Samsung UE46F7000 46 Inch 3D LED LCD Smart TV Review
It's not quite top of the shop but Samsung's F7000 still has much to admire
Design and Connections
It’s good to see that UE46F7000 comes equipped with four HDMI inputs, which are all side facing. The HDMI 3 input supports the Audio Return Channel (ARC) and there’s support for Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) via HDMI 4. You also get three USB ports, a CI (Common Interface) slot, an optical digital audio out, a LAN socket, a headphone socket and legacy connections using breakout cables. There are aerial and satellite connectors for both FreeviewHD and FreesatHD, along with twin tuners for each, which means if you add an external HDD you can create a fully functioning PVR.
The UE46F7000 comes with two pairs of RF 3D glasses that are basically the same as last year. They are extremely lightweight and there is very little tint to the lenses, which is good, but they don’t have any protection from ambient light and reflections getting in from the back and sides, which isn’t quite so good. In fact we gave up with them for that very reason and used some other compatible eyewear we happened to have around. The glasses provided with the F7000 use batteries but you can also buy an optional USB rechargeable version if you prefer.
The Picture menu offers a choice of four types of Viewing Mode - Standard, Natural, Dynamic and Movie. The latter is designed to approximate industry standards and thus it should offer the most accurate out-of-the-box setting. Both the Picture Mode and the Sound Mode can be accessed directly using the Tools button on the remote control. There are also all the usual basic controls that you would expect to find on any LED TV such as Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness, Colour and Tint. From the Picture menu, you can access sub menus for Picture Size, 3D, Advanced Settings and Picture Options. You can also apply your calibrated picture mode to other inputs, although it didn't appear to copy the white balance or colour space settings which kind of defeats the object.
Within Advanced Settings there are also all the key calibration controls, starting with Gamma which globally adjusts gamma across the entire image. Then there's a choice of a two-point White Balance control or a ten-point White Balance control which will allow for very accurate calibration of the greyscale. Finally, there's an option called Colour Space which gives you a choice between Auto, Native and Custom; if you choose Custom you have access to a full Colour Management System (CMS).
Audio and Features
As we’d expect from a Samsung product, the U46F7000 performed superbly in this section of testing, with extremely competent deinterlacing and scaling of standard definition content, with clear and crisp reproduction of fine details and no unwanted ringing. The F7000 also had no problems detecting both 3:2 and 2:2 cadence correctly and, as long as the Auto2 Film Mode was selected, scrolling video text over film was also delivered perfectly. The UE45F7000 aced all the other tests as well, delivering an almost flawless performance in every regard. The quality of the video deinterlacing at 1080i50 was just as good as it was for standard definition and there were no apparent issues with 24p content. In fact we found the overall motion handling to be quite impressive for a LCD TV and we measured 400 lines of resolution on the FPD Benchmark test, so even fast moving sport looked quite good. Of course once you use Motion Plus the resolution increases to the full 1080 but it is quite aggressive so don’t use it with film content, we beg you.
For reasons best known to themselves, Samsung continue to hide the Game mode away in the General sub-menu within the System menu. We measured the input lag at 117ms without the Game mode activated but even with it on we were measuring the input lag at betweem 75 and 82ms, which is way too high for any serious gamer. By labelling the HDMI 1 input from the Source menu using the Tools button as 'PC', that clearly by-passed some additional processing and got the input lag down to a far more reasonable 45ms.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Standard Mode: 79.8W
- Calibrated – Movie Mode: 74W
- Calibrated - 3D Mode: 112W
Picture Quality - 2D
To back up the higher end of the dynamic range, the F7000 is capable of very decent black levels that are given a further helping hand by Samsung’s Micro Dimming technology which analyses the pictures in virtual blocks to assess where it’s needed to be applied. It actually works pretty well, in most circumstances, although we could see a bit of haloing around film credits and with objects in very dark scenes but it did do an excellent job in masking some of the light uniformity issues we had with this particular panel. For content with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio (mostly movies), Samsung’s new Cinema Black feature works very well. The idea behind it is to turn off the LEDs in the ‘black bars’ at top and bottom in order to make the bars blacker. As Steve found with the F8000, whilst this feature really works, only use the Low setting and make sure you turn it off when not watching 2.35:1 content, otherwise the brightness of the image will fluctuate as the LEDs turn on and off, depending on how dark the top and bottom of the image is.
