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Samsung's 8K TV gave me a glimpse of the future -- and a big reason to look away

Review: The Samsung QN800B TV displays some of the most beautiful pictures I've ever seen on a TV screen. It's also very expensive.
Written by Rebecca Isaacs, Staff Writer on
Pros
  • Vivid detailed picture
  • Neural Quantum Processor upscales content to 8K
  • Automatic brightness adjustment for dim and bright environments
Cons
  • Very expensive at $2,799
  • Some console connectivity issues
  • Computer hub separate from TV

When you get the opportunity to test out Samsung's 65-inch QN800B 8K QLED TV, you do not hesitate to check out an 8K picture. Such was the case about a month ago when I was offered this opportunity, and with Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power days away from release, it was the perfect time to see its picture quality. 

After testing it out for a few weeks, I've found this TV is not only one of the best TVs I've ever tested, but it's also indicative of the future of televisions, and the future is looking vivid, bright, and beautiful.

Specs

Screen size

64.5" Measured Diagonally

Resolution

7,680 x 4,320

Color

100% Color Volume with Quantum Dot

High dynamic range

Quantum HDR 32x

Picture processor

Neural Quantum Processor 8K

Viewing angle

Ultra Viewing Angle

Adaptive picture

Optimized/EyeComfort

Auto Motion Plus

Yes

Refresh rate

120Hz

Wi-Fi connectivity

Wi-Fi

Bluetooth

BT5.2

HDMI ports

4

USB 2.0 ports

2

Samsung 65-inch Class QN800B Samsung Neo QLED 8K Smart TV

Endulging the premiere of The Rings of Power on the 65-inch panel. 

Rebecca Isaacs/ZDNET

Design

The QN800B is heavy which may come as a surprise if you're used to lighter-weight flat screens. It weighs nearly 69 pounds with the stand. But the weight doesn't solely rest on the TV; behind it sits the smart Tizen Slim One Connect hub that houses the new Neural Quantum 8K processor. It took some delicate finagling to get this hub to rest in the groove on the stand and locked in with the included lid, but once that's done, it's essentially a "set it and forget it" component. You can also mount the hub or leave it on the side, but for a TV this immersive, you'll want to tuck away any and all distractions. 

Samsung QN800B 8K QLED TV

The Slim One Connect hub sits snuggly on the back of the TV. 

Rebecca Isaacs/ZDNET

Speaking of immersive, the QN800B features an infinity screen design, so the bezel is close to non-existent. The TV is 0.7-inches thick and plastered with plenty of ventilation holes to keep the heat that the TV generates evenly dispersed. From watching movies to bingeing TV shows, the Samsung TV certainly gets warm while on, but not hot enough to damage wall plaster should you mount it. That's quite a feat for an 8K-running machine.  

More: The 5 best 8K TVs: Future-proof your home theater

Picture quality

The 8K provides a detailed depth to the picture that I didn't realize I lacked in my old model. When watching The Rings of Power, it highlighted each gold leaflet on the elven crowns, and I could see every tree bark groove in the forested Eregion scenes. For major shows I watched like House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power, Samsung's Quantum Dot Technology, with its 33 million pixels and Mini LEDs, came to play. From drastically improving the level of detail in pictures to making scenes all the more color-accurate, these future-forward aspects are a rarity with mainstream TVs and a big reason why the QN800B costs as much as it does.

Samsung QN800B 8K QLED TV

Colors are exceptionally punchy and the image is sharp. 

Rebecca Isaacs/ZDNET

In addition to the detailed imagery on-screen, the TV features a Smart Adaptive Picture mode that enhanced my viewing both in the brightest and darkest ambient conditions. For new content like House of the Dragon and The Rings of Power, the TV kept my picture beautiful, bright, and viewable at any time of day. But it also created minor issues in older film footage. I watched the original Lord of the Rings trilogy in order to see how effective the new processor's 8K upscaling was and some scenes in Fangorn Forest appeared a little too blue, dulling out other colors.

Gaming was much better. My partner is a PS4 gamer and I watched him play Guardians of the Galaxy for this review. Because of the 8K picture and the 120Hz refresh rate, the gameplay felt incredibly detailed. During one galactic battle in an asteroid field, I could see not only the detailing on the ship, including scratches from old dog fights, but also each asteroid's unique shape. For gamers, having this high detail in their picture not only provides a more immersive entertainment experience but allows them to appreciate the creator's artistry. 

More: Gamers: To get the most out of your gameplay, you need one of these TVs

Performance

One of my biggest problems with the QN800B didn't stem from the picture quality but from the other performance factors of the TV. While the TV comes with a built-in smart Tizen hub that houses all the apps I typically use, I opted to retain my handy Roku Ultra as it's connected to my Philips Hue hub. As the TV screen adjusts color and brightness, my smart bulbs complement what I'm watching -- but I couldn't get this feature working with the QN800B. This seems to be a Roku thing, but the incompatibility certainly took away from the viewing experience. Additionally, I found the TV refusing to register the PS4 and the Roku as different HDMI ports, and couldn't troubleshoot that correctly. 

Samsung QN800B 8K QLED TV

Ventilation holes help with heat dispersion. 

Rebecca Isaacs/ZDNET

This glitch however didn't impede any other performances on the TV. The Neural Quantum Processor 8K highlighted the Real Depth Enhancer, giving images a more 3D-like experience on-screen, so I felt more immersed in the content I watched. Coupled with Smart Calibration, a feature that helped calibrate my TV for my apartment's bright living room, Dolby Atmos, and Object Tracking Sound+, the QN800B felt like one of the complete TVs I've tested. The viewing experience with these integrated technologies was nothing I had seen before, and I expect similar features to come with future market models.

More: We found the best TV antennas so you can watch live TV without a subscription

Pricing

By now, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the QN800B costs a lot of money. It starts at $2,799 and my tested model clocks in at $3,499. It's a high price to pay for a TV, no question. However, the power and immersive viewing experience for the price makes it a semi-justifiable investment, especially considering Sony prices its Sony 75-inch class BRAVIA XR Z9J LED 8K UHD model at $3,999 and it can only perform up to 4K upscaling. In comparison, the Samsung QN800B automatically upscales its content to 8K. As someone who has reviewed multiple TVs, you can see the difference on-screen.

Bottom line

Samsung's QN800B QLED 8K TV is as good as it gets, but it's the lofty price tag that holds me back from fully committing to one. Still, I recommend the QN800B TV for those that want the very best in their living rooms or want a future-proof television system -- and money is not an object. 

Additionally, this TV was designed for those that want to see every detail during viewing, and those that want a model that will very likely support the formats and resolutions that shows and movies come in for the foreseeable future. If you're in the market for a top-of-the-line model or are a huge movie and show enthusiast who enjoys watching for the little details, this model will be the best for your living room.

Alternatives to Consider

This is a lot of cash to invest in a TV. If you're looking for alternatives to the Samsung QN800B TV, take a look below for some alternatives to consider for your home.

Editorial standards

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