Are you looking to upgrade to a 4K TV for the first time? Or looking to improve your version of a home theater setup? Samsung has a compelling option in its Crystal UHD line. And I’ve spent the past month or so being entertained by the AU8100 (2021) model.
But is it the TV for you? These are the top three reasons to consider this for your next television purchase.
You value a more realistic, high-quality picture
The biggest reason you’ll get a 4K television is you want the high-quality, high-resolution images it can show. Even if you don’t have actual 4K content on you, many streaming services support 4K streaming. And so televisions like the Samsung AU8100 help give you the best viewing experience you can get right now.
With its 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, you get 4x more pixels on this than a Full HD display. That means you see more detail, even the smallest ones. This TV also supports HDR10+, which improves the color and contrast of what you’re watching. It finetunes the settings to ensure that the content you see looks like what the creators intended it to look like. Samsung improves this further with its Dynamic Crystal Color tech, which promises realistic images with one billion shades of color it can show. You can enjoy even the darker scenes in some films and shows.
The Samsung AU8100 is also armed with Crystal Processor 4K, which can upscale non-4K content by analyzing low-resolution videos scene-by-scene and adjusting the videos, improving contrast and HDR. For a smoother picture, it has Motion Xcelerator, which automatically estimates and compensates frames from your content.
The one minor downside to this TV you might not even notice is it isn’t as bright as I’d like. But with accurate colors and a panel that doesn’t really catch glare, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue. You get access to different preset Picture Modes to get the Samsung AU8100 to the image quality you want. If you know what you’re doing, you can even tweak the settings further.
We weren’t lent a soundbar to test Samsung’s Q-Symphony feature, which a synced, improved experience between the TV and the soundbar. The sound on this TV is acceptable. I don’t really have any complaints about it, but I wasn’t entirely blown away either.
LiTT Tip #1: If you want and can tweak the picture settings on your own, head to Settings > Picture > Expert Settings. You can adjust settings like brightness, contrast, sharpness, color, tint, and more there.
You want a sleek, slim, and easy-to-assemble TV
The screen sizes for this Samsung TV series are on the larger side. The 55-inch model with me is the second smallest size you can get. But even with that big panel, it’s built to fit into spaces seamlessly. With its AirSlim design, the AU8100 is just 25mm at its thinnest point. It hardly sticks out whether you opt to use the stand or mount the TV (it supports VESA mounting). It’s almost just as thick as the remote it comes with. It’s an impressive sight to see in person. The LED panel looks bezel-less on three sides, so you can truly pay attention to what you are watching.
The Samsung AU8100 comes in a Titan Gray color, which allows it to easily blend into your space. It won’t blend in as well as Samsung’s The Frame televisions, but it’s still a stylish, minimalist option for a living room or bedroom. And if you don’t want it to just be a big black box in your space, the TV offers an Ambient Mode where it can show pictures (including your own) or “Cinemagraphs,” as Samsung calls them. The Cinemagraphs reminds me a bit of GIFs with their moving elements. The ones on the television include a cozy room with a fireplace, a light and bright bedroom, the forest, and more. You can set a timer to have it on for a specific time, like when you have guests over. I wish there was a way to add more Cinemagraphs to the TV, though.
What I really like about it is how easy it is to set up. The television itself is large, but you only need to slide in the stands to get it upright. There are no screws required for this setup. We don’t have a system to mount the TV, so I can’t tell you how that experience will go. But if you are taking that route, make sure to leave some space for the back or at least get a mount that you can swivel to access the ports behind it. This TV has ample ports, including three HDMI, two USB, one AV in, one Digital Audio out, and Ethernet ports.
LiTT Tip #2: If you want to display your own photos in Ambient Mode, download the SmartThings app and add your TV to SmartThings. Select your connected TV from the device list and tap Ambient Mode. After that, tap My Album on the Ambient Mode screen. From there, you can select the pictures you want to put on display.
You require extra value
Beyond picture quality and design, some buyers demand or seek a bit more from the televisions they purchase, especially smart TVs. And the Samsung AU8100 is ready to face that demand. You get access to your favorite streaming services out of the box. It comes pre-installed with Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and HBO GO. Netflix and Amazon Prime even get dedicated buttons on this TV’s remote alongside a shortcut to the built-in browser.
This TV is powered by Samsung’s Tizen platform, and it’s also given me access to apps like Viu, Plex, and Spotify. I do still miss the flexibility and app access I get with an Android TV, so I feel like that takes a point off the Samsung AU8100 just a bit. But if you just need the apps mentioned above, you’re more than set on this television.
To access the internet and these apps, this TV comes equipped with Wi-Fi 5. If you have Apple devices, this Samsung TV supports AirPlay. And you can connect external devices like a keyboard and mouse via Bluetooth 5.2. The latter is quite important if you want to use the TV as more than a device to watch content on.
But before we get into that, the Samsung AU8100 also supports Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant, which you can enable via the included remote or your other Samsung devices. According to its product page, you can also select Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant as your voice assistant of choice. It isn’t available on the test unit we were sent. So, I’m not sure if that’s indicative of the units sold here or it’s just because this is an engineering sample. I’ll try and get answers for that. If it isn’t available, it somewhat limits your ability to integrate into your smart home system unless you are building it within Samsung’s SmartThings ecosystem.
Speaking of using the Samsung AU8100 beyond just a TV, you can actually mirror or use this 55-inch TV as a gigantic monitor or secondary display for your PC. And Samsung gives you multiple options to make that happen. You can connect via your Windows PC, Mac, or Samsung DeX. I only have a Windows system with me, but I’ve seen it work with Windows 10 and 11. It even has access to Microsoft 365 and other web services, which I think it accesses through the browser.
I have used the TV as a monitor while I tune in a live stream for work. And it worked just fine. If you find yourself working in your living room or bedroom and need a bigger screen, this television can be that for you.
LiTT Tip #3: To learn more about connecting your PC to the Samsung AU8100, head to Source > PC on TV. There are a clear set of instructions there to follow to get you up and running.
What’s lit and what’s not?
What’s lit about it:
- Accurate, life-like colors
- Excellent 4K upscaling capabilities for non-4K content
- Doesn’t really catch glare from light sources
- Different picture modes for a more immersive experience
- Thin, minimalist television design
- Ambient Mode turns the TV into a giant photo frame
- Easy to assemble
- A good amount of ports and connectivity options
- Turn the TV into your monitor
What needs the extra spark:
- Not the brightest display
- Hope there was a way to add more Cinemagraphs
- Tizen is still more limited than Android TV
- No voice assistant options outside of Bixby (at least with our test unit)
After the past couple of years spent mostly at home, I, like many of you, spent a lot of time consuming content on different services to stay entertained. The Samsung AU8100 has been an excellent television to enjoy my favorite shows and films. At its price, it feels like this 4K TV offers many of the features we hope our 4K TVs will offer, giving you greater value from what you pay for it.
The Samsung AU8100 55″ Crystal UHD 4K retails for PHP 48,999. You can check this link for where you can buy this television.