Samsung UE55H7500 (HU7500) 4K Ultra HD TV Review

Playing it straight

by hodg100
SRP: £2,299.99

What is the Samsung HU7500?

It is most definitely a sign of the times that the 55-inch Samsung HU7500 carries a recommended retail price only just North of £2,000.

That’s the sort of money a flagship Full HDTV would have commanded only 2 to 3 years ago so the fact that this is an Ultra HD model gives some indication of how quickly prices are dropping. For reference, the UE55HU8500 retails for about £400 more but if you can live without/don’t want the curved screen so the HU7500 represents a saving that could go towards other bits of kit.
So what are the other differences? Besides the curve, the UE55H7500 doesn’t come with a One Connect Box but that’s not really something you’d need to worry about until well in to 2015 and the others are mostly fairly minor software variances. We’ll look at how, if at all, the on-paper deficiencies impact on-screen below, so read on.

Design & Connections

It may not be curvy but the HU7500 is still a highly attractive television with a silver trim which encapsulates a micro-thin black bezel that in turn surrounds the gloss black screen. The supplied base-stand is very sleek and matches the trim on the chassis but the looks come at the cost of any swivel being possible.

The fact that the 55HU7500 doesn’t come with a One Connect Box means that all the inputs and outputs are located on the chassis, but the base stand features a nifty wire tidying system that means a very neat install is still possible. As we said above, HU7500 owners can upgrade to the One Connect Box later, but we still get 4 HDMI ports, three of which face sideways with the other pointing outwards at the back. We also get all the other expected inputs and inputs including support for legacy video connections, an optical digital audio out and both wired and wireless LAN.
Samsung UE55HU7500
Samsung UE55HU7500

Over these last few weeks we’ve grown to really like the new Samsung Smart Control and it’s definitely an easier to use option than the conventional remote for scrolling through, and using, all the Smart TV features. We would have liked to have seen a dedicated button to bring up the user Menus but since they can be called up by a simple voice control, it’s omission is no big deal.

As well as the voice commands – which are extensive and carried out with a great deal of accuracy – you also get a touchpad and the controller is fitted with gyroscopes so it has Wii-like motion controls that also work in a highly efficient manner. There’s not much to be said of the rather down-market standard handset. It’s black, fairly stubby and wholly unremarkable so just gaze at the picture above to get the idea.
You can always update to One Connect later

Menus

As ever with the high-end Samsung’s the Menu systems feature absolutely all the controls you’ll need to obtain supremely accurate pictures. There are two and ten point White Balance controls, a Gamma slider plus a highly effective Colour Management System (CMS) in addition to all the usual ‘front panel’ options 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.
Samsung UE55HU7500
Samsung UE55HU7500

Features

Our dedicated coverage of Samsung’s Smart TV Platform for 2014 has just gone live so we’ll keep this section short but the HU7500 performs almost every trick Samsung has in its book, save for the lack of a built-in camera. It would be safe to say that this TV offers an enormous range of apps, games and services, however, and if you really want to get in on Skype video calling and Gesture controls – and we don’t really like the latter – then you can always purchase the add-on Camera/Mic attachment that hooks up to one of the three USB ports.
Samsung UE55HU7500
Samsung UE55HU7500

In terms of Smart - it's got the lot

Calibration

Pre-Calibration

We though the HU8500 was good in its out of box Movie Mode setting but the HU7500 was even better. Barring a slight excess of blue energy in the greyscale, throughout, and a gamma response that left images slightly wishy-washy, it was a truly excellent out-of-the box set of measurements. The colour accuracy was equally as impressive with only an oversaturated blue primary to trouble the scorers and even that was very difficult to detect by eye.
Samsung UE55HU7500
Samsung UE55HU7500

Post Calibration

As we’ve come to expect from the Samsung controls, ironing out both gamma and greyscale response to ruler-flat levels really wasn’t too difficult. We could actually get delta Errors down to under one – right across the board – using just the two-point controls and the ten-point just allowed us to refine things further. We were unable to remove the slight blue tint, near black, but it was only faintly noticeable.
Samsung UE55HU7500
Samsung UE55HU7500

