What is the Samsung KS7500?
The KS7500 is LED edge lit and includes both Precision Black local dimming and an Ultra Black anti-reflection moth eye filter. The TV also comes with the latest version of Samsung’s Smart TV platform, the new Smart Controller and a One Connect box with four HDMI 2.0a inputs. The KS7500 is available in 43-, 49-, 55- 65- and 75-inch screen sizes and, as at the time of writing (May 2016) it retails for £1,699. That’s £400 cheaper than the similarly specified KS9000, so can you get the same performance and save yourself some cash? Let’s find out.
Connections & Control
These include a USB 2.0 port, a CI (Common Interface) slot and an Ethernet port for a wired connection, although naturally the KS7500 comes with a built-in wireless capability. There’s also the connector for the One Connect box itself and all the connections are sideways facing and measure 29cm from the edge.
The KS7500 comes with Samsung’s latest universal remote control, which they call the Smart Controller. This new remote is small, well made, comfortable to hold and intuitive to use. The controller includes all the buttons that you would need for everyday use, as well as a microphone for voice control. The layout is centred on the navigation and OK buttons, with the Home, volume and channel buttons underneath. Around the navigation buttons are numbers, colours, return and play/pause buttons, some of which bring up additional choices on the screen when pressed.
Finally you can control the KS7500 using Samsung's Smart View remote app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. The layout of the main page is designed to replicate the button layout found on the provided Smart Controller and the app also allows access to content on your mobile device. Finally, along with the Smart Controller and the remote app, there is also Samsung’s standard black plastic controller included, with all the buttons you'll need to simply control your TV.
Features & Specs
The KS7500 also includes Samsung’s Precision Black local dimming and support for High Dynamic Range and, more specifically, HDR 10 with over 1,000 nits of peak brightness. The TV utilises upscaling and source and bit-rate analysis to improve the picture quality with streamed sources. As has been widely reported, Samsung have dropped 3D from their entire line-up of TVs this year because they feel consumers are no longer interested in the format. So bear that in mind if 3D is a feature that is still important to you. The KS7500 is certified as Ultra HD Premium by the UHD Alliance, thus ensuring it meets certain minimum requirements.
Along with the new Smart Controller and Smart Hub platform, there is also the Auto Detection feature mentioned earlier and when you combine all three the result is a very effective Smart TV experience. Samsung have also included more processing power this year, so the platform is very responsive and boots up extremely quickly. Sadly Samsung have dropped the 'Evolution Kit' upgrade path, so you can’t update the 2016 Samsung TVs in the way that you could with previous generations. We'll cover the new Smart Hub platform in more detail in a dedicated review.
Samsung UE55KS7500 Recommended Settings
Picture Settings - Out-of-the-Box
Picture Settings - Calibrated
Picture Settings - High Dynamic Range
So for the foreseeable future your new TV needs to meet these standards in order to get the best from content that is being released in Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR). Of course the majority of what you will be watching over the next few years will continue to use the older standards but we have included new tests to check how a display performs out-of-the-box with regards to the new standards, in order to provide a more objective measurement of its capabilities when it comes to HDR. The UHD Alliance has introduced a certification program with a minimum performance of 3840 x 2160, 10-bit, over 90% of DCI-P3 and a dynamic range that goes from 0.05 to 1,000nits. The KS7500 can reach these requirements and is certified Ultra HD Premium.
Note: Since we reviewed the UE55KS7500, Samsung have released a firmware update that has corrected the issue with the Auto Colour Space setting failing to correctly detect and track Rec.2020. Although we aren't in a position to re-test the KS7500, we have tested the KS9500 and can confirm that the issue has been corrected on that model. We see no reason why the firmware update hasn't also corrected the problem on the KS7500.
Black Levels and Contrast Ratios
As always we'll kick things off with the black level and contrast ratios measurements. In this respect the KS7500 performed extremely well for an LCD TV and the VA panel delivered a native black level of 0.045nits, which dropped to 0.001nits as soon as we set the Smart LED local dimming to Low. Given the increased brightness this year, the TV obviously had no issues delivering 120nits of brightness for our calibrated SDR nighttime setting. So without the benefit of local dimming that equates to an on/off contrast ratio of 2,667:1, whilst the ANSI contrast ratio came in at 2,433:1. The KS7500 could also deliver over 1,000nits of peak brightness on a 10% window, which matches the tests performed by the UHD Alliance for Ultra HD Premium status.
