Samsung UA65F9000

Despite excellent all-round picture quality, the Samsung UNF9000 4K TV offers almost no improvement over cheaper 1080p TVs that cost thousands less.

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Even if you can actually afford one, now is not a good time to buy a TV with 4K resolution. Hold off a few months and better ones will be announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, likely with actual HDMI 2.0 inputs, a wider range of screen sizes and maybe even improved picture quality. They'll probably still be too expensive for mainstream consumption, but they'll be cheaper than the ones available now.

But if you just Want A 4K TV Now, Damn the Caveats! (™), the Samsung UNF9000 series is as good a choice as any. Its picture is superb for an LED-based LCD, and LCD happens to be the only TV technology that can deliver 4K resolution to the market now. The F9000 offers best-in-class future proofing, with Samsung's unique Evolution Kit option available to keep its processor, smart TV suite and inputs from going obsolete over the next few years.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)


The UNF9000 shares the same brilliant, stunningly minimalist design as the UNF8000. The bezel around the screen on my 65-inch review sample is too thick to call "hairline", but it still makes the big TV seem almost all picture. I appreciated its mostly black colouration, accented by the thin line of silver along the very edge when seen from the front. Another thing I appreciated: the "Samsung" logo below the screen is tiny.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Another highlight is the unique stand. Depending on the height of your tabletop, the stand can disappear, leaving the TV to levitate above. And not far above — the TV measures just 1.5 inches between the bottom of its frame and the tabletop, the lowest profile of any TV I can remember. Only a pair of curved feet peep out at the extreme edges to either side; they're actually the ends of the base, most of which arcs behind the set. Needless to say, it doesn't allow the TV to swivel.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

It also requires a table as wide as the TV itself. As long as you follow the manual's grave instructions to not let those little feet protrude over the edges of your tabletop, it's plenty stable. When I ignored those instructions during my F8000 review, the TV did actually fall over. No harm was done, but let that be a lesson to ya.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

All Samsung high-end TVs this year include its touch-pad clicker. It's small, with just a few buttons above and below a spacious pad, but it fit perfectly in my hand. The remote uses Bluetooth to work without needing to be aimed at the TV. Responsiveness was superb, and I found myself merrily swiping along large menus and rarely missing my selection. In many ways, it's the best remote control included with any TV I've ever used.

The short version? The F9000 is just like the F8000 but with 4K resolution and a special One Connect box where all the inputs live. And the F8000, in true Samsung fashion, had more features than any other TV on the market until this one came along. Like all Samsung TVs, the F9000 uses active 3D technology, despite the improvement 4K resolution affords passive 3D. It continues Samsung's tradition of including four pairs of active 3D glasses in the box.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Picture quality

Allow me to reiterate that once you get to HD resolution on a TV, other factors like contrast, colour and uniformity have a much greater impact on how good the image looks. Beyond resolution, the F9000 is an excellent performer for an LED LCD. It evinced the same superb black-level performance and colour accuracy as the F8000, beating Panasonic's WT600 in overall picture quality, although the latter has an advantage in bright rooms and from off angle. As usual, the best plasmas, and even a mid-level 1080p one like the Panasonic S60, provide a better overall picture.

I did have two versions of "Timescapes", one on Blu-ray disc at 1080p and another on an MP4 file at 4K. I compared them with one another directly, simultaneously playing the 4K version on the 4K sets and the 1080p version on the 1080p sets. The 4K version did appear a bit more detailed in areas like the finest textures in the dirt (10:21) and rocks (12:40).

For the next few years anyway, 4K TVs are going to be displaying, at best, 1080p high-definition content most of the time. The majority of my testing of the F9000 used various examples of high-def, from Blu-ray to broadcast TV. The F9000 is an excellent performer overall, but in no case did its extra pixels afford any improvement to high-def video seen from normal seating distances.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

The F9000 can deliver extremely deep black levels, so despite some compromises, it's still one of the best LED LCDs I've ever tested in this department. Shadow detail was solid enough, but nonetheless represented a relative weakness. In the very darkest areas, the TV obscured some of the near-black areas.

With dead-accurate measurements, the F9000 has no issues in colour accuracy. Turning to the tour de force "Tree of Life", colours looked excellent during Chapter 5, from the flesh tones of the wife's face to the vibrant greens of the grass and trees.

The F9000 is capable of delivering true 1080p24 film cadence, as expected from any TV at this level. Unlike most other such LED LCD TVs, however, it can also deliver full motion resolution at the same time.

As long as you keep local dimming engaged, the F9000's dark-field uniformity is very good, if not quite at the same level as Sony's W900A. The F9000 has the same screen finish as the F8000 and behaved the same under the lights. Like any glossy LED-based LCD, its main issue in bright rooms is reflections.


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SharenaM posted a comment   

common with a superb 4k upscaller you have a far superior picture mate..... especially from your current sources.and for that alone, and price drop to $4300 ( 60 months interest free) and future proof one 'connectability' best 3d performance,smartest smart tv .....just forget the rest

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