Samsung UE55JU7500 (JU7500) Review
Higher end features at a very attractive price
What is the Samsung JU7500?The JU7500 is Samsung’s mid-range Ultra HD 4K TV, sitting above the entry level JU6400 and beneath the SUHD range which includes the recently reviewed JS8500. Although the JU7500 doesn’t have all the future-proofing features of the SUHD range with its wider colour gamut, HDR support and 10-bit panel, it does include local dimming and a direct LED backlight. It also has the Mini Connect box, two remotes, Smart TV powered by Tizen and it supports 3D, although no glasses are included. The JU7500 has an attractive design as well, with a curved stand and the same chamfered bezel found on the flagship JS9500. The 55-inch UE55JU7500 can be picked up for around £1,499 as at the time of writing (August 2015), which certainly looks tempting. So depending on its performance, the 55JU7500 could be a real bargain. Let’s find out.
DesignDespite its mid-range status, the JU7500 borrows quite a bit from the flagship JS9500 in terms of its design. There’s the curved screen of course but the panel’s use of a direct LED backlight means the JU7500 is equally deep, measuring 6cm at the top and 8cm at the bottom where the speakers are located. Just like the JS9500 the screen is surrounded by a 1cm wide chamfered bezel with a brushed gun metal finish.
There’s a matching brushed gun metal strip around the outer edge and overall the JU7500 is an attractively designed and well-made TV with a decent level of build quality. The stand is also curved and whilst it can’t be swivelled, it does match the panel nicely; although if you’d rather wall mount then that’s also an option. If you plan on using a soundbar in front of the JU7500, there’s 7cm of clearance beneath the actual screen when stand mounted.
The JU7500 has an attractive design, great build quality and a direct LED backlight.
Connections & ControlThe JU7500 comes with the Mini Connect box, which is a stripped down version of the One Connect box included with the JS9500 and JS9000. The Mini version doesn’t include all the processing, so it isn’t such an easy upgrade path but it also doesn’t generate any heat, so there’s no need for audible cooling. Like the larger version, the Mini does allow for tidier cable management, especially if you plan on wall mounting the JU7500. On the box itself there are four HDMI 2.0 inputs with support for ARC and MHL, two USB 2.0 ports and an optical digital output; there’s also a dedicated cable that connects the box to the TV itself.
All the remaining connections are at the rear right hand side as you face the panel and here you'll find aerial and satellite sockets, a LAN port, a USB 3.0 port, a headphone jack and some legacy connections such as composite and component video. All these connections are sideways facing and 30cm from the edge of the panel, whilst facing rearwards is a CI (common interface) slot. Along with the LAN port, the JU7500 also includes built-in Wi-Fi (802.11ac) and supports WiFi Direct. There's also Samsung's TV SoundConnect feature for wirelessly connecting the JU7500 to one of Samsung's soundbars.
As is normally the case with Samsung’s models this year, the JU7500 comes with a pair of remote controls. The first is a standard black plastic affair that’s small but fits comfortably in the hand. It has all the controls that you’ll need and is easy to use. The other is the latest iteration of their smart controller which combines a solid build and an ergonomic design with a finish that matches the TV itself. Functionality wise, the smart remote has navigation buttons and a pointer for effective motion control and is optimised for the Smart TV platform. There’s also a built in microphone for voice commands and some basic options covering the menus, channel selection and volume plus a discreet mute button placed on the left side.
Features & SpecsIn terms of features and specifications, the obvious selling points of the JU7500 are its curved screen, direct backlight and Ultra HD 4K resolution panel (3840 x 2160). The JU7500 uses an 8-bit Ultra Clear Pro panel, along with Precision Black local dimming and Auto Depth Enhancer. Although the JU7500 doesn't support high dynamic range (HDR) it does include Peak Illuminator for improving the dynamic range. The Samsung also includes PureColour but it doesn't have the wider colour gamut found on the more expensive models. The JU7500 supports active shutter 3D but doesn't come with any glasses included, so you'll need to buy those separately. There are twin tuners for both terrestrial and satellite TV, along with PVR capabilities and Quad Core processing.
The JU7500 features a full suite of Samsung's smart features including voice interaction, voice control, face recognition and motion control - although the latter two require a camera. There's also the Multi-Link Screen, Samsung Smart View, TV to Mobile Mirroring and DLNA support. After a few delays the new Tizen powered smart platform itself is largely complete in terms of its user interface and available apps. Although ITV Player and Demand 5 are still missing, both BBC iPlayer and All 4 are now available, along with the Ultra HD streaming apps from Netflix and Amazon. The user interface might look somewhat familiar to LG's WebOS but it does deliver a performance that is uniquely Samsung, with an impressive range of available apps and features.