The KS7500 uses LEDs for the backlight and these are positioned along the bottom of the screen and overall Samsung have done a very good job of ensuring the backlight uniformity. Certainly with the local dimming set to Low and in our calibrated nighttime setting, the overall backlight uniformity appeared very good, with little in the way of clouding, bright edges or haloing. Where things weren't quite as good was when it came to HDR content, where the backlight is at its maximum setting and the Smart LED local dimming is set to High. In these circumstances the brightness of the edges and the location of the LEDs were more apparent and with letterboxed movies in particular, the black borders often appeared grey, depending on the content on the screen. Whilst any edge-lit TV will struggle to some degree when it comes to the increased peak brightness requirements of HDR, we did feel that the KS7500 struggled more in this respect than its more expensive sibling the KS9000.
Local Dimming and Viewing Angles
As we've already mentioned, the VA panel delivered a decent native black level and when combined with Samsung's effective local dimming the results could be quite impressive. We did however feel that the local dimming wasn't quite as impressive as on the KS9000 and although its hard to gauge exactly what the differences are, the more expensive model does have Supreme UHD Dimming, which the KS7500 doesn't. However the KS7500's local dimming still managed to ensure deep blacks without excessive crush, an even backlight and bright highlights, that ensured a suitably dynamic viewing experience.
Samsung have made improvement to their Quantum Dot technology, which has resulted in improved viewing angles when compared to last year. The optimal viewing angles are certainly wider, although given that the KS7500 uses a VA panel, it will always struggle to retain image accuracy once you move outside a 90 degree arc. So in general it was when viewing off-axis that issues such as halos and bright edges became more visible, although they were rarely apparent when viewing from the centre.
The motion handling on the KS7500 was fairly good for an LCD panel, with none of the stuttering or frame dropping that we have experienced on Samsung TVs in the past. We measured the motion resolution round 300 with Auto Motion Plus off and the full 1080 lines with it on, which is what we'd expect. However since Auto Motion Plus introduces smoothing we would never recommend it for film-based content; although for sport-based content, which is shot on video, there is certainly room to experiment. Samsung also include a custom setting, where you can experiment further with blur and judder reduction. Its is here that you'll find the LED Clear Motion feature that uses black frame insertion and although it reduces the brightness and can cause flicker with some people, it can give images a better sense of motion.
Standard and High Definition Content
The amount of standard definition content that we watch these days is limited but we are forced by circumstances to watch both Gotham and Agents of Shield in standard definition. Thankfully the KS7500 did a great job of deinterlacing and upscaling the image to its Ultra HD panel. The accurate greyscale and colour space also played their part, as did the Samsung's excellent image processing, resulting in a very watchable image that almost took our minds off the fact that it wasn't high definition. Once we moved on to actual high definition broadcasts, the results were even more impressive with the various close-ups of culinary dishes in Masterchef looking detailed and natural. The same was true the various nature documentaries that seem to be on BBC4 every night, with the image accuracy, local dimming and video processing delivering some lovely pictures.
When it came to video streaming, both House of Cards and Daredevil looking especially impressive on the KS7500. There was a level of detail in House of Cards that almost made us think we were watching the Ultra HD stream and the local dimming handled the numerous dark scenes in Daredevil very well, delivering great blacks and dynamic range, without introducing halos or overtly crushing shadow detail. As far as Blu-rays were concerned the KS7500 really had a chance to shine with recent purchases like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Good Dinosaur looking stunning. The KS7500 is certainly able to deliver a great all-round performance when it comes to standard and high definition content and although we found the KS9000 to be slightly more nuanced, there was very little between the two.
High Dynamic Range Content
It was with High Dynamic Range Content (HDR) that the differences between the KS7500 and KS9000 began to show. We tested the KS7500 with Samsung's UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player and the TV was certainly able to handle HDR content very effectively, delivering all the available detail, wider colour gamuts and higher dynamic range. The results on discs like Sicario, The Amazing Spider-man 2 and new reference title The Revenant were hugely impressive but the edge-lit nature of the panel did reveal certain limitations. The specular highlights were certainly impressive, with the sunlight amongst the wintery landscapes of The Revenant appearing very realistic and the lightning in the storm sequence during Mad Max: Fury Road really impacting on the image. However we did feel these specular highlights had slightly more impact on the KS9000 we had reviewed previously and Sony XD93 that we also had in for review at the same time, although both those TVs are more expensive.
It was however in darker scenes such as those set in tunnels in both Mad Max: Fury Road and Sicario that the location of the LEDs became apparent with brighter edges and columns of light that were especially obvious at night. Whilst the KS9000 did on occasion suffer from similar issues it was less apparent and thus we feel the more expensive model has the edge when it comes to HDR. Of course any edge-lit TV is going to struggle from time-to-time with the increased peak brightness of HDR, so in that respect the KS7500 acquitted itself quite well. The colour accuracy of the KS7500 didn't appear as accurate as it did on the Sony XD93 and this is probably due to the Native Colour Space not tracking Rec.2020 as well as it should. The same problem applied to the KS9000 and so in that sense it is a problem that relates to Samsung TVs in general and not any one specific model. However if you're looking for a TV that can take advantage of HDR content but your budget is tight, then the KS7500 will certainly deliver an enjoyable HDR experience with most content.
