Recently we gave our first ever five-star 4K TV verdict to the Samsung UE65HU7500. That’s the big brother to this model.
So it wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say we’re expecting great things. What we’re really after is great picture performance across 4K, Full HD and standard definition.
Is that too much to ask? Not according to this Samsung, which proves to be a rounded, versatile television – and not just in its restrained, elegant, near-rimless appearance.
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We’ll start with 4K. This Samsung is fully equipped with HDMI 2.0 ports and the HEVC decoder needed to stream Netflix in 4K. We waste no time in queuing up a few episodes of House of Cards, and it looks lovely.
The main draw of 4K – the ultra-high resolution – is present and accounted for. Everything is afforded texture aplenty. Edges are sharp and well defined.
The picture is wonderfully crisp and very clear, even during slow panning shots across Washington DC.
Colour reproduction is excellent – in the past we’ve bashed Samsung for its overblown approach to colours, but here the hues are beautifully judged.
It’s still a vibrant picture, but the approach is subtle and altogether more mature. Samsung’s subdued approach means it’s more realistic.
Black levels are good, and contrast is strong, with visible dark detail. There’s plenty of texture in shadows.
Full HD performance
Time for a spot of Full HD, and we’re pleased to see the Samsung is just as capable here. The upscaled picture looks as good as it does on some of the best Full HD TVs.
The picture is crisp and detailed, with barely a hint of picture noise (unless we lean forward and squint). Brighter shades are punchy while maintaining subtlety, while skin tones are convincing. For 3D, you get two pairs of active-shutter glasses.
The picture has plenty of detail and a real sense of depth. There’s a touch of instability to more chaotic scenes (like the flying fish segment in Life of Pi), but that’s not unusual.
SD and sound performance
We move down to standard definition and, although there’s no avoiding the jump in noise and blurriness, the Samsung still does an excellent job.
The sound is the weak point here, but only in the usual flatscreen-TV way: it could do with more weight and greater dynamics, despite a decent sense of scale and good tonal balance.
More after the break
We were fans of last year’s smart interface, and Samsung has given it a facelift this year. You get five pages of content: games, apps, live TV, on-demand content and ‘multimedia’, which is where you go after you plug in a USB stick.
The most welcome development is the implementation of the ‘Smart Hub’ button, which opens the hub without booting you out of whatever you were doing before.
The system is controlled by two remotes. The smart remote acts as a pointer, corresponding to a glowing dot on the screen. It’s very responsive, and you can adjust the sensitivity of the cursor.
There’s also a traditional remote. The buttons are a little spongy for our liking, but it works well.
In addition you can download the Samsung Smart View 2 app, free and available on iOS and some Android devices. It lets you watch TV on your tablet/smartphone, which means no more fighting for control.
The Samsung’s design and build is good, with an almost rimless screen atop a sensibly-sized pedestal, while inputs are generous: three USB, four HDMI and one each of component, composite and Scart connections.
There are Freesat and Freeview HD tuners, too.