Despite its mid-range status, the JU7500 has impressive specs and is packed full of features.
Picture Settings Out-of-the-BoxAs is the case with all of Samsung’s TVs you can get a long way towards an accurate picture simply by selecting the Movie picture mode. This immediately defaults to most of the correct settings and turns off a lot of the unnecessary special features. All you need to do then is set the backlight, contrast and brightness controls to suit your particular viewing environment and you're almost there. We used a Sharpness setting of zero to ensure there was no unwanted ringing, a Gamma setting of 1 and for the Smart LED local dimming we used the Low setting. The majority of the other features, including Auto Motion Plus, we turned off and don't forget to set Picture Size to 16:9 with Fit to Screen on to avoid unwanted overscanning.
For more information about how to get the most out of any TV, take a look at our PicturePerfect page.
As you can see in the graphs above, just following these few simple steps will give you a highly accurate picture that is very close to the current industry standards. The greyscale performance is superb, with all three primary colours tracking close to one another and the overall errors are well below the visible threshold of three. The gamma performance was just as good, with the JU7500 tracking at 2.2 which is our preferred target for the average living room. The colour performance was equally as impressive with all the colours at or very close to their targets for Rec.709. The overall errors are again well below the visible threshold of three and in reality, even if you did get a picture this accurate calibrated, it's unlikely you'd actually notice the difference.
Picture Settings CalibratedHowever since all the TV reviewers here at AVForums are fully qualified and experienced THX and ISF calibrators, we're in position to not only measure the out-of-the-box performance but also establish just how accurate a TV can be after calibration. Although the majority of owners will only watch the JU7500 in its optimal out-of-the-box settings, by calibrating the image we can establish the full potential of any consumer television. As with all of Samsung's TVs, the JU7500 includes an extensive set of calibration features with both two- and ten-point White Balance controls and a full colour management system (Colour Space), so we would expect a reference performance after calibration.
Which is exactly what we got, as you can see from the graphs above. The greyscale was already so accurate that we only needed a couple of minor tweaks on the two-point to get a near perfect performance and then, just because we could, we fine tuned it with the ten-point control. The result was a reference greyscale and gamma performance, with the colour temperature of white hitting the industry standard of D65. The same was true with the colour gamut and after a few minor adjustments on the CMS we had an equally reference performance in terms of colour accuracy. The only thing worth mentioning was a slight undersaturation in red, which was also apparent at lower saturation points, but the other colours all measured close to their targets at 25, 50 and 75% saturation. The native colour gamut of the JU7500 is larger than Rec.709 but falls short of the DCI colour space. However, considering its price this is a great all-round performance from the Samsung.
The out-of-the-box accuracy was superb, so anyone can get a great picture if they follow a few simple steps.
Samsung UE55JU7500 Picture SettingsAlthough just copying the settings from another TV, even of the exact same model, is no guarantee of a better picture, those that are interested can see the calibrated settings from our review sample in the video below:
Out-of-the-box PerformanceAs you will have gathered from the picture settings section, the JU7500 is capable of an incredibly accurate and natural looking image if you simply optimise the out-of-the-box settings - which anyone can do. However as important as they are, the greyscale and colour gamut are only part of the picture, if you'll excuse the pun. First of all the direct LED backlight means that the 55JU7500 has a very even backlight, that is free of any noticeable clouding or bright edges and corners. There was also no visible banding which is sometimes a problem on TVs that use direct LED backlights, so in this aspect we were really impressed by the JU7500.
As you would expect from Samsung, the JU7500 uses a VA panel, so the native blacks are very good for an LCD TV. They aren't quite as impressive as the recent Panasonics we've reviewed but a native black measurement of 0.05cd/m2 is certainly good. This immediately drops off to nearly zero once you engage the local dimming. As with the JS8500, the local dimming isn't quite as impressive as we have seen on Samsung's flagship models but it's still the match of any of its competitors. We found that we got an excellent image using the Smart LED low settings, which delivered deep blacks and a punchy dynamic range with minimal artefacts. For those that follow these things, with the local dimming off, the on/off contrast ratio was 2,400:1 and the ANSI contrast ratio was 1,886:1.
