Samsung Crystal UHD 7 Series Review: Good Picture Quality for a Good Price


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You’ll come across the odd Samsung Crystal UHD 7 Series review as you research Samsung’s TU8000 product line. This particular review evaluates the 43-inch TU8000, the smallest panel in the series. It is an important read for anyone thinking of buying the latest Samsung entry-level 4K televisions.

The TU8000 series is the 2020 version of the RU8000, a 2019 product line that was designed to give maximum value for money. Do the TU8000 displays outperform earlier 8-series televisions in any meaningful way? Let’s find out.

Samsung Crystal UHD 7 Series review: Unboxing the NU43TU800

The TV ships in a package that contains a power cable, a remote, and a pair of batteries. It does not ship with any media cables. However, you will find cable management clips, TV legs, wall-mount gear, and the screws you’ll need to mount the TV.

There’s also a quick-start guide that helps with installation and setup.

Design

Samsung crystal UHD 7 series review

The TU8000 panel sits in a sturdy, charcoal black chassis that boasts a high-end design. The textured plastic that makes up the chassis goes nicely with the ultra-thin bezels and angular edges of the TV. 

Just as impressive is the side profile of the TV. At only 2.3 inches at its widest point, the slim side profile forms a gentle curve that gets wider towards the bottom.

The back has a 200×200 VESA wall mount pattern and a set of grooves that help with cable management. Also at the back is a set of input ports.

Controls, inputs, and connectivity

Keep in mind that this TV only works with a 110V outlet. This means that a person who lives in a 220V region will need an adapter for the NU43TU8000. As for controls, there’s a single button under the Samsung logo. Like Morse code, different combinations of dots and dashes correspond to different commands. Moving on to the inputs.

You get your pick of three HDMI ports; one of which has eARC capability. The TV also comes with an optical port, an Ethernet port, and two USB ports. For the people with older devices, a pair of L/R audio ports and a composite video port will channel analog signals. There’s also a coaxial connector for your antenna or cable box.

Being a smart TV, the 43-inch TU8000 comes with Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. You can cast content via both types of connections, and WiFi capability allows you to link the TV with compatible smart devices in the home network.

[Read what others are saying about this TV]

Samsung Crystal UHD 7 Series review: Setup

Physical installation is pretty straightforward. The TV legs attach easily, and without the need for screws. If you choose to go the wall mount route, the 43-inch TU8000 ships with a mounting bracket. The quick-start guide has useful diagrams that will help you along.

Once you install, connect, and power the TV, the work begins.

Samsung’s Tizen interface stares back at you when you switch on the NU43TU8000 for the first time. The OS will ask for your account details and give you the option to create a new Samsung account. A step-by-step prompt will take you through setup, a process that also allows you to choose a voice assistant. If you don’t want to activate a voice assistant, you can skip that step.

Setup concludes at the Tizen home screen, which has a ribbon of apps and menu items at the bottom of the page. Activating the ‘Ambient mode’ feature transforms an idle TU8000 screen into an art piece. You get to enjoy beautiful images that take full advantage of the frameless look of the TU8000 TV.

The Tizen ecosystem

Tizen OS has a wide selection of apps; many of which come pre-installed. All your favorites are present: From Netflix to YouTube TV to Amazon Prime. Different voice assistants and their corresponding add-ons are also available for download from the Tizen store. It’s worth noting that you can switch voice assistants via the settings menu.

With time, the interface learns your preferences and viewing habits. It aggregates these data points into a menu that resembles a personalized feed. Ultimately, this ‘feed’ eliminates the need to jump from one app to another.

In theory, the interface should render a pleasant user experience. In practice, there are some kinks.

Interface: Tizen’s spasms

You will notice some lag as you switch between apps or select an input. To put it simply, the version of Tizen on this 43-inch TU8000 needs an update. There’s nothing like a sluggish interface to take the joy out of your TV viewing experience, so Samsung needs to do something about the software.

For a TV that advertises Alexa as its ‘flagship’ voice assistant, the UN43BU8000 sure does drop the ball when it comes to Amazon-powered apps. The Prime app may fail to load, and you might come across apps that log you out.

These annoying glitches take away from the overall user experience. The annoyances could cause you to overlook the impressive picture quality of the TV.

Samsung Crystal UHD 7 Series review: Smart functions

You can use your preferred voice assistant to retrieve traffic information, pull up a news feed, or order groceries. The TV’s smart assistant can also control compatible smart devices in the home network. This useful feature only works if you can get the TV to hear your voice commands. However, the shaky TV interface might make this difficult.

