Samsung 78-inch SUHD JS9500 Curved TV: Curved monster huge on features

Samsung 78-inch SUHD JS9500 Curved TV: Curved monster huge on features
Samsung 78-inch SUHD JS9500 Curved TV.
PHOTO: SAMSUNG

Samsung wrought an eye-catching change to its smart TV range this year, by adding a premium segment under the SUHD banner.

The term UHD, or Ultra High Definition, is associated with the latest in 4K display format. SUHD (the "S" bears no special meaning) refers to

Samsung's newest implementation of it - using the Quantum dot panel technology. Quantum dot TVs are considered the best among TVs today, alongside the more expensive Organic light-emitting diode (Oled) TVs.

This 78-inch TV lives up to its billing. Being a UHD TV, there are plenty of details to savour. Everything looks sharp and vibrant, and the video quality is especially gorgeous with 4K content.

Furthermore, the deep colours just make everything pop, whether it is the colour-coded uniforms of the crew of the starship Enterprise in the Star Trek Into Darkness film, or the colour- saturated visuals from the TV series Sense8. With this TV, my eyes can't help but be drawn to the different parts of the screen, making me notice more of what's going on.

Complementing the visual treats is a new smart TV interface, which uses Samsung's Tizen operating system. While this interface is still as complex as those in Samsung's earlier TVs, it shines in its nimbleness and capability.

Switching between apps and the TV's different modes is a breeze compared with some other smart TVs. The interface also allows you to reset the TV to a different geographical region. This is a feature that Samsung has been known for and which no other TV maker offers.

But why would users here do this? To get content streaming apps installed, of course. Once I reset the TV to US, the software automatically downloaded the Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go and other US-only content streaming apps into the TV.

Those who have subscribed to a VPN service can sign up with these streaming services, which offer 4K content.

With Netflix coming to Singapore early next year, chances are the Netflix app will eventually be available on many smart TVs here. However, other TVs are unlikely to match the wide selection of US streaming content services that can be had with Samsung's smart TVs such as this one.

Besides its software and apps, I also like the "One Connect" box that comes with this TV. This separate connected device is about the size of an external keyboard and houses all the TV's connectors, including the LAN port, four HDMI 2.0 inputs and three USB ports.

This makes it very easy to connect other devices to the TV, especially one as large as this. Imagine having to move this massive 78-inch beast just to plug in a cable. Having an external device also allows this TV to stay slim.

I also like the curved screen, which I find suits larger TVs better because it creates a more enveloping viewing experience.

With such a big TV, and with numerous menu options, a traditional keypad controller no longer works well. To address this, Samsung has updated its motion remote to provide an interface befitting its premium TV. The direction buttons still allow you to scroll through each menu. A mouse-like icon on the screen, which can be controlled by any gesture of the motion controller, offers further navigational help.

But LG's method of motion control on its smart TVs is still more precise and intuitive than the one used here, possibly because its webOS interface is more user- friendly and less cluttered in its layout.

TECH SPECS

PRICE: $14,999
PROCESSOR: Octa core
OPERATING SYSTEM: Tizen
RESOLUTION: 3,840 pixels x 2,160 pixels
SCREEN CURVATURE: 4,200 R
DIGITAL BROADCASTING: DVB-T2
HDMI: 4
USB: 3

RATING

DESIGN: 4/5
FEATURES: 5/5
PERFORMANCE: 4/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

OVERALL: 4/5

Verdict: In terms of display quality, Oled TVs might still offer more, but this Quantum dot TV powerhouse comes close and offers the unique advantage of allowing access to a multitude of content streaming services.


This article was first published on September 25, 2015.
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