[an error occurred while processing this directive] 4K TV Shootout Comparison 2018/2019 Best Value Sony X850F vs. Samsung NU8000 8 Series

4K TV Shootout Comparison 2018/2019 Sony X850F vs. Samsung NU8000 vs. LG SK8000PUA


by , Jack Burden, and Phil Conner

  • 1st in each category = 3 points
  • 2nd in each category = 2 points
  • 3rd in each category = 1 point or zero if the feature is not available

Lots of times the mid-range of a certain category of TVs gets overlooked. We like to compare these models as they are many times the best selling TVs in the market. All three of our contenders for this years shootout are hugely popular and best sellers in the mid-range 4K UHD market for this year and into 2018/2019.

We've compiled a list of what we think are the most important differentiating factors in testing the quality of these 2018/2019 4K UHD TVs and performed the following shootout based on our findings through some very thorough investigation.

Picture quality is of course of primary importance when comparing TVs. We've grouped 4 course categories here:

Vizio D55u-D1
Maroon 5 High Def Video 'Sugar' seen on the Samsung NU8000

Picture Quality

Picture quality is of course of primary importance when comparing TVs. We've grouped 4 course categories here:

Black Level, Contrast, Black Uniformity

Vizio 4K LED TV
BluRay remaster of Return of the Jedi on the LG SK8000PUA

1) Samsung NU8000 – Solid black performance edged out the LG in contrast.
2) LG SK8000PUA – Surprisingly good black levels for the price. Black uniformity also very good. Contrast is outstanding as well for an LED TV - more due to the black levels rather than peak brightness.
3) Sony X850F – Slightly noticeably lighter black levels but great black uniformity.

Sony 4K LED TV
Shot of X850F showing excellent dark shadow detail from streaming Netflix of Hombre

Color Balance, Grayscale Uniformity

1) Sony X850F - Color rendition is realistic and not oversaturated while grayscale uniformity is very good yielding a very smooth picture. Colors are not as vibrant in a post calibration picture as some TVs. Smooth would be a good description of the colors.
2) Samsung NU8000 – Though on-screen images are smoother than past years, Samsung LED TVs, due to their bright LED lights are not the best in this area.
3) LG SK8000 – The local dimming benefits this TV many areas but not here. With solid colors on the screen there are visible darker and lighter areas of the screen. This occasionally comes through when viewing video material.

Light Flow, Brightness, Clarity

1) Samsung NU8000 – The clear gloss screen yields bright beautiful images. Samsung's LED lights are powerful. Light flow through images is excellent.
2) LG SK8000 – Light flow-through is very good and helps create lots of depth.
3) Sony X850F – Light flow is passably good but certainly not exceptional for an LED backlit TV. Clarity and refined edges without enhancements is very good, but not exceptional for a 4K TV.

Side Angle Viewing Quality, Screen Glare, Reflection

1) Sony X850F- With an IPS (in plane switching) panel, there is no comparison on side angle viewing. One of the best performances for a mid-priced 4K.
2) LG SK8000 – Also an IPS panel with an outstanding performance. Has a good viewing angle of 30 degrees before color saturation degrades.
3) Samsung NU8000 – Has a VA type panel, but underperforms in this area with contrast degrading starting at 15 degrees.

Samsung 4K LED TV
The Open Championship on the Samsung NU8000

Motion Handling, Sports Viewing

1) Sony X850F – With 120Hz panel, the Sony did a great job of handling motion and not producing blur.
2) Samsung NU8000 –The response time is also very good on the Samsung, with little blur when showing fast motion. The picture remains clear.
3) LG SK8000PUA – There can be some motion blur when playing fast motion content like sports on the SK8000.

Upscaling to 4K UHD Resolution

Due to our viewing habits off streaming video, BluRay, and Broadcast, this is an extremely important category. All three TVs performed exceptionally well.

