A brilliant budget option, the RU7470 only falls short of greatness due to a low peak brightness
- Strong video processing
- Low input lag for gaming
- All the Smart TV apps you could need
- Narrow viewing angles
- No Dolby Vision support
- Low peak brightness limits HDR
Our original review continues below:
An awful lot of budget TVs these days carry the HDR label, but it’s fair to say that none of them can deliver the eye-popping spectacle of pricier sets. Trickle-down technology has done its bit to steadily improve HDR performance for some budget TVs, though, so when Samsung’s RU7470 landed in our Labs, we were hopeful it might be able to serve up a little high-dynamic magic on the cheap.
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Samsung RU7470 (RU7400) review: What you need to know
The RU7470 is a 4K Ultra HD HDR-enabled TV that’s decidedly on the budget end of the spectrum. It comes in four sizes: besides the 50in model on review here, it’s also available in 43in, 55in and 65in variants. Its VA-type LED edge-lit LCD panel is fairly typical of TVs in this price range and, being 4K UHD, it has a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160. So far, so ordinary.
Glancing at the specs, there’s plenty to recommend the Samsung RU7470 – as if the brand name and keen pricing wasn’t enough. It supports the HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG formats, although it’s missing Dolby Vision, and its list of supported streaming platforms is comprehensive, to say the least. All the big players are here including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, DisneyLife, Rakuten TV, BBC iPlayer and Now TV – the latter sometimes doesn’t make the cut on 4K UHD TVs. Samsung’s Bixby voice control assistant comes built-in and, if that’s not your prefered system, the RU7470 works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa too.
The RU7470 is a Currys PC exclusive, although you might find that it looks oddly similar to the RU7400, another Samsung TV you’re likely to come across during your search for a new telly. That’s because they’re identical in almost every way. The only actual difference is that the RU7470 has a metallic trim whereas the RU7400 is all-black.
Samsung RU7470 (RU7400) review: Key specifications
|Screen sizes available:||43in UE43RU7470UXXU|
|Panel type and backlight:||VA-type edge-lit LED LCD|
|Resolution:||3,840 x 2,160 (4K UHD)|
|HDR formats supported:||HDR10, HDR10+, HLG|
|HDMI inputs:||HDMI 2.0a x 3|
|Streaming services supported:||Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Now TV, Rakuten, Google Play,|
DisneyLife, BBC iPlayer, YouTube and more
|Wireless connectivity:||Bluetooth and Wi-Fi|
Samsung RU7470 (RU7400) review: Price and competition
At only £500, Samsung’s 50in RU7470 is one of the cheaper 4K UHD HDR-enabled TVs that you’ll find on the market. That’s not to say it’s the cheapest, however. The 49ni LG UM7400, which we originally reviewed at £499, can now be bought online for around £349. Its HDR performance is noticeably better, but its overall image quality isn’t as refined. There’s a subtle green tint to the LCD IPS panel and the IPS panel technology means that black looks more like a very, very dark grey.
If you just want a cheap TV, however, a better bet might be the Hisense H43AE6100UK – if, that is, you can still find it on sale. The 43in model that we tested was only £329 and has now dropped down even lower, while the 50in H50AE6100UK was recently on sale for around £300. You can forget all about watchable HDR playback with this set, and both image quality and viewing angles are a notch below the models from Samsung and LG mentioned above, but it’s decent enough for the money. And, crucially, it has the full suite of streaming and catch-up apps.
Samsung RU7470 (RU7400) review: Design and features
There’s nothing remarkable about the design of the RU7470. The display is framed with standard-sized bezels that have the same steel grey colour as the rest of the chassis, and it stands upon a classic Y-shaped central stand that forks out towards the viewer, with additional base support extending behind the panel.
The built-in cable management at the rear of the TV is welcome, as this keeps cables neatly tidied once you’ve plugged devices into the RU7470’s three HDMI 2.0a connectors.
Samsung has added Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) support to each of the three HDMI ports, which means the RU7470 will kick into gaming mode when it detects a signal from a compatible console – this helps keep input lag to a minimum by toning down the TV’s video processing. At only 15ms, the TV’s input time is as low as any competitor in the price range, making it an ideal for competitive gamers. The only disappointment is that the RU7470’s 60Hz panel rules out support for variable refresh rate (VRR) or Game Motion Plus.
The RU7470’s speakers aren’t bad at all; there’s even a touch of refinement to the sound here. Dialogue on films and television shows comes through loud and clear so you won’t have to rely on subtitles, but don’t expect room-shaking explosions from the latest blockbusters. As ever, we’d recommend budgeting a little extra for an affordable soundbar – it will make all the difference to your enjoyment of movies, games and music alike.
