Samsung UE55MU7000 4K LED TV Review
A great all-round TV that's ideal for gaming
What is the Samsung MU7000?The MU7000 is part of Samsung's mid-range of Ultra HD LED TVs, that sits just below their flagship range of QLED models. The MU7000 is the entry level model in this mid-range and although it doesn't use Quantum Dot, it does include a flat 4K LCD panel with edge LED backlighting and local dimming. The MU7000 also supports High Dynamic Range, specifically HDR10 and HLG, although Samsung will be adding support for HDR10+ dynamic metadata via a firmware update. The TV also includes the latest remote control and One Connect box, along with Samsung's Smart Hub platform which is powered by the Tizen operating system. We're reviewing the UE55MU7000 which has a retail price of £1,149, as at the time of writing (September 2017), making it more competitively priced than some other Samsung TVs this year. These mid-range models have always been a big seller for Samsung, offering a tempting combination of performance and value, so let's see if the 55MU7000 can continue that winning streak.
DesignThe design of the MU7000 retains all of Samsung's usual flair, with a minimalist approach that is suitably contemporary, and a decent level of build quality. The screen is surrounded by a 5mm black border, with a silver trim around the outer edge and a silver brushed metal finish around the sides of the panel. There is a 15mm silver brushed metal strip along the bottom and the panel is 55mm deep at its widest point where the LEDs, electronics, amplification and speakers are housed. The rear of the panel is made of plastic and uses a horizontal grooved effect, which is quite attractive. The UE55MU7000 measures 1226 x 783 x 246mm (WxHxD) and weighs 17.9kg with the stand and 1226 x 711 x 55mm and 17.4kg without.The MU7000 sits on two feet that are at either end of the panel, as has become popular with TV manufacturers recently. The feet simply slot in and there are no screws provided to secure them in place but they seemed to stay fitted when we moved the TV around. You obviously can't swivel the TV on this type of stand, you'll need a surface at least 910 x 246mm on which to position the 55MU7000 and there is 90mm of clearance beneath the screen if you're thinking of using a soundbar. If you would like to wall mount the Samsung there are 400 x 400 VESA brackets on the rear for that purpose and the only cables you need to run to the TV itself are the connector for the One Connect box and the power cord.
The MU7000 comes with the One Connect box and a well-designed remote
Connections & ControlThere are a few connections on the panel itself and these are situated behind a removable panel on the left rear as you face the screen. Here you'll find a USB socket, an Ethernet port (although the MU7000 has built-in WiFi of course), a 3.5mm jack for an extension link and a CI (Common Interface) slot. All the other connections are on the separate One Connect box, which is a small black glossy number with a brushed metal finish that connects to the TV via a dedicated cable that, along with the power cord, can also be hidden behind a removable panel. On the One Connect box you'll find two more USB ports and four HDMI inputs that support 4K/60p, High Dynamic Range (HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma), Wide Colour Gamut and HDCP 2.2, along with twin terrestrial and satellite tuners and an optical digital output.
The provided One Remote is the black plastic version, as opposed to the metal one that comes with the QLED models, but it has exactly the same controls. It's also comfortable to hold and use, with everything you need for day-to-day operation of the TV, including a built-in microphone for voice control. There are centrally positioned navigation and OK buttons around which you'll find multi-purpose controls for numbers, colours, return and play/pause. There's a power button in the top left hand corner and a Home button, along with volume and channel controls, further down, which now have rounded edges to make them more ergonomic. In addition to moving the volume up and down with the volume control, you can mute the sound by pressing it.
The One Remote also serves as a universal remote and works in connection with Samsung's auto device detection feature which has been expanded to cover more potential connected sources. When the MU7000 detects a new device being connected to the One Connect box via HDMI, it automatically identifies that device and sets it up in the Smart Hub. It also loads the remote control codes, thus allowing you to use the One Remote to control that connected device, as well as the TV itself. At least that's the theory but the MU7000 did seem to struggle to find some of our devices and since it didn't identify them the first time, it would keep trying every time we selected a particular HDMI input. So there's still some work to be done here and Samsung's efforts to simply the setup procedure sometimes makes things more complicated.
