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Samsung UE40D7000 40″ Smart 3D LED TV Expert Review

Samsung UE40D7000

Rating: ★★★★★

Moreover, the slimness is emphasised by the fact that most of the frame is transparent. The design is perhaps not quite as opulent as that of the D8000 series, with its more metallic finish, but many people might prefer the D7000′s more subtle approach.

The main remote control you get as standard is a pretty likeable affair, sporting a sensible layout and nice finish, although it’s not as fashionable as the TV itself.

The D7000′s spec sheet quickly reveals a welcome surprise: apparently the set’s features don’t differ in any significant way from that of the D8000 series, and the only aspect that separates the two ranges is the latter’s higher build quality. It’s rather nice to think that you can save yourself £100-£150 or so by getting the D7000, while only having to compromise on design.

Heading up the screen’s features is, of course, its 3D playback. This uses active 3D technology, with one pair of active shutter glasses thrown into the package. This is more than you get with Panasonic’s GT30 3D series, but well short of the seven free pairs of (polarised) glasses you get with LG’s passive 3D TVs.

Samsung has now shifted to Bluetooth technology for its 3D glasses, believing this delivers a more stable connection with the TV’s transmitter. The brand has also created some optional designer glasses, which are intended to prove that active shutter glasses don’t have to be cumbersome and heavy.

Staying with the set’s 3D features, it carries a 2D to 3D conversion process that works using five different visual depth ‘cues’ versus the two or three used by other brands’ 2D-3D converters. This really makes a difference, too, as a combination of more depth and less depth errors help Samsung produce the best upconverted 3D image yet.

The set’s other party trick is its Smart TV functions. Essentially, this is a big upgrade of Samsung’s 2010 Internet@TV online service, introducing loads more new ‘apps’, an open internet browser and a brilliant new interface.

Starting with this interface, Samsung has essentially designed a new ‘home page’ for the D7000 that presents you with icon-driven leap-off points to nigh-on all your sources, be they an AV input, material streamed from your DLNA PC, content stored on USB sticks or HDDs (you can also record to HDDs from the Freeview HD/Freesat HD tuners), and Samsung’s latest bank of online content delivery platforms. There’s even a universal search tool on this ‘home page’, which enables you to browse all your available sources, including the web, for particular TV shows or files.

Samsung’s online features include the best part of 40 apps (this will inevitably increase), covering everything from games through to news, information, social networking and video sources. Among the best of the apps are LOVEFiLM, Yahoo, Skype, Acetrax, Facebook, Twitter, the BBC iPlayer and Googlemaps.

Balancing act

Picture tinkerers will find plenty to keep them busy on the D7000, including a healthy degree of colour management, all manner of processes for boosting colours, contrast and black level and, best of all, lots of flexibility and control over the motion processing.

Dubbed Motion Plus, and backed up by Samsung’s ’800CMR’ system, you can adjust the amount of processing applied to its judder and blur components, a level of flexibility that proves immensely helpful in achieving a balance where motion looks cleaner without the picture looking processed.

Unleashed on both a recent 3D football match on Sky and the 3D Green Hornet Blu-ray, the D7000 proves a very good stereoscopic performer. The amount of detail in its 3D pictures is particularly excellent, leaving the Green Hornet disc looking as crisp and textured in 3D as it does in 2D.

It has to be said that this resolution advantage of active 3D over passive isn’t as pronounced on the D7000′s 40-inch screen as it is on the much larger 55D8000, but it’s certainly there.

The football match, meanwhile, as well as bright scenes on the Blu-ray, such as the Black Beauty burial sequence, look impressively punchy and dynamic, reminding us that Samsung’s LED 3D TVs suffer less from dramatic brightness reductions in 3D mode than most active shutter televisions.

Shadow play

A handy knock-on effect of this 3D brightness is that there’s more shadow detail in dark parts of the picture than you usually see. This is particularly evident in the apparent depth of the backgrounds of the night time Green Hornet scenes, such as the decapitation of his father’s statue in the park.

There’s hardly any crosstalk during dark scenes, either, marking a big improvement from last year’s Samsung 3D LED TVs. There is, however, minimal crosstalk during very bright scenes, and more than I saw on the latest Panasonic TX-P55VT30.

Given that 3D will only occupy a small amount of your viewing time, it’s all the more important that the D7000 is also a great 2D performer. It upscales standard-definition material with real aplomb, adding detail and sharpness, while simultaneously suppressing noise without compromising colour tones.

HD footage, meanwhile, enjoys immense sharpness and clarity, underlined by one of the most expansive contrast performance I’ve seen from a 40-inch LCD TV. What’s more, provided you don’t leave the backlight level set too high, the backlight illumination looks pretty even; there are some minor patches of extra brightness in the corners of the picture, but they’re hardly distracting, even during very dark scenes.

Motion is quite clear and smooth even without Motion Flow in play, and, in fact, many people will probably prefer to leave it off, as it can cause a few processing side-effects. But as noted earlier, it’s got the flexibility to be adjusted to suit your tastes, so don’t be afraid to tinker with it at least.

Colours are explosively rich and punchy in 2D mode, too, yet their extreme saturations don’t prevent the TV from delivering subtle shifts in tone or looking natural.

Techradar Benchmarks

  • Power consumption: Watts
  • White screen: 77W

With our standard 100IRE full white display, power consumption is less than you would expect for a set of this size.

  • Test footage: 70W

Typical movie footage and full volume sound and the consumption drops from the 100IRE test screen.

  • Contrast ratio: Claimed *not officially stated*
  • Standard Mode: 230,700:1 (0IRE: 0.00fL/100IRE: 67.3fL)
  • After calibration: 231,900:1 (0IRE: 0.00fL/100IRE: 67.7fL)

There’s no quoted contrast ratio, but at over 230,000:1 the measurement after calibration is pretty stunning.

Colour accuracy

  • Presets: In addition to the range of picture modes of which Movie is the closest, there are four CT presets, and a manual RGB mode which delivers a perfect 6500K.
  1. Standard: 8,600K
  2. Dynamic: 10,200K
  3. Natural: 8,400K
  4. Movie: 6,300K
  5. Standard Mode with Colour Tone set to ‘Warm2′: 6,600K

While the Movie mode was pretty close to the ideal 6,500K colour temperature, even closer was Standard picture mode with the Colour tone setting in the Picture options sub-menu changed to the Warm 2 preset.

Full adjustment is available from the advanced menu to get the 6,500K exact. Advanded options offer two ‘Expert Patterns’ though they will not prove all that useful except for the black and white pattern for adjusting the contrast/brightness.

Interestingly, while adjusting the contrast to our test pattern the setting was maxed out while it seemed it should be adjusted slightly higher. However increasing the contrast reduced the red luminance and the colour temprature increased by roughly 300K.

Audio asset

Accompanying the D7000′s excellent pictures is some surprisingly decent audio. Samsung’s slim, edge LED TVs have traditionally struggled to sound credible, but the set’s audio is clean, reasonably dynamic and quite punchy, though more bass extension wouldn’t have gone amiss.

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Pros

  • Good 3D and excellent 2D picture quality

Cons

  • Slight crosstalk noise with bright 3D footage

Verdict

Overall, the UE40D7000 is another hugely desirable TV from Samsung.

There’s room for improvement where 3D crosstalk is concerned, but it’s still a very good 3D performer, while its 2D pictures are outstanding.

All wrapped up in a to-die-for body.

Samsung UE40D7000

 


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