Samsung 46ES7000 Review
Here we have the very impressive looking 46-Inch Samsung 46ES7000 Smart 3D HDTV from Samsung’s 2012 ES7000 series.
This latest series 7 model sits very high up in the 2012 roster, and comes in just one notch below the flagship ES8000 series.
While the Samsung ES7000 series might not be #1, looking through the specifications and features of both, they appear to only differ slightly by their design, and one feature. The ES7000 reviewed here features “Micro Dimming Pro” rather than “Micro Dimming Ultimate” as featured in the ES8000.
Please note, we have reviewed the UK model here, in the U.S it is known as the Samsung UN46ES7500 from the Samsung ES7500 series, so feel free to associate this review with the UN46ES7500 also.
This is the 46-Inch Samsung UE46ES7000U to use it’s full name, but it is also available as the smaller 40-inch 46ES7000, and larger 55-Inch Samsung 55ES7000.
The list price is £1,699, but if you buy online from Amazon UK, you can pick it up for just £1500!
It is easy to see trends in the announcement of the fresh new crop of HDTVs each year. Last year is was all about 3D, the year before, all about slimmer and slimmer models, and this year it’s the year of the “Smart TV”.
If HDTVs were to be ranked on “Smartness”, the Samsung 46ES7000 would to top of the class, no, it would be teaching the class. Its smart hub and features are as beautiful as the design of the TV its self.
I have always been a big fan of the styling and design of Samsung’s HDTVs and believe the 2012 models to be their very best yet. The Samsung 46ES7000 / 46ES7500 has an very slim bezel (frame) around the LCD panel, and it’s finished with a clear glass like rim on the very outer edge.
The design is very clean, sleek and elegant, with no buttons or speakers breaking up the design. There is a slight raised area in the top middle of the frame for the integrated webcam and microphones. If you’re wondering how you would turn the HDTV on, if you lost the remote down the back of the sofa, Samsung has you covered. They have integrated a small four way thumb button on the back of the TV which can be used to turn the TV on and off, channel and volume changes, along with controlling the smart hub navigation.
Along with a very narrow frame, the Samsung 46ES7000 is very very slim indeed at just under 2cms, which looks amazing on the supplied stand, let alone mounted flush on a wall.
It comes with the Samsung Quad Stand, which looks great with its highly polished chrome finish. Installation is relatively simple, and requires eight included screws. I followed the recommended instructions of laying the TV front down on a table with the edge over the side, you can then easily screw in the base to the rear of the TV. The stand allows you to easily rotate the TV clockwise and anticlockwise for easy viewing adjustment.
A nice feature is the Samsung logo in the bottom center of the HDTV which lights up subtly when the screen is on. If you’re thinking that this might get distracting when watching a film in a dark room, Samsung gives you a number of options. On when screen is on, never on, never off, and even on when the screen is off. So your pretty Samsung TV will be glowing away when it’s not in use, tempting you to switch it on!
Connectivity / Ports (WiFi)
Connectivity is good on the 46ES7000, with a a healthy selection of 3x HDMI and 3x USB ports. There are also the traditional scart, component and composite inputs. It also features a Satelite RF input / tuner, which can be used with services such as FreeSat HD.
As this is a Smart TV, it of course also features an Ethernet LAN connection, and built in WiFi.
- 3x HDMI
- 3x USB
- WiFi Built In
- 1x Component In (Y / Pb / Pr)
- 1x Composite In (AV) x 1 (Common Use for Component Y)
- 1x Digital Audio Out (Optical)
- PC In (via HDMI)
- 1x Scart
- 1x Ethernet (LAN)
- DVI Audio In (Mini Jack)
- RF In (Satellite Input)
- RF In (Terrestrial / Cable input)
- Samsung Smart Evolution Port
Specifications / Features
As you would expect from any modern HDTV, the Samsung 46ES7000 has a Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. It features an Ultra Clear Panel (LCD) with Micro Dimming Pro LED edge lighting, and 800 Clear Motion Rate technology, which helps to keep the images pin sharp during fast motion scenes.