1) Sony X850F – Upscaling is excellent and there is a nice bump from streaming material like Netflix and Amazon Instant. I would describe upscaling and conversion as smooth. At other times, the TV has a solid performance, but not better than a very good 1080p TV.
1) Samsung NU8000 (tie) – Sony was by far the best in 4K upscaling last year, but Samsung has narrowed the gap to almost a non-issue this year. Processing artifacts are all but gone.
3) LG SK8000 - The LG new spacial scaling engine does a very nice job upscaling from 720p, 1080p signals, but not as well with 480p in our tests. Image edges are not as crisp as the Sony or Samsung. and also does well with lower resolution signals.

Sound Quality

1) LG SK8000 - The most balanced and quality sound from the three, but still not great. LG probably leads the pack in this category.
2) Sony X850F – – We were impressed by the balance and quality of the speakers on the XBR series. Volume from the speakers was not loud enough at times though.
3) Samsung NU8000 -The best trait is it's separation of background music/effects and voice. Voice is clear and natural and has good range. Bass not too great.

Best Remote Control

LG SK8000 Remote

1) LG SK8000 - The magic remote with point and click operation is great.
2) Sony X850F- The Android TV voice controlled search function works very well. No point and click operation included.
3) Samsung NU8000 - Unless you want to set up a smart phone, a pretty basic 5 way control clicker.

TV Menu and Smart TV Interface Navigation and Picture Settings

1) Samsung NU8000
2) LG SK8000
2) (tie) Sony X850F

Appearance and Design Quality

Sony X850F
Sony X850F design

1) Sony X850F - The black matte quarter inch bezel is sleek and smart looking as well as the stand that accompanies it.
2) LG SK8000 – Very sharp looking TV, new stand looks ultra modern
3) Samsung NU8000 - The flat NU8000 has standard half inch black bezel. It's nothing special but gets the job done in the looks department.

Smart TV Options, Features, and Functionality

Sony X850F Smart TV Menu

1) Sony X850F – The X850F gets the newest Google Android TV ops system 6.0. Android TV featured Apps include Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant, Vudu, Pandora, iHeartRadio, Crackle and SiriusXM, and around 30 small insignificant Apps. Add HBO NOW, EPIX, Starz Play, Fusion, Pluto TV and a few more to the assortment this year. At first it looks like a limited selection until you delve into the Google Play Music, Games, Movies and TV options.
2) Samsung NU8000 - This Samsung developed system is included only on Premium UHDs and up and is much faster and more responsive than previous Samsung Smart TV/Smart Hub menu systems. It's instantaneous response time operation impressed me. Aside from the increased speed it remembers where users are in a program rather than having to fast forward from the beginning like last years models.
3) LG SK8000 - AI thinQ is the hub for your connected devices. The primary improvements over last years excellent WebOS 3.5 are the inclusion of Google Assistant in facilitating a far greater range of options in voice control. Also, what we found interesting was the ability to connect our mobile devices to the TV and view content on the TV, especially pictures or videos. There are “hot” buttons for connecting directly to Netflix and Amazon with a press of a button.

Gaming Performance

1) LG SK8000- - In game mode an incredible 15ms input lag.
2) Samsung Nu8000 – Also an excellent result of 19ms input lag in Game mode.
3) Sony X850F – Still good, 29ms input lag.

Inputs and Decoders Connectivity (4K Future Proofing)

All 3 TVs have 4 HDMI inputs, a couple of USB ports and are well future proofed for 4K.

HEVC and VP9 codecs are necessary to decode some currenty and future 4K video sources from Netflix, Amazon, You Tube and others.

Best Value

This is always the toughest and most important category to judge, so we'll start by making it more difficult and stating that all three of these models are excellent 4K TV value choices.

1) Samsung NU8000 - At $1297. for the 65” and $897 for the 55” I lean toward the Samsung for the combination of features it presents.
2) Sony X850F – At a current $1398 (not available in 55” but is in 75” and 85”) still offers an excellent combination of picture quality upgrades while keeping the price down by omitting some of the highest end features.
3) LG SK8000 – – At $1198 and $846 for the 55” presents great value but has a few more flawed areas.

Grand Tally

Sony X850F 29 points
Samsung NU8000 27 points
LG SK8000 25 points

All three of these models are excellent choices for value. There may be a category that is more important to you than others therefore you can use our category breakdown to get a better sense about which TV meets your needs best.

Full Reviews

Read a full review of each participating model:

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