Samsung UE60F7000 TV Review
60-inches proves a bridge too far for edge-lit LED technolgy
What is the Samsung UE60F7000?Following a run of reviews for what we would tactfully describe as modestly sized TVs, we’re back on the hard stuff with Samsung’s 60-inch F7000 LED TV. There’s no doubt that when it comes to high def and 3D size counts but it’s also true that the bigger the picture, the easier it is to pick up on any shortcomings and defects so we’ll be hoping for good screen uniformity as well as all the bells and whistles that we’ve come to expect as standard in Samsung’s high-end ranges. So is the UE60F7000 ready for big school? Time to take the gruelling AVForums entrance exam.
Design and ConnectionsWe’ve long since grown accustomed to the ‘Size 0’ bezel and chassis found on the F7000 but that doesn’t stop it from possessing the wow factor and at 60-inches diagonally, it packs it in spades. One thing we should really mention is the weight – or rather the lack of it - and it’s surprising just how easy this TV is to pick up and move around, not that we’re suggesting you construct it on your own but those with long arms and relatively healthy body’s shouldn’t have any problems in relocating it, once it’s built. Being the size it is, it was unsurprising to find the silver base stand is static but given the screen real estate, viewing angles shouldn’t be a huge issue in most rooms.
We were pleased to see that F7000 is endowed with the ‘requisite’ 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 F7000 comes with two remote controls, the first of which is a standard black plastic affair, familiar from any number of Samsung TVs but slightly shrunken down to the proportions of your average Blu-ray player remote. Samsung would prefer you to use the included touch pad remote which uses RF to connect and includes basic controls along with a touch pad. There is also a built-in microphone which is used for voice control and definitely beats shouting across the room. We certainly found the touch pad useful for navigating the Smart TV System but despite offering a graphical representation of the full remote onscreen, we found that for basic controls the old school remote was a lot quicker and easier.
MenusThe F7000 uses the same menu layout featured in most of their TVs for the last couple of years. The menu system is very snappy to navigate and provides some useful guidance for what the various settings do or, at least, that they’re supposed to. The main menu offers a basic set of options including Picture, Sound, Broadcasting, Network, Smart Features,System and Support but within these main choices are a large number of sub-menus.
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 the Advanced Settings are 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).
CalibrationA quick switch in to Movie mode will bring the viewer the instant dividend of getting the most accurate image possible, out-of-the-box, but there’s still too much blue in the greyscale. Delta Errors are averaging around 6 but it’s easy enough to see the lack of green and read with bright pictures. Gamma tracking isn’t as flat as we’d like but reasonable and colour performance is also good but still generally a little too bright.
Samsung’s calibration controls are usually very reliable but although we managed to achieve excellent results, for some reason the 10 point white balance ceased to function at 80% stimulus and beyond. No matter how much we played with the contrast control or the bias and gain controls in the 2 point white balance, we couldn’t fine tune near white. In all honesty, errors are so low as to be insignificant but it does rather spoil the look of the charts. We encountered no such problems with the CMS where we able to hit perfection, or thereabouts, at full saturation levels.
Looking at the lower colour saturation points, red is generally a little oversaturated at lower stimulus but in the area affecting white skin tones, around 25%, it’s in good shape. Overall errors through the 25% incremented steps, are almost all below 3 for all six measured colours, bar blue and cyan that hover on or above at 25 and 50% stimulus which, all in all, is an excellent set of readings.The Samsung UE60F7000 performed almost identically to its smaller, 46-inch stable-mate in both the on/off and ANSI Contrast tests. Given a full screen black signal, the F7000 will completely shut down the lights but we still managed to get a reading of 0.034 cd/m2 before that happened. Set against our standardised 120 cd/m2 peak light output, that gives an on/off Contrast Ratio of around 3400:1, which is very good for LED/LCD. The F7000 couldn’t quite keep it up with mixed content on the screen but an ANSI number of about 3000:1 so it also impressive intra-frame dynamic range.Whilst it was welcome news that the 60F7000 matched the contrast performance of the smaller iteration, it couldn’t equal it for screen uniformity and had disappointing patches of uneven light across most of the top portion of the screen. This was highly noticeable with very dark content and there was no setting in the menus that could get rid of it. The Cinema Black feature does give you very black bars when watching movies but couldn’t mask the light pooling elsewhere. On the plus side, we almost never saw any panel banding or dirty screen effect so brighter content looked pleasingly uniform.
As we’d expect from a Samsung product, the U60F7000 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 UE60F7000 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 between 70 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 around 45ms, which is OK but far from being the most responsive TV on the block for gamers.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Standard Mode: 96.5W
- Calibrated – Movie Mode: 88W
- Calibrated - 3D Mode: 132W
Audio and FeaturesQuite a few of the manufacturers, this year, have attempted to address the issues inherent when putting speakers into TVs that are incredibly thin and the 60F7000 acquits itself with impressive competence, delivering decent bass, convincing sound effects and crystal clear dialogue. It’s also capable of being pushed quite loud without losing the plot.
