The Samsung RU7100 is a budget 4K TV that balances its feature set and price perfectly for those looking for something not-too-pricey and not-too-cheap.
From its decent picture quality and sound, to the fantastic smart TV experience we’ve come to expect from Samsung sets, there’s plenty to love here, all without a hefty price tag.
The overall look of the UN50RU7100 is fairly basic but inoffensive, with a black plastic construction that goes from the bezels around the screen and the double-footed stand to the slightly textured back panel, showing that aesthetics haven’t been entirely overlooked.
At 2.3 inches, it’s pretty slim for a budget LCD TV, too, so you could definitely consider wall mounting if you wanted to – it will fit a 200 x 200mm VESA wall mount. However, just be aware that the inputs are inset just a touch too much to be easily accessed once it’s on the wall.
We are testing the 50-inch version of the RU7100 in this review, but it’s available in six screen sizes in total, from 43 inches to 75 inches.
The RU7100 has three HDMI ports, including one with ARC support, two USB ports, an RF connector for your TV antenna, a shared component and composite video input, an optical audio output for older surround sound systems and an ethernet port for wired internet access.
Of course, there’s wi-fi for wireless connectivity, and also Bluetooth for connecting headphones for private listening – a nice touch at this price.
Samsung's smart platform remains one of the best in the industry, from the refined home screen and menus to Samsung's excellent app selection, which includes Apple TV and Disney+.
There’s no built-in voice assistant here, though you are able to pair the RU7100 with your Amazon Echo or Google Home speakers should you want to.
The included remote is one of Samsung’s more basic models, and is a bit of a mess by modern standards. Unlike the sleek remotes that come with Samsung’s more premium TVs, the RU7100's feels very old-school, with big rubbery buttons for channel inputs, volume and channel adjustments.
There are some dedicated buttons for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video and the on-screen content guide, but they crowd the already numerous buttons used in the design, resulting in a more cluttered look and feel during use.
This shows itself in the number of times we manage to hit one of these app buttons by mistake when we actually meant to use the directional pad just below it.
Considering it's one of Samsung's most affordable 4K TVs, the RU7100 manages to squeeze in a pretty good feature set and performance, with a native 4K resolution of 3840x2160 resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate and decent picture quality.
Color reproduction is good, and during Spider-Man: Homecoming, the RU7100 handles the brightly painted walls and lockers of Peter Parker school with reasonably realistic vibrancy.
Despite its edge-lit backlighting and lack of local dimming, the RU7100 still offers surprisingly good brightness, but the HDR performance is limited. Although highlights manage to have a fair amount of impact, shadow detail is so-so, dark scenes can look a little gray, and also struggle when it comes to more subtle detail.
Samsung's set doesn't fare too well with motion either, with regular instances of jumping and stuttering around movement. Even turning on Auto Motion Plus does little to fix the jumpiness of fast-moving objects.
One of our favorite Samsung features is present and correct here, in automatic console detection. That means that it senses when a game console is connected and automatically activates the dedicated game mode, which reduces input lag to a very low 12.9ms.
Gaming is supported in 4K at 60Hz, as well as streaming in 10-bit color at 24, 50 and 60Hz. HDR10 is on board too, but the HDR10+ format that features on the company's more premium sets is missing, as is Dolby Vision, which no Samsung TV supports.
The RU7100 packs in a pair of 10-watt speakers to deliver a total of 20 watts of power. That translates into good volume, and the set even offers some pretty beefy bass for a TV that has no subwoofer.
Overall sound is rich and dialogue is clear, with distortion kept to a minimum, even at louder volumes.
Even so, we’d still say it’s worth considering a soundbar for better sound quality and more impactful bass.
The Samsung UN50RU7100 is a strong competitor for the best TV around $500, offering a great price, strong feature set and decent overall performance for both picture and sound.
Its HDR performance won’t blow you away, and there’s no voice control here, but the rest of its smart setup is very good indeed, along with fantastic response times for gamers, not to mention that automatic game mode.
In short, there’s a whole lot of bang for your buck here, but we’d argue that the TCL 4 Series 55S425 might just pip it for value. Not only does it offer a great smart TV experience and good picture and sound, it also does so for an even lower price. And when you're on a budget, every little bit counts.