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This one-year Samsung AU800D review looks at a budget product line from the manufacturer’s 2021 offerings. The AU800 series comes in six sizes, ranging from the 43-inch runt of the pack to the 85-inch behemoth. There’s little variation in hardware configuration from one screen size to the next.
As Samsung’s 2021 displays go, the AU8000 series aspires to deliver an affordable 4K smart TV. Let’s see how well the manufacturer balances pricing and performance with this entry-level widescreen.
Samsung AU800D review: Design
The Samsung AU800D has a premium look, thanks to an ultra-thin chassis that’s only 2.5 inches at its thickest. Simple hardware configuration means that the TV can get by without a backpack of TV guts sticking out from the main panel. This allows for a sleek side-profile with a gentle, pleasant curve.
You will find a bareback panel with only a VESA wall mount pattern and a column of ports.
Connectivity, audio formats, and video formats
The ports column comprises a USB port, an Ethernet jack, and two HDMI ports. There’s also an antenna connector for your cable box or antenna. A third HDMI port and an optical output sit right outside the inset that holds the other ports.
None of the HDMI ports have HDMI 2.1 capability, but the second one does allow for audio pass-through. You also get to enjoy Dolby Atmos audio through the HDMI and optical ports, which is a big plus. The TV lacks support for DTS format, limiting the richness of sound in your Blu-Ray content. You will also need an adapter to connect older devices that require ‘legacy’ ports.
A dual-band wireless adapter takes care of Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity on the 2.4 and 5GHz frequencies.
Smart TV interface
Samsung smart TVs like the AU800D run Tizen OS: An interface with a good selection of apps. Navigating Tizen is enjoyable, thanks to a smooth and responsive interface that’s easy on the eye. The lack of clutter makes Tizen one of the more pleasant smart TV systems in the market.
Tizen is compatible with Samsung’s Bixby as well as Alexa and Google Assistant. The remote that ships with the Samsung AU800 has a microphone button that you can use to send voice commands to the TV. Samsung also includes a mini-platform that allows Tizen to interact with compatible smart devices. This feature comes in handy if you’re into living spaces that house sentient home electronics.
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Samsung AU800D review: Hardware and picture quality
The AU800 is a VA panel with 4K resolution and 60 frames per second refresh rate. It has LED backlights along the edges, which means this line of TVs lacks local dimming. This limits what the television can do in terms of precision contrast and detail. The larger AU800 panels are 10-bit, meaning they can render more than 1 billion distinct colors. This is important when you’re looking to enjoy vibrant, realistic HDR content.
These panels also come with a pair of 10-watt speakers and the ability to render Dolby Atmos content via HDMI. Here’s what the hardware delivers in terms of picture quality.
Samsung AU800 panels have a narrow color gamut, only covering 84 percent of the DCI-P3 color space. This is limiting when it comes to reproducing the breadth of color it takes to create vivid, high-fidelity HDR pictures.
As for accuracy, the TV produces colors that are a close match to the source signal. The bright colors may be a little brighter than they should be, but the difference is barely noticeable. A stickler for perfect color could make some minor adjustments to shift the colors to their liking.
Let’s see if the peak brightness of the AU800D helps to expand the native color palette of the panel.
Brightness, contrast, and HDR content
The AU800D has a working peak brightness of between 250 and 320 nits. This is on the lower side for a VA panel, and it limits the TV’s ability to create the type of HDR content that pulls you into the screen.
A black level of 0.07 nits delivers inky darkness that retains its color and richness in a dark room. There will be no grays and browns masquerading as blacks on movie night. The resulting native contrast is decent in SDR, where the Samsung AU800D does an excellent job at executing small details.
Still, the lack of local dimming takes away from the detail and fidelity of HDR content. In a thriller where nature is the predator, you might miss the glint of scales gliding gracefully beneath the murky water. The content will look good, but the AU800 is not that magic portal that will transport you to whatever world that’s unfolding on screen.
VA panels have narrow viewing angles, so you need to learn how to make clever seating arrangements. The colors start to shift and wash out at an angle of 40 degrees from the center, with blacks gradually turning brown. There is also a loss of brightness, contrast, and detail the more you move to the side of the TV.
The pixels in the AU800 change from one color to the other in 16 milliseconds. A gray-to-gray response time of 16ms is a little on the slow side in this day and age. It means that motion blur is a possibility, more so with fast-action content.
There’s some good news in the input lag department: it only takes 10ms for a signal to reach the screen. This is fast enough for light gaming and smooth navigation of the Tizen interface. Still, the chance of motion blur and the lack of variable refresh rate limit the AU800 to casual gaming. Playing demanding game titles could have you looking at screen tearing and trailing.
The pair of 10-watt speakers is loud enough on its own, but you should connect an external audio device. This way, you can enjoy a larger, more immersive sound stage with height simulation. The proper audio setup could have you ducking during the climactic air raid scene in your favorite action flick.
- Affordable for its specifications and size
- Eye-catching design and a good build
- Accurate color reproduction with good black levels
- Smart TV interface is compatible with multiple voice assistants
- Support for Dolby Atmos
- Narrow viewing angles
- The TV is dim for a VA panel
- A refresh rate of 60fps can limit the types of content the TV can render
- Edge backlighting means a lack of local dimming
- Motion blur is a possibility
- Lack of variable refresh rate can result in screen tearing with demanding gaming titles
Samsung AU800D review verdict: It covers the basics
If you are in the market for an affordable widescreen for everyday use, the AU800D is worth a look. The display has a smart TV platform with a wealth of features. It delivers content that is an accurate reproduction of the source material. This Samsung AU800D review finds a TV that balances attractive pricing and solid performance. Click here to learn more about this television.
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