The Samsung UE49NU8000 is a 49-inch television with a slim panel sitting on a T-bar stand. The whole ensemble feels slightly plasticky, but at least there's a brushed metallic grey finish on the front of the stand to inject more sophistication to proceedings.
The black bezel is slim, empowered by the underlying edge-lit LED configuration. The bezel's bottom border is finished in brushed metallic grey to match the same coating on the T-bar base.
Unlike last year's MU7000 and MU8000, the Samsung NU8000 doesn't come with an external One Connect Box. Instead, all the connection ports are found on the back of the television. There are four full-bandwidth HDMI 2.0b inputs... you may have to go into the user menu and enable [HDMI UHD Colour] to make sure your source devices recognise the TV as HDR-capable.
Two remote controls are provided in the shipping box. One is a Smart remote that only has a few buttons and allows for voice control (based on Bixby), whereas the other one is a conventional remote with more keys.
VA-type LCD panel with true RGB subpixel arrangement, which produces deep blacks by LED LCD standards. ANSI blacks measured 0.036 cd/m2 regardless of the [Local Dimming] setting once peak white was aligned to our normal dark-room target of 120 cd/m2.
Edge-lit LED configuration where all the LED modules are placed along the bottom of the screen, which means the top and bottom letterbox bars can never go black completely if there's active content on screen.
No effective local dimming. Due to the bottom-lit edge LED configuration, a small bright object overlaying a black background will create haloing/ blooming phenomenon that spans the entire height of the screen.
The LED backlight uses PFS phosphor.
Unlike larger-sized brethren, the Samsung UE49NU8000 uses a 60Hz rather than 120Hz panel, which limits its motion resolution, since no effective MCFI (motion-compensated frame interpolation) can be deployed for 50Hz/ 60Hz content.
The only way to increase motion resolution beyond the sample-and-hold baseline of 300 lines (according to the horizontally scrolling test pattern in Chapter 31 of the FPD Benchmark Software disc) is by engaging [LED Clear Motion] which activates backlight scanning. However, there's significant double ghosting which makes it unappealing. Also, with 50Hz content, there's forced frame interpolation with [LED Clear Motion] enabled, leading to noticeable interpolation artefacts.
Slow panning shots in 24p content (for example movies and American dramas) exhibit mild telecinic judder, because of the 60Hz panel.
However, since the judder is only noticeable in slow pans, and the TV is relatively small compared with other 4K TVs, it may not bother owners at all.
Mild dirty screen effect (DSE).
As expected for a VA-type LCD panel, colours and contrast desaturate off-axis.
Like 2016 and 2017 Samsungs, the NU8000 could only sustain its 800-nit peak brightness for around 35 seconds before dropping to the baseline of 535 nits. Once "recharged", it would peak again at 800 nits, and the cycle would repeat itself.
Despite the relatively high peak brightness, the HDR picture appeared more washed out than full-array local dimming (FALD) LED LCD and OLED TVs owing to lack of effective lighting control.
Like all Samsung HDR TVs we've reviewed to date, the UE49NU8000 adapts its tone-curve to the Mastering Display Luminance (MDL) metadata to maintain specular highlight detail, so bright highlights will remain visible but look darker in HDR movies that have been graded to 4000 nits.
Based on our tests, there is no dynamic tone-mapping technology on the Samsung NU8000. Engaging [HDR+] during the playback of HDR10 content merely lowers the clipping point.
The 49NU8000 still exhibited more posterisation in the skies of The Martian (pictured above) and The Revenant than competing TVs from other manufacturers, although it's improved slightly from 2016 and 2017 Samsung televisions.
The Samsung UE49NU8000 is a decent television that is unfortunately let down by its native 60Hz panel. If you have the space or budget, go for the 55-inch or larger models, or even better, a full-array local dimming LED LCD or OLED which delivers superior HDR experience.