and before it moves on, out of the office to its next destination).

Design

The design of the UN55JS8500 feels (to me) like a cross between something from Samsung with a little touch of Apple. Very sleek design with a unique shape to its stand. Mostly silver in color (outside of the black/silver two-tone stand), it has a incredibly thin bezel to it, making it great for hanging on the wall. The depth of the screen front to back is just over an inch, thus it will hang pretty flat. So if you’dlooking to hang it, you may want to shoot for a nice low-profile mount so that it rides nice and close to the wall. It looks so nice no matter how you plan to display it.

For 55-inches and super thin, it does have some weight to it. It weighs just a tad more than 40lbs mounting to the wall. This isn’t terrible as there are heavier models within this size of TV on the market. It’s just that the screen looks much lighter than it truly is. Thankfully most mounts will support this kind of weight just fine. The stand itself weighs about 5lbs, so you can factor that in when lifting if you don’t plan on hanging it.

The screen is a bit of a high gloss which really adds to its sexy presentation, however you will want to make sure you aren’t pointing any windows or lights directly into it as you will notice glare in the screen. So positioning can be important. This of course is the same for any glossy screen.

You can bet that your guests will become instantly glued to it when they lay eyes on it. That is of course, if you’re not blocking their view as you hover around it like a moth to light. The picture it produces (assuming you have some 4K content to throw at it of course) is like staring at a vivid/glossy poster that was printed with perfect detail. Or looking out a window you just put a bunch of elbow grease into cleaning to get a flawless shine out of.

Although your dog won’t jump into the screen thinking that it is an open window, my obsessive descriptions are well deserved as these colors are just amazing. This happens frequently when we test out one of the better 4K models (mostly Samsung and LG).Colors are vivid, bright, warm and everything else you can look for. Blacks are deep (dark) and without any clouding anywhere. They aren’t as perfect as the OLED models, but you won’t notice much difference–especially if you factor in price.

There is little to no light bleeding anywhere for the most part. We were able to produce some with certain graphic demos (stills) of shapes and colors (ie, white on black). It really wasn’t that noticeable, so I can confidently say that the average person would most likely never catch onto it (if they do, they most likely will give no hesitation to pretending it wasn’t there).

Before running it through various tests this week (aka spending time watching fun movies, animations and getting our game on–nothing we can complain about), we through in one of our calibration disks to discover that we were wasting our time. We could easily get what we want out of this by adjusting everything to what our eyes are telling us and be just as happy with it. The detail is already so rich, and the colors are quite accurate. A few minutes of bouncing around the menus and we were happy.

Animations look absolutely ridiculous on this TV–ridiculously good. We rotated out all sorts of films including Japanese animated films, Dreamworks’ “Home”, Inside Out and a number of others. All of which resulted in wonderful color detail and a very fluid looking screen. I think as I am writing this, I am beginning to realize the few TVs I have at home that I spoke earlier about aren’t as exciting anymore as I thought they were (I still can’t afford to swap them out just yet though). I could sit here watching animated films all day on these SUHD models and drown away any other concerns that life brings forward–at least until someone pulls the plug on me telling me to get back to work.

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Blu-ray movies? Of course they look good. They look really good. As we continue to mention, you may want to disable “Auto Motion Plus” to prevent the opera effect that you get from today’s high refresh TVs, but  these new 4K screens have been proving to be an exception as the Auto Motion Plus does wonders in keeping fast paced scenes really smooth and really brings the image out (once again, animated films). We watched clips from a number of Blu-ray movies like Avenger films and the latest Jurassic Park. We also have demos that are sent to us all the time packed with 4K content, so we have an upper edge with 4K leisure here. All of this looks amazing on this TV. I can confidently say that if you aren’t a fan of larger screens or simply looking for a smaller solution that stands out, this is a culprit to consider.

