Samsung UN55F7500 Review (UN55F7500AF)
55 inch 1080p 3D 240Hz LED Smart Hub 2.0 TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
The UN55F7500 is going to get a lot of competition from LG and Panasonic in the 55 inch class. All the sets are feature heavy with smart TV suites, high refresh rates, and top notch picture quality. Samsung's F7500 stands out when it comes to picture quality and design. Contrast is impressive on this one with the best black level performance. The design of the TV it as eye catching as it is pleasing. The super thin bezel and curved stand really play into the floating image illusion.
Picture Quality Rating: 9.2/10
The clear coat, rich black screen and the high quality edge lighting LEDs allow for colors to pop and give a real sense of depth when viewing HD quality source material. In-picture Light flow (areas of the on screen picture that show lights, or sunlight streaming into images) is the best of any TV you will find on the market except the tier 1 F8000. Black levels and contrast are two other strong points of picture quality on the UN55F7500. Blacks are deep even when other areas of the screen are bright. Dark shadow detail is impressive as well. In testing against the LG LA7400 and Panasonic ST60 plasma, this TV was our winner in overall picture quality.
Color Performance – Excellent
Colors can really pop on the 55F7500 for an LED TV, though they can get hazy if the backlight is set too high. From up-converted content color and light flow is much better than other TVs on the market – one of the reasons this is a premium model. Overall color is very well balanced and saturated and the Movie mode is set very close to D6500K right out of the box. Only top plasma TVs will beat the F7500 in color performance.
Micro Dimming Pro
The Micro Dimming Pro feature is found through the Smart LED settings in the picture menu. We felt the picture overall showed better 3-dimensionality with the Micro Dimming Pro feature on. It's the type of feature we normally turn off, never to be seen again but it works well on this TV. The result is a more detailed image with greater contrast. As an added bonus, the effects give you a brighter more 3 dimensional image even in 2D. The Precision Black produced inky blacks without losing any dark shadow detail. To find the setting, look for the Smart LED option in the Picture Options menu. It is set to standard by default and we saw no difference when bumping it to high. When turned off, the picture seems to lose the vibrancy it had.
This shot from the Fifth Element Blu-ray highlights contrast, shadow detail, and bright colors
LED Backlighting – A Standout Feature for the F7500!
Rather than use full array LED backlighting Samsung and others have opted to use the edge-lit variety. They are very powerful LED lights and peak whites are always impressive. This also prevents blowing out the colors. You should only use the backlight higher than this when there is direct sunlight pouring into the room and you need the extra brightness to combat it. It is best to keep the backlight at around a 16 or 17 setting. This is easily accessed in the picture menu.
240Hz Refresh Rate and CMR (Clear Motion Rate of 960)
A 240Hz refresh rate is becoming standard on the top tier models across all of the manufacturers. Panels that processes images at this rate employ a great reduction in motion blur at about a 30% increase over 120Hz panels. This can improve viewing for watching sports or gaming in particularly. The Clear Motion Rate specification is Samsung's spec for letting us know how well (fast) the TV can process fast motion. It's essentially a Hz rate enhancer by synching the refresh rate with the LED backlight and the Image processor. It's sort of a competing spec with Panasonic's Sub Field Drive – both shooting a higher comparison number as a refresh rate substitute.
Auto Motion Plus (Note: Important Setting!)
The Auto Motion Plus feature 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, the AutoMotion Plus shows its worth when it comes to gaming and 3D viewing. We cover those issues in depth below. We would love to see a direct button on the remote control to the AutoMotion Plus settings.
Active 3D – Great Performance
55F7500 – Leave the Picture Mode on the Standard setting with the Smooth setting in Auto Motion Plus feature on. The AutoMotion Plus feature adds tons of depth to 3D images and reduces judder to a non-issue. We also turned the 3D light setting up to High from the low position. Great picture but it does degrade from side viewing angles and is not as strong as the LA7400 3D picture. Changing the picture settings to Vivid and trying different combinations to improve the 3D picture saturation and depth proved fruitless as it created noticeable double images and glowing around figures.
2D to 3D Conversion – Finally, It's Worth Using
We noted improvements of 2D to 3D conversion last year and are still seeing the results here. Be aware that the picture settings change when 3D is enabled by pressing the 3D button on the remote, so make sure the AutoMotion Plus setting is on to get the best effect. We tried a Blu-ray first. The 3D effect was pronounced in The 5th Element with a good deal of depth. We also tried out streaming content from Amazon's Instant Video service. When watching Justified the picture popped. I did find that turning down the AutoMotion Plus feature kept the picture from looking unnatural. I saw small amount of crosstalk in the streaming content. The picture from both sources remained bright and clear as the 2D images.
