Samsung UE46F7000 review

Not the official flagship TV, but arguably better value

Samsung UE46F7000 review
The 46-inch Samsung UE46F7000 has a great new Smart Hub

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While the new layout of Samsung's Smart Hub user interface is impressive, it does take a little getting to know. The feeling is mutual, since S-Recommendation - which uses metadata from either a built-in tuner or a hooked up set-top box - takes a good few days to start nominating useful programme ideas.

Voice and gesture control

Its gelling with the Samsung UE46F7000's voice interaction features is less impressive. Our shout of 'What's on?' culminated in the Samsung UE46F7000 giving us a list of six items - complete with icons - along the bottom of the screen, ranging from horse racing on Channel 4 to The Big Bang Theory and, oddly, an empty slot on a 'shut' BBC HD channel (actually now BBC Two HD).

Samsung UE46F7000 review

The voice system doesn't use programme names, just numbers, so we then had to say '3' to switch to The Big Bang Theory. It's merely a different, rather than quicker way of accessing programmes, and in our test was really slow. Even changing channel took at least 10 seconds. Having to press the microphone button each time you speak is a pain, too.

If voice control is awkwardness all-round, gesture control is another disappointment. Despite the use of a pop-up camera that's capable of capturing 5MP images, we experienced some problems in getting the Samsung UE46F7000 to recognise our swipes.

Samsung UE46F7000 review

The most useful gestures are via the touchpad remote, where a touch of the side of the touchpad puts a virtual sketchpad in the corner of the TV screen, with a drawn squiggle of, say, '3' immediately switching to ITV. It takes a few minutes to get to know, but that touchpad works well and feels thoroughly high-end in the hand.

What's most impressive about the Samsung UE46F7000's user interface is the basic stuff coupled with the extra processing power on duty here. That quad-core processor really makes a difference to everyday functions, with the Samsung UE46F7000 being speedy and thoroughly joyful to use.

Smart Hub

Samsung UE46F7000 review

Though the apps in Smart Hub haven't changed much, the web browsing has, but to no avail. Using the touchpad to navigate a cursor on the page is, technically, much easier, though it's still much, much slower than surfing the web on a smartphone.

Entering text via an on-screen keyboard just doesn't work, even with the touchpad cursor, though in our test the biggest problem was the browser software, which crashed and had to be painfully restarted. It's like using an underpowered Windows netbook from five years ago. Yuck.

Samsung UE46F7000 review

If the 'second screen' antics created by the provision of multiple tuner feeds is genuinely exciting, it's not as universal as it should be. If you've got a Samsung Galaxy S4 or other Samsung Galaxy smartphone there's no problem, with the Smart View app enabling you to watch one channel while another plays on the TV. The app also works as a remote control for the TV.

But the same app on iOS works only in clone fashion, enabling the viewing of one channel simultaneously on the TV and a smartphone or tablet. We're not sure that the point of that is.

Samsung UE46F7000 review

The transmitting of TV channels to both apps is a little behind the live feed on the TV, though our major worry revolves around how little these extra tuner skills are used - the EPG for Freeview HD is a joy to use, but limited. For instance, the ability to see what's playing on another channel without actually switching to it - as seen on Panasonic's TVs for 2013 - is sadly missing.

It's a similar story with AllShare, an app native to Samsung Galaxy devices that enables file sharing between all Samsung devices.

Samsung UE46F7000 review

That said, file support from USB sticks and from computers on the same home network - via Wi-Fi, no less - is smooth and comprehensive.

In our test we got AVI, MP4, MKV and AVC HD video, JPEG and PNG photos, and MP3, M4A, WMA, FLAC, OGG, APE and WAV music files to play.


Samsung UE46F7000 review

At last we find a chink in the Samsung UE46F7000's armour beyond LED light leakage.

Armed with two 20W speakers that are only half as powerful as the ones that delighted and surprised us on the Samsung UE46F8000 - which also had its own built-in woofers - the Samsung UE46F7000 fails to give much presence or power to music or films. As well as a lack of bass, there's little width and detail tends to get lost.


Samsung UE46F7000 review

Whether the £1,599.99 (around AU$2,405 / US$2,470) Samsung UE46F7000 can be judged good value against a host of far, far cheaper options boils down to how important usability is to you.

Forget the fancy voice and gesture controls - they're simply not worth paying for and, in our opinion, lessen the attractiveness of the Samsung UE46F7000 as a whole.

3D functions, too, are virtually default on any TV above £600 (around AU$904/US$929). However, you'll not find a quad-core processor on many TVs at all, and it is worth paying for, since basic, everyday TV functions are performed very quickly, and that extra power helps produce a versatile, clean and smooth picture, too.

Jamie Carter

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 He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),