Samsung ES8000 Smart LED TV Review, Smart TVs get smarter

A couple of weeks ago I was placed under house arrest at Maxim’s Hotel Resorts World to check out and play with Samsung’s latest Smart TV for 2012, the humongous 55-inch Samsung ES8000 LED TV.

Samsung ES8000

The Samsung ES8000 LED TV continues with the success of their last year’s Smart TV model. It still has Smart Hub and the apps that go with it, 3D viewing, WiFi support, and now they also added voice control and hand gesture control to the mix, as well as a convenient upgrade path without having to buy a new TV.

samsung es8000 stand

The new Samsung Smart TV retains the almost borderless look of last year’s model with a narrow chrome frame surrounding it. It’s still slim as before but Samsung replaced the X-stand with one that looks like a helicopter’s feet. It’s very sturdy and spreads the weight of the big screen in two areas for a stable set up for years to come.

Motion Gesture

Motion control is detected by the built-in camera situated on top of the TV which you also use to video chat via Skype. Unlike other TV’s with gestures, you don’t need a remote or a wand to control this TV. Move your arms to control the mouse pointer and close your fist to click. It was fun at first but it can be tiring to keep your arms up to navigate the TV.

samsung es8000 camera

The camera is also used for facial recognition. You can create a profile with your face on it and attach it to your Smart Hub account and social network accounts such as Facebook and Twitter so you don’t have to input your username and password every time. An ingenious idea considering there’s typically more than one member in the household that will be using the TV.

Voice Control

The Samsung ES8000 also comes with two remote controls, a regular one and special one that has the basic controls and also doubles as a mic and touchpad, giving you another way to navigate and control the TV.

samsung es8000 special remote

Although you can control the TV by voicing out your command in the room (keyword is “Hi TV”), I find it much more responsive to use the special remote especially when there’s ambient noise. I find this method better than motion control when changing channels, just say the channel number. If it’s too loud in the room, there’s still the basic TV buttons to rely on and since it communicates via WiFi, you don’t have to be in the line of sight of the TV to use it.

samsung remote

If you rely heavily on keyboard, there’s a Samsung Remote app for iOS and Android smartphone users. Aside from using your phone’s touchscreen to tap away on the onscreen keyboard, you can also use the app to change channels and other basic functions.

es8000 channel booster

But what do you do if you have a separate remote for your cable channels? Samsung got you covered with this channel booster which is a wireless receiver connected to your cable box. With this device, you can still use Samsung’s remote even for cable TV.

3D Viewing

es8000 3d glasses

The Samsung ES8000 is also capable of 1080p Full HD 3D viewing. They redesigned the Active 3D glasses to be lighter and more pleasing to the eye. It’s still powered though and communicates via Bluetooth so there’s the likelihood it will stop functioning and interrupt your 3D viewing experience. I personally like the old design more with the sides covered to prevent non-3D images from seeping in on your peripheral.

Picture Quality

es8000 picture

Nothing has changed with the picture quality compared to last year’s model. When your basic LED TV has 60Hz or 100Hz refresh rate, the Samsung ES8000 has a whopping 800MHz clear motion rate for smooth and fluid video quality. Even when watching non-HD videos, the TV projects that HD viewing feel having deep contrast and smooth quality.

Smart Hub

Smart Hub is the main center to do “smart” things with your TV. Here you can visit websites, your social network accounts, watch online videos, and interact with a number of apps and games pre-installed with the TV. You can also download apps for free from Samsung through Smart Hub.

Samsung ES8000 smart hub

In terms of apps powered by Smart Hub, probably the most interesting addition is the Fitness app. Using motion gesture, you can stay fit by following the app, similar to how fitness games work with the Microsoft Kinect. There are also games for kids that use motion gestures to play.

Evolution Kit

evolution kit

One of the problems consumers encounter when buying high-end TVs is that every year a new and better model always turn up. The Samsung ES8000 has what they call an Evolution Kit which allows you to upgrade your TV’s specs and firmware without you having to replace the whole thing. Just buy the kit and plug it at the back of the TV to give it the latest software and hardware when available.

Verdict

The Samsung ES8000 inherited the superb performance from its predecessor and added new features that make a true Smart TV of the future. Voice and motion control may not work as fluidly being the first iteration but given time, Samsung will further improve these functions and the Evolution Kit will make sure that your TV won’t get outdated.

The Samsung ES8000 LED TV will be available in 46″, 55″ and 60″ and this 55-inch model we reviewed is priced at Php279,000. Basic package comes with 4 3D-glasses, the two remote control units, and the channel booster.


