New Samsung UN65JS9500 SUHD TV 2016 Review and Price

I’ve already explained how the JS9500 can handle HDR and WCG and how wonderful all of that is. What I haven’t explained is the (temporary) caveat that comes with those abilities.As I write this, there is no source that provides content with HDR or WCG information folded in. Netflix, Amazon, and Vudu are expected to start offering streaming or downloadable content with HDR support sometime this summer, and when Ultra HD Blu-ray comes around near the holidays, it will support both. But for now, there’s nothing you can feed the TV with right out of the box that takes full advantage of these nifty new features.

Finally, this TV offers voice recognition and gesture control, neither of which I care for … like, at all. Fortunately, gesture control-related annoyances can be avoided simply by leaving the TV’s retractable camera stowed away. Unfortunately, turning off the voice recognition feature requires some deep digging. The TV’s menu buries the option under System/Smart Security/Settigs/Microphone where you can turn the mic off (screen shots of the menu navigation here). Not exactly a user-friendly method. In fact, we had to check with Samsung to find out that the feature could be defeated at all. That being the case, our viewing was interrupted any time the TV thought it heard the trigger words: ‘Hi TV.’ This happened far too often for our liking, even with the recognition responsiveness set at minimum. In the end, we got used to saying “close!” any time the TV activated its listening mode. Now we know better.
Samsung UN65JS9500 SUHD TV 2016
Samsung UN65JS9500 SUHD TV 2016

We set up our 65-inch model (UN65JS9500) about 10 feet from our viewing position on a low-slung entertainment credenza and connected to it a Pioneer Elite BDP-88FD Blu-ray player and an Amazon Fire TV Stick, The TV was also connected to our network via both Ethernet and Wi-Fi for exploring 4K content through Netflix and Amazon.

We were so happy with the JS9500’s Movie preset that we picked that and made only minor adjustments from there, including disabling Auto Motion Plus and picking Standard for the Smart LED (local dimming) option. We then applied the setting to all inputs. A professional calibrator can wrangle the TV’s more advanced settings to get slightly more accurate color, if desired.

Spectral highlights are this TV’s strong suit. Even though the Blu-ray discs I watched on this TV didn’t contain any HDR information, Samsung’s processing did an outstanding job managing to detect areas in which added luminance would make a difference, then folding it into the picture. And even though those same Blu-ray discs didn’t have any new color information on them, the JS9500 seemed to be mapping out hues and shades I’d not seen before on other televisions. Every scene was a new experience with this TV, and I found myself going back to some worn-out material from years past just to rediscover it with the JS9500.

Nature is chock full of scenes that make the JS9500 spring to life. Sure you’ve seen shots of coral reefs and crashing waves before, but you’ve never seen them look so authentic. The magic is in the color and the gleam of bright highlights – the water here is rendered in hues that only the latest TV technology can reproduce, and the glint of a fish’s scales brings a new level of vibrance that’s so striking, it’s tough to believe you’ve been missing it all this time.

The effect is just as compelling on land where the TV’s excellent black levels offset its high brightness ability in unsuspecting places, such as an elephant’s tough, wrinkly, highly-textured skin. It might be hard to believe an elephant’s hide could be considered beautiful, but when you see it resolved with such detail, it feels like you couldn’t get any closer to the majestic animal outside of cozy encounter at a zoo or African safari.

The JS9500 is a remarkable feat in television design and engineering – easily Samsung’s best TV to date. It produces some of the most enchanting images I’ve ever laid eyes on – the sort I have a hard time looking away from – and it is a showpiece that lures in all who see it. I expect some stiff competition from some of Samsung’s competitors, but I do believe the JS9500 will be on my list of the five best TVs introduced this year, if not the best of a very distinguished bunch.

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