Samsung UE40ES7000 review

Control is everything in the star of Samsung's latest wave of Edge LED TVs

Samsung UE40ES7000
Voice and gesture controls are the Samsung UE40ES7000's headline features

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The UE40ES7000 may not be Samsung's standout flag-waver for 2012, but make no mistake; this expensive television is as innovative as any in the Korean brand's arsenal.

Tech-wise, this is advanced stuff. Edge LED is par for the course, and although in terms of pure picture quality that tech is a step down from the Direct LED backlighting used a few years ago, Samsung does promise 'micro dimming'.

That may be, but its 8 Series TVs feature 'micro dimming plus', suggesting that the Samsung UE40ES7000's ability to create ultimate contrast between black and white in every sector of the screen is slightly hamstrung.

Samsung UE40ES7000 review

Another key technology is the Samsung UE40ES7000's 800 Clear Motion Rate, although don't mistake this for a pure anti-blur 800Hz mode; it's actually the result of a 200Hz panel – the minimum needed for watchable 3D images – with some backlight scanning achieving some 800Hz-like fluidity (in theory).

Ins and outs just about cover the basics, with three HDMI inputs the only immediately obvious sacrifice from the 8 Series tellies. Its three USB slots, meanwhile, seem plenty, although one is likely to be occupied at all times, because the Samsung UE40ES7000 can record TV to a USB flash drive or HDD.

With only one tuner, this is limited functionality and nothing to get excited about, but it is worth considering docking a (minimum 2GB) USB flash drive to create a 40-50 minute pause live TV feature.

Samsung UE40ES7000 review

Elsewhere, on the rear of the Samsung UE40ES7000 is a headphones slot, component video, composite video, Scart, wired Ethernet LAN, RF ins for both TV tuners, and an optical digital audio output.

Two pairs of Active Shutter 3D glasses are included. Samsung's SSG-4100GB 3D specs won't be to everyone's taste – they're insubstantial and do still let in reflections of light from behind a viewing position – but weigh just 20.7g and are designed to fit over spectacles.

Slated to work with other 3D TVs bearing the 'Full HD 3D' label, in reality, that means Panasonic TVs. They use a CR2025 watch battery, which when inserted between the eyepieces should last around 150 hours.

Samsung UE40ES7000 review

Powered by built-in Wi-Fi, Smart Hub has all the key apps you'll be on the lookout for; BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport take their place in the 'top five' apps at the top of the screen, along with Netflix, Lovefilm and Explore 3D.

The provision of the Samsung-made Family Story, Fitness and Kids apps could annoy some, especially since they dominate the centre of the Smart Hub screen. An option to remove, or least relegate them, would be handy.

Despite all that, the Samsung UE40ES7000 is only good for a year or so, right? In recent times the advent of the web-powered firmware update has brought new features and user interfaces to last year's TVs, but now we have something genuinely innovative – the Smart Evolution Kit.

Samsung UE40ES7000 review

The Samsung UE40ES7000's Smart Evolution Kit

This is a chip that promises to house extra processing power and all the latest picture and interface improvements still in Samsung's labs, and in the rear of the Samsung UE40ES7000 is a slot for inserting such a chip.

It should be available in 2013, which hopefully makes the Samsung UE40ES7000 future-proof. With the promise of 'transforming your TV's dual core CPU to the faster generation of quad core technology', it's an interesting concept that suggests that Samsung may have reached what it thinks is the pinnacle in terms of core performance and design, though it's not a feature we can technically pass judgement on until next year.

We'll cover the voice and gesture control options later, but also note the availability of the Samsung Remote app, which was released in 2011, but still works fine with the Samsung UE40ES7000 and even includes shortcuts to those Smart Hub apps.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),