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Power up Freeview HD on the Samsung UE40ES7000 and the picture on standard definition channels is a tad soft, but impressively clean of artefacts and digital blocking.
We'd advise leaving alone the noise reduction tech, since it reduces the detail even more, and instead engage in some judicious lessening of the backlight and brightness. Do that and picture quality improves further, though HD channels always boast plenty of fine detailing and some particularly vibrant colours.
Overall we were impressed with upscaling; Lionel Messi: Top 10 Goals from the YouTube app featured some motion blur, but within an otherwise clean, watchable – though softened – image. Ditto The Way on Netflix, which featured a clean, reasonably detailed image, though with a sheen of picture noise.
Switching to the Movie preset and tweaking to taste from there (we switched-off Dynamic Contrast and upped the strength of Motion Plus to 'smooth'), we engaged Ironclad on Blu-ray.
We do like Samsung's Motion Plus tech, though it must be used with caution; as a castle is attacked in Ironclad, the high octane shots are too much for the Samsung UE40ES7000 to cope with; moving legs, swinging axes and rolling heads suffer from indistinct, interrupted edges and what look like waves of blur, with artefacts around the edges of both moving objects and even the frame itself. Quick camera pans do, however, occur smoothly with no discernible judder.
With Motion Plus powered down to 'clear', jarring handheld camera pans rediscover their vigour, with the less video-like smoothness a huge plus. It does depend on what you're watching, but Ironclad isn't suited to Motion Plus-style tech – although anyone who detests slight motion blur and judder will disagree.
Meanwhile, contrast and black levels during Ironclad are shown up for what they are; excellent. In terms of Edge LED TVs, this is one of the stronger performers in this area; a sequence featuring much chain mail and dark leather coats, and another inside the murky castle walls, are both proof of that.
Shadow detail and the intensity of black areas also help the Samsung UE40ES700 excel with colour, something that spills over into a few matches of Pro Evolution Soccer 2012 from an Xbox 360, in which we managed to steer Barcelona through some matches, though with some noticeable input lag. Game mode doesn't improve that, and appears to accentuate jagged edges within a brighter, more precise, though harsher image.
With those incredibly slim active shutter 3D specs strapped to our head, we dived into Samsung's Explore 3D app for some dimensional experiments. With Alligator Kingdom 3D playing, the first drawback is some unwanted, bright reflections of light from a crack in the curtains behind us.
The next aspect we noticed was the brightness on screen, and while this is genuinely impressive, pure white areas of 3D images, such as the overcast sky, do flicker an awful lot. At least, it does to our eyes, and though we know this doesn't affect everyone, that extra brightness causes it to be more of an issue that it should be.
An interview with an alligator scientist sees motion smudges aplenty as he gestures with his hands, while back in the swamps the extremely vibrant colours – greens in particular – are starting to make our eyes tired.
It's not all bad. The 3D images themselves are crisp, crosstalk-free and frequently stunning. The detail in some close-ups of alligator skulls is almost as awesome as shots of the creatures crawling towards the camera.
Contrast is spot-on, with reflections on the black water swamps and rivers stunning in their detail and believability. At one point an insect flies from lily leaf to lily leaf, and though his darting progress is more difficult to follow accurately compared to a 2D sequence, the shot itself is otherwise hugely impressive.
Switch to a 3D Blu-ray disc and the 3D performance is even more detailed and refined, but that brightness flicker remains
If 3D does have a place in home entertainment, it's on TVs like the Samsung UE40ES7000 that it will impress enough to survive.
Incidentally, during our test we attempted to convert Ironclad into 3D, but to no avail; the resulting effect was the addition of flicker and a 3D effect so slight as to be worthless, though it did help create an even better sense of contrast. BBC One's Cowboy Trap suffered from the same underwhelming treatment.
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 Space.com. He also edits two of his own websites, TravGear.com and WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),