This month I started my Samsung 46″ F7000 Series 7 review. It has been a while since we last had a TV here to review in the office and a lot has changed since then. Prices have plummeted while screen sizes have increased and the thickness of display panels has dramatically reduced.
Much of this is thanks to LED back lighting technology and no one seems to be using this technology quite as much as Samsung and their range of LED HD TV’s is huge.
The Samsung F8000 is the top end of the Samsung range and has a price tag to match. However, many of the top-end features from the F8000 range can now be found on the 2013 F7000 models. Features such as build-in camera, voice and motion control, micro dimming and a touchpad controller are all added to the F7000 range yet it’s still able to come in at several hundred pounds cheaper than the F8000’s
We are looking at the 46″ version but the range offers sizes from 40 to 60 inches and, at the moment, the 46″ can be found on Amazon for just under £1100.
You do get a lot of hardware for your money there too. This smart TV comes with built in WiFi, integrated webcam, motion and voice control features, 2 bundled 3D glasses and two remote control units.
Samsung 46″ F7000 Series 7 review specification:
- Size Inch (cm): 46 (116cm)
- 1920 x 1080 Resolution
- Ultra Clear Panel available
- Dolby Digital Plus / Dolby Pulse
- DTS Premium Audio 5.1
- 3D Sound available
- Sound Customiser Available
- Down Firing + Full Range Speaker Type
- 20W (10 x 2) Sound Output (RMS)
Smart TV 2.0
- Smart Hub available
- On TV: 17 EU Countries
- Movies & TV Shows available
- Apps available
- Social available
- Photos, Videos & Music available
- Fitness available
- Kids available
- Samsung SMART View available
- S Recommendation: 17 EU Countries
- Web Browser available
- Freeview HD / Freesat HD Tuners
- Analog Tuner available
- CI+ (1.3) available
- One Design
- Super Narrow Bezel Type
- Silver Front Colour
- Light Effect (Deco) available
- Metal Square Stand Type
- Push & Pull Camera available
- Set without Stand: 11.4Kg
- Set with Stand: 15.7Kg
- Package: 19.5Kg
- 3D Converter available
- ConnectShare™ (USB 2.0) Movie
- Samsung 3D available
- 7 Series
- 800 Clear Motion Rate
- Micro Dimming
- Picture Engine: 3D HyperReal Engine
- Dynamic Contrast Ratio: Mega Contrast
- Wide Colour Enhancer (Plus) available
- Film Mode available
- Natural Mode Support
- Energy Efficiency Class: A
- Eco Sensor available
Smart Interaction 2.0
- Camera Built-in available
- Face recognition available
- Motion control available
- Voice Control (Embedded) available
- Voice Control (Server) available
- Camera App available
- Samsung TV Apps supported
- Component In (Y / Pb / Pr) x 1 ea
- Composite In (AV) x 1 (Common Use for Component Y) ea
- Digital Audio Out (Optical) x 1 ea
- Ethernet (LAN) x 1 ea
- HDMI x 4 ea
- RF In (Terrestrial / Cable Input) x 1 ea
- RF In (Satellite Input) x 2 ea
- USB x 3 ea
- Headphone x 1 ea
- Scart x 1 ea
- CI Slot x 1 ea
- IR Out x 1 ea
- AC220 – 240V 50 / 60Hz Power Supply
- Power Consumption (Stand-by): 0.1 (Passive) / 0.3 (Active)W
- 71W Power Consumption (IEC 62087 Edition 2)
- 68% Peak Luminance Ratio
- 104 Yearly Power Consumption (EU standard,kWh)
- Mercury: 0.0mg
- Lead: Presence
- 2SSG-5100GB 3D Active Glasses included
- IR Extender Cable (Included)
- TM1390A / TM1240 Remote Controller
- Slim Gender Cable included
- Power Cable included
- User Manual included
- E-Manual available
- Batteries (for Remote Control) included
- Ultra Slim Wall Mount Supported
- Mini Wall Mount Supported
- Vesa Wall Mount Supported
Samsung 46″ F7000 Series 7 review
So starting with the unpacking of the F7000, it’s immediately apparent that there’s quite a lot crammed in to that large-but-slender box. The table-top stand, and various other accessories come out of the box first, followed by the TV itself.
The stand itself comes in two parts, which have to be assembled first and then the stand has to be attached to the screen. Luckily the screen is quite light and easier to handle than you might think considering its size and mounting the whole thing up takes just a few minutes.
After initial power up there’s an on-screen guide to take you through the setup process. This covers things such as connecting to WiFi and also setting a postcode and PIN for access controls.
Initial setup also acts as a tutorial, showing you how to use the smart remote unit with its touchpad and explaining how the voice and motion controls work. After each thing is demonstrated the user is encouraged to try it for themselves. You probably need to set aside around half an hour to go through all of this.
Turning attention to the back of the F7000 for a moment, you’ll find that this TV has plenty of provision for connecting devices to it. There are 4 HDMI sockets, 3 USB sockets, an optical audio out, TV antenna input, component and composite input, ethernet socket, IR extender socket and a socket for plugging in a scart adapter which is also supplied.
