Samsung PN50C8000 Review
50" Plasma 3D HDTV, $2299
Currently, the 8000 series stands tall at the top of Samsung's line of plasma TVs - and well it should.
The 50" PN50C8000 that I am reviewing is filled full of features like 3D playback and an ever expanding basket of apps like Netflix, Hulu and ESPN.
Of course, all the features fall flat if the TV doesn't deliver the performance. And this 8000 series definitely packs the punch that you would expect from a high-end plasma.
Not only is the 2D picture quality excellent, but I am also impressed by how well the TV renders 3D content. And I'm not a huge 3D fan. (3D viewing on this Samsung requires active shutter glasses, which I will discuss later.)
Is it a perfect TV? None of them are. Do I wish it were a little less expensive? I always do.
But if you are in the market for a superior 3D capable plasma HDTV, I would highly recommend the Samsung 8000 series.
(Editor's note: Samsung offers two other sizes of this series, the 58" PN58C8000 and the 63" PN63C8000. Since their specifications are similar, this review can be applied to all three.
Of course, if you have the room and the cash, and you want to impress the crowd at your Super Bowl party, I would suggest the 63".)
Our Star Ratings
Under the theory that there may be a better performing TV out there, I could give the PN50C8000 a half star less. But why quibble? If this TV does not have the best PQ of the current crop, then it's very close. And I'm even pleased with the audio quality emanating from the integrated speakers.
About the only feature missing from this HDTV is a built-in wireless adapter. You will need to purchase a separate Samsung LinkStick adapter. Other than that, it's all stuffed in there, 3D, DNLA, DivX, and apps, apps, and more apps.
Ease of Use: 4.5
If the PN50C8000 is your first full featured TV, then expect a small learning curve. Even if you are an old grizzled vet, it will still take a couple of days to explore all the apps. And 3D can even throw a pro for an occasional loop. To Samsung's credit, they do offer good on-screen instructions and an informative manual.
The retail price of $2300 is about what you would expect for the MSRP of a top end 3D 50" plasma. As a consumer, you can be thankful that MSRPs quickly melt in the steam heat of today's cutthroat marketplace. A quick search online finds the PN50C8000 priced at least $600 below retail, which is much more inline with its competition. If you can snag it for even less than I would rate that value at 4.5.
Star Ratings Description
Ratings are relative to when the review was written. The obvious example is Value, what you could purchase for $2000 two years ago or even two months ago would seem like a bad value for that price now. We have given only a precious few 5 Star ratings, which we reserve for truly outstanding accomplishment.