The colours at full stimulation levels were already in good shape before making adjustments to the Custom colour space and the CMS again allowed us to dial in what could be considered as reference standard. Looking at the chart below, which describes how colour responds at lesser stimulation levels, and everything is - more or less - exactly where we would want things. Red is running a little hot at 25% stimulation but it wasn’t perceptible with skin-tones and blue was performing likewise but, again, you can’t see it with the human eye.
Samsung UE55HU7500

Contrast, Black Levels and Screen Uniformity

Wow! It’s not since we last measured a plasma TV (remember those?) that we’ve seen screen uniformity like this. From a chequerboard pattern the black portions all measured within 0.004 cd/m2 of one another, which means a mostly black screen looked almost evenly dark. That’s almost unheard of with LED/LCD tech and we can’t overstate what a positive impact that has on viewing enjoyment. Or at least, it takes away a lot of the frustrations we’ve had in the past. That's not to say that every single model bought will provide exactly the same results we see with our review sample, it will vary from set to set, but it is impressive.
Samsung UE55HU7500

For those that like to play the numbers game with the Smart LED set to Standard, black measurements averaged out at 0.052cd/m2 whilst peak white averaged 111.85, giving an ANSI contrast figure of 2135:1, which will be more than good enough for most. Deactivating the Smart LED control gave average black measures just topping 0.055cd/ m2 so it’s only a small on-paper boost but worth it with real world material. You will get a little bit of haloing where there’s a mostly black screen with a small bright object upon it, but it happens so rarely we’ll take the compromise. We could give you an On/Off contrast ratio but, frankly, it would be meaningless as the HU7500 shuts down all the lights when a black signal is received so it would be wholly unrepresentative of actual levels.
We've not seen black screen uniformity like this since the bygone days of plasma. OK, last year.
Picture Processing

It should come as no surprise, at all, that the HU7500 proved almost identical in this area of testing to the HU8500. Scaling of signals right from 576i – and up – was just about as good as one could reasonably expect. We’re not recommending that you buy one of these and then plug a set-top-box into it via Scart, as your main source, but should your TV diet be mainly 720p, and higher, you’re going to be very happy with the results. As we’ve come to expect from the Samsung processing chips, the tasks of deinterlacing and cadence detection are carried out with distinction and there’s absolutely no issues with the delivery of 1080p24 content, so your Blu-rays will look exactly as they should.

Gaming Performance

Perhaps it’s the slightly lesser powered chip inside of the HU7500 which means its input lag is a little higher than that of the HU85 but so it was. With the Game Mode engaged from the System Menu, we clocked response input at around 66 milliseconds, which is the kind of number that begins to get noticeable when twitch reactions are required.

Energy Consumption

• Standby: 0W

The following measurements were taken with a full screen 50% white pattern:

• Out-of-the-Box – Standard Mode: 121W
• Calibrated – Movie Mode:109 W
• Calibrated - 3D Mode: 177W

Samsung HU7500 Picture Quality - 2D

Well that didn’t take long. We’ve now consumed the entire catalogue of Netflix 4K Ultra HD content, encompassing the entirety of Season 2 House of Cards plus four nature documentaries directed by photographer and filmmaker Louie Schwarztberg. Are we impressed? You bet, particularly when it comes to Netflix’s original political drama which has become, without doubt, the new benchmark in streaming quality. Certainly the differences are subtle on a 55-inch screen from over 6 feet away but they are there.

At those kind of distances the differences are more textural than seen in pure resolution terms but the extra pixels allow for more nuance in how light affects objects, thus giving a more realistic feel to images. Get up a bit closer and you’ll be amazed at the clarity and lack of blur that you’ll get with 1080p from such distances, but it’s questionable whether anyone would want to sit quite so close. Still, there’s a depth and denseness to pictures that impresses from more usual seating positions too so it’s still worth considering a 55-incher over a Full HD set, even if you can’t pick out every pixel.
It's great from 720p and up but suprisingly good with shabby old Standard-def too
The potential negative about ownership of a 4k TV is that you may be compromising your 1080i/p material. That’s something we definitely thought with the majority of the 2013 Ultra HD televisions, where interlaced content (mostly broadcast HD) wouldn’t look so sharp with fast movement but there’s definitely a generational leap with its handling in 2014. You still get just a bit more blur but it’s not something we’d deem problematic, nor overly noticeable. We would even say that with a good Blu-ray disc, the scaling is such that they can appear more endowed in resolution than they really are, but we’re talking with largely static content here.

