Content-rich Smart TV
Good operating system
Generally good pictures
3D glasses included
Slightly grey blacks
Poor picture presets
Slight motion blur
Many apps lack quality
Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.
Samsung's ES7000 and ES8000 TVs are gorgeous to look at, innovative with their features and their interfaces, and capable of some outstanding picture quality. But they're also likely beyond the financial means of a large chunk of the TV buying population right now.
With this in mind, we suspect many prospective television buyers will be forced to turn their attentions to a slightly lower level of Samsung's 2012 TV range, such as the 40-inch Samsung UE40ES6800, which packs a full recommended retail price of £1,079.99 (around $1,690), but can be found for as little as £800 (around $1,250).
You can tell as soon as you look at it that the Samsung UE40ES6800 isn't as swanky as its costlier siblings, since its design, while certainly not in the least bit ugly, doesn't feature the insanely thin bezel of the ES7000s and ES8000s.
It also doesn't offer the startling array of alternative control systems sported by Samsung's top-end TVs. As in, you don't get a second remote with a touchpad, and there's no support for either voice or gesture controls.
The Samsung UE40ES6800 doesn't carry the same level of picture processing used by the ES7000 and ES8000 models, either. This means the Samsung UE40ES6800's Clear Motion Rate (CMR) number is 400Hz rather than 800Hz, and that the set's micro dimming LED control system is less sophisticated in terms of the number of areas of the picture it takes into account when calculating illumination levels.
You do still get the latest version of Samsung's excellent Smart TV online service, though, complete with its new Fitness, Family and Kid zones. And the set supports active 3D playback, with two pairs of glasses included for free.
Other TVs in the Samsung ES6800 range include smaller brother the 32-inch UE32ES6800 (priced at £849.99), the 46-inch UE46ES6800 (£1,399.99) and the 55-inch UE55ES6800 (£1,899.99).
If you want to buy a cheaper Samsung TV, the ES6300 range doesn't offer micro dimming and has a 200Hz CMR but costs £200 less, or the ES5500 series uses a 100Hz CMR rate, also doesn't offer micro dimming or built-in Wi-Fi - but costs £500 less than the ES6800.
Outside of Samsung's own TV stable, the Samsung UE40ES6800 goes up against the likes of the Sony KDL-40HX753, Panasonic TX-L42ET5, LG 42LM660T and Panasonic TX-P42ST50, among other great smart and 3D TVs.
John has been writing about home entertainment technology for more than two decades - an especially impressive feat considering he still claims to only be 35 years old (yeah, right). In that time he’s reviewed hundreds if not thousands of TVs, projectors and speakers, and spent frankly far too long sitting by himself in a dark room.