The Samsung UE43RU7020 is the smallest size of the lowest range of Samsung’s 2019 TVs. It is the very bottom. If you are strapped for cash but still want to buy one of the latest flush of Samsung screens, then this is the one. So, let’s hope it’s good.
A notch or two further up on the Samsung spectrum is the UE43RU7470, our 2019 Award-winning TV in the 40-43in size category, but there are a few treats that have been stripped off so that the RU7020 can hit a lower price.
This TV loses the One Remote and Bixby, but potentially more significant to performance, it also loses Samsung’s Dynamic Crystal Control colour technology, which is replaced by the technically less advanced PurColor.
Instinctively, that feels like a lot to lose for the sake of, at the time of writing, a £60 discount, but perhaps these are clever cuts that won’t be missed and will leave you with more cash in your pocket.
So, what does the Samsung UE43RU7020 offer? With its 1.5cm bezel and 5.8cm profile, the outer design of the TV is similar to that of its more expensive sibling. What’s more, its two-footed stand approach is a lot more forgiving than the overly large, one-piece boomerang beneath the RU7470.
Around the back, it’s standard fare for Samsung’s 7-series TVs. There are three HDMIs (including ARC), two USBs and an optical-out, plus aerial and ethernet connections.
There’s only one remote control with this set, the standard, full-buttoned black plastic Samsung remote, and we’re disappointed to see that some of the more important buttons, such as Settings and Info, have been relegated to the mini controls at the bottom of the device, with Netflix, Prime Video and Rakuten front and centre instead.
Screen type 43in LED panel
HDR formats HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Edge LED backlighting Yes
Inputs 3x HDMI 2.0, 2x USB 2.0
Audio output 2x 10W speakers
These are all services we’re happy to use and recommend (well, less so in the case of Rakuten) and it is handy to be able to access them quickly, but positioned where they are it's easy to press them by mistake. On more than one occasion, our 4K Blu-ray cuts straight to a loading screen for a streaming service when we are actually attempting to adjust the volume.
As for the apps themselves, anyone buying this TV can feel confident they have almost everything on offer. Samsung’s Tizen OS is the best in the business, and you’ll find Now TV, BT Sports, BT TV, Apple TV, all the catch-up services, Deezer, Tidal and Spotify as well as the video services mentioned above. On top of that, Tizen also happens to be one of the most usable and intuitive TV UIs around. Young or old, technophile or phobe, you’re in good hands.
There’s no Bixby voice control but, for most, this will be no disaster. While the voice control system is a perfectly good weapon in Samsung’s TV arsenal, it’s by no means essential. More important is the HDR support, which comes in HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG formats. There’s no Dolby Vision, of course, which is a shame but not a surprise.
We begin with Passengers in HDR on 4K Blu-ray. Watching the scene in which a recently-awakened Jennifer Lawrence muses on her new life in deep space, we're able to appreciate the excellent depth of black that this budget set achieves. Of course, we’re not talking OLED standards, but this is no hazy production.
Through the window of the starship Avalon, we get a sense of the infinite darkness of space and, despite the edge-lit panel technology, there’s enough control of the lighting for the stars to appear as pin pricks in the black.
In fact, one of the most impressive things about this set is how consistent the backlight is compared to that of most edge-lit models. There’s some slight vignetting in some of the external scenes in space where the dark detail of the ship drops off into nothingness, but it’s still a performance to be proud of.
The 4K detail, in the main, is where it should be. The close-ups of Lawrence and fellow passenger Chris Pratt are rendered accurately with plenty of good skin texture. Where it’s more obviously less impressive than the RU7470 is in the close contrast control.
The facial features of our protagonists don’t have quite the same nuanced lighting, and they appear a little flatter and less 3D on the RU7020 as a result. It’s not a bad performance for a TV at this price, but it indicates what you get at the next step up.
Dropping down to SDR with Avengers: Age Of Ultron in Full HD, we can see how well this TV manages the colour palette. The views are initially impressive as the heroes fly home through sapphire skies after successfully retrieving Loki’s sceptre. There’s some able contrast on show in the renders of the billowy clouds but, as good as the blues are on this set, it doesn’t handle the greens and reds with the same aplomb.
The RU7020 also struggles to reach the same richness that the step-up Samsungs can manage. It’s noticeable on the highlights of Captain America’s uniform, on Hulk’s skin and Iron Man's suits, and while it’s tempting to boost the colour settings to squeeze that last missing drop of colour, flesh tones and foliage are quick to suffer and the colours become over-cooked.
There’s also a bit of a pinky hue to the whites that isn’t ideal. If we’re looking for something on the spec sheet to account for that difference, then the missing Dynamic Crystal Control technology would seem like an obvious candidate.
The upscaling is still impressive, though. Even in dark scenes and scenes with lots of motion, there’s no point at which we really feel like we’re watching something inferior. The detail levels are a little lower but the upscaling never slips into blurs.
Even down at SD resolution, it’s not too bad. The colour loses a little more saturation and there’s some shimmer on surfaces and patterns that makes Digital Clean View worth switching on. The trade-off is a slight decrease in detail, but it's one worth making. Ultimately, it’s the heavy 90s fashions that are more of a shock than the quality of the picture when we switch to The Truman Show on DVD.
Lastly, it’s important to note that the Samsung 7 series TVs do not have the excellent viewing angles of the company's flagship QLEDs. Colour and contrast take a notable hit when you sit off-axis with the RU7020, but the effect levels out quickly and doesn’t get much worse as you move further round. Those on the more sidelined seats of the living room will still be able to enjoy the show, albeit not to the same standard as the lucky person sitting in the sweet spot.
The 10W powered two-speaker set-up is Samsung’s 7 series standard. Both speakers are in the middle of the panel’s rear. We’re not expecting much in the way of a soundstage and we don’t get much of one either.
Of Samsung’s three sound modes, it’s the room-scanning Optimised that works best as we enjoy the opening fight scene in Avengers: Age Of Ultron. There’s no real swell to the soundtrack, nor any spine-tingling emotion as the heroes fly through the air in slow motion on their way to smiting bad guys.
There’s little weight as they land their punches, hammers and shields in what should be a glorious moment. We would recommend that you use an external system, such as a soundbar or a home cinema package, if you can.
None of this is a surprise, given the price of the TV, but you should be aware of the sort of sound you can expect.
The TV adds bigger hits in Amplify mode but it loses too much in the process. It feels too thin with little midrange to enjoy and it’s too tinny on the treble. Standard is probably the most tonally balanced mode but there’s a lack of clarity to the audio.
Conversations can be unclear and details feel more formless. The battle scene above loses a sense of immediacy and dynamism, so we settle for sacrificing the big hits with Optimised.
This is still a fine ‘small’ TV but without quite the same performance-per-pound ratio as other 2019 Samsung 7 series models. If the difference remains £60 between this and the RU7470, then spend the extra if you can. But, should Black Friday kick up an incredible deal on this lower model, then consider it seriously.
- Picture 4
- Sound 4
- Features 5
Best budget 4K televisions 2019
Read our Samsung UE43RU7470 review