Upscaling is superb with the SUHD series models. Thee process of taking 1080p to 4K is great but don’t expect too much out of standard definition graphics. This isn’t abnormal though as standard definition to high definition of any resolution is typically dull and little to be excited about. You can’t expect anything until you hit at least DVD quality, in which case looks like 1080p upscaling with a little added detail. 1080p Blu-rays look fantastic, of course I have already mentioned this.

3D

This model is 3D (active) and it does look pretty sharp. Comparable to any of the latest of the latest models offering 3D at least. The only issue here is the screen is only 55-inches, which can take away from the enjoyment in my opinion. 3D “pops” way better with larger screens. We typically get excited with 75-inches and above when it comes to this. Smaller screens can cause a little added exhaustion to your eyes.

The “Smarts”

Oh it has Smart TV covered in every way. First off, you have Samsung which is the leader in app selection for their TVs and players. Then you add in the new operating system it runs on the backend and quad-core processor and you get zippy menus and responsive apps. Everything is relatively pretty user friendly here and you can throw in a USB wireless keyboard if you want an even easier experience. Of course you also have the new Smart Remote that features a touchpad and the ability to control the TV via your voice.

Streaming solutions like Netflix and YouTube render very well on the screen and looks great. Especially if you find yourself exploring some of the 4K content that is features out there (and growing each day). Keep in mind, you may need a decent internet connection for streaming 4K content.

I really liked how user friendly the menu is as well as the speed. Quad-core processors aren’t anything new with today’s TVs. This one simply knows how to take advantage of one.

Connectivity

As most TVs now, you have the options of both wired ethernet or WiFi for getting internet to the TV. We didn’t experience any troubles here as the TV was always within about 50ft from the source router at all times. A brief test to the wired ethernet port proved it works just as you’d expect and for the remainder of our testing we relied on WiFi. No dropouts or other interruptions were experienced and 4K seemed to have no troubles streaming when we throttled the internet connection (via the router) all the way to about 40mbps.

Before we start moving further into connectivity, I must point out that Samsung opts to minimize the depth of some of their TVs by removing the inputs from being physically featured on the TV itself. Instead, they use what is called the “One Connect” hub (this one uses the One Connect Mini). It’s a cable that goes between the TV and the One Connect hub that features all of your connectivity. This also prevents the need of a bunch of cables running to the TV directly. The One Connect approach also allows you to upgrade the ports on your TV without swapping about the TV itself (in case something new and amazing comes out, like a new format of HDMI).

There are 4 HDMI ports leaving plenty of options for getting your devices to it (remember by “it”, I am referring to the One Connect hub/box). Most users now rely on their AVR (receiver) for doing this anyway (as a switcher), so you should be more than covered for inputs. The HDMI inputs are HDMI 2.0 to properly display 4K.

There are 3 USB inputs, a component/composite and an RF input for a Cable/Satellite or OTA source. For outputs, you have one optical and one mini jack for analog.

Sound

Buy a soundbar or receiver. Better to get straight to the point there if you are looking for anything exceptional sound-wise as you won’t find it with this TV. It sounds exactly as it looks. A flat TV with barely any space inside to fit speakers into. It does have built-in speakers and they are loud enough for you to hear. It’s just going to sound like a normal tinny screen. Great for watching the news or your favorite morning show (if that’s your kind of thing at least). If you want sound that compares to the quality of picture you are getting, you will need to by something external. This is normal though as today’s TVs are more like video monitors than anything else.

Remote

I’ve spoken about the remote earlier when it comes to voice control (features a built-in microphone) and touchpad. It works really well for this and I have no concerns. The rest of the remote is quite small with minimal buttons to it. It’s meant for user friendliness and it does deliver on this for the most part, but it will require some getting used to. They really focused on the chapter of “KISS” (keep it simple, stupid). It’s nice, but if you’re looking for something that will control all of your devices, you will be looking for a 3rd party remote like the Logitech Harmonies (which are always better anyway). It isn’t a horrible remote really, but some users prefer having plenty of buttons to play with. It depends on where your preferences lie.