The Samsung 46ES7000 comes with not one, but two remote controls, the Samsung TM1290 and TM1250. The first is a pretty standard affair with a traditional looking remote. It feels nice to use, has a backlight button. The most important button on the remote is the “Smart Hub” which quickly fires up the very impressive Smart Hub, which we’ll cover in detail later.
The second remote is the “Smart” remote, and is a much more impressive ordeal. While it lacks the standard buttons you would expect to see on a remote control, it does feature a clickable touch pad and microphone for use with the Smart Hub. If you’re wondering what the microphone is for, don’t fear, as we will also cover that later.
Along with the two remote controls, it comes with two pairs of shutter 3D glasses. These shutter glasses are the more expensive of the two technologies (vs polarizing), and are powered by a small watch type battery. There is a small power switch located on the top, with an LED to let you know that they are on, and synced with the TV. The glasses work by opening and closing the left and right eyes independently, synced with the TV to create the 3D effect. If you suffer from headaches in the cinema, many people report to find less problems with this method, and improved 3D performance.
Smart Hub / Operation
Accessing the Samsung Smart Hub area is very quick and easy, simply requiring a press of the Smart Hub button. Almost instantly you are presented with the very cool and clean looking Smart Hub. Your currently selected input will continue to be shown in a small box on the top left hand corner of the screen, allowing you to navigate around the smart hub while continuing to watch.
It comes with a selection of five wallpapers, with a nice blue underwater scene being the default. Arranged around the screen are a number of icons linking to the various apps. Further apps can be installed from the “Samsung Apps” section, much like on a smart phone.
After installing the stand and plugging in the power, I powered on the HDTV and entered my WiFi information, and entered the Smart Hub. I let an update install, which only took a few minuets. After that there was a new icon / app available called “Explore 3D”. I accessed this, and was pleased to see a selection of 3D HD trailers, including Transformers: Dark of the Moon 3D.
Having such quick and easy access to this high quality 3D material is extremely useful as most people don’t have a great collection of 3D material laying around. This made my reviewing easier, and no doubt makes showing off your beautiful new 3D HDTV to your friends a whole lot easier!
A whole bunch of apps come pre-installed, and others can be easily added via the Samsung App area. BBC’s iPlayer, Netflix, Skype, YouTube, web browser, Family Story are among those per-installed. After an update, the popular ITV Player also appeared.
iPlayer, ITV Player and Netflix all worked perfectly, streaming HD content over my WiFi network in very good quality. I must admit I was very impressed at the fact that I had so much content available to me, and all that was plugged into the back of the TV was the power cable!
Along with the “Camera” app, which as you would guess, allows you to take photos using the built in camera / webcam, is an official Skype app.
As a frequent user of Skype on my laptop, I was excited to check out this app. Setup was very easy, simply sign in with your username and password just like on a Windows PC. Contacts are shown on the left, and the interface is very nice and easy to use.
Making and receiving calls is very easy with just a single click. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the camera on the Samsung 46ES7000, they images were very clear, vibrant and most importantly, bright.
You can even select to leave skype running and signed in, so you can receive calls when ever you’re watching TV. This is great if you always want to be contactable.
There is a little scroll wheel behind the camera which allows you to easily change the hight of the camera.
Concerned about privacy issues? Samsung has thought about this. You can rotate the camera right the way around, which is essentially like placing a lens cap over the camera / disabling it. A green “o” is shown in place of the camera.
You can also use the Webbrowser to surf the Internet directly on the TV using the “Smart Remote’s” trackpad or even using the “Smart Interaction” feature. Page rendering is as you would expect, and accurate. Along with using the Smart Remote and Interaction, you can also plug in a USB keyboard to one of the USB ports, or even download the Samsung Remote or Samsung Smart View application onto your Android smart phone / iPhone.
