Samsung UE46ES7000 review

High fashion meets quality LED TV vision - if you're careful

Samsung UE46ES7000
Gesture and voice control on the Samsung UE46ES7000 divide opinion

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Samsung is no longer the only brand making TVs with extremely slim bezels, and the tiny black and transparent bezel around the Samsung UE46ES7000 isn't as attractive as the minimalistic metallic look sported by the 2012 flagship ES8000 range. But none of these issues prevent the Samsung UE46ES7000 from still being a serious bit of eye candy.

Samsung has done a real kitchen sink job where features are concerned. For starters, the Samsung UE46ES7000 carries full active 3D support, complete with two pairs of active shutter glasses included for free and arguably the TV world's most sophisticated 2D to 3D conversion software.

It's also got Samsung's latest and greatest Smart TV online platform, complete with its dazzling new Full HD interface and piles of new content.

Highlights of this content include a really strong selection of video services - now including BBC iPlayer, LoveFilm, Netflix, AceTrax, and Samsung's own 3D channels - as well as Samsung's innovative Fitness, Family and Kid zones.

Samsung UE46ES7000 review

The Fitness zone enables you to set up multiple user profiles and join in with a wide selection of calorie-rated fitness videos, while the Family zone enables you to set up a closed other TV/PC network of friends and family for sharing videos and messages.

Finally, the Kid zone provides a selection of child-friendly videos and a virtual sticker book for rewarding good behaviour.

To be honest we haven't found ourselves using these new zones in their current form as extensively as we'd expected, but there's certainly potential for them becoming much bigger parts of our life as they likely get added to and refined in the months ahead.

As with Samsung's ES8000 models, the Samsung UE46ES7000 boasts all of the Korean brand's new control innovations. The most controversial of these enables you to control the TV by moving your hands around.

Samsung UE46ES7000 review

This has potential to be a less cumbersome way of getting the cursor around web pages, and even means you can control the TV without needing a physical remote control at all. However, the system requires great care in its set up, requires too much precision when you're trying to select something and makes you feel tired quite quickly.

Much more useful is the touchpad remote control you get alongside the standard remote. The touchpad responds cleanly and feels engagingly tactile, and its layout and feel are both strong. You can also talk into it rather than shouting across the room if you want to make use of the TV's third control innovation: voice recognition.

You can use your voice with the Samsung UE46ES7000 in two main ways. First, after initiating the system by saying a trigger phrase ('Hi TV' by default), you can issue a surprisingly wide variety of verbal commands to the TV rather than reaching for the remote.

Second - and in our opinion much more usefully - you can speak phrases into internet search fields rather than having to type them in using the cumbersome on-screen keyboard. This works really well, with the TV's phrase and word recognition system proving surprisingly accurate.

Samsung UE46ES7000 review

Turning to picture quality technology, the UE46ES7000 employs Samsung's Micro Dimming Pro system, driven by dual-core processing.

This doesn't use a local dimming system like many premium Edge LED TVs do, but rather it analyses the content of a large number of sections of the image in order to calculate as accurately as possible the best illumination levels.

The Samsung UE46ES7000 doesn't boast endorsements by either THX or the ISF, unlike a growing number of its rivals.

But it nonetheless has a pretty full suite of picture adjustments, including colour and gamma management, extensive noise reduction controls, and so many different settings for its motion controls that it's a bit bewildering.

Samsung UE46ES7000 review

The only major bones of contention we'd have with the Samsung UE46ES7000's picture adjustments are that there are only 20 stages of backlight adjustment when we'd really like more, and that for reasons discussed in the Picture Quality section of this review, none of the TV's provided picture presets are really suitable for serious movie viewing.

The Samsung UE46ES7000's connections are good. Three USB ports provide plenty of flexibility for people wanting to play multimedia files from USB flash drives or record from the TV's HD tuner to USB HDDs.

Plus, there's built-in Wi-Fi and LAN connectivity for accessing the Smart TV services or streaming content from a DLNA PC.

The only disappointment is that you only get three HDMIs when we'd expect a TV at the Samsung UE46ES7000's level to have four.

John Archer
AV Technology Contributor

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.