Usability

On paper, the Samsung UE46ES7000 should be one of the easiest TVs to use ever. After all, it's not every day that you get a TV that offers a touchpad remote, gesture control and voice recognition to help you explore web pages and Samsung's exceptionally sophisticated on-screen menus.

Not everything about the new control systems is firing on all cylinders, though. The gesture control system in particular needs refinement to make it less fiddly and tiring to use - though we do appreciate the way it means you don't actually need a physical handset in order to use the TV.

We didn't feel entirely comfortable barking out instructions at the TV vocally either, and the response to our voice commands was a touch sluggish at times.

However, we certainly did appreciate being able to enter text into search fields by speaking the words into the mic on the touchpad remote.

Samsung UE46ES7000 review

This remote is good too - definitely the best of the touchpad remotes offered by a few TV manufacturers this year. Its pad is responsive but not overly so, its button layout is good, and it feels really comfortable to hold.

The addition of the voice mic is a very welcome touch, too. The only problem with this remote is that you have to press the touchpad in to select an option - something that occasionally causes you to slide off the part of the screen you wanted to select.

There's also a strong argument to be made that even the touchpad remote control doesn't offer such intuitive controls as the Samsung control app you can get for Android and iOS devices.

We can't help but think that one day these sorts of apps will be the most commonly used means of interfacing with Smart TVs - especially as more and more of these apps are starting to enable you to share video and multimedia between the TV and your portable device's screen.

While the control innovations aren't all unmitigated successes, though, there's not much to moan about where Samsung's main 'Smart Hub' on-screen menus are concerned. These look gorgeous, yet also provide one-press access to a huge array of different sources.

As well as making navigation easier, this focus on putting so many things on the screen at once equalises the weight apportioned to all the different source types, be they multimedia or broadcast, which seems to fit perfectly with the way more and more of us consume our AV content at home.

It's a little disappointing, perhaps, that the main TV set up menus don't follow the gorgeous looks of the Smart Hub, but they're reasonably effectively organised.

The only issues we had with them were that there are two advanced picture menus when probably one would have done, and that the Game preset is buried within a General sub-menu of the main System menu, rather than just being included in the picture presets.

Samsung UE46ES7000 review

One final serious gripe, as noted earlier, is the lack of a really sensible picture preset for watching films.

All of Samsung's presets are set way too bright to deliver a comfortable viewing experience free of backlight uniformity problems, requiring you to slash back the backlight to between 4 and 6 before you get a really satisfying movie image. Here's hoping Samsung addresses this issue for next year.

Sound

Although Samsung has clearly put some work into improving the audio of its very thin TVs in recent times, the Samsung UE46ES7000 still sounds a bit average, to be honest. The main culprit is, predictably, a lack of bass, which leaves action scenes sounding a bit thin and one-dimensional.

Also problematic but entirely expected given the Samsung UE46ES7000's slimness is a fairly limited mid-range, which doesn't really have the power or dynamic space to expand to meet the challenge of a potent action sequence.

Samsung UE46ES7000 review

On the upside, trebles are generally rendered cleanly without sounding harsh, and the TV sounds absolutely fine with normal, undemanding broadcast fodder.

Value

With a full price of £1699.99 (around $2,655) and available for around £1,360 online at the time of writing, the Samsung UE46ES7000 is hardly the cheapest 46-inch TV in town.

However, it's still decent value when you consider how much it has to offer: 3D with two pairs of glasses, an HD tuner, lots of set up flexibility, multiple ground-breaking control innovations and the most advanced and beautifully presented online service the TV world currently has to offer.

Plus pictures that look outstanding with bright footage and can be made to look decent too - with a bit of work - during dark scenes.