22 Comments

  1. JmBalicano /

    That evolution kit is a nice idea. Hopefully it’ll trickle down to their LCDs and LEDs that sell in the 20k+ range.

    • Griswold /

      naw i dont think the evo kit will be implemented sa mga affordable range nila. mawawalan sila ng customers for new TVs. besides, baka yung evo kit di ganun ka mura for low-end LED TV customers, baka masbetter pa rin ang bumili ng bagong TV.

      • JmBalicano /

        yeah, it’s just wishful thinking. libre lang mangarap, ahaha..

  2. Griswold /

    What i like here is the voice control. which i hope dumating din sa mga low-end TV’s nila capable of having WiFi. or pwede via Bluetooth. hassle kasi yung IR eh. di wide yung range.

  3. Riley M /

    I’m debating on whether I should the ES8000, or lower version. The ES series has many of the same features, so I’m fine with either one as long as it looks good with my HD channels from Dish. I signed up for HD Free for Life a few months ago, but I haven’t had a TV to take advantage of it. I invite friends over to watch many of the games on ESPN on the weekend. I have been asking around at Dish, and many of my colleagues are suggesting that I go for the better version. Just thinking about it makes me even more excited for football season!

  4. Anonymous /

    resolution??

  5. That TV looks amazing. I think the next step is a TV with no border. That would be really amazing.

  6. Butoy /

    Was thinking of the 46″ D8000 due to restrictions on my tv showcase but ended up with the UA46ES8000. Totally happy with it. My 2yo kid (almost 3) love’s playing Angry Birds with hand gestures now. Loved watching the olympic games now since I have 4 Olympic channels in HD 1080i and 1 channel in 3D SBS. Perfect bonding for the family.

  7. David Wilson /

    nice idea…superb technique..thnks for the post

  8. I didn’t see UA46ES8000 model in stores, is this not available in Philippines?

  9. Hi, stumbled across your article while researching about the smart features of Samsung’s range.. My parents like to watch Filipino shows on the Pinoy Channel website. Is it possible to do this with the TV? (I’m assuming that there is a built in web browser).

    I appreciate your help. Thank you for the informative article!

  10. Stevie B /

    I have ongoing issues with the ultra-thin silver bezel, which resonates & buzzes around 420-430 Hz – especially when watching programmes with a constant/sustained background noise such as football and music (or dramatic sections of films where a note or section of music is held for a long time)!
    The Samsung Service Engineers have changed the speakers (their initial suspects) but the problem still exists!
    They didn’t have a Frequency Generator in their van so I downloaded my own FG App when the problem resurfaced and immediately identified the problem!
    However, the Samsung Service Centre have already said they will NOT exchange the TV (which is only 5 months old and cost me £2500!) as the problem is only ‘intermittent’ and not constant AND the TV is sold predominantly as a VISUAL MEDIA NOT AN AUDIO MEDIA! They state that the majority of owners will have also purchased a Surround Sound/Home Cinema setup to support the 3D/Superb Picture Quality – therefore(in their eyes) the problem is not worthy of significant attention – even though I pointed out that there will be a large number of people who only use their TV as a stand-alone unit – they would not enter into a discussion on this point!!
    I’m thoroughly disappointed with their attitude and stance and will be taking this further (to the TV Media) if this does not get resolved to my satisfaction!
    Has anyone else experienced or noticed a similar bezel buzzing on their set – especially the 55″ which is the size I have?
    I would value your thoughts and feedback!?
    Steve

    • Notso Lucky /

      WoW you must be really lucky to have an incredible problem like that and even more so to expect a refund after 5 months.
      What level of volume do you listen at that it creates exactly 420 HZ from the bezel, WoW again.
      Maybe the bezel has come loose from such a high loudness level and simply needs some adherent to resecure it.
      Try some duct tape so the visual will match the audio.

      • James /

        Good luck with that. It is even worse if you purchased your not so smart SMART TV in the Philippines. I am planning to create a very detailed blog of my Samsung horror story. For those of us who fell into the trap of buying this junk, there’s no way out. Sorry. First they send you two incompetent technicians who will not be able to resolve the problem. They will ask you to email the necessary documents, requests and so on, for a more ” extensive” diagnosis. Two months later, they will replace parts, in my case, the LED panel- with a refurbished one. That seemed to fix the problem at first. Guess again. Other problems will begin to surface. Your 3D Glasses will not work anymore. The TV’s motherboard will be the next these people will blame and so on. And before you know it, 7 months have already passed and you are not entitled anymore for a replacement or refund. Say goodbye to your hard earned money. I’m beggining to stay away from more Samsung products. I bought two galaxy note 10.1 tab. Both defective…But that is another SAMSUNG HORROR STORY.

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