With Samsung's flagship TV, the UE46B8000, wowing us a couple of months back, we have understandably high hopes for the brand's 'step-down' model too. And, pleasingly, the Samsung UE40B7020, doesn't let us down.

In fact, with its cheaper price, we reckon this model could sell more than its slightly fancier sibling. After all, despite costing a relatively cheap £1,400, this model looks nearly as nice as the B8000 range.

It's equally slim and wears the same 'crystal' finish. Plus, it has the same transparent neck leading on to the detachable desktop stand.

It lacks the prism-like finish of the 8000 series and the desktop stand is black rather than the 8000 series' fetching metallic silver (the red-tinted 7000 is pictured here), but it still makes most rivals look ugly.

The UE40B7020 matches the 8000 models when it comes to connections, meaning you get the four HDMIs, two USB inputs and an ethernet port for connecting to a DLNA-certified PC, or the internet. Well, not the whole internet; just a carefully controlled section of it that's optimised for TV use.

But the amount of content available in Samsung's internet 'corner' is considerably higher than that available on rival TV platforms, thanks to deals done with YouTube, Flickr and Yahoo Widgets.

As per the 8000 series, the UE40B7020 uses edge-mounted LED lighting, and offers the same core specs of a full HD resolution and phenomenal-sounding three million to one contrast ratio.

Its onscreen menus offer much the same wide-ranging set of tweaks and adjustments, too. In fact, the only noteworthy omission in the UE40B7020 versus its 8000 sibling is 200Hz processing. The UE40B7020 only manages 100Hz.

Fast and furious

The difference is evident in this set's display of fast-moving objects with noticeably more blur and resolution loss. However, the 100Hz engine ensures that it's certainly not a bad performer in this regard in the context of the TV world at large.

In every other way, though, the UE40B7020's pictures seem identically brilliant to those of Samsung's 8000 series. And so we find, for instance, impeccable black levels helping the TV reproduce dark scenes with an authority and cinematic naturalism beyond the capabilities of any other screen we can think of bar Pioneer's more expensive Kuro plasmas.

The strikingly expansive colour range noted with the 8000 model emerges intact from the UE40B7020 too, as does the colour blend finesse and general authenticity of normally tricky, low-lit skin tones.

The pictures are also extremely sharp and crisp with HD footage, while showing no undue emphasis of noise or edges.

The UE40B7020 shares the weaknesses of the 8000 as well as its strengths. And so standard-definition images only look fair to middling rather than great, and the 100Hz engine can throw up minor side effect issues if you don't take care with getting the correct settings.

Also, the TV's shipping preset is just as dire as that of the UE46B8000 and does demand significant manual calibration.

Finally, the UE40B7020's skinny body makes it hard for the screen to produce a convincing bass response within its audio range, but that's a common trade-off.

Don't let its little foibles put you off, though. The bottom line with the UE40B7020 is that it's another effortlessly brilliant LED TV from Samsung with the added benefit that it won't break the bank.

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