Samsung UE48HU7500 (HU7500) Ultra HD 4K TV Review
Samsung leads the pack with the sheer number of quality TVs produced in 2014
What is the Samsung UE48HU7500?
We’ve already spent some quality time with the 55-inch HU7500, now it’s time to see how the 48HU7500 carries the Ultra HD resolution in its smaller chassis.In fact, we absolutely loved this curve-less 4K TV first time around but are the extra pixels worth the bother in what is a relatively modest sized television? Some would say you would need to be within three feet viewing distance to appreciate the enhanced resolution over 1080p but our experiences with 50-inch TVs carrying a resolution of 3840 x 2160 would say different, although we would concede picking out every last pixel from a ‘normal’ sitting position might be a stretch.
That said, there’s not much native 4K content to get our teeth in to right now but we do have an internet connection capable of receiving Netflix’s Ultra HD service and a Blu-ray copy of House of Cards to act as a comparator. As well as the previously mentioned 55-inch version, there’s also the 65HU7500 available which will undoubtedly get the job done but we can’t wait to get stuck into the UE48HU7500 to see if it can produce a repeat performance.
Design & ConnectionsWhilst Samsung are busy promoting the benefits of the curved screen via just about every media outlet you can think of, they haven’t neglected the aesthetics of the flatties. Particularly striking is the T-Shaped base stand which sweeps elegantly and has a metallic two-tone sliver/black design, in tandem with that of the bezel and chassis of the HU7500.
The 48HU7500 doesn’t come with Samsung’s future-proofing One Connect Box but it is compatible so owners can upgrade as and when standards evolve. In the meantime, there are plenty of connections including 4 HDMI ports, three of which face sideways with the other pointing outwards at the back. We also get support for legacy video connections, an optical digital audio out and both wired and wireless LAN.
We’ve come to appreciate the Samsung Smart Control the more we use it and it’s now our preferred choice for accessing all the Smart TV functions. We would have liked to have seen a dedicated button to bring up the user Menus but you can always summon them up using the voice command. You also get a touchpad and the controller is fitted with gyroscopes so it has motion controls that also work well, if not quite to the same standard as LG's Magic Remote which it has obviously been designed to ape. The standard controller is nothing to write home about and is black and plain but works well enough.
MenusAs ever with the high-end Samsung’s the Menu systems are generously blessed with calibration controls. Those include two and ten point White Balance controls, a Gamma slider plus a highly effective Colour Management System (CMS). You also get all the usual basic controls such as Contrast, Brightness and Colour. The Picture Options submenu contains most of the fancy processing tricks that notably include Smart LED (dimming) and Motion Plus (frame interpolation), both of which we’ll look at below.
Netflix 4K still puts a smile on our collective face
FeaturesOur dedicated review of Samsung’s Smart TV Platform for 2014 has already been conducted and the HU7500 performs almost every trick Samsung has up its sleeves, apart from the lack of a built-in camera for Skype video calling. There are, of course, a colossal number apps, games and services to look at and the best selection of streaming and catch-up video services in the market, with the undoubted star – at least for now – Netflix 4k but more on that later.
Samsung UE48HU7500 CalibrationPre-Calibration
The default settings of the Movie mode provided a familiar pre-calibration set of results with red tracking low in the greyscale and a slight excess of green and blue as a result. In terms of visible errors, our highest is for peak white but at just above 5 for its delta value, it’s nothing too bad. We’d like gamma to be tracking closer to our target of around 2.35 (for this panel) but all the tools are there to get it how we want during the calibration. The out of box colour performance was even more impressive with the highest delta E coming in at under 3, for red, which is considered by most to be the threshold at which the human eye can detect errors.
After a nightmarish experience last time out with the Philips PFS6609, it was refreshing to be at the helm of some well thought out and brilliantly implemented calibration controls. It was with some ease that we were able to obtain reference grade results for greyscale and we got gamma tracking exactly as we had targeted.
The colour management system allowed us to hit all the points at full saturation, as we can see in the CIE Chart above right, and colours also were mostly where we wanted with lesser saturated tones, as can be observed in the expanded chart below. Curiously, all three primary colours (red/green/blue) were noticeably under-saturated at 75% stimulus, which is not something we saw with the 55-inch panel. It won’t have a massive effect on picture quality but we’d like to see Samsung address this – which we know they are capable of doing.
Contrast, Black Levels and Screen Uniformity
The 48-inch HU7500 wasn’t quite so impressive as its larger stable mate when it came to outright black levels but only by a fraction and they were very pleasing in any case. From a chequerboard pattern – which gives a decent indication of contrast performance with real world content – we clocked average black levels at 0.056cd/m2 against an average peak white of 120.4 cd/m2 giving an ANSI performance touching 2170:1. That’s actually a higher contrast ratio than the 55HU7500 because it holds on to its whites a tad better. More good news is that the screen uniformity was superb on dark screens, with or without Smart LED dimming employed, but it’s such a good example of local dimming you’d be silly not to use it. We preferred the default ‘Standard’ configuration as ‘Low’ doesn’t offer much over the native performance and ‘High’ blows out the paler shades.
It would have been pretty shocking had the 48HU7500 not behaved identically to the 55-inch in this section of testing. Of course it was the same which means the crucial ability to scale lower resolution signals to match the 3840 x 2160 panel was performed extremely well. Both video deinterlacing and film cadence detection were very solid, too, and there were precisely zero issues in the handling of 1080p24 content. We’ll leave it down to readers discretion as to if they wish to experiment with the Motion Plus frame interpolation processing but provide you don’t push it beyond ‘Clear’ or a conservative ‘Custom’ setting you may find it helps with motion handling with fast paced video content, such as sport. We would never advocate spoiling your Blu-rays with it and we actually never found the need to engage but some will.