The LCD VA-type panel has a semi-reflective gloss coating, which isn’t ideal, especially when trying to view the TV in bright conditions. A matte finish would have been preferable here though you can get around the problem by closing the curtains and making sure the lights are low before settling into a film.
The bundled Premium One remote, meanwhile, isn’t quite as luxurious as that name suggests: it’s just the bog-standard plasticky Samsung remote. That said, it can connect to and control a wide range of peripherals including Blu-ray players and speakers, so if you keep your Blu-ray player and soundbar purchases in the Samsung family you won’t need to keep a pile of remotes down the side of the sofa.
The Samsung RU7470 has a full suite of Smart TV apps that includes Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV plus all the UK-based catch-up services you can think of. These are all HDR-capable too, but don’t get too excited: the RU7470’s HDR playback has some serious limitations which I will discuss in due course.
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Samsung RU7470 (RU7400) review: Image quality
By budget TV standards, the RU7470’s VA panel has a high level of contrast, achieving extremely dark greys that get closer to true black than its IPS rivals. Image quality is pretty great across the board, too: colours are generally pretty natural-looking, human skin tones look impressively realistic, and overall colour accuracy isn’t far off the mark.
Further inspection reveals that the panel’s colour uniformity is also pretty solid apart from mild dark tinting at the extreme outer edges when displaying certain shades. Some shades also cause low-level Dirty Screen Effect, where a solid colour may not look entirely even when displayed across a large portion of the screen.
The RU7470 is kitted out with a Samsung UHD Processor that promises to adapt in order to deliver “the very best 4K picture”, and it does a pretty good job of it too. Content that’s upscaled from 1080p looks fantastically clean, with minimal junk pixelation and barely noticeable ringing around edges. If you watch a lot of non-4K channels or Now TV – which is yet to offer anything above Full HD – then this is great news.
Though many broadcasters still put out interlaced video signals, which can cause unsightly jagged edges, the RU7470’s processor suppresses these ‘jaggies’ incredibly well. The video processing isn’t all-powerful, mind you. Overscan, the feature that sometimes cuts off the borders of images to help them fit the screen, cannot be turned off for non-4K content. Thankfully, you’ll only lose 5% of the image at the absolute most.
There is one major weak point, however: the RU7470 suffers from narrow viewing angles. This is typical for TVs which use a VA-type panel and means that it’s essential to sit directly in front of the TV for the best image quality. In dark scenes, the left and right of the screen glow more brightly than the centre of the panel even when sitting at the ‘perfect’ angle, and the effect worsens noticeably as you shuffle across the sofa.
At this price, it’s no surprise to find that Samsung has had to resort to using LED edge-lighting rather the local dimming technology employed on pricier sets. Sadly, this prevents the RU7470 from boosting perceived contrast by switching off LEDs in specific zones across the set – something which can improve image quality no end. As a result, we noticed some jarring brightness fluctuations in transitions from dark to light scenes and vice versa.
Due to its refresh rate of 60Hz, the RU7470 needs to employ processing to play 24fps movie content smoothly. Turning on frame interpolation (aka motion smoothing) irons out the judder, but it also introduces the dreaded Soap Opera Effect (SOE) which makes films look less Hollywood, more Hollyoaks. Our advice is to keep motion smoothing off and just put up with the judder during panning shots on 24p content.
Samsung RU7470 (RU7400) review: HDR performance
How’s the HDR, then? There’s always an element of intrigue with HDR-enabled TVs this cheap, and performance seems to vary wildly between models. The RU7470 supports HDR10, HDR10+ and Hybrid-Log Gamma (HLG) but – like the entirety of Samsung’s TV family – it omits Dolby Vision from the line-up. As it turns out, that makes little difference: the RU7470’s HDR performance isn’t up to much.
In its favour, the RU7470 does manage to cover a respectable 92% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut, but its backlight simply isn’t potent enough to deliver truly great HDR playback. We measured a maximum brightness of 260cd/m2, and this simply isn’t bright enough to do HDR justice. When playing content mastered to 1,000nits or 4,000nits – as most movies and high-budget shows are – Samsung’s algorithms do their best to retain all the brightest HDR details by dialling down the overall brightness, but the result is that HDR content is robbed of its power and punch. As the TV already has a low peak brightness to begin with the final result is an image that is far too dark.
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Samsung RU7470 (RU7400) review: Verdict
There are precious few budget TVs which manage to produce a worthwhile HDR performance, and the Samsung RU7470 is no exception. But while rivals such as the LG UM7400 pip it for HDR, the Samsung runs rings around those similarly-priced rivals in almost every other regard. In fact, its wide range of streaming services, superb upscaling, fantastic colour accuracy and ultra-low input lag mean that you may not miss HDR at all – HDR aside, it really is a superb all-rounder for the money.