As I recall, the black levels were pretty similar, but the Reference had much better shadow detail. No blooming on either one, but there was a lot more detail in bright parts of the image on the Reference; on the Samsung, those areas were much more flat.
As for which LCD TVs I'm most excited about reviewing, I'm not all that interested in UHDTVs (except the Reference), and there weren't many HDTVs on display at all. So I guess I would say the Vizio Reference, M series, and maybe a Toshiba (which looked surprisingly good, at least on the show floor, and they were all flat) or Samsung 7150 (the company's highest-level flat HDTV). Maybe a Sharp Quattron+ (just to see how well that "plus" technology works).
But with desirable PQ attributes now starting to become available only on UHD displays how much longer can you not be interested? Two examples come to mind: 1) To get the hardware based dimming scheme of the F8000 you now have to buy one of Samsung's UHD televisions and 2) The Vizio "P" series will have twice the dimming zones, better motion as claimed by Vizio and more robust video processing than the "M" series.