Samsung UN55ES8000 LED LCD HDTV Review$3,749.00
The UN55ES8000 tested with a larger maximum contrast ratio than any of the comps we pulled for it--and the comps we pulled were very strong performers, two of them from 2012, and one of them a plasma. A surprisingly deep black level of 0.08 cd/m2 and a peak brightness of over 350 cd/m2 gives the ES8000 an impressive maximum contrast ratio, over 4300:1; compare that to LG's 47LM6700, which was neither as dark nor as bright as the ES8000. More on how we test contrast.
Color & Greyscale Curves
These color curves are just shy of perfect. While they peaked a little early, they are extremely uniform and smooth, with no choppy motions. This means all of your colors, from the deepest shadow tones all the way up to the brightest highlights, are going to have good definition. This is what we always hope to see. More on how we test color performance.
Color temperature is the weak link of the ES8000's core performance. As you can see from the chart below, the ES8000's input temperature tends to deviate to the warmer side of 6500° Kelvin, as evidenced by the orange hue of the graphing mark below. This problem plagues the TV across its entire input spectrum, though the amount of visible deviation varies greatly from input to input. This will be visible, but not so distracting as to brand the ES8000 as unwatchable. Still, for its price, we would have liked to have seen a lot less visible error. More on how we test color temperature.
The ES8000 tested with a decent gamut, though its certainly not a perfect match to the rec. 709 standard. Where green and white points were almost perfectly accurate, saturation problems staved the blue and red points to a level of undersaturation, meaning they'll be slightly darker in places than they ought to be. This isn't as big of a problem as the color temperature errors above, but a hawk eyed individual might notice deviations in very familiar content. More on how we test color temperature.
The picture dynamics we witnessed on the UN55ES8000 were strong. In measuring tunnel contrast and white falloff, we found that the TV was vigilant in maintaining blacks and whites regardless of the amount of that shade on screen. One aspect of this Samsung--and, we assume, Samsung's other 2012 models--is that during an all-black screen, there is an instantaneous auto dimming that occurs after a moment, say, just before a commercial break during televised content. It's well implemented, but made for some troublesome times in accurately testing black levels. As far as we know, this feature can't be switched off. But in the long run, it works quite well during normal viewing. More on how we test picture dynamics.