Standard Definition Up-Conversion Quality – Best in the Market!
Samsung 55F7500 performed excellently in this often forgotten category. If you watch Netflix streaming videos and normal DVDs you will appreciate the F7500's excellence here. The F7500 brought Kill Bill and Tristan and Isolde DVDs to life. The light throughput from the UN55F7500 really makes the difference to create more color and contrast around and in images. If you want to really make older DVDs come to life and you can handle diminished natural background blur, try the AutoMotion Plus feature on the Smooth setting rather than our normal recommended Off position.
This shot from Tistan and Isolde shows the excellent light throughput and contrast the F7500 is capable of with up-conversion
Side Angle Viewing – Still Room for Improvement
Color and contrast do fade when viewing from off center though subtly - as we usually see with LED TVs. Off-center from top to bottom is not as bad as an offender, but the effects are still seen. The black bars at the top and bottom of the screen get a purplish haze as you move farther off center. We saw a little bit of light bleed at extreme angles, but it disappears as you move toward the center again. Center viewing will always provide the absolute best picture on this one, moving to the side can mitigate the excellence of picture quality somewhat. The UN55F7500AF cant match a good plasma TV in this area.
Gran Turismo 5 on the PS3 performed well on the F7500
The Movie or Game picture mode are my preferred settings when gaming on the UN55F7500 with a Playstation 3. In the Movie Mode For both Gran Turismo 5 and Okami HD, I recommend turning the AutoMotion Plus setting on User with the Blur Reduction at 10 and Judder Reduction down to 0. Tuning the Judder Reduction to 0, and the Blur Reduction to 10 essentially copies the Game mode capability - except with the Movie mode coloration. With this setting, the motion blur from camera movement is smoothed out without creating the undesired 'soap opera' effect for everything else on screen. It does this without too much additional picture processing for even more controller input lag. The Game Mode was fairly hidden deep in the menus, so here is where it can be found: Menu > System > General > Game Mode. This will give the best results for input lag, though it is not eliminated. Different people may be more sensitive to different things when gaming on an LED TV. Try out each method and adjust from there to gain the best personal results. I personally found the extra bit of input lag less bothersome than the motion blur, so I went with the Automotion over Game Mode. I found it to be a great gaming TV overall and it was very enjoyable with the right settings. I tried Gran Turismo with 3D enabled as well. The 3D effects of depth really showed, but picture quality suffered so much I would not opt to play a game that way.
We measured 100ms of input lag with the AutoMotion Plus feature enabled
Disabling the AutoMotion Plus feature makes a small impact on the motion lag at 90ms.
Features Rating: 9.3/10
Design and Appearance
This shot really showcases the 'flow' design of the F7500. Also notice the great appearance of depth presented in the image on screen
The UN55F7500 implements Samsung's Flow Design. This pertains to the bezel, frame, and stand. The bezel is almost non existent at around .25 inches wide. It's not going to be noticed unless it is really looked for. The metal frame gets a rose gold trim. The crescent moon design of the stand is impressive and very effective at rounding out the complete floating image appearance. This is one TV that really demands attention from the looks alone and is clearly one of the best looking TVs on the market. We especially like the jet black screen when turned off. The small camera atop the TV can be pressed down into its cavity to hide it if you prefer.
We measure the Side bezel at half an inch, and total depth at 1.25 including the back input box and speakers.
Smart Hub 2.0 Smart TV
Smart Hub 2.0 is a fairly substantial upgrade to last year's Smart Hub feature. The interface has received a redesign that reminds us of the tiled interface that tablets and smartphones use. This should make it more intuitive and friendly to use for those who are familiar with that sort of navigation. The content is separated into five different pages present you with all the information you need. First is the Apps page that displays recommended and downloaded apps. Then there is the Social page that displays trending content along with tweets and Facebook updates. The On TV page provides an onscreen guide to what is being broadcast live. The Movies and TV Shows page displays what is available from different internet content sources like Netflix, Hulu, Samsung Media Hub, and more. Lastly is the Photos, Videos, and Music page for viewing and watching content from smartphones, tablets, and computers directly or over a network.
Samsung's Smart Hub gives easy access to and a nice presentation of the Pandora Internet Radio app
The dual-core processor found in the ES7500 is done away with in favor of a new quad-core processor. This will greatly increase the speed of the Smart TV function. It is a welcome addition since processing speed and multitasking were slow before the upgrade to the quad-core. The quad-core also helps speed the browsing function which was slow in 2012. Don't worry about this innovative technology fading into obscurity, either; with a Smart Evolution feature, the TV uploads the newest features each year through a kit attached to the back of the set.