Scaling of lower definition is a good as could be hoped for
Surprisingly there was a difference in the lowest achievable input lag with the 48-inch HU7500 and it was a change for the better. By editing the input label of one of the HDMI inputs to PC, we got a measurement of 45.2 milliseconds, which is quite considerably better than the 55-inch managed. For the record, activating the Game mode in the System Menu – which actually takes longer than editing the input – only gets latency down to 77ish milliseconds, which is higher than the 66ms the 55HU7500 managed with the same setup. We’re not sure if it’s a software update that’s responsible but, whatever it is, Samsung should really make their lowest latency modes more accessible.
• Standby: 0W
The following measurements were taken with a full screen 50% white pattern:
• Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 77W
• Calibrated – Movie Mode: 74W
• Calibrated - 3D Mode: 114W
Samsung UE48HU7500 Picture QualityTo get the negative points out of the way – and there aren’t many of those – the HU7500 doesn’t offer the most generous viewing angles, so anyone sitting more than 40 degrees off axis from the centre point of the screen won’t be seeing it as its best, with slightly paler colours and diminished black levels. This is more of a consideration with this TV than it is with some others as you’re not able to angle the base stand to give the whole room a good view. If that’s not a consideration, we can think of very little to put you off this TV, whatever the resolution, as just about all the components that go in to make up a great picture are present here.
Perhaps ironically, the biggest question mark is over the 48-inch model being able to portray Ultra HD resolution as a meaningful upgrade over 1080p, from a ‘sensible’ sitting distance. We only have limited material with which to test this out, at present, but at least we have some, thanks to Netflix. Comparing a selection of scenes from the second season of House of Cards - via the Netflix 2160p feed and the UK release of the Blu-ray – we’d have to say there’s virtually nothing in it from anything outside 6 feet, in terms of picking out the finest of details but, as we’ve thought before, the increase resolution gives advantages in other areas such as a look of better textures and a slight increase in dynamic range. The extra pixels give a bit more finesse to light and shading which just narrowly eclipses the Blu-ray transfer but we would have liked a bit more screen real estate to play with, no doubt. We’re going to follow this review up with a more detailed piece on the subject but the short version is – you’ll be gaining a little polish to your pictures but you’ll need to drag the armchair up close if you want to see more fine detail.
The other concern, and something we experienced with the first gen of 4K TVs, is that you’re losing out with Full HD resolution content. This was particularly the case with 1080i material when the combined duties of deinterlacing and scaling proved too much for most. The HU7500 copes with these demands much better but still with faster paced action, such as sports broadcasts, the loss of resolution under motion is just that bit more palpable than it is with a better 1080p panel. Not enough that it would put us off – and we like our sports – but we can’t wait for the day we’re seeing live 4K action broadcast at better frame-rates.
There's tons of finesse to the HU7500's images
We certainly don’t feel you’ll be losing anything with the majority of your Blu-rays and the more static scenes are likely to benefit from the excellent scaling to give them a slight lift over 1080p and even dipping into resolutions below that can be a rewarding experience. Of course, if you have no interest in at least making sure most of what you watch is, at a minimum, in High Definition, this is not the TV you should be looking at. However, those times we had to dip into a bit of 720p streaming (we’re re-watching Spartacus through NOW TV) and even the kid’s SD channels certainly didn’t leave us gawping with horror. In fact, Spartacus looked better on the HU7500 than it has on the last few TVs to pass through the doors, and they’ve been 1080p TVs.
Draw from that what you will. Samsung continues to fly the flag for active shutter 3D technology in excellent fashion. Images are suitably bright and believable in the 3D movie mode and there’s all the pop-out and depth you could wish for. There’s a little crosstalk here and there and it’s that bit more obvious on the 4k panel than it would be on a Full HD equivalent but it was more than good enough for our limited 3D needs. We also have to remark at the lack of perceptible flicker as it’s something we often suffer with this technology.
- Excellent black levels and contrast
- Superior dimming system
- Colours near perfect
- Gorgeous design
- Truckloads of smart features
- Almost all major VoD & Streaming services present
- Perhaps 48-inches is a tad small for 4K
Samsung UE48HU7500 (HU7500) Ultra HD 4K TV ReviewThe Samsung UE48HU7500 is another beautiful looking TV from Samsung. It’s simple and understated but it works and the two-tone, gliding base stand complements the bezel and chassis perfectly. You get a choice of remote controls with one that is very smart and features voice, touch and gesture control and a great set of connections including 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB and both wired and wireless internet.
You probably do want to take advantage of those LAN connections too, especially as the Samsung Smart Hub brings with it access to the Netflix 4K Ultra HD service, which is just about the only game in town when it comes to actual content to take advantage of the increased resolution present in the HU7500. There’s tons of other smart features too and Netflix is joined by all the major UK catch-up services, YouTube, Amazon Instant Prime and much, much more besides.
But that’s all just the icing on the cake as when it came to producing superb pictures, the HU7500 had it in spades. Once we’d calibrated, colours were natural and alive whilst blacks were deep and convincing, aided by a dimming system that allows shadow detail and dynamic range to flourish. The Netflix content of course looked sublime, although we would have preferred a slightly larger screen with which to appreciate it, but even lesser resolutions looked great and we doubt you’ll have the sense you’d be losing anything in comparison to your 1080p set. More the opposite, in fact.
Samsung has been hitting it out of the park in 2014 and the 48HU7500 is another in their procession of TV excellence. Highly Recommended.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £1,549.00
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
3D Picture Quality9
Ease Of Use9
Value for Money9
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