If the 9000’s killer looks won’t hook you, the remote control surely will, at least upon first gaze. Equipped with a color touchscreen display, the remote evokes the look and feel of an Apple iPad, and is light-years ahead of other upper-end TV remote controls in that regard. It has both a chime as well as a gentle vibration (like a game controller’s) that signal when buttons or the touchpad keys are pressed. It also wakes up when picked up. It can talk to the TV wirelessly or via conventional infrared commands, and comes with a rechargeable battery and companion charger.
It provides control of the TV, as you would expect, but it also features the ability to stream the program from the TV to the color display (with sound), letting the unit function as a portable TV that can be taken and viewed elsewhere in the home. Consider a typical weekend afternoon, watching your favorite sports with friends (and when they find out you’ve got a Samsung 9000, you’ll never be wanting for company) and you want to head over to the kitchen to raid the refrigerator. Take the remote with you, and you won’t miss any of the action.
While it can control other components, such as a cable or satellite set-top-box, the remote has its limitations, not the least of which is the channel up/down function. Ordinarily, once a remote is configured to control the STB, one would think that the dedicated channel up/down buttons should do the trick, but here the remote’s channel up/down buttons seem only to be able to control the set’s internal TV tuner. To change a satellite or cable box’s channel, you need to go to the touchscreen, navigate over to the STB’s functions, and then use the touchscreen’s channel up and down virtual keys, which is downright clunky.
Furthermore, the remote lacks a DVR function button to call up previously recorded content or record a show, which is yet one more serious omission. All in all, while the 9000’s spiffy-looking remote has the pizzazz to impress the paparazzi, the functionality it provides isn’t in tune with what the average user is looking for. More than a few times, I was pining for one of Samsung’s conventional remotes that shipped with their premium sets a year or two ago, as they were pinnacles of conventional remote control design. As the 9000 remote’s firmware can be easily updated, hopefully these shortcomings can be addressed at some point down the road.
When set to the Home mode, the out-of-the-box settings are way off the mark. First, the Eco mode, which tones down overall brightness according to the room’s ambient light, produces a decidedly dim picture. Given that the set is quite energy efficient anyway, turning that function off makes little difference in overall power consumption. As with other Samsung TVs, head right on over to Movie mode and Color Temp Warm 2, and you’ll get the best experience. Do tone down the color saturation a bit as well.
Picture Mode: Movie
Color Tone: Warm2
HD size (pixel-to-pixel): Screen Fit
Eco Sensor: Off
Black Tone: Off
Dynamic Contrast: Off
Color Space: Auto
Shadow Detail: -2
Flesh Tone: 0
Edge Enhancement: Off
LED Motion Plus: Off
Digital Noise Filter: Auto
MPEG Noise Filter: Auto
Film Mode: Auto 2
Auto Motion Plus: Custom; Blur Reduction: 2; Judder Reduction: 5