Samsung UE48HU7500 review
Screen size: 48in, Native resolution: 3,480x2,160, Video inputs: 4x HDMI, SCART, composite, component, Tuner: Freeview HD, Freesat HD, Dimensions: 660x1,072x27mm
The HU7500 is quite possibly one of Samsung’s most understated TVs yet. With its tiny bezel, modest Samsung logo and flat, silver stand, the minimal design is probably one of the more tasteful TVs we've seen from Samsung in recent months. It’s essentially a flat version of the HU8500, Samsung’s curved flagship 4K TV for 2014, minus a couple of settings. It's also available in a wider range of sizes, spanning from a reasonable 48in (reviewed here) right up to a massive 75in. Without the curved panel, it’s also significantly cheaper. At the time of writing, the 55in HU7500, for instance, is £500 less than the 55in HU8500, making the flat HU7500 one of the better value 4K TVs we’ve tested so far.
For this review we tested the 48in model in the HU7500 range, but it's also available in 55in (UE55HU7500), 65in (UE65HU7500) and 75in (UE75HU7500) screen sizes. All models have identical specifications except for their dimensions and power usage. We're confident that image quality will be practically identical across the range.
Curved panels are supposed to offer higher contrast levels than flat panels, but our testing suggests this isn’t necessarily true. For instance, on its default settings straight out of the box, the HU7500’s contrast ratio measured 3,389:1, which isn’t that far off the HU8500’s ratio of 3,808:1. This gave our night scenes in Star Trek plenty of detail, and the depths of space were dark and inky thanks to the TV’s low black level of 0.04cd/m2. You’ll want to increase the TV’s backlight level as soon as you turn it on, though, as the TV’s initial brightness measured a measly 23.18cd/m2 on our colour calibrator.
These results put the HU7500 on a roughly equal footing with the HU8500, but the HU7500’s lack of Samsung's PurColour technology means colour accuracy isn't quite as good straight out of the box. Our colour calibrator revealed it was showing just 83.1 per cent of the sRGB colour gamut on its default settings, which is about 10 per cent lower than the HU8500's default setting and almost 20 per cent lower than Panasonic’s AX802B's default settings. Red and Magenta coverage was the weakest colour area, but we managed to increase the coverage to a more respectable 98.2 per cent once we’d calibrated the TV, bringing it more in line with both the HU8500 and AX802B.
We had to switch to the Movie picture mode to do it, though, as the Standard picture mode didn’t have a 10-point white balance option. Once we’d adjusted the interval level to 100 per cent, we changed the red level to +27, green to +9 and blue to -20. This produced a much more balanced and even colour coverage across the gamut, although reds were still a fraction short.
As one of Samsung’s top-flight TVs, there are plenty of additional picture settings to choose from, including basic contrast, brightness, backlight, sharpness, colour and tint options on top of more advanced flesh tone, dynamic contrast, gamma and colour space settings. Samsung’s Smart LED also lets you adjust the brightness level of individual on-screen areas to improve contrast. When we tried this out in Star Trek, it certainly helped darken areas of space round individual planets, but we’d say the black tone setting was arguably more effective.
We were particularly impressed with 4K upscaling. Blu-ray films still looked sharp and even Full HD TV channels were surprisingly crisp. Up close, we could see clear signs of excessive smoothening taking place to help aid the upscaling process, but hair, clothes and skin tones still looked clear and well-defined from a normal viewing distance when the Digital Clean View and MPEG noise filter options were set to Auto. Occasionally we saw messy patches of noise and artefacts, but on the whole we were much more pleased with the HU7500’s upscaling than what we saw on the HU8500.
It wasn’t completely perfect, though, as standard definition TV was riddled with soft edges. Turning the noise reduction settings to High made very little difference overall. This isn’t surprising given the huge gap in resolution, but you’ll want to stick to as many Full HD channels as possible.
Naturally, 4K content looked fantastic. The open-source film Tears of Steel was bursting with detail and our other demo clips of cityscapes and dense jungles looked stunning. In the skyscrapers of New York, for instance, we could see each individual office block window as well as each taxi and pedestrian with perfect clarity. It’s this level of precision that really sets 4K content apart from its Full HD counterparts, as everything is much more defined.