There’s also a space to install an Evolution Kit in future. The Evolution Kitm sold separately, will enhance your smart features to the levels of the corresponding year of launch of your Evolution Kit. Only the software and processing hardware can be upgrade.
As I’ve mentioned already, the Samsung F7000 comes with two remote control units. One is a regular infrared remote while the other has a touchpad similar to a laptop computer. The touchpad unit connects to the TV via Bluetooth and must be enrolled as part of the initial setup. The advantage of this remote is that it does not need line-of-sight like the infrared unit does but in reality, when the family were using the TV, found the regular unit to be far easier to use with the touchpad remote being more awkward for every day use.
The touchpad remote also has a built in mic for use with the voice control.
One thing that sets this F7000 apart from my older Panasonic TV is the Black levels. Certainly helped out by the micro-dimming, the shadowy and dark dramatic areas of the picture have plenty of detail that would certainly be lost on a lesser unit.
Fast motion is also excellent on the F7000 and the 800MHz refresh rate works well. This refresh rate is perhaps more evident when watching 3D features. As Samsung use the active 3D technology with powered active polarising glasses there is potential for irritating flicker. You may notice this if you look at other light sources while using the 3D glasses but when watching 3D footage I didn’t notice this at all.
I’ve experienced a lot of 3D movies over the years. Some can have a nauseating effect or provoke headaches but there’s none of that with the F7000 and I have to say that watching some 3D feature films with the family we were all able to sit through a couple of hours without a break.
The crosstalk ghosting that was commonplace in the past is virtually non existent here, the Samsung UE46F7000’s 3D performance is largely outstanding. All 3D glasses, no mater the technology used, have a dimming effect on the image. Fortunately the F7000 has plenty of backlight power to spare and turns this up a little when 3D is selected.
Probably the best 3D I have ever experienced.
The voice control feature of the F7000 has been updated quite a lot since the 2012 models. This year’s model attempts to do more with the spoken control phrases.
There are two ways to trigger the voice control. You can either start out by saying “Hi TV” followed by the control phrase such as “Volume Up”. The second alternative is to press the button on the remote control and speak in to that. Is it just me though, doesn’t the second option seem redundant? Pressing the MIC button on the handset in order to speak to the TV, surely it’s easier just to press the volume up button?
In practice I haven’t found the voice control to be particularly useful. It seems to struggle to understand me or to know what I want it to actually do. This leads to frustration, raised voices and invariably reaching for the normal remote control.
I think more work needs to be done here if voice control is to become a mainstream method of control.
The F7000 has a pop-up camera on top that does a fairly decent job of motion tracking. To get the TV’s attention you have to wave at it and then you can use a swiping motion to move through menus or open and close your hand to grab and select items.
Whilst the technology is fun to play with for a while we found it to be totally impractical for every day control and it’s far from perfect either. I cant see the point of waving at the TV like an idiot when the remote control can be used by just moving a single finger.
Where the built in camera is useful is when using it in conjunction with Skype. Having friends and family in other countries, being able to sit as s family on the sofa and to interact with people on Skype is great. The camera is 5MP and does a good job in low light too.
It’s in the audio department that the Samsung UE46F7000 lets itself down most. Despite the 10W of audio power the F7000 lacks any kind of punch at the bottom end. Sadly the bass drivers that are included with the F8000 models has been excluded from the F7000 and this is extremely noticeable. If you push the volume levels too high to compensate you’re left with an awful lot of distortion and a tinny high-end.
For every day watching of news and your average soap opera the audio is OK but if you want to sit and watch an action movie you’ll definitely want to invest in some external speaker system.
Like other Smart TV models from Samsung, the F7000 has a lot of smart apps that can be installed. These include Twitter, Facebook, Skype, Web Browser, various games and a variety of the TV streaming services such as BBC iPlayer, Netflix and the like.
During use we found that the WiFi on the unit was not particularly reliable. Connecting to the home WiFi that was perfectly OK for use on the laptop of smartphone would typically result in issue with the F7000. Timeouts and connectivity issues plagued us to begin with and when trying Skype or Twitter the message ‘Connecting’ would appear and stay on the screen almost permanently.
Fortunately the F7000 also has a socket on the back for plugging in an Ethernet cable for wired rather than wireless internet. Once we changed to a wired connection everything worked perfectly.
Whist it’s entirely possible that the connectivity issues we experienced could have been down to our particular setup, I’m mention it here as we have no problems with our other wireless devices. It would appear that a wired connection is much better for this TV.
Connectivity aside, the F7000 works really well. There are lots of other applications to choose from and download and the TV is also capable of seeing connected media devices on the local network and can play pack any shared media.
It’s also possible to plug in USB storage devices and playback media stored on them or to use a USB drive to record live TV.
Overall the Samsung 46″ F7000 Series 7 is a great TV. I’m extremely impressed with the design and aesthetically it really does look the part. If you were to wall mount this TV it would take up very little space.
Plenty of connectors on the back should cater for most people’s needs and ease of guided setup means that you don’t have to be a technical genius to get up and running.
I continue to enjoy the picture quality in both 2D and 3D modes but the size and depth of the unit have clearly led to compromises with sound quality due to such tiny speakers. I’d certainly want to include a speaker bar or surround sound receiver in my setup if I were to be keeping this TV.