Samsung E 8000 Plasma - first impressions

First the Caveat...

This was a quick survey of a 60" set, courtesy of a friend who is a happy owner of one of the first sets available. This is not meant to comment on the finer points of the picture quality (PQ) and I reserve further opinion on the PQ when I have done a calibration.


Interface
- the remote is chunky and has a cheap feel... not unlike the Oppo, it feels like a $5 toy and you have no direct access to each HDMI input. Like the Panasonic remotes, it feels cheap even though most of the other functions are present, you sometimes need to dig into layers or take more clicks to get there. Compare this to the Kuro remote, a fine piece of craftsmanship, made from metal and you feel you paid for a budget item..
- at least the remote is backlit, unlike the Panasonic ones locally
- there is also a touch "Smart Remote" which isn't much better than the standard either
- the internet access, and the apps are pretty decent, and you can access things rather quickly, possible due to the improved processor on the TV - twice the number of processors compared to the D 8000
- accessing the number of hours used is much more difficult compared to the Panasonics but you can possibly get there using a German software available online for the D8000

Picture
- there is no "dot by dot" or Pure Direct mode - where there is no processing applied unlike the Pioneer
- no THX mode, but there is a film mode and some fine adjustments available
- 3D is Bluetooth based, which is cool since you don't break sync even if you look away
- 3D PQ was also pretty decent, with minimal crosstalk and decent light intensity
- I don't see any specific 24 fps / 96 mode
- the glasses were very comfortable, and even for a big head spec wearing geek like me, they didn't feel too uncomfortable. I tried those which use a CR 2025 battery, but you can also get those which use a rechargeable lithium battery

Functions
- no D-sub PC input - you have to use one of the HDMI inputs for this
- only 3 HDMI inputs
- 3 USB ports
- the power socket is an IEC one which allows you to use a better cable or one installed into your feature wall - unlike the Panasonic VT30 which has a captive cord
- the remote sensor is on the left side (when the TV screen faces you), the same side as the HDMI inputs, so if you have a tall centre speaker, it won't be blocked
- no SD card socket
- Smart TV functions - I am not sure if the jury is out on whether it is really useful
- the built in Wi fi is nice and frees up a USB port

Aesthetics

- the black titanium color is an improvement over last year's silver
- the panel has a thin bezel all round, which makes it look a lot slimmer than the VT30

Sound
- the speakers point downwards, which IMO is not so great for sound, but most will not rely on the inbuilt speakers anyway
- there is also no sub, so the sound isn't very deep. The VT 30 does better on this front.

Overall, even though it was a short cursory look, I felt that the PQ is good, and the feature range decent, although I do miss having that "dot by dot" mode, which allows me to bypass any video processing or scaling in the TV.

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