There's slim, and then there's Samsung (opens in new tab) slim. Having just lauded the Philips 42PES001 for, among other things, its svelte 3.6cm depth, here we're confronted by a brand-new Samsung screen that's a vanishingly skinny 2.9cm deep.
And, unlike the Philips, the Samsung has no separate media box – that 2.9cm depth has been accomplished while still cramming two TV tuners, as well as all connectivity, into the chassis of the screen. Some achievement.
Of course, Samsung being Samsung it's not just the depth of the screen that seeks to impress.
A technical statement of intent
The UE40B7020 is a technical statement of intent, from the subtle 'Platinum Black' finish of the screen and its stand, through the expansive specification that includes 4 HDMI inputs, a pair of USB inputs, wireless internet connection (providing you've paid for Samsung's wireless dongle) with bespoke Yahoo widgets and sources such as YouTube and Flickr, through to white LED backlighting arrayed around the edges of the screen.
Only the pointlessly large, and unintuitive, remote lets the side down. Still, if the battle could ever be won on paper, Samsung would have already emerged victorious.
It's actually quite a relief, then, to report that the '7020 has the performance to make good on its technical promise.
LED backlighting impresses
TV pictures enjoy great stability, generally low noise and notable depth of field. Motion is mostly smooth, colours are of the rich-but-not-too-vivid variety and black levels are impressive. The LED backlighting makes for a pitch-black screen when idling, with strong and convincing contrasts when not.
Up the quality to DVD and the good news keeps coming. Picture noise is suppressed mercilessly, colours – skin-tones especially – are agreeable and levels of black detail are a match for the best screens in this sector. Motion, too, is smooth and credible.
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Naturally, Blu-ray images are nicest of all. The Samsung impresses across the board, combining explicit detail, believable colours, smooth edge definition and rock-solid movement into an extremely enjoyable whole.
It's not without flaws: sound is no great shakes, being as it is fairly captive and predictably lightweight, and poorer-quality TV broadcasts are done no favours at all by the '7020. But overall this is a hugely impressive TV, doubly so considering it hardly exists in the third dimension at all.
And just for the record, this is not the same as the UE40B7000 model, which is exclusive to Currys Digital. We'll be testing that separately in our June issue.