Samsung AU8100 Crystal UHD TV Review

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Introduction

Apart from mobile devices, Samsung is also quite a popular brand when it comes to home appliances. Its TVs in particular have been staples for a lot of homes. In this review, we will be having a closer look at the 50-inch AU8100 Crystal UHD TV, which offers a very slim design, and quite a number of interesting features that at least, on paper, seems to make it a very compelling package, especially for those who have a limited amount of space.

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What’s in the Box

  • 1 x Power Cable
  • 1 x Antenna Adapter
  • 2 x Stand Pieces
  • Standard Documentation
  • Remote Control
  • 2 x AAA Batteries

Design and Build Quality

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The first thing that I noticed about the AU8100 is how slim it is. Samsung’s AirSlim design allows for an extremely thin profile. This also allows the unit to fit nicely in a your living space, the workplace, or for small spaces with a chill vibe, just like mine. As for the material, the back panel is definitely plastic, but the surrounding frame seems to be metal.

The thin bezels on the screen allow for more immersion, but leaves little room for handling, which can be a hassle for moving the TV from point A to point B. The screen’s glossy look also makes it prone to smudges. The stand pieces can be connected to the back of the TV very easily via a sliding mechanism, and feel very sturdy.

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At the back, you’ll find a power port, along with room for cable management. There are also three HDMI ports, two USB ports, a composite in, an optical port, and a dedicated LAN port. The speakers are located at the bottom.

Display and Performance

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The AU8100 boasts a resolution of 3840 x 2160, or 4K. which in my opinion, is the sweet spot for a TV of this size. While this is definitely not an OLED TV, you still get HDR10+ support, and the overall picture quality is what you’d expect from a 4K TV. The difference to a 1080p panel is night and day, especially in terms of detail and scaling. There is also a smoothening effect that makes videos feel a lot more fluid.

Samsung’s Crystal Processor 4K is able to upscale all content to 4K-level for better viewing. It also sort of forces content that’s normally at say 30 fps to appear like it’s on 60 fps. While it works well for some videos, there is no option to turn this off in the settings, which can be a problem as some videos are made to be enjoyed at their original frame rate, and it’s not like it does it well all the way, as some bits seem to still play at a lower frame rate.

The AU8100 is a fairly color-accurate display, covering 100% of the sRGB color space, which means it can be used for creative work, just like a regular monitor. Not that I know of anyone who does.

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If you have a console, or a PC that can handle 4K gaming, you can connect that to the AU8100, and play your games in 4K. For some reason, I couldn’t enable Game HDR, but regardless, Tales of Arise looked impressive in its maximum settings. Blacks are deep enough for good immersion, as far as I can tell.

Software

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The AU8100 runs on TizenOS, which offers a very minimalist and clean look. Setting up the TV is very easy and straightforward, and while I did choose to set it up via the remote, you can also use your smartphone. When scanning for networks, it was able to detect both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and signing in to your accounts can be done on screen, or via your smartphone as well, just by scanning a QR code.

When done, you’ll be greeted with a simple home screen that gives you access to several pre-installed applications like Netflix and YouTube. You’ll be able to find more by going to a dedicated app market. I’m not sure how big the library is, but the apps that I would typically use are either already installed, or is available on the store.

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Navigating the user interface was smooth and fluid, and apps open quickly. I just wish that there was a bit of multitasking, like being able to continue playback on Apple Music while searching for apps. There is also no option for Picture in Picture, which would’ve been nice for such a large screen.

Another feature that I like is Ambient Mode, which turns the TV into a huge a digital photo and video frame when not in use. You’ll be able to choose from various images and scenes to show, my favorite being the forest scene, which shows a portion of a tree complete with accompanying sounds of leaves and birds.

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can use AirPlay to stream your content to the TV. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any of these, but it’s certainly a good added feature to have.

Remote Control

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The Remote for the AU8100 is simple and straightforward. There is a dedicated button for giving voice commands, directional buttons, home, back, play and pause, volume adjustment and mute, and for changing the channel. I’m not a fan of such, but it also has buttons launching Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and a web browser. It would’ve been nice if these can be remapped for other functions or if you can select the actual apps to launch.

Performance wise, the response is instantaneous, and the buttons feel sturdy enough that they will probably be able to endure a bit of beating. The entire thing is made of plastic, but doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. It’s also a good thing that the batteries for the remote are included in the box.

Sound

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The speakers can deliver enough low-end to give a decent kick to your content, sound-wise. Vocals offer good clarity, but can be a slightly harsh at times. The treble has good sparkle and airiness, but can be slightly piercing depending on the content. It can go loud enough for a small room, with minimal to no audible distortion at high volume.

Verdict

The Samsung AU8100 Crystal UHD TV is what I’d call a simple solution that you can just buy, install, and run without tweaking with the settings too much. It’s very easy to setup, and its look allows it to fit just about any setting where a TV can go formal or casual.

If you’re coming from a TV with 1080p resolution or lower, you’re most certain to love this thing, as the difference in quality, especially when watching an actual 4K video is night and day. Its speakers are also more than enough for a great audio-visual experience. It also has most connectivity options covered with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi built-in.

On the other hand, the software, while responsive and fluid, could use some features that would make it a better package like multi-tasking and PIP. The upscaling that’s done on content also cannot be turned off. I understand that 60 fps looks smooth, but I definitely don’t need that for all videos.

Despite its relatively minor shortcomings, I think that for its current price of ₱33,599.00, the AU8100 is a fairly good choice for those who are looking for a Smart TV that delivers good visuals, works right out of the box without much tinkering, and offers just the right amount of features to enhance the overall viewing experience.

[penci_review]

Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

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