Samsung go 'old school' with their mid-range H7000 and ace the end-of-term exam
What is the Samsung UE40H7000?
There's something pleasingly traditional about the design of Samsung's mid-range H7000.Gone is the Ultra HD resolution, curved screen, size zero chassis, minuscule bezel or avant grade stand; replaced instead with something altogether more 'old school'. That's not a criticism because the UE40H7000 remains a very attractive TV and the design and construction are appropriate for its position in the middle of Samsung's 2014 range. The H7000 is a Full HD LED LCD model that sits below the curved H8000 but includes most of the same features and comes in screen sizes that range from 40 to 60 inches.It's competitively priced too and whilst not quite as cheap as the lower specified H6400, you can still pick the 40H7000 up for less than £1,000. Despite the price tag, the feature set remains impressive, with two remotes and two pairs of 3D glasses included in the box. The H7000 also includes Samsung's excellent Smart TV platform, their usual superb calibration controls and an impressive array of video processing capabilities. Samsung's TV range has been especially strong this year, so let's see how the H7000 measures up.
Design and ConnectionsThe design is certainly more traditional than most of Samsung's other recent models, with a 1cm black metal bezel surrounding a flat screen. The chassis is thicker than normal at 6cm, suggesting Samsung have positioned the LEDs at the rear of the panel, rather than the side; which bodes well for screen uniformity. The construction is very good for the price point and the TV sits on Samsung's 'linear' stand, which looks great but obviously precludes swivelling. At the rear right of the panel are the connections, with a combination of sideways and rearward facing inputs. There are four HDMI inputs in total, along with all the legacy connections, an aerial socket, two satellite connectors, three USB ports, an Ethernet port, an IR extender, a 3.5mm audio jack and an optical digital output.
Like the more expensive models in Samsung's TV range, the H7000 comes with two remote controls included - their standard remote and their new Smart Controller. The latter includes a motion sensor, a touch pad, video control keys and a microphone for voice control. The Smart Controller is small, ergonomically designed, comfortable in your hand, easy to use and is generally very effective. The H7000 also comes with two pairs of Samsung's standard active shutter RF 3D glasses, which are very light and comfortable to wear for prolonged periods. The lenses are free of excessive tint and large enough to fit over prescription glasses but the lack of side shielding does make them susceptible to flicker from any ambient light in the room, so make sure it's dark when you're watching 3D.
The H7000 keeps things simple, with an attractive design, plenty of connections and some useful accessories.
MenusAs with all of Samsung's 2014 TVs, the H7000 includes their standard menu system which is sensibly laid out, intuitive to use and easy to navigate. It's also very responsive thanks to the Samsung's quad core processing and each page provides some useful guidance for what the various settings are supposed to do. The Picture menu provides all the important controls for image accuracy , including the Picture Modes, as well as the Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness, Colour and Tint controls . From the Picture menu, you can access submenus for Picture Size, 3D, Advanced Settings and Picture Options; whilst you can also apply your calibrated picture mode to other inputs.
In the Picture Size sub-menu you can select the aspect ratio, which you'll have to do because there's no dedicated button on either remote, whilst in the Picture Options sub-menu there are controls for Colour Tone, Digital Clean View, MPEG Noise Filter, Motion Plus and Black Optimiser. In the Advanced Settings sub-menu, you'll find all the key calibration controls, including Gamma, White Balance and Colour Space. There's a choice of a two-point or a ten-point White Balance control which should allow for a very accurate calibration of the greyscale. The Colour Space gives you a choice between Auto, Native and Custom; if you choose Custom you have access to a full Colour Management System (CMS).
FeaturesPerhaps thanks to the deeper chassis, the H7000 sounded quite good, which was surprising on what is a relatively small screen size these days. The TV managed to create a reasonably wide soundstage, dialogue was clear and overall the audio was able to go quite loud without distorting or sounding 'tinny'. Samsung have certainly made great strides in terms of the sound ion their TVs and the H7000 is another good example. The EPG is well designed and effective to use and the H7000 has twin aerial and satellite tuners, along with PVR functionality using an outboard HDD.
The latest iteration of Samsung's Smart TV platform is very similar to last year but with numerous upgrades, including a dual-screen feature, faster Quad Core processing, improved motion and voice control and the latest version of Samsung's remote app. The Smart Hub itself has also had a slight facelift, with all the photo, video, music and social features being combined in one multimedia screen, thus making room for a new screen dedicated to games. As with all of Samsung's TVs you also get all the catch-up services and just about every other video streaming app too. You can read our in-depth review of Samsung's 2014 Smart TV Platform here.
The H7000 includes quad-core processing, extensive smart features and all the catch-up services.
As is aways the case with Samsung TVs, the best out-of-the-box choice is the Movie mode, which will deliver a performance that matches the industry standards as closely as possible for a factory setting. A list of suggested settings based on the measurements taken during the review can be found here.
As the graphs above show, the H7000 delivered a reasonable greyscale performance out-of-the-box but there was an excess of green at the higher end of the scale; whilst the gamma was tracking our 2.3 target precisely. The colour gamut performance was also quite good, with all the colours measuring close to their targets and any errors largely the result of the excess green in the greyscale. Overall this is an excellent performance and given the available calibration controls we would expect to improve this still further.
