Price (RRP): $29,999
Do you think I should forgive Samsung? For some reason, it refused to ship its 88 inch behemoth of an SUHD TV, the Samsung UA88KS9800W, to my city for review. Perhaps the $29,999 ticket price had something to do with it.
Well, instead it took me to the TV, putting me up in a nifty hotel room in Sydney to check it out, along with the Samsung HW-K950 soundbar (reviewed here) and the Samsung UBD-K8500 UltraHD Blu-ray Player.
Now you don’t quite realise how big an 88 inch TV is until you stand in front of it. It’s a monster. Turning that into Australian, it measures 223.7 centimetres on the diagonal. That’s the official measure. I didn’t whip out the tape measure myself – I didn’t think to take one, and even if I had the fact that this is a curved screen would have made measurement difficult. Samsung specifies the screen as having a curvature of “4200 R”, which I take to mean that its curve conforms to a section of the circumference of a circle 4.2 metres in diameter.
The TV panel is quite thick – I’d say close to 50mm – all the way around. A panel this big clearly needs a strong chassis to ensure that it doesn’t flex to the point of shattering glass. Despite the size and apparent weight (65 kilograms, including the stand, say the specifications, or 59 kilograms without), it sat comfortably on what looked like its spidery stand, secured only at the centre. It does not swivel and was secure enough to resist rocking from side to side. Closer inspection revealed that the stand is only spidery by comparison, while its pedestal looks solid enough to mount a howitzer.
The gun-metal grey bezel was angled in towards the screen and I estimated it at about 15mm wide on all four sides. This TV presents you with a lot of picture and not much else.
There was a standard IR remote provided in the room but given, as we’ll see, the lack of availability of smart features in the review setup, the lack of any kind of smart control was not a problem. However, if I understand the specifications correctly, it does indeed come with a smart remote which also provides voice control.
(Samsung was one of the companies which, a couple of years ago, was leading the way in gesture control. Nowadays none of them support this, nor built cameras into their TVs, so I guess that feature was rejected by consumers.)
Obviously I didn’t get to set the TV up, not that there was much setting up to do.
I imagine that the TV’s smart features are excellent. Samsung’s very good at that kind of thing, and with its Tizen operation system, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be top notch. But of course I couldn’t check them out because there was no usable Internet. The hotel used a web interface for logging on. TVs and computers are smart enough to open the hotel’s web page once you make the WiFi connection. Smart TVs are very smart, but not that smart. I’d been kind of looking forward to checking out screen mirroring for one thing, but no network, no go.
In fact, I couldn’t check out any of the apps because to go to that page required me to accept the user agreement, and when I tried to do that the TV said it had to download it, but because there was no Internet …
(The UHD Blu-ray player was equally unconnected, but not insistent about me agreeing to anything, so I was able to use its screen mirroring function, and both my phone and my Microsoft Surface Pro 4 connected to it quickly and reliably. I hope that’s replicated in the TV because there was something strangely satisfying seeing the computer’s screen mirrored to this mighty display.)
Nor was there an aerial connection (no great loss) so I was pretty much limited to using the Samsung UltraHD Blu-ray player as a source. There was a nice collection of UltraHD discs and of course I brought along a few of my own.