Samsung UN55D7000 55" LED 3D HDTV Review
Samsung has a longstanding tradition of engineering excellence and they have quickly become the most popular HDTV manufacturer around. This is largely due to their bewildering number of offerings which currently stands at 36 different TV models in North America and covers everything from high end LED units to entry level Plasmas and LCDs.
Before we go on, it is important to understand how through a straightforward naming scheme Samsung has classified their HDTVs over the last few years. UN, PN and LN always precede a set’s diagonal size (in inches), designate the type of screen being used and stand for LED, plasma and LCD respectively. This is followed by a generational indicator: the “A” models were released in 2008, the “B” in 2009 and so on. The next few numbers are the series number (three digits for LCD and four numbers for LED and plasma) which means higher figures typically mean more features and better picture quality. Thus, the subject of this review –the UN55D7000- is a 55” LED HDTV that is part of their 2011 lineup and happens to be one of their highest-end products since only the D8000 stands above it.
With something for everyone and value to be found at nearly every level of their product stack, Samsung still has some marquee models which are aimed straight at more discerning individuals. Usually the 8-series headlines the show with the 7-series offering a combination of high performance and leading edge features without breaking the bank and this generation is no different. While the UN55D8000 set (which we’ll be reviewing in a few weeks) typically goes for over $2500, the UN55D7000 typically hits the $1900 to $2000 mark. Here in Canada we get taken to the cleaners to the tune of $2400 or more for this set but that’s nothing compared to the $3100 we’ll have to shell out for the D8000.
Naturally, the D7000 comes with a long list of features and some enviable specifications. First and foremost among these is Samsung’s excellent SmartTV which includes applications, movie streaming services like Hulu and Netflix, internet browsing and Facebook / Skype access through your TV without additional hardware provided you hook up an Ethernet cable or connect to a network with the built-in WiFi. This is all controlled through Samsung’s innovative but –as we will see later- highly annoying remote.
On the picture quality side of things, the D7000 certainly isn’t left wanting either. Technologies like Ultra Clear Panel to reduce ambient light reflections and a Wide Color Enhancer for an expanded color space are included. There are also some questionable additions such as “Clear Motion 720” which is Samsung’s proprietary way of measuring refresh rate (this set’s actual refresh performance is not actually 720Hz) and “Micro Dimming”. Micro Dimming is typical marketing doublespeak so don’t take it to mean the D7000 has a backlit, local dimming panel. Rather, micro dimming allows this edge-lit set to use a software algorithm to analyze up to 4000 zones across the LED panel and make contrast adjustments accordingly.
All in all, the UN55D7000 should have all of the hallmarks many people want in a high quality TV without having to spend the outrageous money demanded by its bigger brother. We don’t expect C9000-series performance out of it but hopefully the shift in generational technology will lead to an improvement over last year’s disappointing UN55C6500.
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