Samsung Smart Interaction
When Samsung announced their new Smart HDTVs at CES at the start of the year, they were very proudly showing off their new “Smart Interaction” feature. From using the built in webcam, and microphone, you can control the Samsung 46ES7000 in a fashion that’s similar to that of the Xbox Kinect.
Voice commands such as “Volume up”, “Volume 20″, Channel up” etc control the TV. If you hold the palm of you hand facing the TV you can move a cursor around the Smart Hub. Simply closing your hand to make a fist acts as a “click” of a mouse. I found the whole smart interaction very interesting. It worked well 90% of the time. I had to sometimes repeat a voice command, or make sure there was sufficient lighting from the
You can see a video of the Smart Interaction here.
You can even create multiple accounts for the TV, which you can sign into by either using a password, or even via facial recognition. I must admit I did have a little trouble with it. After recording my face as such, I tried to sign in again using the facial recognition, and it worked well. But the next day as a test, I had someone else try to log in, it didn’t recognise their face, which was good, but right after I tried, and it didn’t recognise me either. I’m not sure what the issue was, maybe it was a lighting problem.
Samsung Smart Evolution Kit
The Smart functions of the 46ES7000 are already the most impressive on the market today, powered by a dual core processor.
But Samsung wasn’t content with just leaving it there, and have been very cleaver, thinking ahead. On the back of the 46ES7000 there is a small “Evolution Kit” port. Sometime in 2013 Samsung will release a “Samsung Smart Evolution Kit”, which simply plugs into this port, and upgrades the TV to add new features and improved specifications, such as a more powerful quad core processor.
Basically this means that you can upgrade your HDTV, without having to purchase a whole new HDTV. Or as Samsung says “Renew your TV, every year”.
I must admit I think this is very clearer and appealing. Every year the major HDTV manufactures release a hot new feature to their latest lines of HDTVs, and last year’s buys are often left disappointed wishing their still relatively new HDTV had this new function or feature. But now, you can simply plug and play upgrade your HDTV. Amazing.
The Samsung 46ES7000 has a number of video pre-sets, modes, video options and tweaks that you can customize to your heart’s content and are very unrestricted even allowing you to customize R-G-B off sets and gains, but I found it to be very well calibrated right out of the box.
I had to knock down the contrast a little bit and adjust the brightness for the light levels in the room, but beyond that, it was great to see that very little calibration was needed.
Under the options you can even pull up a number of “expert patterns” that will help you through some basic calibration without needing any extra tools or DVDs. These include one for colors and another for brightness / contrast to make sure you’re not loosing and detail through over / under exposure.
The basic settings include, picture mode, backlight, contrast, brightness, sharpness and color options. You can also tweak the 3D options, including 2D to 3D conversion, and even a 3D optimization to get the best viewing for you.
The advanced settings allow you to adjust the dynamic contrast, black tone, flesh tone, color space and white balance. The Dynamic contrast can be turned off, or the levels tweaked. This helps to get the best contrast ratios, and deep blacks in dark scenes by varying the brightness of the LED backlights.
Under the picture options you have color tone, MPEG & Digital noise filter settings, along with Motion Plus and LED Motion Plus settings. These both work together to keep the images sharp and clear during fast moving scenes by using a very fast refresh rate and creating in-between frames.
I was very impressed with the video performance from the default setup of the 46ES7000. The images were very vibrant and clear with deep blacks and accurate colors.
The screen has a glossy finish which tend to provide sharper, more vibrant images than that of a matte finish, but reflections can be somewhat of a problem. If you’re in a bright room with direct sunlight shinning somewhere in the room and reflecting in the screen you might have some issues if you don’t have the backlight brightness very high. Luckily the ES7000 goes very bright, and I found that increasing this helped the reflection issue.
We ran a number of display tests on the Samsung 46ES7000 and found the colors and brightness to be very accurate and uniform throughout our testing. It passed our sharpness and overscan tests with pixel perfect reproduction and zero over or underscan. We did have to change the “Picture Size” to “Screen Fit” for the perfect results.