The H7000 includes both a two- and a ten-point white balance control, so it was a simple task to get all three channels to measure in equal amounts. This resulted in errors that were well below the acuity of the human eye, delivering a smooth transition from black to white that was free of discolouration. The gamma was still tracking around our target of 2.3 and overall this is a reference performance. Using Samsung's excellent CMS, we quickly had all the colours hitting their respective coordinates for Rec.709, although red was slightly under-saturated. This under-saturation of red was still apparent at lower saturation levels, although it was not readily apparent with actual material and flesh tones looked good thanks to the accuracy of magenta.Black Levels, Contrast Ratio and Dynamic Range
This is an area where Samsung LED LCD TVs often outperform the competition and the H7000 was no exception. We took multiple readings from a chequerboard pattern and ended up with an averaged black level of 0.057 cd/m2 against an average peak white of around 118 cd/m2. That gives us an ANSI contrast of 2059:1, which is more than serviceable and certainly better than competing TVs equipped with IPS panels. The H7000 also delivered an excellent level of screen uniformity and was pleasingly free of the two other common issues often found on LED LCD TVs - dirty screen effect and banding. These can be especially noticeable on football broadcasts, where the camera pans across the pitch, so that's handy for the upcoming World Cup.Video Processing
The video processing on the H7000 was impressive with effective deinterlacing and scaling of standard definition content. There were no problems detecting both 3:2 and 2:2 cadence correctly or when handling scrolling video text over film. The quality of the video deinterlacing at 1080i50 was equally as good and there were no apparent issues with 24p content. The motion handling also proved to be quite impressive for an LCD TV, however with the World Cup coming up you might consider experimenting with the Motion Plus frame interpolation feature. We found this could be useful on a low setting for smoothing out fast-paced action, without introducing any noticeable artefacts. Although, as always, we would never recommend using Motion Plus with film-based content.
The H7000 delivered a sizeable input lag of 80ms when in the calibrated Movie mode but thankfully things improved when the Game mode was selected. This brought the input lag down to a more reasonable 40ms and renaming the input didn't make any difference, so this was as low as we could get it. However 40ms is about average for a TV released in 2014 and should be low enough for all but the most demanding of gamers. We certainly didn't notice any appreciable delay when gaming with our new PS4 and overall found the H7000 to be quite a responsive and fun companion for our next gen console.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 70W
- Calibrated – Professional Mode: 81W
- Calibrated - 3D Mode: 89W
Samsung UE40H7000 Video Review
Samsung UE40H7000 Picture QualityThanks to all the factors that we have mentioned in the test section, the H7000 proved itself to be a highly capable performer with a clean and detailed picture that was free of any unwanted artefacts or other inconsistencies. The colours and flesh tones appeared natural, although reds were slightly under-saturated, and the excellent uniformity meant that football pitches and skies were free of any banding or other annoying distractions. The blacks looked surprisingly good for a LED LCD TV, as did the shadow detail, and again the excellent backlight uniformity meant that there was no obvious clouding in darker scenes. The superb video processing meant that regardless of whether you were watching standard or high definition content, the results were always first class.
Of course it was with Blu-rays that the H7000 really delivered the goods and using our current test disc du jour - Gravity - we were impressed with the level of detail, the excellent handling of the motion with 24p and the impressive levels of dynamic range within the image. The H7000 might be a mid-tier model but the performance is top-of-the-line all the way and shows that whilst Samsung might be pushing Ultra HD (4K) heavily this year, they haven't forgotten Full HD. The H7000 is also a 3D capable TV of course and whilst the format might be waning in popularity, the Samsung will still be able to keep fans happy with a great performance in this area too. A 40" screen size might be a little small to create a genuinely immersive experience but the 3D on Gravity was delivered very well, with good motion handling and an absence of crosstalk.
The H7000 delivered a fantastic picture, with natural colours, plenty of detail and great backlight uniformity.
- Very good blacks and contrast ratio
- Excellent screen uniformity
- Reference greyscale and colour accuracy
- Impressive video processing
- Superb Smart TV System
- Effective motion controller
- Attractive design
- Nothing at this price
Samsung UE40H7000 (H7000) LED TV ReviewSamsung may may gone somewhat 'old school' in their design of the H7000 but the results have aced the end-of-term exam. The design is attractive, with a black metal bezel, plenty of connections and a decent level of build quality. Samsung's 'linear' stand looks great as well, although obviously you can't swivel it, and there are two remote controls included, along with two pairs of active shutter RF 3D glasses. The menu system and smart features are all excellent, with the H7000 providing all the catch-up services and just about every other video streaming service as well.
The out-of-the-box performance was reasonable, although not as accurate as we have seen on some other Samsung TVs recently, but as always the calibration controls are extensive, resulting in a reference level of accuracy. The video processing was also top notch, whilst the backlight uniformity was excellent. The motion handling, black levels and dynamic range were all very good for an LCD TV and the resulting picture quality was genuinely impressive. Overall the Samsung UE40H7000 is a fantastic all-round performer and if you're looking for a new Full HD TV, it should definitely be on your short list.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
2D Picture Quality9
3D Picture Quality9
Ease Of Use9
Value for Money9
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