See All Plasma TV

Samsung E8000 Review

*Est. $1,700 to $3,000
Reviewed
October 2012
by ConsumerSearch
Samsung E8000 Review

Samsung E8000 Review

Pros
  • More features than any other current plasma TV
  • Good blacks
  • Accurate color
Cons
  • Some features still need work
  • Some sets have better black levels

Bottom Line

An almost bewildering array of features make the Samsung E8000 the go-to set for those who demand all of the latest toys in their plasma TVs -- as long as you can put up with some growing pains along the way. Picture quality is outstanding, but perhaps a very small step below that of some competitors. The E8000 series is available in three screen sizes, including the 51-inch PN51E8000 (*Est. $1,700), 60-inch PN60E8000 (*Est. $2,300) and 64-inch PN64E8000 (*Est. $3,000).

Performance

Excellent, but outstripped by some competing sets. Judged on its own, and depending on who you ask, this set's picture quality is generally first rate. Colors are a particular highlight, with expert after expert complimenting the E8000 in that regard. CNET says that although the E8000 doesn't quite merit reference standing for color performance, differences between it and the very top performers are so slight as to not be visible unless sets are compared side to side.

While black levels are deep enough to hold their own against most competing sets, the E8000 fails to earn as much respect as some other brands. FlatpanelsHD.com reports, "Black depth is not as deep as on Panasonic's plasma TVs" and others agree, especially when it comes to the company's competing flagship line, the VT50. Samsung equips the E8000 with glare-fighting technology that reviewers call only somewhat effective. Coupled with limited brightness, which is typical on many plasma TVs, that makes the E8000 only a mediocre performer in well-lit spaces. Screen uniformity and off-angle viewing are both excellent. The built-in sound is fine for casual listening, but most will want to add a good home theater system or sound bar.

Most of the picture qualities of the E8000 are very good, but it really shines in its 3D performance. TelevisionInfo.com isn't a fan of 3D -- or of picture quality of 3D content -- but finds the E8000 to be outstanding compared to the competition. Colors are reasonably accurate and the set is largely free of ghosting.

Most plasma sets fall short of LED TVs when it comes to power consumption, and the E8000 is no exception. None of the sizes in the series are Energy Star qualified.

Features

Feature-packed doesn't begin to describe it. CNET says it best: "It's as if Samsung took every feature that could possibly appeal to anyone and added a few more." The E8000 is blessed with one of the most complete suites of Internet apps around -- minus only Amazon Instant among the majors -- and active-shutter 3D that works better than any other plasma set.

Yet what really gets the lion's share of attention is Samsung's Smart Interaction, which lets you use voice and gesture control to operate many major features without resorting to something so mundane as a standard clicker. If that weren't enough, there's also a touchpad remote designed to make scrolling through app menus and browser pages easier.

And we're still not done. Forget about updating firmware, the E8000 is compatible with Samsung's new Smart Evolution technology that lets you upgrade the set's hardware via a plug-in module as new capabilities are added -- or as current capabilities that aren't working so well get sorted out. The built-in camera is good for the usual tasks like making Skype video calls, but can also use face recognition to sign you into your online account. For good measure, Samsung tosses in two pairs of 3D glasses, and extras start at about $20 each. A bundled IR blaster can be set up to control the rest of your home theater gear.

All of this sounds great, but there's a bit of daylight between how some of the most cutting-edge features work in theory and how they work in reality. Sound+Vision's Al Griffin calls voice and gesture control a "work in progress," adding that "neither worked as well as I had hoped." CNET is only slightly kinder, saying the technology has promise but for now it's "more like a gimmick than a compelling upgrade." Other reviewers have fewer issues with voice and gesture commands, and one says it's improved over the version seen in a Samsung LED set tested previously. Griffin adds that voice control did improve during his testing after a firmware upgrade.

As to the Smart Evolution feature, its value isn't yet known; no modules have been released and probably won't be until we see what wonders next year's TVs bring. Pricing has not been announced.

Design

Snazzy, as long as you don't mind or don't need the pedestal stand. The E8000 has no fancy floating glass treatment, but the cabinet is thin for a plasma, and features a sleek edge treatment of clear plastic. That said, "the PN60E8000 looks exactly like several other TVs I've had in to test recently," says Sound+Vision's Griffin. CNET likes the design, for the most part: "If not for the funky splay-legged, chrome-plated stand, the PNE8000 would have the best styling of any plasma TV I can remember," says David Katzmaier.

Look for the traditional TV controls and you won't find any. In their place is a joystick control that makes it a bit easier to work through menus in those situations when you can't find the remote or are too tired to wave your arms around to use gesture control. Speaking of which, the E8000 ships with two remotes. The touchpad version seems like a touch of genius in concept, but less of one in use. "In practice the touchpad is frustrating to use, alternating between too twitchy and unresponsive," Katzmaier says. While connectivity is good but not exceptional, the three HDMI inputs should be enough to handle most home theater setups.

Value

Living on the cutting edge comes at a cost. Cutting-edge features such as Smart Interaction and Smart Evolution are the main reasons to dig deep to buy the E8000, and you won't find another plasma TV with as much whiz-bang wizardry. But if you can live without all of that, some other TVs -- including the Panasonic Viera ST50 and Samsung E6500 -- can deliver picture quality that's every bit as good, features like 3D and streaming, and a considerably lower price. Samsung uses a unilateral pricing policy that sets the minimum price at which this set can be sold by authorized dealers.

