Samsung UE46H7000 review

Samsung's flagship Full HD flatscreen with enhanced Smart TV features

Samsung UE46H7000

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Back of the Samsung UE46H7000

The UE46H7000 provides a decent return in terms of picture quality once you've got down and dirty with a few of its picture settings. In terms of overall clarity, Blu-ray movies and live sports such as cricket and football stand out as offering the most pleasing pictures. Colour fidelity is accurate, even including tricky palettes such as the orangey-red outfit of the England T20 cricket team, while skin tones are realistic.

Noise, shadow detail and sharpness

The set's default settings can result in pictures that are prone to noise, a bit of softness and lack of shadow detail. The craggy lines of Ian Hislop's face on Have I Got News For You, for example, appear soft and ill-defined. Mad Men on Sky Atlantic is noisier than on last year's flagship UE46F8000.

These problems are best resolved by using the Movie Mode rather than Standard to increase the sharpness, then manually reducing the backlight and black tone setting and making sure Dynamic Contrast is set to off. It's quite hard to relieve the screen of its crushed black habit, and particularly dark scenes lose their shadow detail.

Samsung UE46H7000

Backlight clouding

Samsung still hasn't solved the problem of light leakage from the edges of the screen, although it is confined to the bottom edge of the UE46H7000. It's also not terribly bad, so is barely noticeable except when watching very dark scenes. You can also engage the Cinema Black mode during letterbox viewing to provide a solid black frame, by reducing the backlight at the edges.

World in motion

The screen has Samsung's Motion Plus image processor in its armoury, allowing you to adjust blur, judder and LED clear motion. You can manually find a combination of settings that give the most satisfying result, and haloing is not too noticeable around fast moving subjects. Still, engaging Motion Plus unavoidably makes filmic material look like it comes from studio cameras and we prefer to watch Blu-ray movies without any processing.

Fortunately, the set's 800Hz refresh rate copes well and 24fps Blu-rays are smooth and robust. Less successful is the screen's handling of 50Hz broadcast pics, with occasional random jerkiness when watching shows such as Escape to the Country and The Trip.

Football mode UE46H7000

These seem to happen a little too frequently for my liking. Also, not quite up there is the set's motion resolution, with fast pans during live stadium events resulting in a loss of detail. Sadly, the set's Football Mode also suffers from mushy motion resolution and you can't adjust any of the settings so that the overly intense sharpness and colour settings are too unforgiving in our eyes.

3D Pictures

The UE46H7000 features active 3D, with two pairs of ultra-light specs provided. Side-by-side 3D, as found on Sky's 3D channel, is still lamentably lacking in resolution, but cross-talk is almost non-existent. Full frame Blu-rays are much more satisfying and overall the contrast and detail is satisfying once you've made use of the picture adjustment tools to reign in the overzealous backlight. All in all, perfectly okay for some occasional 3D fun.