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Quite how Samsung squeezed speakers into such a slim screen is impressive enough, but even more remarkable is how good they sound – by LED TV standards, of course. The 2 x 10W amplification goes nice and loud, with excellent speech clarity and crisp treble.
The lack of bass makes it sound fairly narrow, and the unbalanced sound can take its toll on your ears at loud volumes, but for day to day use it's fine. There's also a couple of audio modes to pep up the sound, including SRS TheatreSound HD and SRS TruDialog.
If you check the price tag before you've seen the spec sheet and clapped eyes on its pictures, you might think the UE46D8000 is expensive. But with such a generous feature list, jaw-dropping looks and a winning way with HD, SD and 3D pictures, the asking price seems entirely reasonable. It's not flawless, but thankfully those flaws are in areas that won't jeopardise your enjoyment.
Ease of use
The UE46D8000 is a real joy to use. On-screen presentation is friendly, menus are well structured and the software responds quickly to commands from the remote. That makes frequently-used functions like input selection and menu navigation an absolute breeze.
The setup menu is neither too basic nor over-elaborate, using crisp fonts and a few tasteful graphics to emphasise certain choices and options. A helpful explanation appears when you highlight any option, and it lists what's in each submenu before you actually select it, which is a nice touch.
Within the setup menu we had no trouble connecting to our network – a step-by-step wizard guides you through it, and entering encryption keys and passwords is easy enough.
Once connected, the Smart Hub feature uses a great-looking and logical interface, packed with icons for each app, as well as providing quick access to all the set's functions – web browser, EPG, DLNA streaming and so forth. It even plays the current input in a small box.
Finding your content on a network or USB device couldn't be easier, thanks to the straightforward folder-based layout of the lists.
The good news continues with the Freeview EPG, which is still one of the best around. The main reason for its success is that it manages to squeeze a live TV box, the six-channel programme grid and the synopsis into the same screen without seeming cluttered, plus the cursor moves around freely, programme names are easy to read and colour coded options make key functions easy to access.
Finally, the UE46D8000 rounds off this operational tour de force with a superb remote that sports chunky rubber buttons, an intuitive layout and easy-to-read labelling. It's so simple my three-year-old son could use it. Most of the key features have their own buttons, including the e-Manual, which explains all of the set's functions on screen.