The inherent pluses of the UE55HU7500, i.e. great contrast performance, rich and accurate colours and super video processing means it hardly puts a foot wrong. But it does stutter (literally), from time to time. We’ve been mentioning for four years, or more, that the higher-tier Samsung’s imbued with CMR (Clear Motion Rate) processing, can suffer with motion glitches with changes of pace in action, on screen, and the ‘feature’ is present and correct here. It’s very occasional and always momentary but it is there and you will see it. It – and the odd instance of haloing – are frankly small prices to pay for the rest of the package but if you’re likely to be annoyed by it, at least you’re forewarned.

Samsung HU7500 Video Review

Samsung HU7500 Picture Quality 3D

Samsung is holding up the end for active shutter 3D technology, whilst most others are plodding the passive path and they are doing so in very fine fashion. The scaling of 3D Blu-rays holds up almost as well as that of that of the 2D counterparts although the motion handling isn't quite so convincing. The extra pixels do mean that what instances of crosstalk there are - and they are few and far between - are slightly more prominent than they are likely to be on a 1080p TV but, just as with the 2D, you do get an added sense of resolution with content that's fairly immobile. Colours in the movie mode stand up to scrutiny too and we certainly had no complaints with a quick run through of Gravity and The Hobbit - if that ever could be described as quick. You may want to consider alternative glasses to those supplied in the box, if you're susceptible to flicker but otherwise their tint-free lenses and ultra-lightweight proportions work in favour of the 3D experience.

Verdict

Pros

  • Plasma-like screen uniformity
  • Solid blacks
  • Perceivable contrast performance is great
  • Excellent dimming system
  • Superb scaling & video processing
  • First rate Smart TV Features

Cons

  • Occasional motion judders
  • A teensy bit of haloing

Samsung UE55H7500 (HU7500) 4K Ultra HD TV Review

Curveless it might be but that doesn't stop the Samsung HU7500 from looking like a proper high-end TV. The stand, in particular, is all grace and float, whilst the rest of the package is sleek and slender. We do get some bend in the form of the new Smart Control remote which nestles nicely in the hand and boats a highly effective choice of control options, encompassing voice, touch and gesture. It really is a job well done by Samsung's design team and worth the gentle learning curve it takes to understand how to use it fully.

The HU7500 doesn't come with Samsung's clever One Connect Box, although it is compatible with, but it has almost every conceivable input and output you could wish for, including 4 HDMI, 3 USB ports and wired and wireless LAN. The Menu systems hold a host of interesting options and a generous calibration suite, whilst the array of Smart TV features offered are so wide-ranging, we thought we'd better produce a dedicated review to cover them.

Those calibration controls allowed us to dial in a supremely accurate picture and the fidelity of the colours was nearly matched by the punchy native contrast performance which, in turn, was helped along by a very effective dimming system. We have to make special mention of the incredible standard of screen uniformity, too, which was almost plasma-esque in its flawlessness. The quality of the video processing is simply outstanding, as well, and the fact the HU7500 is able scale lower resolution content so well is an enormous plus, given there's so very little native 4K content currently available.

That said, we've now worked our way through the entire Netflix Ultra HD catalogue and, lest it need saying, 4K House of Cards is the new benchmark in video streaming quality. From 'normal' viewing distances you're not likely to fully appreciate the resolution hike but there's no mistaking the enhanced textural quality and more realistically nuanced lighting effects. The HU7500 is no slouch in 3D either and the quality of extra-dimensional scaling is nearly a match for that in 2D.

The Samsung HU7500 is amongst the very best LED TVs we've ever covered, irrespective of resolution, but the fact that it is future-proofed, yet able to handle the demands of the present day so ably, means it comes Highly Recommended!
Highly Recommended

Scores

Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

.
.
8

Screen Uniformity

.
9

Colour Accuracy

.
9

Greyscale Accuracy

10

Video Processing

.
9

Picture Quality

.
9

3D Picture Quality

.
9

Sound Quality

.
.
8

Smart Features

.
9

Build Quality

.
.
8

Ease Of Use

.
9

Value for Money

.
9

Verdict

.
9
9
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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