Despite delivering the best Smart TV system last year, Samsung were clearly not content to sit on their laurels and they have made a number of improvements for 2013. The internet and app response times are super-fast and Samsung has made it even easier to toggle between apps, online services and on-air TV, with a natty redesign. Since we’ve conducted a full investigation and review of Samsung’s 2013 Smart TV platform, there’s no point us re-treading old ground when you can feast your eyes upon it right here.
Samsung UE60F7000 Picture Quality 2DAs we said in the intro, when it comes to high definition content, size matters, and when the F7000 delivers it does so with a capital D, with its glorious colour palette backed in stout fashion by the generally impressive black levels. The sense of detail can be truly phenomenal and the better the source, the better it looks but even decent quality standard definition fodder can be made to be look quite impressive, thanks to Samsung’s excellent scaling engine. We’ve been quite critical over Samsung’s forced motion processing in their higher-end TVs recently but there seems to have been some manipulations under the hood – via a software update – since we were last in a position to check and those stutters and hiccups are a very rare occurrence indeed. In about 3 weeks of using the F7000 as our everyday TV, we only saw a couple of instances whilst watching sports and none whatsoever with 1080p24 Blu-ray discs, which is certainly a turn for the better.
Whilst the 60F7000 generally put out superb pictures there were a couple of annoyances, not least of which was some very inconsistent light distribution causing darker scenes to be polluted with pools of bright light. We can tolerate this to a certain extent but when it’s covering about 40% of the screen it does begin to grate, quite quickly. This is a near flagship grade product, with a suggested retail price close to £3,000 so we would expect much better. The only other real gripe was with a bug with the Cinema Black feature that could cause graininess in the pictures and it’s something Steve Withers discovered months ago so really should have been addressed by now. We’re sure there are much better examples of the 60F7000 out there but getting even light distribution from edge-mounted LED lights, on a screen this size, is always going to be a challenge.
Samsung UE60F7000 Picture Quality 3DThe UE60F7000 comes with two pairs of RF 3D glasses that extremely lightweight and have very little tint to the lenses - which is good thing - but as far as this reviewer is concerned, they let in far too much light that can cause an intolerable flicker so we used another pair with better shielding instead. Now, if size counts when it comes to HD, then that goes nearly double for the 3D format where any real, convincing sense of depth can only be portrayed on a generously sized screen and, to be fair, Life of Pi has rarely looked better, in-home, on all the 3D display’s we’ve tested. Samsung’s 3D processing continues to improve; bringing nice, clean motion, convincing colours and plenty of brightness to the party whilst not spoiling the fun with intrusive ghosting or crosstalk. Whilst broadcast 3D seems to be dying a death, Hollywood is still currently insistent that virtually every ‘blockbuster’ movie has to have a 3D iteration and the 60F7000 will deliver them to you in absolutely superb style. It’s a shame the Cinema Black feature isn’t operational in 3D mode, however, as the dimming effect of the glasses wasn’t enough to overcome the light pooling issues we endured with the 2D pictures.
- Impressive blacks and dynamic range
- Reference greyscale and colour after calibration
- Excellent video processing
- Quad-core processing
- Reference Smart TV System
- Beautiful design
- Built-in WiFi and camera
- Touch pad remote control
- Lots and lots of light pooling issues ruined all the good work
- Cinema black issue
Samsung UE60F7000 TV Review
Despite its rather large screen size, the Samsung UE60F7000 stills manages to carry off the sleek look by virtue of its micro-bezel and super-slim chassis and the effect is sure to wow your friends and family. The inclusion of the touch pad remote – as well as the standard number – is also a coffee table talking point and the full set of features that they both allow access too is mind-bogglingly expansive. To name but a few, the smart features extend to cover DLNA streaming, numerous Video on Demand services and integration with services to provide a content recommendation engine. And it all ticks over at a fair old lick thanks to quad core processing.
That same processor is also capable of handling all sorts of signals with total aplomb and even standard definition content could look quite palatable on the 60-inch screen. Thanks to some excellent calibration options, we were able to produce a superb degree of accuracy to the F7000’s images and, backed up by impressive dynamic range, pictures were breathtakingly detailed and vivid. But there was one party-pooper present in the form of ugly and uneven light distribution which frequently impinged on darker scenes. The same problems existed in 3D pictures too but we have to say, otherwise, the F7000 produces one of the best in-home three dimensional experiences on the market.
If you can bag yourself a Samsung 60F7000 with good screen uniformity, you’re on to a winner but the sample supplied here fell short of the mark we would expect from a top-tier product.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £2,899.00
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
3D Picture Quality8
Ease Of Use9
Value for Money7
Our Review Ethos
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