The vertical and horizontal resolution tests were passed, while the black and white clipping tests provided very good results.
The viewing angles are very wide in all directions, the colors stay vibrant and saturated from all angles. The images are very uniform and we didn’t notice any uneven light or cloudiness during normal viewing. When we set the backlight to the maximum there were occasions where we did see some uneven, overly bright areas in the corners. This can be seen in the photo below, but has been deliberately exaggerated by the camera’s long exposure.
I along with my fellow testers were all very impressed with the 3D performance of the Samsung 46ES7000. All said the same thing, stating that great “depth” could be seen during 3D playback, and that it was more impressive than the 3D they are used to seeing in the cinema.
We expected modern 3D films such as Transformers and Avatar to impress in the 3D department, and they sure did. But we were also equally impressed with 3D TV viewing, and enjoyed watching BBC’s 3D coverage of the Olympics where it certainly added a further level of immersiveness to the viewing.
As stated earlier, the 46ES7000 makes use of “Active 3D” glasses, which use small watch type batteries to physically open and close the left and right lens in sync with the HDTV to create the 3D effect. Users who are prone to getting headaches during a 3D movie at the cinema are said to fair better with these types of glasses.
The glasses themselves are very light and comfortable to wear. They come unassembled, but are easy to put together by simply clipping in each of the arms.
The Samsung 46ES7000 features 800 Clear Motion Rate along with Motion Plus and Motion Plus LED which work together to remove image judder typically found during panning scenes by creating in between frames to smooth out the motion. The high refresh rate also helps to maintain motion resolution in high action scenes or sports viewing to keep the images sharp and clear.
A number of options can be selected between off and on, and a noticeable difference could be seen between fully enabled and disabled. A common unwelcome side effect from this kind of image processing dubbed “The soap opera effect” can sometimes be introduced by enabling this. This can make films and other 24p content look cheap and less movie like. We didn’t experience this effect on the 46ES7000, and we’re happy to see that it can be fully disabled or tweaked if you did pickup on this side effect.
As I’m sure you noted from the beautiful sleek design of the 46ES7000, no speakers can be seen breaking up the design. This is because the speakers are down firing. The 10W x 2 Sound Output speakers feature Dolby Digital Plus / Dolby Pulse, 3D Sound and Dts 2.0+Digital Out available.
While not the most powerful speakers we have ever seen, they’ll provide enough punch and clarity for most users.
The Samsung 46ES7000 performed very well in our gaming tests. Of key importance is the “lag” caused from the internal video processing, causing a delay from the input to the time it’s displayed on the screen. On normal settings the 46ES7000 has a delay of around 102ms, but enabling the dedicated “Gaming Mode” brought the lag down to 34ms, a very respectable time which will work very well for gaming. Of interesting comparison is to that of the last HDTV I reviewed, the Bang & Olufsen V1, which had an input lag of 167ms in gaming mode.
Media Center / PC Usage
The 46ES7000 worked very well with the PC and as a media center due to its low input lag time and perfect 1:1 direct pixel mapping and zero under or overscan.
Not only is the Samsung 46ES7000 a beautifully stylish HDTV, it also performs extremely well and has market leading Smart TV functions.
It is very hard to find anything negative about the 46ES7000 at all, with excellent contrast and video performance paired with leading Smart TV functions.
If you’re looking to purchase a new HDTV, you can’t really hope to find a more modern and powerful Smart TV on the market today. With its powerful Smart functions, streaming apps, Skype and Smart Interaction its very cutting edge.
Samsung takes this to the next level with Smart Evolution, enabling you to upgrade the HDTV in years to come, rather than having to buy a whole new HDTV. Now if that doesn’t give you buyer confidence, I really don’t know what will! The Samsung 46ES7000 comes very highly recommended from us.
The Samsung 46ES7000 has a list price of £1,699, but you can save yourself £200 by ordering from Amazon UK.