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Samsung has introduced a trio of new TV control systems for 2012.
First there's the second remote, complete with a touchpad for simpler navigation of web pages and Smart Hub menus. For the most part this remote works admirably, with just the right level of swiping sensitivity in the pad, an ergonomic weight and shape, and even a built-in mic that greatly enhances the usefulness of the TV's voice recognition system.
The only thing wrong with it, actually, is the way you have to press the pad to select an option or web link. Quite often when you try to do this you also slightly slide your finger across the pad, thus moving the on-screen cursor before you've selected the option you wanted.
The voice control system, meanwhile, is clever on two counts. First, it only activates after you bark out a special activation phrase - "Hi TV" is the default, but you can change this. This means it's extremely rare for the system to be activated accidentally by, say, sound from a programme or film you're watching.
The other strength of the voice system is that so long as you speak clearly, the set can recognise almost any words or phrases you can think of - extremely handy when it comes to inputting data into search fields on web pages.
Furthermore, as noted before, you can quietly talk your commands into the touchpad remote rather than always having to shout them. And we quickly discovered that the less loudly you have to speak, the less silly you feel!
The weakest link in the new control chain is the gesture control system. While the TV tracks movements of your hand surprisingly easily provided you take the time to set it up right, it struggles to work at all in low light, and it's really tricky to get the cursor on the screen to make small enough movements when you get close to a link you want to select.
The best thing about the gesture system is that in conjunction with the voice controls, it enables you to use the TV without needing to use a physical remote control at all. This, we'd say, is genuinely revolutionary.
The Smart Hub menus on the Samsung UE46ES8000 do an excellent job of making it easy to navigate your way through the huge amounts of content the TV has to offer, and the TV's set up menus are attractively designed too.
There are some organisational issues with the set up menus, though. For instance, the Game preset is tucked away in a set up menu rather than sitting with the other picture presets. There are also two separate Advanced picture menus when one would have been more sensible.
Samsung has arguably tried to do almost too much with its control innovations for one generational leap, and the gesture control system feels like it's been introduced before it was quite ready.
But still, after a little experimentation the good about Samsung's latest operating system far exceeds the bad.
Accompanying the Samsung UE46ES8000's mostly excellent post-calibration pictures is a passable audio performance. As usual with such skinny TVs, there's neither enough bass nor enough dynamic range to really let it sing with action scenes.
But the mid-range is decently open, so that the speakers seldom sound harsh or muddy, and treble detailing is strong.
By today's standards, £1,900/$3,000 is a substantial amount to have to find for a 46-inch TV. But the Samsung UE46ES8000 is, after all, a flagship TV. In fact, it's a Samsung flagship TV, which means it comes sporting more bells, whistles, innovations and design prowess than you get from probably any other brand right now.
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.