Along with the One Remote, Samsung also include their standard black plastic remote control which has all the buttons you'll need but obviously isn't as stylish as the One Remote, nor does it offer universal or voice control. If you'd rather use your smart device as a controller there's also Samsung's Smart View remote app. This is available for both iOS and Android devices and is a simple but effective remote app that was easy to set up, allowing you to control the MU7000 using your smart device. The layout of the main control page is designed to replicate the button layout found on the One Remote and you can also access all the apps on the TV as well as content on your smart device.
There are plenty of features including an excellent selection of video streaming services
Features & SpecsThe MU7000 uses a flat Ultra HD 4K 10-bit VA 100Hz panel with edge LED lighting along the bottom. There is UHD Micro Dimming and Precision Black Local Dimming, along with the UHD Upscaling Engine and Dynamic Crystal Colour. The MU7000 has a PQI (Picture Quality Index) number of 2300 and is classed by Samsung as an HDR 1000 model with a Contrast Enhancer and Peak Illuminator Pro. The MU7000 supports two forms of High Dynamic Range – HDR10 and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) – whilst Samsung will also be adding HDR10+ with dynamic metadata via a firmware update.
The greyscale and colour measurements delivered excellent out-of-the-box accuracy
Samsung UE55MU7000 Recommended TV Settings
Picture Settings – Out-of-the-BoxSamsung have tweaked their picture menus this year, the default Brightness setting is now zero and they use BT.1886 as their default gamma curve for SDR content, although you can adjust this, and they have replaced the 10-point white balance control with a 20-point version. They have also removed the option to actually turn the local dimming off and whilst we would have recommended using the Low setting anyway, it would have been nice to turn off the local dimming when calibrating things like the greyscale. The MU7000 includes Samsung's auto calibration feature, which works very well and bypasses the local dimming making it easier to calibrate the greyscale and gamma. Samsung have also added two new picture modes – Cal-Day and Cal-Night – although these are only available once the auto cal feature has been run, after which they are permanently added to the service board
All our measurements were taken with a Klein K-10A colour meter, a Murideo Fresco Six-G pattern generator and CalMAN Ultimate calibration software. For more information on how to correctly set up your Samsung TV, you can take a look at the video above or check out our PicturePerfect Guide.
As you can see in the graph above, the out-of-the-box greyscale was extremely good, with all the colours tracking quite closely to each other. As a result the DeltaEs (errors) were all below the visible threshold of three and most were below two. We found that leaving the gamma setting at BT.1886 gave us a result closest to our target of 2.4, aside from a slight dip at 90IRE. Although there's a 2- and a 20-point white balance control, the out-of-the-box greyscale was actually good enough that we wouldn't necessarily need to calibrate this particular sample, although there may be fluctuations from unit to unit.The same was true of colour gamut performance and using the Auto Colour Space setting resulted in an excellent out-of-the-box performance, with the majority of the colours tracking their targets at 25, 50, 75 and 100%. There were some minor errors but the luminance performance, which isn't shown in the graph above, was also very good and overall this was an impressive result. In fact the MU7000's greyscale and colour performance were so good out of the box, that calibration probably won't make much difference.
Picture Settings – CalibratedAlthough it's unlikely that calibrating a TV with such good out of the box measurements will make much difference, for the purposes of the review we did just that using the 2- and 20-point white balance controls and the colour management system.
Thanks to the accuracy of the greyscale out of the box, there was no need to use the 2-point control, so we immediately moved on to using the 20-point and fine-tuned each 5IRE point until we had equal amounts of red, green and blue. As you can see in the graph above it was a fairly easy task to get the greyscale perfect with all three primary colour tracking each other exactly. However the fact we couldn't turn off the local dimming made calibrating the gamma difficult and we struggled to get it more accurate, with dips at 10 and 90 IRE, which we suspect was a result of the local dimming manipulating the gamma curve.After calibrating the greyscale white fell precisely on to its target of D65, which is the industry standard for the colour temperature of white. Using the Custom colour space, which gives you access to the colour management system and defaults to Rec.709 for standard dynamic range content, we were able to fine tune the majority of colours but red was now under-saturated. Although the luminance performance, which isn't shown on the graph above, was excellent, we generally found that the out-of-the-box measurements were almost as good as the calibrated results, so following a few simple set-up tips is likely to result in an impressive level of accuracy.
