Samsung UE55KS7000 review

Above and beyond HDR

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Our Verdict

HDR+ is the key feature to get excited about in this sumptuously designed 55-incher, which 'upscales' to HDR while presenting 4K detail and Samsung's slickest smart TV platform yet. It's not perfect, but fed a diet of Hi-Def or 4K HDR, the UE55KS7000 purrs.

For

  • HDR+ upscaling
  • Subtle HDR images
  • Separate connections box
  • Slick, quick Smart Hub

Against

  • Requires large TV table
  • Some backlight bleeding
  • Lacks YouView or Freeview Play
  • No 3D support

There's much talk about HDR and its status as the next great TV technology, but not often does the talk turn to luminance. The enabling tech for HDR – panels that cross the all-important threshold of 1,000 nits – is pretty rare, but that's exactly what this 55-inch Edge LED-lit TV from Samsung offers, and in terms of HDR's wonderfully nuanced and subtle, yet powerful and dynamic colouring, this is where the touch-paper is lit.

At the moment Samsung calls this tech HDR 1000, but don't get too fond of that name – the coming years will likely see incremental jumps in luminance, so in year or so we could be looking at HDR 1200 or HDR 1500.

For now the UE55KS7000 is compliant with what the TV industry is calling Ultra HD Premium, which sees a jump from an 8-bit depth standard to a 10-bit depth for HDR, expanding colour precision from 256 shades to 1,023 shades.

Samsung UE55KS7000

Samsung has created panels with more luminance by using its quantum dot technology and a 10-bit VA panel. Despite the presence of the Ultra Black mode, aka the 'moth eye' filter (as well as Precision Black local dimming), the UE55KS7000 does lack Direct LED backlighting, so the very finest in black performance is lacking. Still, as the entry-level model for the Ultra HD Premium badge, the UE55KS7000 is an key TV.

Design

It's always been a bugbear of mine that, when you've just paid good money for a TV that's sold on aesthetics as much as technology, the first thing you have to do when you get it home is find a screwdriver so that you can assemble your new toy.

Not so with the UE55KS7000, which comes with two triangular feet that simply clip to the bottom. However, while the absence of screws is welcome, because the two small feet are located very close to the corners of the TV it might not fit on many people's existing TV stands, especially those upgrading from, say, a 40-inch set to this 55-incher. I managed to perch the UE55KS7000 on my existing test bench of 10 years with only millimetres to spare.

Samsung UE55KS7000

Elsewhere the UE55KS7000's design is super-slinky, with barely a screen surround to speak of. At its slimmest there's a slither of silver frame on three sides, with the logo-adorned undercarriage significantly wider. Samsung calls this 'bezel-less', and it's hard to disagree. It's also worth noting that the back of the TV is just as sleekly designed, in case you want to place it in the middle of a room.

Samsung supplies a slender 'smart' remote control, which offers voice control as well as regular (though flat-mounted) buttons. It does look nicer than the regular design of remote, although one of those is also included (so too are a huge array of codes, so that either remote can act as a universal controller).

Smart Hub

It's all change for Samsung yet again in the world of smart TV, with the full-screen graphics and app grids abandoned in favour of pop-ups. If the one-touch access to oft-used apps is good, it's nothing compared to the 'accelerator' bar above, which flashes up further shortcuts.

It works like a dream for Netflix and Amazon Instant, where content you've recently been watching is available in less than a second, and loadable in just three touches. It all makes accessing content super easy and super slick.

Samsung UE55KS7000 review

Everything may have been joined up and seamlessly integrated into Smart Hub, but the sheer amount of apps, services and content available is what makes the Samsung UE55KS7000 a real standout. Netflix and Amazon Instant are a given, of course, but the review sample I tested also included all UK TV catch-up apps (BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, 4OD and Demand Five, though neither of the roll-back platforms, YouView or Freeview Play), as well as YouTube, Deezer, TuneIn, Vimeo, Facebook, Red Bull TV and Mubi.

In another welcome move, PS4 controllers can be hooked up to the UE55KS7000 for playing apps and games, which include RF Real Football, Asphalt 8 and Despicable Me: Minion Rush.

Ins and outs

External connector boxes have been few and far between in recent years on all but flagship TVs, but the One Connect box supplied with the UE55KS7000 is impressive. Measuring 7 x 20cm, it sports four HDMI inputs and three USB slots, which is about as generous as it gets. On the TV itself is a connector for the One Connect box alongside a USB slot, a Common Interface slot and an Ethernet LAN for web access (although this should perhaps have been included on the box).

Samsung UE55KS7000 review

Also available

The UE55KS7000 is one of the smallest and most affordable members of Samsung's SUHD collection, a flagship group that comprises a bevy of curved and flat tellies that are all about HDR and image perfection. The 7 Series and above all have quantum dot panels that offer 1,000 nits luminance.

Either side of the UE55KS7000 are the 49-inch Samsung UE49KS7000 and the 60-inch Samsung UE60KS7000. If you fancy a curved version, seek out the 43-inch UE43KS7500, the 49-inch UE49KS7500 and the 65-inch UE65KS7500, which are in other respects almost identical.