Samsung's Smart TV Apps – Best Overall Offering
This page on the Smart Hub lists all of your downloaded apps. Premium apps are listed under the recommended section. Getting to the apps store is not as intuitive as we would like it to be. From the main Apps page the 'Samsung Apps' button is the way to access the store. (See highlighted box below) There is no real way to identify that it is the way to get to more Apps unless you open it. The store front loads up quickly and displays a number of free apps and ways to sort them by category. We especially liked the Explore 3D and MTV Music Meter Apps this year. ESPN Next Level wasnt bad either.
A Web Browser and built-in Wifi are also included on the 55F7500. A retractable camera is also built into the top of the TV. This is a big plus considering that add on cameras from last year sold for more than $100 a piece. The camera allows for gesture control and increased interactivity with apps.
Web Browser - Decent Performance
In the UN55F7500's web browser, the cursor is controlled by the pad on the touch remote. Think of it like the touch pad on your laptop I found it to be a decent way to navigate around pages. It's much better than a 5-way remote, but it still can't compete with the point and click nature of LG's Magic Remote. One downside we experienced was that it can be hard to do pinpoint clicking and selecting. This leads to fumbling around for the delete or back button. Scrolling up and down is also pretty slow with the touch pad. Page load time was by no means fast, but there is a big improvement over last year's attempt. Multiple tab browsing was one of the better aspects of the browser. We loaded up a 1080p movie trailer on Youtube and were impressed. It loaded up quickly but skipped every so often.
Smart Touch Remote – Impressive looking, but Useful?
The Smart Touch remote is the only remote included with the F7500 series TVs. It is a big change from the standard remote. There are no numbers and not too many buttons. The first thing we noticed is the touch pad area in the center. This is where you will be swiping your thumb to switch between screens on the Smart Hub. The swipe touch pad is an improvement over the normal 5 way controller, but it's still pretty slow when it comes to inputting text.
The remote for Samsung's Smart Hub features a swipe pad for quickly changing between which page is on screen. It also features a mic and an activation button to make it easy to engage in the new voice features
The voice features are engaged by pressing the mic button on the remote. You cannot immediately start talking after the voice button is pressed. It takes a moment before the voice recognition starts. There were many times where we had to repeat what was said because of the wait. This method of control is not terribly helpful in navigating around the Smart Hub, the remote is still going to be much faster. Where the voice features do come in handy though are when you search for specific content. After asking the TV “What movies are on right now?” it brought back exactly that. The results showed movies currently playing on Starz, HBO, and other channels. A search for “Johnny Depp” brought back a list of all his movies. The feature is a nice addition to further the functionality of the remote. It won't be the sole method for controlling the TV.
This is a great example of how helpful the voice recognition features can be in finding something to watch on TV
When trying to use the mic for inputting text into a search field on Google or Bing, only the last word the mic heard was used. When I tried to search “LCD TV Buying Guide,” only the word 'Guide' was put in the search bar. It seemed like it wanted one word at a time, but that would add a lot more time than necessary.
Motion Interaction – Interesting and Getting Better
The F7500 features a retractable camera on the top of the screen. It is about the size of your thumb and can be hidden away with ease
The built in camera of the UN55F7500AF allows you to control a number of things with just your hand. To engage the motion controls all you have to do is hold your open hand in front of the screen. It is pretty good at seeing your hand. Then you move your open hand around to move the on screen cursor. To select an option, make your hand into a fist then open it again. This is where the feature gets a little rough. You have to keep your hand in exactly the right place, make a fist, then open your hand in the exact same spot for it to register. Talk about an arm workout. If you move the cursor to the left side of the screen, a volume control appears. Same on the right with selecting channels. Move the cursor to the top right hand corner and a menu appears that lets you back up, switch inputs, open the recommendation menu, or power off the TV. The back command is one that will be used a lot and having to open a second hand menu to do it is very tedious.
Value Rating: 9/10
The UN55F7500 is a second tier model has almost all the important features of the F8000 above it. The CMR rate is slightly lower Micro Dimming capability. So it will sell for a small discount ($300) to the F8000 at around $2200. Competition is from the LG 55LA7400, The Sony KDL55W802A, and the Panasonic TC-P60VT60 plasma to name a couple. This TV may seem expensive unless you compare it to the OLED and 4K TVs coming on to the market, and the F7500 is just as good-looking.
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|