Although the wide colour gamut and peak brightness were limited, the HDR was actually quite good
Picture Settings – High Dynamic RangeWhen the MU7000 detects an HDR signal it automatically defaults to the settings you have chosen and we'd recommend using the Cal-Day or Cal-Night picture modes for the best results, with the backlight at maximum, the local dimming on High and the colour space on Auto. In terms of the PQ EOTF (gamma), the Samsung will default to ST.2084 for HDR10 material and HLG for Hybrid Log-Gamma content.
The 55MU7000 is no where near as bright as Samsung's QLED range, with the calibrated Cal-Night/Day modes hitting around 580nits using a 10% window and 430nits on a 100% window, but the MU7000 can maintain its peak brightness for at least 30 seconds. Although these numbers might seem low we did find that the HDR performance was surprisingly good despite them. You will need to sit central to the TV to get the best results but the lower peak brightness means that the MU7000 doesn't suffer from bright edges and haloing as much as TVs with a higher luminance. Of course the positioning of the LEDs at the bottom of the screen meant that you would get columns of light and the black bars on letterboxed movies would suffer but overall we were surprised at how good the HDR looked and Samsung's excellent local dimming certainly played its part.As we mentioned in the introduction, the MU7000 doesn't use quantum dot, so the colour gamut was much less than Samsung's QLED range. We measured the 55MU7000 at 82% of DCI-P3 using xy and 90% using uv coordinates, which equates to just over 61% of Rec.2020. To put that in perspective, the Q8 can deliver over 74% of Rec.2020. Although the colour gamut is limited, the MU7000 did a reasonable job of tracking Rec. 2020 and a better job with DCI-P3 within Rec. 2020, aside from some under-saturation of red, so colours managed to look suitably natural with actual HDR content.
In terms of the colour volume of the MU7000, we measured the Perceptual Colour Volume using 393 data points which produces a number expressed in Millions of Distinguishable Colours (MDC). The MU7000 produced an MDC number of 297, which reflects the limited peak brightness and colour gamut. As a point of comparison the Q8 produced an MDC number of 442 but, despite its smaller colour volume, the MU7000 did a great job of making the most of its limited HDR resources.
The all-round picture quality was excellent with good SDR and HDR images
Black Levels and Contrast RatiosWe were unable to actually measure the native black level of the MU7000's VA panel because you can't turn the local dimming off but with the local dimming set to Low we measured black at 0.0015nits and in the High mode we got a slightly better 0.0011nits. The Samsung was certainly capable of delivering a completely black image even in a darkened room and it had no issues hitting our target of 120nits for a nighttime mode and that results in an on/off contrast ratio of 80,000:1 with the local dimming in the Low setting. However that number isn't representative of real world content and using a checkerboard pattern we measured a far less impressive 2,400:1. This would be a good number for an LCD TV if we were measuring the native contrast performance but with the local dimming engaged it isn't as impressive and reveals the limitations of local dimming when the LEDs are only along the bottom of the panel.
Backlight UniformityAlthough the MU7000 uses backlighting with the LEDs along the bottom of the panel, the backlight was pleasingly even. This is something at which Samsung have always excelled and we tested the Samsung in its three local dimming modes in a darkened room and the uniformity on a 5% raster was very good. There were some minor lighter edges at the bottom where the LEDs were located but the pattern was free of clouding or dirty screen effect. We were also pleased to see that the MU7000 was able to avoid visible banding, which meant football looked good with a bright, saturated and detailed image and no obvious banding as the camera panned across the pitch. The screen did suffer from reflections on occasion, so careful positioning of the MU7000 is important but it's never a good idea to put a TV opposite a window.
Local Dimming and Viewing AnglesThe local dimming on the MU7000 was actually quite good and, using a test pattern that moves a white circle around the screen, the results were very good and the circle was well defined as it moved around with no haloing. However unlike the Q8, where the massive brightness resulted in issues with haloing, the limited peak luminance of the MU7000 produced a better performance with minimal haloing. The local dimming was also quite effective at retaining shadow detail within darker images but once again it is limited by the position of the LED backlight, as evidenced in the contrast numbers. When we switched to real world SDR content the results were still impressive, with good blacks and shadow detail, along with well defined black borders on letter-boxed movies. The MU7000 handled our Gravity and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 torture tests very well, reproducing Sandra Bullock's white space suit against the blackness of space but also nicely defining Voldemort's massed army at night.
