Samsung's top-end 1080p TV barely puts a foot wrong
What is the Samsung UE46H7000?This TV is right near the top of Samsung’s Full HD line-up, just one rung below their curved 1080p Flagship, the H8000 Series. It comes equipped with a quad core processor, an active 3D TV system and an 800Hz scanning rate to keep motion clear. At the time of publishing (September 2014), the 46-inch model is priced just below £1,000. There are also 40”, 55” and 60-inch models with prices starting at £799 and topping out at £1,499.
DesignThe bezel surrounding the screen really is ultra-slim, measuring just 5mm, which genuinely gives the UE46H7000 a sense of being suspended in mid-air. The silver trim encapsulating the bezel adds an air of distinction, while the curiously named ‘U-Stand’ doesn’t live up to the description but looks a treat in the flesh. It’s a very skinny TV too – 33.2mm at deepest point, so it’s an excellent candidate for wall-mounting.
It's a grand stand
ConnectionsBefitting its high-end status, the H7000 has just about every connectivity option necessary for a 1080p TV. You get 4 HDMI ports (2 at the side/2 at the back), 3 USB inputs, wired and wireless LAN, digital optical audio, a headphone jack and legacy video connections for Scart, Component and Composite. One of the HDMI ports is ARC (Audio Return Channel) enabled, for your connected audio kit and there's another with support for MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link), which allows you to pipe HD video from your similarly equipped smartphone or tablet.
Remote ControlsThere is a choice of remote controls inside the box. You get a standard black handset which is by no means interesting but will be familiar to most and there’s the new Smart Touch control. The more we use it, the more we like the Smart Touch with its suite of stripped down controls augmented by very accurate voice and gesture commands. It’s particularly good when using the Smart TV features and we’d recommend H7000 owners take the time to get to know it.
Champion Smart TV Features
Samsung Smart TV AppsIf you can’t find something you like amongst Samsung’s incredibly expansive Smart TV platform, you must be very hard to please. There are dozens of video streaming services, including Netflix and YouTube, plus all the major UK catch-up services – i.e. BBC iPlayer, 40D, Demand 5 and ITV Player. You can also check in at all your favourite social media hangouts, record content to an external hard drive and surf the web with an unusually good (for a Smart TV) browser. There’s also the opportunity to play games with the smart remote and there’s even a content recommendation engine built in but we’re only scratching the surface here, so have a read of our dedicated review if you would like to know more.
The Movie picture mode was highly accurate out-of-the-box, both in terms of greyscale and colour gamut. There was a little too much green energy near white and a general lack of red, throughout, but with the highest delta error for greyscale only just over the human tolerance level, this is a fantastic pre-set mode. Pre-calibrated colours were even better with just some small hue errors feasibly noticeable and with the detailed picture controls available, it should be possible to fix those
As expected, we had precisely zero issues in coaxing the H7000 in to a reference grade performance in both greyscale and colour fidelity. There’s a small under-saturation of red at maximum level and it’s ever so slightly skewed toward orange but you’re highly unlikely to notice with the naked eye. We don’t expect many owners will get their TV professionally calibrated and with default results as above, the expense might not we worth it in any case.
H7000 Input LagWhilst it’s not the most reactive TV for gaming we’ve tested in 2014, it should be good enough for most with an input latency measured at around 39 milliseconds. You need to activate the Game mode from the General area of the System Menu to achieve that, with the ‘regular’ picture modes reporting about double that figure. Do we need to remind Samsung, again, that the Game mode should be more readily accessible? Probably not but it does irritate us, just a little.
Samsung UE46H7000 Picture QualityThe H7000 has lots going for it. The backbone to any good picture is strong contrast performance and this Samsung provides that with some of the deepest black levels on the market. We actually measured a contrast ratio approaching 3,000:1 and, since the demise of plasma, that’s a figure that’s right up there with the best - OLED excepted. The Micro Dimming Pro system also works really well and gives the impression of even deeper blacks, without overly comprising detail in the darker portions of the image. There’s also a setting labelled ‘Cinema Black’ which dims the black bars, present in many movies, by completely switching off the LEDs and it’s actually very effective, definitely adding to the immersion factor.
We can see from the technical section above that the 46H7000 is also blessed with incredibly accurate colour performance. So, as well as images that have plenty of stand-out quality and depth, you also get impressive realism and naturalness. The video processing is also at an excellent level so not only do high definition sources look excellent, with perfect handling of Blu-ray disc material, but standard definition sources can also look great, thanks to superb image scaling and, again, faultless handling of DVDs.
Samsung maintains its stunning run of form
Sports fans might want to experiment with the various motion processing options, if they find themselves susceptible to spotting LCD blur, but we found the H7000s native motion handling generally good enough and the processing effects can be distracting. We also didn’t spot any of the stuttering issues we’ve seen with some of the other Samsung’s that feature the CMR (Clear Motion Rate) picture engine during the review but that issue has always been somewhat sporadic, so we’re not 100% guaranteeing the H7000 a clean bill of health there.
What about 3D?
You get a couple of pairs of active 3D eyewear in the box which, by any standards, are very light and comfortable to wear and the tint of the glasses is more or less neutral, so the impressive native colour performance of the Movie mode isn’t marred. On a personal level, I can struggle with the inherent flicker present in active systems but Samsung’s implementation is probably the most comfortable and easy to watch of those. There’s very little crosstalk or ghosting either and the H7000 has plenty of screen luminance to really provide depth and pop, although the slightly elevated black levels mean it doesn’t have quite the same contrast levels as it does with 2D pictures. Still, there’s no doubting that this is an impressive 3D TV which will keep fans of the format (both of them) happy.
Samsung H7000 Video Review
Any issues?There were a couple of minor negative points with the supplied review sample – one which will be common to all and the other not necessarily so. Viewing angles aren’t the most generous so those sitting anything more than 45-50 degrees off-centre will be seeing pictures that don’t have the same impact, as both contrast and colours wash out slightly from off-axis. The other thing we noticed were some small patches of light on almost fully dark screens that were localised to the bottom left of the screen. This pooling could diminish detail and cause some distraction but it’s not something we witnessed much and general screen uniformity was very good, especially with bright pictures.
- Great blacks and dynamic range
- Very accurate out of box
- Excellent video processing
- Superb Smart features
- Stunning design
- Some minor light pooling on dark screens
- Viewing angles can be restrictive
Samsung UE46H7000 (H7000) TV ReviewShould I buy the Samsung UE46H7000?
For its combination of stunning design, incredible feature-set and excellent pictures, you could do a lot worse than the H7000. It did have a couple of picture flaws familiar to LED/LCD technology but the good comfortably outweighed the bad so this is a television we’d have no qualms in strongly recommending for audition.
What alternatives are there?
For a possibly more family friendly 3D experience, you may want to take a look at the LG LB730 which can boast similarly accurate colours to the H7000, as well as wider viewing angles. You do sacrifice quite a bit in terms of black levels and contrast for that however, although LG’s webOS Smart+ TV features are truly outstanding. If a couple of extra inches is something you might like, Samsung’s own H6700 might suit. You get very similar picture performance and all the same features but the price is quite a bit lower with current (September 2014) offers starting at £699. For a more general look at what’s on the market, you can take a look at our various TV Buyers Guides.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
2D Picture Quality8
3D Picture Quality8
Ease Of Use8
Value for Money8
Our Review Ethos
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