Where To Buy
Samsung UN32EH5000 32-Inch 1080p 60Hz LED HDTV (Black)

 
Buy new: $379.99 $297.99   14 Used & new from $233.38

In Stock.

 

Our Sources

1. CNET

Review credibility: Excellent
This is a well-documented hands-on test of the 60-inch Samsung PN60E8000. Katzmaier says picture quality is outstanding, but it's still bested by some competing plasma TVs. Although he marvels at the feature lineup, he calls them "largely unnecessary and poorly implemented."

Review: Samsung PN60E8000 Review, David Katzmaier, June 11, 2012

2. TelevisionInfo.com

Review credibility: Excellent
The 51-inch Samsung PN51E8000 scores a perfect 10 here. That's despite the fact that blacks aren't the deepest among current TVs. Colors in both 2D and 3D, however, are as accurate as the site has seen this year. Neikirk has fewer issues with voice and gesture commands than other reviewers.

Review: Samsung PN51E8000, Lee Neikirk, June 18, 2012

3. ConsumerReports.org

Review credibility: Excellent
ConsumerReports.org tests many plasma TVs, including the 60-inch Samsung PN60E8000. Discussion is brief, but sets are rated and ranked. Content is available only to paid subscribers.

Review: Samsung PN60E8000, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not dated

4. FlatpanelsHD.com

Review credibility: Excellent
Europe's FlatpanelsHD.com covers sets available in the U.S., as well, including the Samsung E8000. Testing is comprehensive, although discussion might be a little dense at times for non-videophiles. While the E8000 earns a Highly Recommended award here, Larsen gives the picture-quality edge to Panasonic's flagship sets.

Review: Samsung E8000 Review, Rasmus Larsen, July 19, 2012

5. Sound & Vision Magazine

Review credibility: Excellent
Sound+Vision magazine publishes fewer plasma TV reviews than some other expert sources, but their quality is just as good, if not better than most. Picture quality is well liked, although some of the Samsung PN60E8000's signature features -- such as voice and gesture control -- still need work. Still, there are enough positives to earn a Certified & Recommended award.

Review: Test Report: Samsung PN60E8000 3D Plasma HDTV, Al Griffin, Aug. 23, 2012

6. PlasmaTV Buying Guide.com

Review credibility: Very Good
Reviews at PlasmaTVBuyingGuide.com are competent, although perhaps a little less accessible than at some other sites. Wiley likes the picture quality of the Samsung PN60E8000, but cutting-edge features aren't as appreciated.

Review: Samsung PN60E8000 Review, Robert Wiley, Not dated

7. Amazon.com

Review credibility: Very Good
With more than 25 user reviews, there's enough feedback here to conclude how well the 60-inch PN60E8000 and other screen sizes in the series fare with owners. The TV gets just 3.4 stars out of 5, a score that's dragged down by some issues related to other Samsung sets or with customer service. Some users say their sets failed shortly after purchase, or they had problems with some of the E8000's cutting-edge features.

Review: Samsung PN60E8000 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz Ultra Slim Plasma 3D HDTV, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2012

8. BestBuy.com

Review credibility: Good
There are slightly fewer reviews here than at Amazon.com, but owners say they're more satisfied with the E8000. Only two users rate it less than 4 stars. One has issues with the features, and the other with room reflections and a buzzing noise.

Review: Samsung - 60" Class - Plasma - 1080p - 600Hz - Smart - 3D - HDTV, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of October 2012

Plasma TV Runners Up:

Samsung PN51F8500 Est. $1,900

10 picks including: Amazon.com, CNET…

Samsung PN64F8500 Est. $2,800

10 picks including: Amazon.com, CNET…

Panasonic Viera TC-P65ZT60 Est. $3,000

9 picks including: Amazon.com, CNET…

Panasonic Viera TC-P50ST60 Est. $1,500

9 picks including: Amazon.com, CNET…

Panasonic Viera TC-P55ST60 Est. $1,500

9 picks including: Amazon.com, CNET…

Panasonic Viera TC-P65ST60 Est. $1,500

9 picks including: Amazon.com, CNET…

Panasonic Viera TC-P65VT60 Est. $2,300

8 picks by top review sites.

Panasonic Viera TC-P60S60 Est. $700

5 picks including: Amazon.com, CNET…

Panasonic Viera TC-P65S60 Est. $700

5 picks including: Amazon.com, CNET…

Samsung PN51F5500 Est. $850

3 picks by top review sites.

Samsung PN51F5300 Est. $650

3 picks by top review sites.

LG 60PH6700 Est. $1,000

3 picks by top review sites.

LG 50PN6500 Est. $600

2 picks by top review sites.

LG 60PN5300 Est. $700

2 picks by top review sites.

image
Samsung PN51F8500 51-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $2,699.99 $1,797.99   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  
image
LG Electronics 60PH6700 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz Active 3D Plasma HDTV with Smart TV (Black) (2013 Model)
Buy from Amazon.com
from Amazon.com
New: $1,599.99 $1,299.00   
In Stock.
Average Customer Review:  

Back to top