Samsung UN55F7100 Review (UN55F7100AF)
55 inch 1080p 3D LED Smart Hub 2.0 TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
The UN55F7100 55 inch LED TV is a prime value-quality entry for 2013/2014 and is the 3rd tier LED Television for Samsung if you dont count any of the OLED or 4K TVs coming out. With this model, you receive the super fast 240Hz panel for fast motion images and smoothing of side to side panning images. The F7100 replaces the ES7100 series last year and contains a feature rich set without going overboard. It's one of my favorite models for the year and in my opinion is one of the best looking TVs on the market. Other excellent features include a dual-core processor (rather than 4-core in top models) for multitasking and the micro dimming features.
Picture Quality Rating: 9.2/10
The picture quality on the UN55F7100 is almost as excellent as the F8000 series (we've reviewed them side by side) and the key to this is that it has the same panel with clear coat screen and similar contrast. The latter (F8000) has a higher micro-dimming rate, but this model still has that feature for increased contrast where needed. Side viewing angles look good with not much contrast degrading. Images are clear and color information is accurate. Sometimes I wish LED TV colors popped a bit more, but this is the nature of LED backlit LCD TVs. The offset is that you get great brightness and peak whites and Samsung's LED backlighting is some of the best in the market.
LED Edge Backlight – A Standout feature for the F7100!
The light flow through created by the LED Backlight on this TV is amazing and one of the TVs best characteristics. Some complain that it can cause screen uniformity issues. To tone down the LED backlight from causing some uneven screen uniformity issues turn the backlight setting (found in the picture settings menu) down to a more reasonable level – 16 or around 80% is what we recommend. This will keep screen uniformity issues from arising and you still have plenty of brightness from this super bright LED TV. Having powerful LED backlighting in case you need it for super bright room conditions is a plus.
The Samsung F7100 has excellent color rendition and picture clarity. Great contrast levels are also highlighted in this shot
3D Viewing Quality
3D Viewing Quality is by the active variety on the 55F7100 and follows the excellent performance in this are of the ES7100 predecessor. Samsung's active 3D glasses are the lightest and most comfortable in the active-3D marketplace and now have a new rounded design. Aside from that there is little difference as there was not much to improve upon. There is little to no crosstalk or distraction when viewing 3D content, but keep away direct light from the front of the room in which you are viewing or you will likely get a slight flicker from the edges of the glasses. LG's passive 3D in their top models is superior, but the F7100 blows it away in 2D.
Preset Picture Setting Mode Notes:
Dynamic – The blue is overpowering and the image is overly bright, like we see in many other dynamic modes. Not recommended.
Standard – This is the energy star mode so the picture is geared toward keeping the backlight low. The picture is dim and the colors are subdued.
Natural – The natural picture mode seems like a toned down version of the dynamic picture mode. There is much less of a blue push, more yellow push, colors are still a bit off. Not recommended.
Movie – This is the best settings out of the box. The brightness of the backlight is showcased but it's not out of control and there is a warmness to the overall image. See our calibrated picture settings out of this mode.
Auto Motion Plus (Pay Attention to this Setting!)
The Auto Motion Plus feature in the F7100 is something that comes as a blessing and a curse and is set to On in all of the preset picture setting modes. When watching content from the Internet, TV, DVD or BluRay, this feature should be disabled or at least the De-Judder portion of the feature should be set to 0. Leaving the De-Blur portion on is OK. The feature creates the dreaded 'Soap Opera' effect, making images look terribly unrealistic by eliminating natural background blur. Turn it off in the Picture Options menu and everything will be fine again. You'll immediately see judder when you disable it, but your eyes will adjust momentarily. When viewing 480i based content we saw slight improvements when the setting was low.
(Note: to get to the setting click on Menu, swipe across to Picture, Scroll all the way down to Picture Options, Scroll down to AutoMotion Plus.)
However, we would love to see a direct button on the remote control to the AutoMotion Plus settings.
Standard Definition Up-Conversion - Beautiful
All content is not 1080p. There is still a ton of content you are viewing on lower quality resolutions (Netflix streaming for example). The F7100 does a great job of up-converting the signal to HD and displaying in a near HD quality. The F7100 yielded a top notch picture from my trusted Risky Business DVD in 480. The top samsung LEDs are excellent at this up-conversion.
Features Rating: 9.1/10
Smart Interaction Focused on Voice Recognition
The included remote with the F7100 features a touch pad. A simple swiping motion will change the page the Smart Hub is displaying. The mic button also makes it easy to use the voice control features
Voice Interaction is included with the F7100 and works well for speeding browsing and searching content you may want to watch. There has been lots of advancement in the feature though it still lags the LG Magic Remote's voice recognition abilities by miles. Last year the function was OK for the most rudimentary functions. This year you will want to use it extensively. For example, you can depress the mic and say, “look up shows with Reece Witherspoon,” and the TV will search your Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon OD, Crackle, and other and come up with a list of available options (along with the price). Or you can use the function to search the Internet when browsing by saying, “Search Internet.” Then issuing an url like, “espn.com” which the TV will then bring up. The remote does a nice job of understanding different accents as well. It's not as good as LG's, but it works second best in the market.
Appearance and Design
The F7100 misses out on the cresent moon stand of the flow design and utilizes the signature Samsung quad leg stand
The 55F7100 has the new flow design for 2013, but the screen framing bezel is a very sophisticated matte silver and it's just a striking good looks. The frame is about .2 inches in width (.5” for the 60”). So you get that minimalistic almost frameless design. It does not have the half moon shaped stand and instead has the 4-legged prong stand we like to call quadrapod. The front facing camera is not built-in on the F7100 but is optional.
Smart TV Options
Samsung continues to lead the race among manufacturers in number of Apps and in our opinion more importantly the number of quality Apps. Of course, the UN55F7100 has the full range of options regard the Smart TV Apps. It keeps the same dual-core processor from last year.
This is the Apps page of the redesigned Smart Hub. Here you see all of your downloaded apps as well as some reccomendations for other apps that you might enjoy
Along with the other Smart TV features, you currently get Bing's search function Samsung's Social TV feature which allows you to see Facebook activity, Twitter feeds and other social media platforms on a side bar. In many cases such as the You Tube App, it's better just to access You Tube through the browser rather than use the more limited App.
HVEC Codec Improves Online Video - Vast Improvement
Along with the other Smart TV features, you currently get Bing's search function Samsung's Social TV feature which allows you to see Facebook activity, Twitter feeds and other social media platforms on a side bar. The new HVEC Codec really is one of the best improvements of this TV over last years ES7100. It improves the quality and speed of streaming video immensely.
Wifi and Web Browser Built-in
You have use of both of these features and a new connectivity feature through the Wifi setting as well that allows your Smart phone and Tablet to connect and share information with the TV.
There is plenty of volume from the speakers on the F7100 and quality is consistently good though not as rich as some we've tested. Thankfully, there are no hollow or tinny effects in the sound as we've noticed from years past.
Value - Bang for the Buck Rating: 9.4/10
This TV is a deal at $1599 – a great deal. You get a great feature-set and picture and a $1000 discount from the top model F8000. You give up a few high end features such as the quad-core processor, but in all I think this models covers most of the very important bases. Competition is from the Panasonic TC-P55ST60 plasma, and the LG 55LA6900 LED.
Overall Rating: 9.2/10
|Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Wiley never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...Wiley does. Read more about Robert|
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