Samsung AU8000 (2021): A smart 4K TV at an accessible price
Given that Samsung has been eager to push its pricey Neo QLED and microLED TVs, the unassuming Samsung AU8000 may well have slipped under your radar. The AU8000 is one of the cheapest 4K TVs in the South Korean company’s 2021 range but offers a solid set of specs and an attractive, slimline design.
With the 43in model costing under £500, the AU8000 will appeal to those in search of UHD small-screen thrills at a reasonable price. But affordability doesn’t guarantee sales, so what does the Samsung AU8000 do to stand out from equally keenly priced competitors? Read on to find out.
Samsung AU8000: Key specifications
|Screen sizes available:||43in UE43AU8000KXXU
|Panel type:||VA-type LED, edge-lit|
|Resolution:||4K/UHD (3,840 X 2,160)|
|HDR formats:||HDR, HDR10+, HLG|
|Audio enhancement:||Samsung Q-Symphony|
|HDMI inputs:||3 x HDMI 2.0|
|Freeview Play compatibility:||No|
|Tuners:||Terrestrial (analogue and digital)|
|Gaming features:||Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)|
|Wireless connectivity:||Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Bluetooth 5.2|
|Smart assistants:||Bixby, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant|
|Smart platform:||Tizen OS 6.0|
Samsung AU8000: What you need to know
It’s a direct replacement for last year’s TU8000 and, like TU8000, offers 4K resolution, with image processing handled by Samsung’s Crystal Processor 4K. If you’re not watching native 4K content, the processor will actively upscale whatever you’re watching to 4K resolution.
The AU8000 also has what Samsung describes as “Dynamic Crystal Colour”, a fancy term the company uses to refer to the TV’s colour palette, which it says reproduces over a billion different shades. The 43in, 50in and 55in models use 8-bit panels with frame rate control (FRC) to simulate 10-bit colour depth, while the larger models house native 10-bit panels.
High Dynamic Range support extends to three of the four main formats: HDR, HDR10+ and HLG, with the only absentee being HDR10+’s big competitor, Dolby Vision. This will come as no surprise to those familiar with Samsung TVs, as the company has said it won’t support Dolby Vision due to the additional manufacturing and licensing costs attached to the format.
The AU8000 only has an edge-lit LCD panel so contrast won’t be as strong as on the company’s more expensive sets. Its refresh rate is limited to 60Hz, too, but it makes use of Samsung’s Motion Xcelerator technology to simulate a faster refresh rate. By using motion rate algorithms, the TV predicts and automatically compensates for the delay experienced when pixels shift from one image to the next. It’s effectively Samsung’s variation on black frame insertion and helps reduce motion blurring to deliver a smoother viewing experience.
Because the AU8000 is limited to a refresh rate of 60Hz, the absence of HDMI 2.1 ports isn’t quite as disappointing as it would be on a panel capable of delivering 4K resolution at 120Hz. However, it does mean that Dynamic HDR is off the menu, as is Variable Refresh Rate (VRR). The inclusion of an Auto Low Latency Mode, which automatically puts the TV into Game Mode when it detects a games console, is useful but those seeking a TV for a true next-generation gaming experience will probably want to look elsewhere.
On the audio front, the AU8000’s in-built speakers can output 20W (RMS) and support Samsung’s Adaptive Sound tech, which automatically adjusts audio based on what’s happening on the screen. For an optimal listening experience watching TV, we still recommend using a soundbar. However, as long as you choose a Samsung bar, you can take advantage of the former’s Q-Symphony Lite tech, which when engaged synchronises the sound output of the TV and soundbar to deliver a two-pronged audio experience.
In terms of its smart features, the Samsung AU8000 runs Tizen OS 6.0, the latest version. A wide range of streaming services are available on the platform in addition to Samsung’s own TV Plus, including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and BT Sport, and those who like to control their TV by voice can choose between the Alexa, Google Assistant and Bixby voice assistants.
One of the most appealing features of the AU8000 is its “AirSlim” design. The bezels are practically non-existent and the panel itself is just 26mm thick, plus it doesn’t come with a big bulge at the bottom like a lot of rivals. This makes it a great candidate for wall mounting if you’re willing to fork out an additional £149 for the Slim Fit TV Wall Mount.
If you’re not planning on doing that, the AU8000 will fit neatly into most living room setups. The stand’s two feet, which are positioned left and right of the centre of the panel, measure a touch over 20cm deep, so they’ll fit on any decently sized TV cabinet.
Samsung AU8000: Price and competition
While not the cheapest 4K television Samsung has released in the UK this year – that honour falls to the AU7100 – the AU8000 is well priced, with the 43in model currently available for £449.
All sizes available and where to buy them (prices correct at time of publication):
Of the televisions we’ve reviewed in 2021, only Hisense and TCL have produced sets costing less. The 43in Hisense Roku TV (2021) launched at £379 but is now down to £299 at Argos, while the same size TCL Roku TV will set you back a similar sum, although it was out of stock at Currys at the time of writing. Both run the impressive Roku OS and deliver decent SDR image quality but neither have the brightness to do HDR content justice.
LG’s new entry-level 4K TVs for 2021 are priced similarly to the Samsung AU8000 series. The 43in LG UP81 costs £450 (down from £550) and the cheapest 4K option on its website – the UP75 – is £379. Both use webOS as their smart platform and feature 60Hz panels along with support for Filmmaker Mode, 4K upscaling and LG’s AI Sound processing.
Rather more expensive, but still the cheapest entry in Sony’s 2021 TV lineup, is the Bravia X80J series, which will cost you £679 for the 43in model and comes with Google TV, Dolby Vision support and Dolby Atmos sound.