When it came to HDR the results were more of a mixed bag but the lower peak brightness did help to reduce bright edges and full screen content like Planet Earth II could look stunning. However when dealing with darker scenes in letterboxed films the black bars would begin to look dark grey rather than completely black, especially at the bottom where the LEDs are located. This is especially noticeable in the night time hyena scenes in Planet Earth II, where the black sky appeared more of a dark grey but this is a tough sequence for any LCD TV. There would also be columns of light on occasion but to minimise these issues as much as possible, especially with HDR content where the brightness is at maximum and the local dimming set to high, you need to be sat central to the screen. Since the MU7000 uses a VA panel, you will still get a drop off in contrast and colour performance as you move off-axis and the haloing from the local dimming becomes more noticeable.
Motion HandlingThe motion handling the MU7000 was quite good, within the inherent limitations of LCD technology, and the Samsung was free of any of the stuttering or frame dropping that we have experienced with their TVs in the past and the MU7000 handled all of our motion tests very well, delivering a motion resolution measurement of over 300 with Auto Motion Plus off and the full 1080 lines with it on. Naturally using Auto Motion Plus on the Auto setting does introduce smoothing thanks to the frame interpolation, so with film-based content we would always leave it off. However for sport-based content, which is shot on video, there is certainly room for experimentation, especially with the custom setting, where you can experiment further with blur and judder reduction. The Custom setting is also where you'll find LED Clear Motion, this feature uses black frame insertion, which reduces the brightness of the image and can cause flicker with some people, but it can also result in a better sense of motion, so it's certainly worth trying.
Standard Dynamic Range (SDR)As usual we started off with some standard definition content and on the 55-inch screen this looked very good, Samsung have always had excellent video processing and the MU7000 did a decent job of deinterlacing and scaling a standard definition broadcast. Although the TV can't add what isn't there, the increased resolution of the 4K panel does help and all the other factors that constitute a good picture still apply. So the excellent greyscale, gamma, colour performance and generally effective local dimming all helped to deliver some very pleasing images.
We rarely watch standard definition TV these days but, when we moved on to high definition broadcasts, the MU7000 had a chance to show the kind of images of which it was capable. The pictures it delivered were certainly detailed thanks to the video processing and once again the excellent greyscale, gamma and colour accuracy really helped to produce some lovely images. The BBC documentary series Mountains looked particularly impressive, whilst streamed shows like The Expanse on Netflix and Preacher on Amazon also looked excellent.
As we've already mentioned, we found the local dimming to be extremely effective with standard dynamic range content and the absence of clouding, banding and dirty screen effect also helped. Needless to say Blu-rays looked wonderful, with images that were bursting with detail and colour where appropriate but with deep blacks and good shadow detail in other scenes. The Samsung handled the gorgeous vistas of The Lost City of Z very well, whilst the horrors of Get Out were also delivered with a pleasing degree of precision and the MU7000 also reproduced our usual test discs with skill.
High Dynamic Range (HDR)Samsung refer to the MU7000 as an HDR 1000 TV in their marketing, which presumably is supposed to mean that the TV can deliver 1000nits of peak brightness. However in testing the 55MU7000 couldn't get anywhere near that number, delivering around 580nits in an accurate picture mode. The colour gamut was also rather limited, delivering about 90% of DCI-P3, depending on how you measured it. However despite these limitations we actually found that the MU7000 produced a very enjoyable HDR experience and in the case of the lower peak brightness, it might even be considered a benefit.
The MU7000 could certainly deliver a superbly detailed image on a native 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray like The Revenant or Planet Earth II. The limited colour gamut didn't appear to directly impact the images, which certainly appeared natural and the incredible photography in Planet Earth II was often breathtaking. The same was true of a film like Passengers, with the MU7000 retaining detail in the shadows whilst also delivered some nice peak highlights. The Samsung also reproduced the 'Arriving in Neverland' scene in Pan correctly, with the circle of the sun clearly visible above the edge of the mountain.
