29/11/2013 10:51 GMT | Updated 29/11/2013 10:53 GMT

Samsung UE46F8000 Review: Just How Good Is A Really, Really Great TV?


The Samsung 46-inch UE46F8000 TV is available for around £1,499 from Currys.

Key Features:

  • 46-inch LED pannel (1080P)
  • Active 3D (with two pairs of included glasses)
  • 3D 'HyperReal' picture engine
  • 40W speakers
  • Built-in WiFi, quad-core processor
  • 4X HDMI, 3X USB 2.0
  • Freeview/Freesat HD tuners
  • Smart TV with App Store
  • Pop-out Camera
  • Motion-based single remote control

The Pitch:

"Combining the latest Smart TV features and industry-leading interactive voice and motion controls, outstanding Full HD 3D picture quality and innovative audio, the Samsung UE46F8000 Smart 3D 46" LED TV is undeniably the ultimate 21st-Century home entertainment hub."


In the main, TV reviews are for specialists: a group of rarified, technically minded individuals who sit around all day surrounded by panels and screens, know what things like a 'HyperReal' picture engine and Clear Motion Rates are, and have opinions on 8K and 16K before you've even seen a 4K TV in the flesh.

For most of you - for most of us - buying a TV is a bit more depressing, and fraught, and inexact. For most people, it's about avoiding the poorly built junk on the low end, but settling for a set below the ultra-luxury mega-tellies. Something about £500-700-ish, not too fancy... let's all move on with our lives.

And in the main, that's probably just life. But every time you stare at that set for the next two-to-five years, you'll always wonder what you could have had, if only you'd pushed the boat out a little and bought something really fun.

The Samsung UE46F8000 Smart 3D LED TV is the answer.

And we're here to tell you that not only is it ridiculously named, it is also ridiculously good. Yes, the sad truth is that if you don't have a really good TV, you probably don't even know what a really good TV is.

Some things are a given when it comes to a set like the F8000, of course. Take the picture. You'd expect brilliance, and that's what you get. Experts more, well, "expert" than us have given it top marks for picture quality and straight visual fidelity, and we have to agree that it looks incredible, even without too much fiddling with the settings. The back lighting is superbly even, colours pop and black areas are inky and deep, and motion is rendered brilliantly, even without the Motion Plus frame creation system turned on. The 3D performance is great too - the very slim design of the set means that it's easy to focus on the action on screen, and there's no sense of flicker. Even the included pairs of 3D glasses are comfortable and well designed.

Similarly, you'd also expect a full suite of Smart TV apps, and that's also present and correct. The software is based around five separate screens - a Store, a Multimedia tab for playing files off USB and networks, the Live TV screen, the Apps tray and a social 'Friends' tab, which collects recommendations on the fly. The Apps page is well stocked on first boot, with iPlayer, 4OD, ITV, Channel 5, Netflix and Lovefilm all installed by default. There are many more apps to choose from too, and all launch and run as fast as you'd hope, thanks to the Quad-Core processor chugging away (silently) in the background. The result is that even if you don't work too hard to explore all the options, this is a very Smart TV indeed.

Finally on the obvious front, you have design. The F8000 is beautiful, with a curved, elegant, all-metal stand, thin bezels and minimalist touches which make it look totally stunning from any angle. Even the placement of the ports - all on the lower-left corner, makes for simple and easy cable management.

But then there are the non-obvious features. The things that make owning a super TV like this really worthwhile. And there are so many, it's hard to keep track.

For starters, your main TV HDMI source isn't just stuck on a certain HDMI input. It's automatically found and integrated into the Smart TV software. The TV learns what you watch and can suggest new programs, all while controlling your Sky Box (or whatever) from a single remote, via an IR blaster.

And oh, the remote. While the TV comes with a normal plastic controller, the real remote is a simple, gesture-based doodad that lets you draw channel numbers with your finger.

If that's not enough, the TV also lets you control your set - and watch pictures from any of the inputs, including one you're not using - on your Android smartphone. Technically you could use your phone as a second-screen on which to play a PS4, for instance. It actually doesn't work in practice - there's a bit too much lag. But watching a Blu-Ray on your phone, via a games console, is undeniably neat. Elsewhere, there's a pop-up, high-quality camera on top for Skype calls, while the included voice and gesture controls make it easy (though not always foolproof) to switch between functions at will. The TV even has good sound quality - though we'll be damned if we know where the speakers are hidden.

The overall feeling, once you've gotten used to the TV, is of something elegant, powerful and much cleverer than you have any right to expect. The Smart TV interface isn't a janky add-on, it's a beautiful, centralised way to experience entertainment. The live-TV integration is better than that on the Xbox One, and the picture quality is also more amazing than you'd ever really think possible.

And this is the problem. Because whatever way you look at it, the F8000 is still £1,499 - and as such, a serious investment. If you add up the features and look at the price compared to an equivalent size TV lower down the rung, you might still find yourself leaning the other way.

But that wasn't really the point of this review. As we said, there are others more suited to pouring every inch of value in this TV, and its competitors.

The point here was just to examine what owners of great TVs are getting for their money. And the sad - but sort of pleasing - answer, is simple: they're getting lots. TV isn't perfect in the land of the high-end screen. But it's close. And the F8000 is the best TV we've ever tried in person. Sigh.