Samsung UE55KS7500 Video Review
In terms of the overall sound quality the KS7500 could deliver dialogue clearly and centred it on the screen, which is probably the most important element of a TV's built-in audio. It also handled music quite well, although we aren't suggesting you use the TV as a primary listening source for music. However it does mean that TV shows and most films are at least handled adequately. For the bigger effects blockbusters the KS7500 is clearly going to be found wanting in certain areas, especially the bass but it's mid-range and higher frequency response is definitely good enough for day-to-day TV watching. However if you want to beef up the audio performance up we would recommend investing in a soundbar or, even better, a multi-channel solution.
Input Lag & Energy Consumption
Another area where Samsung have made great gains this year is in terms of their TV's energy efficiency. The manufacturer has been refining their Quantum Dot technology to deliver an improvement in energy efficiency and this was borne out by our measurements. We found that using a 50% raster we measured the energy consumption of the Standard mode that the TV ships in at 96W and the calibrated Movie mode at 62W. We also measured the HDR mode and, whilst that obviously used more energy, it still measured at a respectable 135W. So if green credentials are important to you then the KS7500 is worth considering.
How future-proof is this TV?
|4K Ultra HD Resolution|
|Colour Space (percentage of Rec.2020 - 100% best)||69%|
|HDMI 2.0a Inputs|
|HDCP 2.2 Support|
|4K Streaming Services|
|Smart TV Platform|
|Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10)||9|
|What do these mean?|
- Impressive greyscale and colour accuracy
- Excellent black levels and contrast ratios
- Decent local dimming
- Effective video processing
- Full HDR support
- Incredibly low input lag
- State-of-the-art smart features
- No support for 3D
- Occasional bright edges and clouding
- Backlight sometimes struggled with HDR content
Samsung KS7500 (UE55KS7500) UHD 4K TV Review
Should I buy one?
The Samsung UE55KS7500 represents the entry point for their SUHD range of TVs but don't for one second think that means an entry-level standard of performance. The KS7500 has an almost identical feature set to the more expensive KS9000, which represents Samsung's flagship edge-lit Ultra HD TV this year. As a result you get a curved Ultra HD 4K TV with a 10-bit VA panel and support for HDR 10; along with a native colour space that is over 90% of DCI-P3 and a peak brightness of 1,000nits. That means the TV is certified as Ultra HD Premium by the UHD Alliance. The KS7500 also comes with a One Connect box, Samsung's new Smart Controller and the latest version of Samsung's Smart TV platform that can now automatically detect connected devices. The overall design isn't as attractive as the KS9000 and for a company that is often trend-setting in this area, the KS7500 could even be described as a bit of a disappointment.
As for other disappointments, if you're a 3D fan then none of Samsung's 2016 TVs will be for you because the manufacturer has completely abandoned the format. However, if you're not interested in 3D the KS7500 has plenty to recommend it, with a 21ms input lag and excellent energy efficiency. The audio performance is serviceable rather than earth-shattering but then given the TV's ultra-slim design that's no surprise. The greyscale and colour accuracy were very good out-of-the-box and near reference after calibration, whilst the video processing and picture quality with most content was excellent. The KS7500 performed well in our HDR tests and the local dimming was good, although not quite as impressive as the KS9000. In addition the backlight uniformity was impressive and the moth eye filter did help to reduce reflections.
However the use of edge LED backlighting did reveal its limitations with some content, especially when it came to HDR. The increased peak brightness of the HDR format resulted in some brighter edges and occasional columns of light. This was especially apparent watching letterboxed films at night, where the bright edges were visible in the black bars. Any edge-lit TV is going to struggle at times with HDR but we felt the KS9000 performed better in this particular area. The viewing angles are an improvement on last year but it is still a limitation of the VA panel and the effects of the edge LED lighting and local dimming are more obvious when sat off axis. However this remains a solid and well-made TV that offers an excellent set of features and specifications for its price. As such we feel that the Samsung UE55KS7500 is more than worthy of a recommendation.
What are my alternatives?
Samsung are their own worst enemy in this respect, providing at least three viable alternatives to the UE55KS7500. If curved screens aren't to your liking then the UE55KS7000 has exactly the same feature set but uses a flat screen. Alternatively if you can afford an extra £400 then the flat UE55KS8000 or curved UE55KS9000 offer a slightly better performance and a more attractive design. If it's 3D support that you want then your options are limited this year but the Panasonic TX-55DX750B is one obvious alternative and you'd save yourself a few hundred pounds, although the HDR support isn't as good. Sony's KD-55XD9305 is another great alternative with comparable features and specifications, not to mention a more attractive design, but will cost you an extra £300.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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