June 14, 2011
- Very thin design
- Excellent black-levels
- Very good image quality
- QWERTY keyboard on remote
- 2010 Samsung 3D glasses are incompatible
- QWERTY keyboard isn't backlit
The Samsung PN59D8000 is a 59-inch 3D plasma HDTV that has fantastic picture quality and very deep black levels. The 3D image performance is also very good and the included remote is double-sided with a QWERTY keyboard, which is really unique.
The Samsung PN59D8000 measures 54.3 x 1.5 x 32.6-inches (wdh) and weighs 68 pounds. The whole set is very thin and has a very compact frame with an extremely thin bezel. The TV's stand is chrome-colored and is a four-legged design, which may or may not visually please some users. It's definitely quite thin for a plasma TV, which really makes it look attractive and sleek.
Samsung's remote control measures 6 x 2.4-inches and is double-sided, with the usual TV controls on the front and a horizontal QWERTY keyboard on the other side with a numeric keypad. Above the keyboard is a small screen to show what you're typing so you don't have to constantly look up at the screen. The buttons were quite large, but only the front-size buttons are backlit for low-light use. The keyboard on the backside of the remote is really unique and makes interacting with the Internet-enabled applications a breeze. We also appreciated the fact that the remote is Bluetooth instead of IR, so line of sight isn't required to use it.
In terms of connections, the Samsung PN59D8000 includes four HDMI ports, one composite input, one component video input, VGA-in, digital audio input, three USB ports and one Ethernet port. Unfortunately, the analog inputs require breakout cables, but Samsung includes them with the TV. There's also built-in wireless connectivity, which saves having to purchase an additional Wi-Fi USB dongle.
Samsung includes two pairs of 3D glasses with the Samsung PN59D8000, but unfortunately, this TV is not compatible with the 2010 version of Samsung's glasses. The reason why is that the new ones use Bluetooth instead of IR connectivity. We found these to be easier to use and they seemed to keep sync a little bit better than older IR glasses from various TVs.
Some of the specifications include a native resolution of 1920 x 1980-pixels (1080p HD), a 16:9 aspect ratio, built-in Wi-Fi, a built-in QAM/ATSC/NTSC tuners and 15 Watt speakers.
The various applications included include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Skype, Vudu, Blockbuster, Picasa, Pandora, lots of games, Yahoo! Widgets and many other applications. All of the applications are accessed from Samsung's Smart Hub interface, which worked decently well, but the interface is pretty crowded and busy. We noticed the absence of Amazon Instant Streaming as one of the applications, but everything else seems to be included. The included Internet browser was only mediocre and had some issues loading media and some Websites. It also seemed to run a little slow, but it's decent enough for only light use.
Performance with the Samsung PN59D8000 in subjective image tests was rated as "Excellent", mostly due to the fantastic black-levels and really great color accuracy. While watching a test DVD, the colors seemed bright, vibrant and really great-looking overall. The screen on this TV isn't too reflective, so that's really great and makes the picture look even better because ambient light isn't reflected back.
3D image performance is quite good and showed very little, if any, crosstalk while using the included Samsung Bluetooth glasses. Some of the colors did occasionally look a little desaturated at times, but it looked overall quite good.