So if you have an existing smart device in your home network, use it as the primary smart-home controller. Let the TV take orders from said device; it’s easier that way.

Remote

The TU8000 ships with a simple Samsung remote that’s light, compact, and easy to use. It has a microphone that allows you to talk to the voice assistant.

A little programming creates a universal remote that can command a variety of devices.  However, a first-time user of the remote will need the user manual to learn how to make full use of the remote.

Hardware and picture quality

TU8000 televisions are VA panels with a 60Hz refresh rate. These 4K crystal (LCD) panels have LED backlights along their edges. Edge-lit panels like the 43-inch Samsung TU8000 lack local dimming; a limitation that affects the displays’ ability to render breathtaking contrast and popping detail.

Samsung’s proprietary Crystal processor upscales lower-resolution content to 4K. The idea is to make full use of the impressive pixel density of the Samsung NU43TU8000. Here’s how the hardware comes together.

1.       Picture quality: Color and brightness

The Samsung TU8000 televisions have a narrow color gamut that only covers around 80 percent of the sRGB spectrum. This limits the palette available to the NU43TU8000 as it recreates color based on a source signal. However, a few tweaks to the picture settings yields accurate color reproduction.

A peak brightness level of 271 nits in both SDR and HDR adds some volume to the color palette. That said, TU8000 panels are dimmer compared to their predecessors from previous years. 

This limits the range of color that the displays have to work with, and the result is dimmer HDR images. In a brightly lit room, the 43-inch Samsung TU8000 looks noticeably dim, with a little glare to boot.

2.       Picture quality: Contrast, sharpness, and detail

Though the Samsung 43TU8000 could be brighter, it still manages an impressive contrast ratio of 6000:1. This ratio points to excellent black levels that create a nice contrast between the brightest and dimmest colors. The result is a good level of detail and texture in brightly lit scenes.

Darkly lit videos lose a degree of detail because of a lack of local dimming (which would create even deeper black levels) combined with dim HDR pictures.

3.       Picture quality: Viewing angles

VA panels are famous for their motion handling and fast response times. They are also notorious for their narrow viewing angles.

At 40 degrees from the center, a keen eye will notice a shift in color as black colors turn brown and brighter colors wash out.

4.       Picture quality: Response time, input lag and overall motion handling

Motion handling is where the TU8000 shines, with minimal response times and input lag. It takes between 5.2 and 18 milliseconds for a pixel to change color. As response times go, this is fast enough to minimize the appearance of ghosting and motion blur.

Gamers will love the 10ms input lag for SDR gaming. If you switch to HDR games, the duration trebles; but it 30ms is still pretty fast. The result is a responsive screen that keeps up with fast-paced gameplay.

The only drawback is a lack of support for a variable refresh rate. This introduces the slim possibility of judder and screen tearing. Otherwise, the TV will do a seamless rendition of games of varying frame rates and hardware requirements.

Sound

The TV comes with a pair of 20W speakers. The sound they produce goes as low as 85Hz, which is adequate for a pair of internal speakers. Expect loud, balanced audio that can get you through a newscast or a TV show. That said, the audio enthusiast will need external speakers. 

It’s worth noting that the TU8000 supports Dolby Digital Plus. The HDMI-eARC port adds Dolby Atmos compatibility. However, the TV lacks support for DTS.

Pros

  • Nice design and good build quality
  • A good selection of input ports
  • You have your choice of voice assistant (Alexa, Bixby. Google Assistant)
  • Tizen OS has a wide variety of apps 
  • Good resolution and 4K upscaling
  • Good picture quality and motion handling
  • The inbuilt speakers work well
  • Game mode activates automatically when you activate your console

Cons

  • The screen is slightly reflective and there may be some glare in a bright room
  • Intrusive ads that you remove by blacklisting a few Samsung URLs
  • The spastic interface could use a good software update
  • You may have to calibrate the TV during setup
  • Narrow color gamut
  • Narrow viewing angles
  • The TV is a little dim, which affects the quality of HDR picture
  • Poor shadow contouring, which translates into a lack of detail in dark scenes

Samsung Crystal UHD 7 Series review verdict: Good picture quality, kinks in the software

For a 4K TV, the Samsung NU43TU8000 is affordable. The picture quality of the TV is also a major selling point. In addition to exploring these great qualities, this Samsung crystal UHD review uncovers an operating system that needs an update.

Does the TU8000 outperform previous Samsung 8-series televisions? Only in terms of motion handling, and only by a hair. Click here to learn more about this television.

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