As always we used a target level of 120cd/m2 for the peak white (backlight set to 10), which represents a comfortable level of brightness for watching TV in the evening. The JU7500 can go as bright as 257cd/m2 for those looking to create a brighter day time setting for use when there's a lot of ambient light in the room. However the JU7500 isn't bright enough to support high dynamic range (HDR) but then some things had to be dropped to hit a certain price point. How important the lack of HDR support is will undoubtedly be a matter of personal preference but even without it, the JU7500 can still deliver a picture that has plenty of dynamic range, so if you're on a budget it isn't the end of the world.
Samsung's video processing has generally proved to be excellent over the years and so it proved again with the JU7500. We often point out that with Ultra HD TVs the quality of video processing is more important than ever because for the foreseeable future the majority of your viewing material will be upscaled to match the native 4K panel. Thanks to quad-core processor and Samsung's upscaling engine, high definition content looked superb on the JU7500 and even standard definition content was watchable. As always the better the quality of the source the better the resulting image, video processing can't work miracles after all, but even with poorer quality content the JU7500 could deliver a decent looking image with the minimum of artefacts
The JU7500 uses an LCD panel of course, so the motion handling is always going to be its weak spot and the native motion resolution was about 300 lines, which is what we would expect. You can improve this and get the full 1080 lines if you use the Auto Motion Plus feature but in doing so you will add a degree of unnatural smoothness to the image. This is caused by the frame interpolation that is adding additional frames to reduce judder and make motion appear smoother. Whilst this does work it ends up making film-based content look like video and so we would always recommend turning Auto Motion Plus off when watching films or TV dramas. You could experiment with Auto Motion Plus when watching fast-paced sports such as football, but overall we found the native motion handling to be very good and free of any of the artefacts that have manifested on other Samsung TVs in the past.
When it came to actually watching content on the JU7500, it's inherent image accuracy was apparent almost immediately. After a very quick setup we could see that the Samsung was delivering a great picture already and this was confirmed in our measurements. When watching high definition broadcast TV the JU7500 did a wonderful job of delivering natural-looking and detailed images that made full use of the native 4K panel. Although you can't add what isn't there, the excellent video processing means that the high definition images are being shown to their full potential.
Nature documentaries in particular looked spectacular, thanks to the detail and the image accuracy but the local dimming also made dramas look good, deepening the blacks and giving images plenty of punch. Once we switched to Blu-ray we could see what a great image the JU7500 could deliver, making us realise that even in the absence of much native 4K content, upscaled pictures could also look very impressive. Of course if you do have access to native 4K content then you can see just what the Samsung is capable of when allowed to take full advantage of its native resolution. The levels of detail were incredible but as always the image remained accurate and the local dimming helped boost the dynamic range.
If you buy some RF active shutter glasses, you'll be able to take advantage of the fact that the JU7500 also supports 3D. Overall the 3D performance was very good, with the Samsung delivering detailed and natural looking 3D images that had plenty of brightness and depth. The picture was pleasingly free of artefacts like crosstalk and overall it was a very good performance. However as has been the case with all of Samsung's 3D TVs this year, and last year, there is some back door frame interpolation going on to smooth the motion. We ensured we had turned off Auto Motion Plus but even so there was clearly some smoothing going on. We doubt most people wouldn't even notice but it was there and it shouldn't be. We would prefer it that when watching 3D, turning off the Auto Motion Plus feature actually did just that.
Calibrated PerformanceSince much of what we discussed in the previous section (black levels, dynamic range, local dimming, backlight uniformity, video processing and motion handling) is applicable regardless of whether we're looking at the out-of-the-box or the calibrated image, all we're really comparing here is the greyscale and colour accuracy. As we mentioned in the Picture Settings the out-of-the-box performance was so accurate that you would be unlikely to even notice the difference if the TV was calibrated. So it proved in our testing and whilst all the great things about the picture quality on the JU7500 still applied after calibration, the reality is that the subtle improvements in accuracy would only be apparent to a trained professional with test material they were familiar with. Ultimately, regardless of the source content and whether you're using an optimised out-of-the-box picture or even a calibrated one, the Samsung UE55JU7500 can deliver a fantastic all-round performance.
Sound QualityAside from the superior screen uniformity that a direct backlight offers, there's another benefit that often gets overlooked. The deeper chassis means that larger speakers can be used, resulting in a superior audio performance. The UE55JU7500 has a two-way two-speaker downward-firing configuration that includes a woofer and 40W of amplification. The Samsung can decode both Dolby Digital Plus and DTS, whilst it also includes DTS Studio Sound, HD Audio and 3D Sound features. Thanks to the larger screen size there was a decent sense of stereo separation with music and effects, whilst dialogue remained focused on the screen. The JU7500 could also go quite loud without distorting or sounding shrill, so it can certainly handle a larger-sized room without any difficulties. As always for the best audio experience we would recommend an outboard sound solution but for general TV watching the 55JU7500 is more than up to the task.
