The UE46D7000 gets your attention right from the off. Its bezel-free design is remarkable, the connections are generous and the newly designed onscreen menus, complete with impressive onscreen and interactive instructions manual, are a breeze to use.
There are more features than you'll probably ever even tinker with among these onscreen menus, some of them extremely useful, others less obviously so.
The Smart Hub, from where you can leap simply off to absolutely any of the many sources the TV makes available, from its USB and PC inputs to its online services and apps, is inspired and sets the general template for all future TVs.
With so many cutting-edge features to compete with, it wouldn't have been too surprising if the UE46D7000's pictures hadn't stood out that much, but actually, they are the star of the show, thanks to their hugely impressive contrast, colours, sharpness, clarity, and black level response, even when watching 3D.
The bezel-free design is awesome, the set's connections are pretty much perfect, its got almost too many features for its own good, its Smart Hub home page idea is terrific, its online service delivers a previously unheralded level of usefulness, its 3D pictures are the best yet seen from an LCD TV and its 2D pictures are superb.
The UE46D8000's effective viewing angle is rather limited and there are minor traces of backlight inconsistency. There are also some small crosstalk artefacts with 3D playback, and some of the features on offer need to be used with care or they can reduce the overall picture quality.
The UE46D7000 joins the UE55D8000 in ensuring that Samsung's opening salvo in 2011's likely mighty TV 'war' hits its target in no uncertain terms.
Its design is unlikely to be topped by any other sets 2011 has to hold. Its connectivity is unlikely to be topped by any other 2011 TVs. Its feature count, as dominated by its Smart Hub and huge online features, might well not be topped by any other sets this year.
Its picture and sound quality are perhaps less safe from the incoming assault of other brands; it will be interesting to see how Panasonic's new high-spec plasmas and Philips' next-gen LED TVs shape up.
But do not for a minute take this as a sign of weakness in the UE46D7000's performance.
It's a big improvement over 2010's already impressive C series models, especially where 3D playback and sound quality are concerned, and its 2D pictures are huge crowd pleasers.
All in all, it's a truly stellar package.
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