Samsung UN55B7100 55" 120Hz LED HDTV Review

by Michael "SKYMTL" Hoenig     |     November 1, 2009


Click on image to enlarge

Unfortunately, panel uniformity when viewed on a black screen was a complete disaster with the sample sent to us. So much so that I actually high-tailed it down to my local Best Buy to see if other Samsung LED TV’s suffered from the same clouding problem and lo and behold, every Samsung-branded edge-lit panel exhibited the same issue. After irking an untold number of salespeople, I am now convinced that this is an issue that affects a large number of Samsung’s B7000 / B6000 sets and complains on various forums back this up. Some have attributed the clouding to the nature of the thin, edge-lit panels so it will be interesting to see if the local dimming versions will behave any differently.

There are also a few other things to remember about the clouding: it can be very distracting when watching a particularly dark movie and it doesn’t affect overall color uniformity. In addition, Samsung launched their 1013 firmware update earlier in October which actually eliminated part of the problem but as you can see in the picture above (taken after a firmware update), there are still some significant steps to be taken. Hopefully, they will have this fixed soon.

Viewing Angles

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Viewing angles on the B7100 are very good when compared to other TVs I have seen in the past. Even at eight feet off center, there is actually very little contrast or color shift so you won’t have to worry about your guests having a less than optimal viewing experience.

Power Consumption

I had been told time and again that the backlight setting on an LCD TV can have a significant impact on power consumption but what no one was able to tell me was just how much. So, in order to find out, I pulled out my trusty UPM power meter and Tripp Lite 1800W line conditioner. Basically, the line conditioner was plugged into the wall in ensure the input voltage to the TV was regulated at a constant 121V so any fluctuations would not impact the results. The UPM power meter was then plugged into the line conditioner and the TV was finally attached to the meter. In order to keep these results constant, the opening 15 minutes of I Am Legend were played to get a good cross-section of power consumption figures. Only the peak rates were recorded.

In addition, I measured the Standby and Absolute Max power consumption as well. The Standby value you see is a constant reading instead of a Peak as all of the others. On the other hand, the Absolute Max figure you see is the result of a weekend of regular TV and movie watching while the power meter logged the maximum power consumption. It represents the highest peak power consumption this HDTV pulled from the wall with the blacklight set to 10 after about 8 hours of viewing. For all these tests, the Energy Saver was disabled.

On average, the UN55B7100 is easily the most efficient TV I have tested. It is amazing to see the difference between it and the LN52A850 which was released a little over 18 months ago. What is particularly interesting to see is the LED-based TV running neck and neck against the CCFL-based B650 in the majority of the tests. If you are looking for efficiency, there is no doubting that this new generation of LED displays is the way to go.

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