Samsung UE55JU7500 Video Review
The JU7500 delivered an incredibly low input lag measurement, making it ideal for gamers.
Input LagSamsung have been setting the pace this year in terms of the input lag on their Ultra HD 4K TVs and the UE55JU7500 is another great example. In the Movie mode, with all the processing features turned off, we measured the input lag at 116ms. However as soon as we selected the Game mode this dropped to a superb 21ms, which is possibly the lowest measurement we've ever got from a normal consumer TV. You can quickly use the same basic settings as for the Movie mode to get a more natural looking picture in Game mode and then you're off and running with a highly responsive and enjoyable gaming experience. When you consider its overall performance and price the Samsung's would make a great choice for anyone who intends to game a lot and at 21ms we don't think even the most demanding gamer could find fault with the JU7500's input lag.
How future-proof is this TV?
4K Ultra HD Resolution HDR Support Colour Space (percentage of DCI - 100% best) 80% 10-bit Panel HDMI 2.0a Inputs HDCP 2.2 Support HEVC Decoding 4K Streaming Services Smart TV Platform Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10) 9 What do these mean?
- Superb out-of-the-box accuracy
- Very good local dimming
- Direct LED backlight
- Impressive screen uniformity
- Reference performance after calibration
- Excellent video processing
- Attractive design and good build quality
- Incredibly low input lag
- Decent sound quality
- Plenty of features
- Great price
- Limited future-proofing
- Undefeatable frame interpolation in 3D
Samsung UE55JU7500 (JU7500) Review
Should I buy one?Samsung's latest Ultra HD TV brings a lot to the party in terms of features and performance but manages to do so at a very tempting price. The UE55JU7500 includes a direct backlight which results in excellent screen uniformity that was free of bright corners or edges but also managed to avoid visible banding as well. The out-of-the-box accuracy was also excellent, which is good news because the reality is that most people won't get their JU7500 calibrated. Although if you do pay for a calibration, the 55JU7500 is capable of a reference performance in terms of grayscale, gamma and colour gamut. The video processing is also excellent and all these factors combined to deliver an impressive performance regardless of whether the source content was standard, high or ultra high definition. Although the JU7500 doesn't come with any active shutter glasses it does support 3D and overall the performance was very good aside from some annoying back-door frame interpolation.
In terms of looks the JU7500 actually mirrors the flagship JS9500 with a brushed metal finish and a chamfered bezel. The curved panel sits on a matching curved stand and the overall build quality is very good. The 55JU7500 comes with the Mini Connect box and two remotes, one of which is a handy motion controller. There are features galore including Samsung's new Tizen powered smart platform and the input lag was one of the lowest we've measured. So given all this, what has been sacrificed to reach the lower price point? Well the Mini Connect box does limit the upgrade path but more importantly, unlike the higher end models, the JU7500 doesn't support a wider colour gamut or high dynamic range (HDR). It also only uses an 8-bit panel, so it won't be able to take full advantage of some of the improved features promised by the new Ultra HD standards. However if you're on a budget and looking for an Ultra HD 4K TV that can deliver a great performance right now, then the Samsung UE55JU7500 could be the one for you.
What are my alternatives?The obvious alternatives to the UE55JU7500 are LG's 55UF950V and Panasonic's TX-55CX802B both of which offer similar levels of performance and features. They also use more traditional flat screens making them appealing to those not convinced by the Samsung's curves. However both models are quite a bit more expensive than the 55JU7500, which demonstrates what great value the Samsung actually offers. The LG struggles to justify its additional cost when you consider that it also uses an 8-bit panel and doesn't support DCI or HDR. In addition it uses an ultra-thin panel and so can't deliver the same kind of screen uniformity found on the Samsung. The 55CX802B includes a direct backlight and delivers great blacks and colour accuracy, although the JU7500 has the edge in terms of local dimming. Whilst the Panasonic also uses an 8-bit panel, it does have a wider colour gamut and it will support HDR, making it more future-proof and thus perhaps justifying the additional cost.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £1,499.00
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
3D Picture Quality8
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box9
Picture Quality Calibrated10
Ease Of Use9
Value for Money9
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