VT60 Vs. F8500
First off I'd like to offer a huge shout-out to the fine guys over at the BB Magnolia next to Roosevelt Field on Long Island. They had these two sets side by side on stands making a direct A/B comparison possible. They were able to synch up The Avengers on DVD so that both sets were playing this with only a 1" -2" second difference between what the two sets were displaying. Actually, that 1" -2" second difference was quite helpful in allowing an assessment of what was playing on one before looking at the other.
First off, the F8500 had somewhat more pure whites than the VT60. That said, neither had anything like the eye searing whites and "pop" of the LED/LCD sets on the adjacent wall so if that is what you're after you're going to need to pass on both of these sets and opt, instead, for an LED/LCD. So the F8500 had more initial visual impact. My wife commented on this initially. After watching for a minute or two the strengths of the VT60 began to emerge. In fact, the longer you watched, the more apparent it was that the VT60 won convincingly in a number of categories. These included coror saturation and "depth" (hard to describe this but the closest I can come is that the VT had more of a 3D effect even while displaying 2D material). It also simply blew away the F8500 in resolution of detail in dark scenes. Skin tones where more accurate on the VT and blacks definitely appeared 'blacker.' Neither set was using "torch mode" (i.e. (Vivid/Dynamic), so any artificial exaggerations that might have been introduced by these were not a factor. Needless to say, neither were professionally calibrated so we were looking at out-of-the-box settings. I was rather surprised to find that red resolution was about a draw with both sets doing a superb jod here. In view of the much ballyhooed new phosphor that Panny is using I had rather expected that this would be one area in which the VT would bury the F8500. This was not the case. Surprisingly it was in the blues that the VT excelled and completely dominated the F8500. Who whoudda figured?
Anyway, I'm happy to report that my seemingly endless obsession deciding between these two sets has now come to a close and I'm going with the VT. A couple of other factors entered into my ultimate decision. These were that I adore the stand that the VT uses and detest the overly wide stand of the F8500; the VT provides two remotes for their set -- one of which is the cute little touch pad thing, the other of which is a more traditional remote that will allow far easier access to the unit's many feature far more easily...the F8500 only offers the (admittedly very sleek and sexy) touch pad remote; the sound system of the VT is almost certain to beat the built-in speakers of the F8500...having owned the F8500 for about a week I can say that the built-in speakers of that unit were, at best, mediocre; finally I am a bit concerned over quality control issues with Samsung and I believe that over the long haul, the VT will prove to be more reliable -- I know that even the finest product can occassionally produce a lemon but I want to keep the odds on my side.
So if you are a casual shopper (thankfully, not many of us here fall into that category) be careful and spend some quality time with both sets before you decide which way to go. First impressions can be deceiving!
I feel strongly both ways!