Our Conclusion

Another TV that I can easily sum it all up to as “awesome”. I love it, everyone else here who took part in testing it loves it, and we think you would love it to. You just have to be willing to spend around $1500 to get your hands on one. This may be you, but if it isn’t, you may be stuck waiting for awhile until prices become more reasonable. Really, this is the only thing weighing down the score (ever-so-slightly). Beyond that, this TV is a great 4K option for those looking to stay relatively average in size.


Amazon-Buy-Now

Our Rating

8.5 / 10 stars           

Average Price*

$1,499.99

*Average price is based on the time this article was published

Downloads:

UN55JS8500 Owner’s Manual: Click here

Video:

Additional Images:

Specifications:

PICTURE QUALITY
• Nano-crystal Color
• Contrast Enhancer
• 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 Resolution)
• Precision Black
• Edge-Array Backlighting
• Peak Illuminator Pro
• UHD Upscaling
• Ultra Clear Pro
• Motion Rate 240
• 3D Experience with Active Glasses

SMART
• Quad-Core Processor
• Smart TV
• Smart Apps
• Full Web Browser

SMART INTERACTION
• Motion Control with Optional Camera Accessory
• Voice Control
SMART CONNECTIVITY
• Screen Mirroring
• Connectshare™ Movie
• Smart View 2.0
• Briefing on TV

CONNECTIONS
• 4 HDMI® Connections2
• 3 USB Connections
• 802.11ac Wi-Fi Built In
• 1 Component In
• 1 Composite In (Shared with AV Component input)

AUDIO
• Dolby® Digital Plus
• DTS® Premium Sound 5.1™
• DTS® Studio Sound

INCLUDES
• Smart Remote Control
• One pair of 3D Active Glasses (SSG-5150GB)
• One Connect Mini

Beautifully Thin, Flat Design

Boasting an ultra-modern, sleek flat-panel design, the JS8500 ranks as one of the top rated TVs for 2015 by Reviewed.com and received special recognition as one of their Editors’ Choice award winners. Read Review.

SUHD

Introducing a new category of TVs. With SUHD 4K TVs, now you can experience stunning colors, deep contrast, incredible brightness, and 4K resolution that redefines your TV viewing experience.

Nano Crystal Color

Bring your entertainment to vivid life. Reveal a brighter, more true-to-life picture, and a wider range of colors made visible with breakthrough nano-crystal color technology.

4K UHD

Enjoy incredible picture crispness and dramatic detail, no matter how big the screen, with 4X the resolution of full HD.

Smart TV

Access your favorite program choices, live TV, video on demand, apps, and social media in one easy-to-browse navigation experience.
(*versus Dual-Core Processor).

Peak Illuminator Pro

See colors pop and enjoy greater detail in all your favorite movies, shows and games with increased LED illumination behind the brightest regions of the picture.

Precision Black

Feel the drama of every entertainment experience with improved black levels and contrast – while bright areas remain bright.

Contrast Enhancer

Experience a greater sense of depth with optimized contrast across multiple zones of the screen.

UHD Upscaling

Upgrade all lower resolution media to a stunning near ultra high-definition experience with enhanced detail and optimized picture quality.

Smart View 2.0

Watch your TV entertainment on your mobile device – or your mobile media on your TV.*
(*All devices must be on the same network and internet connection is required)

Quad-Core Processor

Enjoy a fluid browsing experience and faster control – switching between apps, streaming content, and other media effortlessly.
(*versus Dual-Core Processor).

Smart Remote Control

Take ultimate control of your Smart TV – use the touchpad to navigate quickly, perform voice commands with the built-in microphone, or use the remote like a mouse and simply point and click.


 

Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.

8.5 4K Awesome!
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JeffreyB

Designer, Editor and Product Review Lead

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