Samsung KS9800 Review—SUHD 4K Ultra HD TV (Samsung 65KS9800)
When Samsung unveiled its new line of TVs at CES in Las Vegas, many of us were led to believe that the ultra slim KS9500 would be the company’s flagship. Not so. It appears Samsung was working on something better, something that would excel over the adulated JS9500 that earned such high reviews in 2015. Here comes the trailblazer, the Samsung KS9800, a no-holds-barred TV that is elegantly designed with top-notch features that blend well with the current technology. The KS9800 is the company’s top of the line flagship series for 2016 and it has the hardware and the looks you would expect in a premium set.
The Samsung KS9800 supports the HDR10 high dynamic range (HDR) standard which is currently deemed as the technology of the future. It boasts of a full array local dimming, quantum dot color enhancement, and a whooping 1000 nits brightness. Recall the king of picture quality LG OLED 65G6P was able to hit a peak brightness of 800 nits. This puts the Samsung KS9800 in the league of the brightest TVs on the planet. The KS9800 come in three flavors: a 65-inch option that goes for $4,499, a 78-inch model that goes for $9,999, and a gigantic 88-inch option that costs $19,999. All the KS9800 variants are curved and are cheaper than other high-end TVs on the market.
Samsung KS9800 Design
All of the Samsung KS9800 features a curved panel that is fairly severe relative to the shallower designs often found in a good number of curved screens shipped by other brands. Due to the full array local dimming system that was absent in other models, the KS9800 is a little thicker than its predecessors. This makes the TV looks a little chunky around the back by today’s standards. However, the curve does catch the eye from the front which is even made better by the slender frame wrapped in the entire 2016 TV lineup.
As with previous Samsung flagship TV’s, the connection is great, thanks to the external connection box that attaches perfectly to the TV via a single proprietary cable. The KS9800 one connection box includes 4 HDMI ports, Ethernet connection, 3 USB ports, an optical audio input, satellite and terrestrial TV tuner inputs. Samsung says they have stopped offering future upgradeability, and this connection box cannot be swapped out for a replacement with another one containing updated chipsets and features.
Brightness Levels That May Just Blow Your Mind
High dynamic range (HDR) is the big thing in TVs now and the Samsung KS9800 is typically the porter’s child for HDR. Most experts agree that OLED is superior to all the other display and backlight technologies, but this time round, Samsung has a deadly weapon in its arsenal (peak brightness) and it intends to use it fully against the LG OLED’s, and trust me, it has won in this department. Like Samsung’s entire SUHD premium series, the KS9800 uses the quantum dot technology to achieve these extremely bright levels, higher color accuracy, and more shadow details.
As a result, the peak brightness of the KS9800 is higher than ever. At a peak brightness of over 1000 nits, not only is it higher than that of other 2016 SUHD TVs, it’s also better than the peak brightness of any other 4K TV ever tested in history. Samsung also claims that its 2016 SUHD lineup are capable of achieving a wide color gamut, (specifically 96%) of DCI-P3 which is made possible by the quantum dots. Though not higher than the 99% of DCI-P3 color space achieved by the 2016 OLED lineup, it’s very high for a LED TV and you might not even notice the difference when put side by side with an OLED.
Samsung KS9800 Picture Quality; The Picture You want The World To See
The Samsung KS9800 is the only model among the new 2016 SUHD lineup to offer full-array LED backlighting. It all starts with the use of the quantum dot technology which allows for a billion color combinations. Yes, you read it correctly—one billion. When you combine this with the full-array local dimming and the Peak Illuminator Ultimate tech for brightness, what you get is a picture that you want the world to see.
The local dimming technology produces very deep black levels and many companies are opting to utilize the local dimming algorithm rather than going the expensive OLED way. Sony 2016 flagship also features an advanced local dimming algorithm that allows a cluster of pixels to turn off completely producing near-perfect black levels. If this technology proves effective as Sony puts it, then it will be the perfect alternative to OLED and an inexpensive way to achieve near-perfect black levels. Back to Samsung KS9800, the set also handles motion smoothly without excessive blur or judder. When well calibrated, the TV offers great performance for both HDR and non-HDR content, while offering a fair upscale to all content.
Smart Hub Improvements
Another big thing for Samsung is the “Smart TV”. Samsung has declined to give in to Google’s plans to make Android TV the operating system for Samsung flagships. Instead, the company continues to use the in-house Tizen operating system aka Smart Hub that has also received a huge upgrade for the 2016 lineup. Now the Tizen smart TV platform offers the most popular 4K and other media apps. The interface has also been polished and navigation is now easier than ever. The KS9800 remote lacks the ability to work as a pointer, but it has been optimized for maximum usability.
Even a premier 4K TV as impressive as the Samsung KS9800 is not without flaws. None of them, however, is by any means a deal breaker for anyone willing to pay the price, but they are worth mentioning. First, if you are like me, and you love flat screen panels, then the curvature in the KS9800 will definitely put you off. Unfortunately, Samsung does not offer any flat model in its 2016 lineup. However, the curvature in the KS9800 is purely aesthetic and might even get you converted. Next, the KS9800 and all its 2016 SUHD cousins do not have support for 3D. The popularity of 3D has been dwindling with time as technology continues to evolve, so if you are the kind that can’t let go 3D, then the entire 2016 SUHD lineup might not be your most preferred choice. Other than that, the Samsung KS9800 is a great TV and one that you will love for the picture quality.
The Samsung KS9800 is the best LED TV so far and it has proved that LED can perform what was otherwise believed impossible for LED TVs. There is no other TV on the market except the OLED flagships that can match the picture quality of this TV. If you have the wonga, then go for it.