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Samsung UE46F7000 review

Tom Morgan
2 Jun 2013
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
1,599
inc VAT

It’s not the best Samsung TV available, but the F7000 comes very close

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Specifications

46in, Freeview HD, Freesat HD, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: yes, 4x HDMI

For this review we tested the 46in model in the F7000 range, but it's also available in 40in (UE60F7000), 55in (E55F7000 ) and 60in (UE40F7000) 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.

There’s no question that Samsung’s top-end TVs look incredible this year, but you don’t have to spend thousands to get a good-looking TV. The 46in F7000 costs much, much less than the flagship Samsung F8000 Smart LED TV, but retains the same slim bezel. It also has plenty smart TV features.

Samsung UE46F7000

It's a great-looking TV, in many respects

Although it uses a more traditional flat stand, the F7000 still looks great thanks to a brushed aluminium finish and illuminated Samsung logo. Samsung has moved all the inputs to the far side of the back panel, making it easier to keep cables tidy. There’s a wide choice of inputs, too, with four HDMI ports (clearly labelled for audio return channel, DVI and MHL to make cabling easier), SCART, component and composite video, a digital optical audio input and 3.5mm headphone output, a Common Interface slot, Ethernet and three USB ports, as well as RF and satellite antenna inputs.

Wi-Fi is built-in, so you can connect the TV to your network without cables and stream content from DLNA-compatible devices such as PCs or NAS devices. File format support is excellent, with DivX, MOV and MKV videos all playing smoothly. You can also use a Samsung smartphone to control the TV, stream content or mirror what’s on screen using Miracast. You need to install Samsung’s official Smartview app to do it, though, so owners of non-Samsung smartphones won’t be able to make use of every feature.

Samsung UE46F7000

You get two remotes with the TV, a traditional one and one with a touchpad for easy navigation of the Smart TV menus

Ultimately, the most important reason to get connected is to make the most of Smart Hub, Samsung’s online portal. It’s now fully integrated into the main TV interface rather than buried in a menu, so it’s the first thing you see when you turn on the set. Each of its five home screens provides quick access to apps, shortcuts and on-demand services, with the TV screen giving you a quick overview of what’s on now and what’s coming up soon based on what you’ve previously viewed.

The Movies page uses AceTrax to recommend films, but none of the other on-demand services. This is a shame, as Netflix and LoveFilm subscribers will have to load separate apps to see what’s new. It also has Blinkbox, so there’s a huge amount of choice. The apps page contains both BBC iPlayer and ITV Player, along with a host of other audio and video streaming apps including YouTube and Daily Motion. 4OD and Demand 5 apps are planned for the future, and you can download more apps from Samsung’s app store is also available for downloading even more apps, which makes Smart Hub one of the most comprehensive smart TV systems in the industry.

You also get Facebook, Twitter, a web browser and Skype video calling. Conveniently, you don’t need to buy a webcam to make video calls, as there’s a webcam built into the TV.

Samsung UE46F7000

We love the little pop-up camera for Skype calls

As second in line for Samsung’s 2013 range, there’s very little to separate the F7000 from its bigger brother in terms of image processing, apart from Clear Motion Rate (CMR) and Micro Dimming. The F7000 has a CMR of 800 and basic Micro Dimming, while the F8000 has a 1000 CMR and Micro Dimming Ultimate. In practice, this means that Samsung’s newly introduced Cinema Black mode, which disables part of the backlight to prevent it from bleeding into the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen when watching films shot in cinema aspect ratios, isn’t quite as effective here. It has fewer backlight sections and can’t disable them as accurately, so at anything other than the highest setting, there’s still a noticeable milky grey sheen rather than total black.

Samsung UE46F7000

We had to lower the brightness significantly and switch to the Movie preset when watching Blu-ray video in order to get the most cinema-like picture quality. Once properly configured, black levels were very good and there was no obvious clouding or bleeding from the backlight. Brightness was much lower than the defaults, though, so you’d need to calibrate again for watching broadcast TV in a lit room. Standard definition footage looks as good as we could hope to expect when scaled up to a 1080p resolution, but true high-definition footage looks far superior.

The Motion Plus frame interpolation system is best left on its Standard mode if you want to avoid judder, although you can lower it using custom settings to avoid the somewhat unrealistic, soap-like images it creates. On the plus side, there were no major motion artefacts, as long as we didn’t push the settings up too high.

Samsung’s active 3D glasses are some of the thinnest and lightest around, so you should be able to watch comfortably, although you only get two pairs in the box and will have to pay £15 for each additional pair (SSG-5100GB from Amazon). 3D video looks surprisingly bright, with no visible light flicker and an almost complete lack of crosstalk. Depth effects are convincing if you’re watching 3D footage that’s been shot well, although there seems to be some form of motion processing enabled to create a smooth, judder-free picture.

Samsung UE46F7000

Samsung's 3D glasses are amongst the most comfortable active pairs around

Sound quality is above average, although the lack of any dedicated subwoofer drivers means bass it lacks bass, especially compared to the more expensive F8000. However, the two 10w speakers are easily loud enough to fill a medium-sized room at high volume.

Although it doesn’t have the wow factor of the F8000, the F7000 is arguably the better buy. It has almost all of the same features, looks fantastic and costs significantly less. If you demand the best picture quality money can buy, there’s little doubt the F8000 has the edge, and you still get better black levels from a plasma TV. Even so, there’s little not to like about the F7000 once it’s been calibrated.

Basic Specifications

Rating*****

Physical

Viewable size46in
Native resolution1,920x1,080
1080p supportYes
Aspect ratio16:9
HD readyyes
3D capableyes
Speakers2x 10W

Connections

D-sub inputs0
HDMI inputs4
Component inputs1
SCART1
Composite inputs1
Audio outputsoptical S/PDIF out, headphone out
Other3.5mm audio input, 3x USB, LAN port, CI slot adaptor

Tuner

Tuner typeFreeview HD, Freesat HD
EPG8 day

Environmental

Power consumption standby0W
Power consumption on70W

Buying Information

Warrantyone year RTB
Price£1,599
Supplierhttp://www.selfridges.com
Detailswww.samsung.co.uk

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