Samsung ES8000 review
Samsung is already giving Apple a run for its money in the smartphone market, and if Apple ever does launch a TV product it will find Samsung ready and waiting with its own Smart TV range.
We tested Samsung’s ES8000, a striking 55-inch TV with a slimline LED panel that measures barely one inch thick. This 55-inch model costs about £2500, but Samsung has a number of less expensive ‘Smart’ models available too – and let’s face it, we don’t expect an Apple TV to be exactly cheap either.
The ES8000 is impressive just as a basic TV, with excellent image quality and 3D capabilities. It also includes a built-in camera-sensor – similar to Microsoft’s Kinect for the Xbox – that allows you to log in to your personal profile on the TV using face-recognition, and to control it using a series of hand gestures. To be honest, we found that aspect of the ES8000 a bit gimmicky, but Samsung has also done a good job of bringing apps and Internet connectivity to its Smart TVs.
Just click a button on the TV’s remote control, and you are taken into the Smart Hub screen, which provides access to a number of apps. At the top of the screen you’ll see key apps such as the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, LoveFilm and Netflix. Beneath that is a selection of other apps, organised into categories such as Social TV – which includes FaceBook, Twitter and GoogleTalk – as well as Games, Fitness and Kids.
Samsung’s Smart TVs will be tough competition for Apple
You can also download other apps that provide access to all sorts of online services, such as DailyMotion, Fishing TV, USA Today – and we even found an app that teaches you how to tie a bow-tie (‘cos bow-ties are cool).
Samsung also includes a proper web browser, and the ES8000 can be paired with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse so that you can control the browser just as you would with your Mac.
You don’t have to spend a couple of grand to get all these features either, as Samsung makes a number of ‘Smart PVR’ boxes that will work with your existing TV for about £200-£250.