For the best results it definitely pays to be sat central to the screen but the local dimming was quite good, mostly handling darker scenes effectively. As we've already mentioned, certain sequences could appear more dark grey rather than black and there was haloing on occasion, whilst the location of the LEDs could result in bright edges and columns of light from time to time. However this tended to depend very much on the content and overall the MU7000 delivered a solid performance with both SDR and HDR content resulting in a great all-round TV.
Samsung UE55MU7000 Video Review
Sound QualityThe UE55MU7000 was capable of delivering a decent performance when it came to sound quality, with a reasonable sense of stereo separation which resulted in a nice front soundstage. The speakers themselves managed to reproduce the mid-range and high frequencies quite well and although the bass performance isn't going to compete with even a cheap soundbar, the low frequency response of the woofer was certainly sufficient for general TV watching. The MU7000 has 40W of built-in amplification in a 2.1-channel configuration that uses downward- and front-firing drivers. The MU7000 could go quite loud without becoming harsh or brittle and the soundstage was big enough for the average sized living room, whilst dialogue always remained clear and centred. The MU7000 can decode Dolby Digital Plus and DTS and also supports both Bluetooth and Multiroom Link.
The input lag was one of the lowest we've ever measured at just 17.3ms
Input Lag & Energy UsageWe measured the input lag on the MU7000 using our Leo Bodnar tester, combined with an HD Fury Integral to inject HDR metadata and an HD Fury Linker to upscale the signal to 4K. Since we had previously reviewed the Q8, we were expecting an input lag of around 20-24ms but instead the MU7000 delivered a lag of just 17.3ms in Game mode. This is one of the lowest lags we've ever measured, regardless of whether the signal was SDR, HDR, 1080p or 4K – making the MU7000 a great choice for gamers.
When actually gaming we would always recommend using the Game mode because the other modes increase the lag to 80ms and you should also avoid using the Auto Motion Plus frame interpolation feature because even in Game mode this will increase the input lag to 80ms as well. We found that a 4K HDR game like Horizon Zero Dawn looked superb on the MU7000 and the gaming experience was excellent with responsive game play and smooth motion.
In terms of the 55MU7000’s energy consumption it proved to be reasonably efficient, especially for a 55-inch HDR TV. Using a full window 50% white pattern we measured our calibrated Cal-Night mode at just 44W and our calibrated Cal-Day mode at 54W, whilst the Standard mode that the TV ships in was drawing 92W. Of course once we moved on to HDR the level of energy consumption increased but even then the MU7000 was only drawing 98W of power.
How future-proof is this TV?
4K Ultra HD Resolution HDR Support Colour Space (percentage of Rec.2020 - 100% best) 61% 10-bit Panel HDMI 2.0 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?
- Great out-of-the-box accuracy
- Good all-round performance
- Excellent local dimming
- Very low input lag
- Easy to setup and use
- Great set of features
- Well made and nice design
- Colour gamut limited
- Could be brighter for HDR
- Narrow optimal viewing angles
Samsung UE55MU7000 4K LED TV ReviewThe Samsung UE55MU7000 proved to be an excellent TV that delivered a solid performance with both SDR and HDR content, making it a great all-rounder. The design is contemporary and the build quality very good, whilst the TV boasts a great set of features including a well designed remote, the One Connect box and an effective smart platform that includes all the main video streaming and catch-up services. The MU7000 delivered excellent out of the box measurements, with an accurate greyscale, gamma and colour gamut. It also did well in terms screen uniformity and motion handling, with some equally as impressive video processing and local dimming.
The peak brightness could have been higher and the wide colour gamut was rather limited but in terms of actual HDR content the MU7000 delivered an enjoyable experience. The sound quality was also fairly decent, as was the energy consumption, but it was the input lag that really surprised. We measured the MU7000 at just 17.3ms, which is one of the lowest we've ever recorded, making this an ideal TV for gamers. There are some great value alternatives available such as the Hisense H55N6800 but the MU7000 has the edge with a slightly more polished and sophisticated performance. As a result the Samsung UE55MU7000 comes recommended and if gaming is important to you, then this TV should definitely be on your short list.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box9
Picture Quality Calibrated9
Ease Of Use9
Value for Money8
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