Samsung UN55JU7100 Features Review
55 INCH 4K UHD LED TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
The 7-series LEDs from Samsung have been some of our favorite models over the past few years for its combination of excellent features and quality at a reasonable price. The JU7100 4K TV falls in the same category. Without going overboard with the very highest end features you get the ones you will appreciate most. These include UHD Picture Dimming, a quad core processor, contrast enhancer technology, precision black and peak illuminator picture quality adjustments. Also, the much upgraded Smart remote with touchpad and mic.
Picture Quality Rating: 90/100
As we've mentioned many times before, edge lit LED backlit LCDs are not the ideal picture technology, however Samsung's ultra clear coat screen is a big plus – especially from front and center of the screen. Light flow-through is exceptional and is one of the best traits of this TV. This is even more accentuated with the new Peak Illuminator technology employed which further accentuates light or bright areas of the screen. Images are clear and color information is accurate. Over time after use, some light bleed is likely to occur – noticeable during very dark or black background scenes. Colors pop very well for an LED TV and Samsung has the brightest LEDs (peak Whites) in the industry if you need a very bright screen. Last, the JU7100 includes a wide color enhancer plus technology for an expanded color pallet.
Color and contrast are strong suits of the JU7100, we were left very impressed. Also notice the attractive brushed silver frame
HD to UHD Upscaling and Conversion
Ever wonder if the picture quality is better on a 4K UHD TV with a standard definition or HD signal pumped into it? The answer is yes only if the TV has a stellar upscaling and conversion technology built in. And with very limited 4K content available, upscaling quality is extremely important. Otherwise, you might as well purchase a 1080p TV. We give the JU7100 an average score in this category. The JU7100 analyzes the incoming signal, applies video noise reduction techniques, and scales up the lower resolution signal. Lastly, it enhances the detail which may be the most important bit. With HD signals the JU7100 upscaler did a nice job improving the picture quality detail by 40% or so to attempt to put a number on it. With lower resolutions you get less benefit from the JU7100s 4K resolution. This is one of the key differences between some of the higher priced 4K TVs, the upscaler technology employed is more robust.
Lastly, it enhances the detail which may be the most important bit. With HD signals the JU7500 upscaler did a nice job improving the picture quality detail by 40% or so to attempt to put a number on it. With lower resolutions you get less benefit from the JU7100s 4K resolution. This is one of the key differences between some of the higher priced 4K TVs, the upscaler technology employed is more robust.
A fine example of how broadcast TV can look great on a 4K display
LED Edge Backlight – A Standout Feature
The light flow through created by the Samsung LED Backlights has been a major positive for the last couple of years and continues with this UHD offering. It's 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 – around 80% is what we recommend or even 70% if you are in a darker room. This will help keep screen uniformity and light bleed 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.
Side Angle Viewing – Still Room for Improvement
On the JU7100 Color and contrast do fade when viewing from off center though it is perhaps more subtle than in the past. The JU7100 is flat, but if you are super sensitive to the issue, possibly consider a curved screen, which does diminish side angle viewing weaknesses somewhat. Or go OLED and you will have perfect viewing angles. To the untrained eye, you may not notice the contrast degradation occurring from wider angles as much as we do. Contrast loss begins at around 30 degrees off center.
Light flow-through, color, and contrast are highlights of this image
Refresh Rate/Motion Rate/AutoMotion Setting
The panel refresh rate is upgraded to 120Hz and a 240 Motion Rate for the JU7100 to help with fast action scenes and side to side panning judder. If the fake kitschy cutout effect of the TV working to reduce judder bothers you (as it does us), find the Auto Motion setting in the Advanced Picture Menu and turn to Off. You will then see some judder (a jerky effect on images especially noticeable in when the camera pans side to side), but it is worth it and you get used to it.
Auto Motion Plus - Know When to Use this Feature
The Auto Motion Plus feature in the JU7100 is something that comes as a blessing and a curse. By default it is set to On in all of the preset picture setting modes. You should turn it off for streaming content, DVDs, Blu-rays, and TV shows. You end up with 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. We've noticed that it actually helps when it comes to displaying 3D content and sports programming. When viewing 480i based content we saw slight improvements when the setting was low as well. Just be familiar with how to adjust this and it won't be a problem.
