Samsung PN51D8000 Review
51" Plasma 3D HDTV, $2300
Last year, I gave our Highly Recommended rating to the PN50C8000, Samsung's 2010 top of the line plasma TV. And I like this year's successor even better.
The PN51D8000's Picture Quality (PQ) is richer. The lineup of Internet content providers has expanded with more and varied apps.
The Samsung designers have even enlarged the screen size, while maintaining the form factor, by narrowing the bezel. What was a 50" display last year is now 51".
I'm still not gaga about the active shutter glasses required to view 3D on Samsung TVs, but the 3D PQ on this plasma is very good.
Considering the features and performance wrapped up in the PN51D8000, we are happy to once again bestow our Highly Recommended rating.
(Editor's note: Samsung offers two other sizes of this series, the 59" PN59D8000 and the 64" PN64D8000. Since their specifications are similar, this review can be applied to all three.
When I witness a particularly spectacular scene emanating from this 51" screen, my one desire is that the display be bigger. I'm not one for ostentatiousness, but if you are trying to recreate a home theater environment, and your budget can afford it, I would definitely consider the 59" or ideally the 64" model.)
Our Star Ratings
Every year, PQ seems to inch up. And in 2012, no doubt we'll see it improve again. But for now this Samsung 8000 series plasma is right at the top. The colors are subtly but satisfyingly rich and smooth. And the audio quality emanating from those tiny integrated speakers is surprisingly good.
This HDTV is packed to the brim with acronyms like 3D, DNLA, DivX, and a boatload of apps. In addition, Samsung has included a built-in wireless adapter and they have even lowered their prices on the 3D glasses.
Ease of Use: 4.5
Though the PN51D8000 is labeled a Smart TV and seems to do a lot of the thinking for you, you still will need a few days to familiarize yourself with all the features. But the basic setup is quick and easy and you can be up and enjoying your favorite programs in a jiffy. Samsung also provides good on-screen instructions and an informative manual.
Samsung has created an impressive PN51D8000 package and its retail price of $2300 is competitive in the marketplace of high-end 3D plasma TVs. But anything over two grand is still a dear premium to pay in this day.
Luckily, for the consumer, MSRP's are only a twinkle in the manufacturer's eye that extinguish in a flash. A quick search online finds the PN51D8000 at around 25% below retail, which makes it much more alluring. Or if you are building a new 3D setup, I'm finding some deals that include this TV, a 3D Blu-ray player and a couple of 3D glasses, all for less than the retail price of the TV alone.
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 give very few 5 Star ratings, which we reserve for truly outstanding accomplishment.