Samsung UE46F7000 review
|Review: May 2013|
Last updated November 2013
In a nutshell: Samsung's beautiful Series 7 TV offers fantastic viewing quality and class-leading Smart TV but comes at a hefty price.
We recently reviewed Samsung's flagship LED television for 2013, the UE55F8000 and concluded that it is utterly brilliant, but who's got the money or the space for such a TV? Now we're scaling back on space and budget and assessing the new 7 Series range, in particular the 46 inch model.
46 inches is an impressive size for a TV screen and it's going to have a lot of impact on any room. The Series 7 TVs look very similar to the Series 8. Designed to look stunning, they combine premium materials with an ultraslim design and a super narrow bezel to give your TV a "how did they make it?" look. The Series 7 replaces the curved arc base on the Series 8 with a more substantial central base with a brushed metallic finish. The illuminated Samsung logo below the screen and the pop-up camera at the top complete the stylish and luxurious look.
While the Series 8 delivers the best picture quality that we've experienced from a Samsung LED TV, the Series 7 isn't quite at the same level, although it isn't far behind.
The TV retains the same LCD screen as the more expensive model. It's a PVA panel that excels at producing super bright colours with plenty of contrast. With an 800 Clear Motion Rate, it's almost as fast as the Series 8 at displaying motion, and we're willing to bet that you won't notice the difference. The screen is fast enough to display sport and action without any visible motion blur, and in Game Mode it should satisfy PS3 and Xbox users too, although a little lag is present here.
The key difference between the Series 7 and Series 8 displays is in the backlighting. Both use edge LED backlighting, which is what enables the TVs to be so slim, but the Series 7 model lacks Samsung's "Micro Dimming Ultimate" backlighting system. This means that there's less control over local backlighting, so contrast is reduced and dark scenes can occasionally exhibit leakage of light from lighter regions into darker ones. In practice however, the backlighting performs well, and there's little difference between this and the more expensive model.
3D performance is top quality. Although active 3D glasses can often generate flickering and crosstalk, you'll find none of that here. Since active 3D has the benefit of full 1080p HD resolution, you'll find that the 3D experience from this TV is superbly detailed, flicker-free and with very few issues.
There's a definite compromise here, as the F7000 comes with twin stereo speakers, but not the extra subwoofers provided for the F8000. The result is less punchy bass. Nevertheless, the audio quality is better than average for a modern TV, with clear dialogue and no distortion. The 3D surround effect can add a certain depth to the sound field, although it won't be to everyone's taste.
For best results, as always, a separate soundbar or full 5.1 speaker system will provide noticeably improved audio quality.
The 2013 range of Samsung TVs certainly takes Smart TV to the next level.
The presentation is particularly user-friendly, and the functionality has also been ramped up. First of all, the range of apps available through Samsung Apps has been updated to include catch-up TV via the BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport, ITV Player, the 4oD service from Channel 4, and Demand 5 from Channel 5. You'll also find staples like LoveFilm, Skype, Twitter and others.
Secondly, social media are fully integrated into the Smart TV system, so you can keep up with your facebook and twitter feeds and watch your friends' videos.
A quad-core processor means that the graphically-intensive user interface flies along without any frustrating pauses.
Even selecting programmes to watch has evolved, with the "S Recommendation" system suggesting programmes based on your viewing history. You may not ever need to scroll through listings again, as the system does its best to bring interesting programmes to your attention. In fact, you may find that as you watch more and more, you become less smart than your TV, which is what your mother always warned you about.
The UE46F7000 comes with two remote controls. As well as a conventional remote, there's a smart remote with a touch pad for scrolling through the menus. Given the graphical layout of the Smart TV system, you'll probably find the new style remote is the one to use.
Alternatively, if you get frustrated with all these bells and whistles, you can try shouting at your TV or shaking your fist at it, because the F7000 supports voice recognition and gesture controls too.
The TV also includes a slot in the back where you can plug in a Smart Evolution kit to upgrade your TV with future smart tech. The idea is to future-proof it, at least in terms of smart technology.
The UE46F7000 retains all of the connectivity options of the Series 8. There are no fewer than 4 HDMI ports (a welcome increase from last year's model) plus 3 USBs. You can connect to the internet via the ethernet port or the built-in Wi-Fi. You can stream photos, music and movies from DLNA-compatible devices such as a PC or smartphone. Samsung’s AllShare creates a wireless home network for you to enjoy content from all Samsung compatible devices. If you own a Samsung tablet or smartphone, then this is a good reason to choose a Samsung TV to go with them. Built-in Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners are included too.
Conclusion - excellent but still pricey
If you're comparing the UE46F7000 with the Series 8 equivalent, the differences are:
- A different stand
- 800 CMR instead of 1000 CMR response rate
- No Micro Dimming Ultimate
- No subwoofers
The loss of these features doesn't make a hugely noticeable impact. This is still a phenomenally impressive 46 inch TV. It looks amazing, it's picture quality is impeccable despite the edge backlighting, 3D quality is impressive, and the Smart TV functionality and ease-of-use is unmatched.
Back at the beginning of 2013 we reviewed this TV and gave it 4 stars. The sky-high price was simply too high to justify. But now that the price has dropped by several hundred pounds, at last we can award this TV a full 5 stars. £1,300 is still a lot of money though, so you might also consider the more reasonably priced F6800 model.
Samsung UE46F7000 features include:
- 46 inch LED-backlit screen
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- Wide Colour Enhancer Plus
- Digital Noise Filter
- Ultra Clear Panel
- Micro Dimming
- 800 Clear Motion Rate
- 3D Ready with 2 3D active glasses included
- Game Mode
- Smart Evolution Support
- Smart TV 2.0, Smart Hub, Samsung Apps, Social TV, Fitness, Kids, Web Browser
- Freeview HD & Freesat HD
- Audio: Digital Dolby Plus, Dolby Pulse, DNSe, 3D surround effect, Dts 2.0+Digital Out available, 10W x 2 sound output (RMS), 2 down firing speakers
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet (LAN) x 1, HDMI x 4, USB x 3, headphone x 1, component in (Y/Pb/Pr) x 1, composite in (AV) x 1, digital audio out (optical) x 1, DVI Audio In (Mini Jack) x 1, PC in (via HDMI), Scart x 1, RF In (Terrestrial / Cable input) x 1, Anynet+, MHL, Ci slot
- TM1390A, TM1240 Remote Controller
- Energy efficiency class: A
- Typical power consumption: 71W
- Size without stand (WxHxD): 1037 x 622.3 x 34.4mm
- Size with stand (WxHxD): 1037 x 650.7 x 257mm
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