(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.)
Features Rating: 86/100
3D Viewing Quality
Samsung's JU7100 still has good (active) 3D with lots of depth, not much visible cross-talk was noted. No glasses included. Leave the Picture Mode on the Standard setting for 3D with the Smooth Auto Motion Plus feature on. The AutoMotion Plus feature adds tons of depth to 3D images and reduces judder to a non-issue. Great picture but it does degrade from side viewing angles. Changing the picture settings to Vivid and trying different combinations to improve the 3D picture saturation from angles proved fruitless as it created noticeable double images and glowing around figures.
Samsung Smart Hub
The familiar Samsung Smart Hub makes a return on the JU7100 series
The JU7100 does not get the new Tizen OS Smart Hub of the top Samsung JS models, but instead gets a similar Smart Hub suite to last year with the same basic design. However, the quad-core processor makes using the Smart Hub, browsing and features much faster and easier. Samsung hit the mark with their user interface and intuitive nagivation. The Smart Hub allows different users to have their own Apps and programming appear. This is a nice plus for a home with multiple TV users. The Smart Hub for the JU7100 includes a full web browser.
This year's touch remote has plenty of surface for swiping your thumb to move the cursor and a mic as well for voice control. The voice control works reasonably well, but if you're like us you will likely end up using the touchpad's swipe and click function.
Design and Appearance – Are the Curves Worth it?
The TV is 2.5” in depth so plenty flat enough to mount or stand. The flat JU7100 has a semi-matte charcoal black metal chamfered bezel that looks very refined. I like the way room light highlights the frame at different angles. The frame is still very thin in width at around a half inch. The stand is t-shaped and looks good with a brushed dark silver front. My only concern with the stand is the depth at 11.6" - some tables may not accommodate this depth.
Gaming performance with Gran Tourismo 5 looked great
The jU7100 does a fine job with gaming with a very low input lag of 25ms. The TV also displays gaming exceptionally well via the clear gloss screen and powerful LED back lighting.
Sound quality we will get back to later, but the speaker package is two by 10W speaks with no subwoofer. Audio output is average in quality from the down-facing speakers.
The TV has built in Wifi, and plenty of HDMI inputs (4) and 3 USB inputs. It also has mobile to TV mirroring and a Game Picture Mode for gamers. Smart View 2.0 allows you to view content from mobile devices on-screen.
UHD Dimming is a feature aimed at highlighting the two sides of contrast, brighter whites and lights and darker blacks and darks by using the higher resolution with backlight adjustments. It's controlled by the Smart LED setting in the JU7100s menu and from our testing makes little to no difference in the TVs picture results. Therefore, we recommend keeping the setting off.
Value Rating: 94/100
The 55” JU7100 is very reasonably priced in this competitive size at around $1399 and one of the best values in 4K TVs of the year. It's competitive even with high end HD TVs of the same size. The JU7100 series offers an excellent combination of picture quality upgrades while keeping the price down by omitting some of the highest end features. The ultra clear coat screen, UHD dimming upgrade, 120Hz refresh rate panel (240 Motion Rate) and the touchpad remote are highlights.
- Diagonal Screen Size – 54.6”
- 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
- TV without stand: 48.9" x 28.3" x 2.7"
- TV with stand: 48.9" x 30.3" x 10.9"
- Weight without stand: 38.1 lbs.
- Weight with stand: 40.1 lbs.
- Contrast Enhancer
- Motion Rate 240
- Speaker output power: 10W x 2
- Quad Core Processor
- Samsung Smart View (Mirroring)
- MHL Adapter
- 4 HDMI, 3 USB Connections
- RS232 1
- Component inputs 1
- Wi-Fi Built-in (802.11ac)
- HEVC decoder included (for watching streamed 4K content)
- 2-way screen mirroring with compatible devices
- UHD Dimming
Overall Rating: 90/100
|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|