Samsung UE46ES8000 review

Samsung's new flagship 46-inch TV pretty much rocks

Samsung UE46ES8000
Samsung's flagship smart TV comes with two remotes and an ultra-slim bezel

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Samsung is on typically aggressive form with the Samsung UE46ES8000, combining cutting-edge features with a gorgeous space-saving design and some of the best picture quality the LCD TV world has to offer.

Particularly impressive are the set's attempts at revolutionising the way you interface with your TV, the improvements Samsung has wrought to its picture quality (especially in 3D mode) thanks to its dual-core processing, and the additions to Samsung's Smart Hub online platform.

There are issues too. The provided picture presets are all poor, there's some backlight consistency trouble when watching 3D material, and you need to be careful with the settings you use for elements of the TV's processing.

Overall, though, the Samsung UE46ES8000 is another highly desirable slice of Samsung class.

We liked

The Samsung UE46ES8000 is about as pretty as a TV can get, thanks to its ultra-thin bezel and silvery finish. Some might not like the little bumps in the centre of its top and bottom edges, containing an integrated camera and Samsung's logo respectively, but we found them kind of cute.

The Samsung UE46ES8000's picture quality is mostly excellent too after a little work, and the amount of content the TV supports via its USB ports, DLNA PC compatibility and Smart TV platform is immense.

We disliked

There are occasional backlight inconsistencies when watching dark 3D scenes, and there's so much going on with Samsung's new Smart Control system that it takes a while to get used to it all.

There's scope for improvement with the Samsung UE46ES8000's audio performance too, and Samsung really ought to try to put together at least one picture preset that actually shows its own panels off to their best picture quality advantage.

Final verdict

When Samsung makes a flagship TV like the Samsung UE46ES8000, it usually means business. So it is that this 46-inch star boasts a gorgeous ultra-slim design, and an unparalleled feature list.

Highlights include new voice, touchpad remote and gesture control systems, an improved Smart Hub interface and a comprehensive smart TV online service that features most of the main video streaming services, as well as some interesting new family network and fitness systems.

As for the Samsung UE46ES8000's picture quality, after you've calmed things down from Samsung's ill-conceived presets, both 2D and 3D images look mostly excellent.

Also consider

LG has come out swinging hard at its Korean rival in 2012, as is proven in no uncertain terms by the exceptionally good looking, feature-laden and mostly high-performance LG 47LM670T.

This matches the Samsung UE46ES8000 in many ways, except that it doesn't use such a potent processing engine and uses LG's passive 3D technology rather than Samsung's passive system.

Also worth considering is the Panasonic L47DT50. This doesn't scale the same feature heights as the Samsung, especially when it comes to online material, and its picture quality is a touch more subdued. But it's an excellent 3D performer, and quite a looker to boot.

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.