As we found with the F8000 Samsung has done away with the last traces of undefeatable noise reduction technology which means the fidelity of films with added grain will remain intact. If you do watch any low quality content through the F7000 however, you might well find the setting useful as it does a quite an incredible job at cleaning up poor sources. It seems there’s no getting away from the Clear Motion Rate processing however as, even with all the Motion Plus processing completely disengaged, there were still instances where we would encounter hiccups and stuttering. This is an issue we’ve had in the past with the higher-end Samsung LED’s and it’s especially noticeable with sports, where frequent changes in camera and regular slo-mo replays can sometimes wreak havoc with CMR. A weekend of sporting action, including FA Cup semi-finals and Masters Golf was perhaps a bit unkind on the F7000, but them’s the breaks. When it isn’t tripping up, motion clarity is actually very good with the F7000, for LED/LCD technology, so it would be good to get this minor issue resolved. Our only other minor complaint was that on occasion we could see some motion artefacts, i.e. judder, with 24p content but since motion in film material is inherently a touch jerky, at times, barely a problem.
Picture Quality - 3D
- Impressive blacks and dynamic range
- Much improved backlight uniformity in 2D
- Excellent greyscale and colour out-of-the-box
- Reference greyscale and colour after calibration
- Excellent video processing
- Comprehensive calibration controls
- Quad-core processing
- Well designed and responsive menu system
- Reference Smart TV System
- Very effective remote app
- Beautiful design
- Built-in WiFi and camera
- Touch pad remote control
- Two pairs of 3D glasses
- Motion processing sometime gets caught out causing stuttering
- Some judder with 1080p24 sources
- Light uniformity poor with 3D sources
- Stand doesn't swivel
Samsung UE46F7000 46 Inch 3D LED LCD Smart TV Review
The F7000 is equally smart inside as it is out and the quadcore processing shows some of its benefits by aiding menus and apps to load in incredibly brisk fashion. The goodness doesn’t stop there, either, and to add to the almost innumerate apps and video streaming services, there’s a built-in camera for video calling, a comprehensive media player plus motion and voice controls. The new Smart controller is also very good with a touchpad for speedy scrolling and its own voice recognition technology built-in. We could go on about Samsung’s market leading Smart TV platform until the cows come home, it’s so vast we created an entire review dedicated to it.
Those super-snappy menus conceal some incredibly effective calibration controls that enabled us to extract maximum accuracy from the F7000 and, allied to fairly notable dynamic range performance, helped it to produce some highly engaging images which packed in almost uncanny clarity. Samsung’s micro-dimming technology is generally very effective and their video processing is amongst the best. We did encounter the odd motion stutter when cameras changed, which was particularly evident when watching sport. There was the odd bit of unexpected judder from Blu-ray sources, as well, but nothing too distracting.
The dimming technology helped the F7000 achieve very creditable screen uniformity with 2D pictures but life in 3D took a hit courtesy of unseemly corner bleed and clouding in the dark scenes; which was a shame as the general presentation was good. Gamers will need to jump few through a few hoops to get the best from the UE46F7000, merely finding the well buried Game mode isn’t enough but ecologists will take pleasure in its undemanding thirst for juice.
The Samsung UE46F7000 is super smart, inside and out, and brings the full might of the Korean’s industry-leading connected platform to the party. It’s also capable of reference colour performance and striking contrast backed up by generally superb picture processing. There’s the odd hiccup, here and there, and the F7000 is quite considerably better in 2D than it is in three but it’s nevertheless worthy of an AVForums Recommended Award.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
2D Picture Quality8
3D Picture Quality7
Ease Of Use9
Value for Money8
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Display LED Backlight Type Edge Display Format 1080p Full HD Screen Size 46 In Resolution 1920 x 1080 Pixels 1080p24 Support Yes Claimed Contrast Ratio Mega Contrast 3D Technology Active Refresh Rate 800 Hz Aspect Ratio 16:9 Picture-in-Picture PiP
Image Enhancement Engine 3D HyperReal Engine
3D Accessories Active Glasses
PVR Features HDD Recording
External PVR Ready
Smart TV Yes Smart TV Features WiDi
Video on Demand Access
App Store Access
File Formats XViD
Speakers Stereo Speaker Output 20 Watts Supported Sound Formats Dolby Digital
Dolby Digital Plus
Energy Efficiency Class A++ Power Consumption 71 watts Power Consumption (Standby) 0.3 watts Release Year 2013 Warranty Yes Screen Size 117 cm Width (With Stand) 1037 mm Height (With Stand) 651 mm Depth (With Stand) 257 mm Weight 15.7 Kg Width (Without Stand) 1037 mm Height (Without Stand) 622 mm Depth (Without Stand) 34 mm
HDMI Type HDMI
HDMI with ARC
HDMI with MHL
HDMI Inputs 4 Scart Connections 1 Component Inputs 1 Composite Inputs 1 USB Ports 3 Common Interface Slot Yes Ethernet Port Yes Headphone Socket Yes Wi-Fi Built-in
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