Samsung UN65NU7100FXZA TV Review
UN40NU7100FXZA, UN50NU7100FXZA, UN55NU7100FXZA, UN75NU7100FXZA, UN43NU7100FXZA
4K UHD LED BACKLIT LCD TV, SMART TV, HDR
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
- Screen Reflection is not severe
- Aesthetic Appeal – Good looking TV and stand
- Upscaling and conversion of lower HD and standard def to 4K is solid for the price point
- Contrast and Color from front and center of screen
- Great light flow through from LED edge lights
- Web browser included
- On-screen menu system is easy
- Low input lag in game mode
- Black Uniformity is solid
- Gaming Mode input lag (good TV for Gaming)
- HDR Premium with Active Crystal Color for future proofing
- 60Hz TV, judder can be apparent with Automotion turned off especially with lower end resolutions
- Automotion Plus “Telenovela” effect when displaying some content
- Side Angle Viewing contrast and color saturation degrades
- Slow starting time on some built in Apps 6-12 seconds for some Apps like Netflix and Amazon Instant
- Small selection of preset picture modes
- Not crazy about the “feet” stand design
- Screen Uniformity (Grayscale) out of the box is good (but it often does not last as the TV ages)
- We noted no motion blur from high end signals 1080p, 720p, but some with standard def resolution
The NU7100FXZA 4K LED TV from Samsung is one of the best priced 4K offerings in the marketplace. It has ample features like Smart TV and remote control, UHD Picture Dimming, 4K HDR Pro, 4K Color Drive, HEVC 4K streaming decoding, and a contrast enhancer. Though the 7100 has 4K UHD resolution, it rivals 1080p TVs of the same size from a year or two ago in price, one of its best features.
Picture Quality Rating: 87/100
As we've mentioned many times before, edge lit LED backlit LCDs are not the ideal picture technology (even in 4K), however Samsung's semi clear coat screen is a big plus. Images are clear and color information is accurate. Over time, 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 some of the brightest LEDs (peak Whites) in the industry if you need a very bright screen. The clear panel technology in this screen which helps to absorb ambient light is an excellent feature.
This shot demonstrates amazing clarity of detail and contrast.
HD to UHD Upscaling and Conversion
Generally, with scaling you get what you pay for. This is an area of great differentiation among 4K TVs. Some of the more expensive ones will have much better scalers. But, the 7-series does a reasonably good job for the price point. Scaling is exceptionally important since most of the TV we watch these days is streaming from Amazon, Netflix, HBO...or 720p cable. A TV's upscaling will never be able to make as much difference as the original signal source, but it can create cleaner, sharper image edges in the best case. The NU7100 does a good job presenting streaming and 720p signals. The scaler is not of the cheaper variety. This 4K TV will not look better than a very good 1080p TV with standard and HD signals, but wait!, there are no more very good 1080p TVs. The manufacturers stopped making them. While not the most robust scaler, the NU7100 gets a good score for the price of the TV.
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. This will keep screen uniformity issues from arising and you still have plenty of brightness from this bright LED TV. Having powerful LED backlighting in case you need it for super bright room conditions is a plus.
Side Angle Viewing – Much Room for Improvement
Color saturation and contrast do fade when viewing from off center though much more subtly than I expected. In fact, the untrained eye will likely not see much difference in contrast saturation until around 15 degrees off center. Early models of the 4K TVs from Samsung did not look this good from the side and were more in line with standard HD LED TVs. Don't get me wrong, it's still a drawback, but not as pronounced as it once was. This was probably the single biggest drawback compared to OLED aside from the deeper blacks and richer colors on OLED TVs.
Color Drive Pro/Calibration
The NU7100 employs Samsung's new Color Drive Pro which is still a step down from the QLED models with Quantum Dot. But it's a step above the MU7000 with a wider color gamut for potentially capturing more HDR color information. The NU7100 is has an average performance when viewing HDR material, it's certainly a step behind some of the better models. One thing we like about this TV though is color accuracy and ease of calibration to get a very passable picture.
Refresh Rate Concerns/Motion Blur
The native panel refresh rate is only 60Hz for the NU7100, so you will see some judder on those movie scenes with side to side panning. The backlight manipulated Motion Rate is 120. This is another compromise for a lower priced TV. This is not to be confused with fast action sports performance. Motion blur from sports is actually negligible if non-existent. It's 24fps material, movies where you will notice the judder the most. You can always add the “Telenovela” effect by using the Auto Motion Plus feature and get rid of some or all of the judder.
Quick Picture Calibration Settings
Quick Calibration: The following settings are for a medium to dark room light. Since calibrations can vary among different TVs even from the same model number, we no longer post the advanced 10 point White balance calibration settings. However, TV manufacturers have improved at providing a preset picture setting that is pretty close to D65 out of the box. The settings below will get you close. Try the Warm 2 setting for a couple days to get used to it. If after a couple days picture images still seems to warm (reddish tones), change it to the Warm 1 mode. Also, if you are viewing in a brighter room environment, you may prefer the Warm 1 mode.
Auto Motion Plus - Know When to Use this Feature
The Auto Motion Plus feature 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 will likely want to turn it off for streaming content, DVDs, Blu-rays, and TV shows. The feature gives you a dreadful “Telenovela Effect”, making images look unrealistic by eliminating too much natural background blur. Turn it off in the Expert Settings menu and everything will be fine again. You'll immediately see judder when you disable it, but your eyes will adjust momentarily. The features does not hurt good quality live sports programming so you may want to use it there. Another experiment you may want to try is using it with poor quality DVDs. It can help the viewing experience there, bringing these old movies to life. Just be familiar with how to s and it won't be a problem.
Another possibly acceptable setting is enabling the feature using the Custom setting and using a low value on the De-Blur portion of the setting.
(Note: to get to the setting click on Menu, swipe across to Picture, Scroll down to Expert Settings and scroll down to AutoMotion Plus.)
Features Rating: 83/100
Samsung Smart Hub
The NU7100 Smart TV operation is fast and efficient. The 7-series does not get the top Samsung Tizen OS Smart Hub of the top models, but instead gets a similar Smart Hub suite to last year with the same basic design. It has a Universal Guide to help gather the streaming content you want to watch. Samsung hit the mark with their user interface and intuitive navigation. This time around you will see the Game tab as one of the major smart TV pages. The On TV page allows for individual logins. This means different members of the family can have different recommendation settings. This is a big plus for a home with multiple TV users. The Smart Hub for the NU7100 includes a full web browser.
The quad-core processor greatly increases the speed of the Smart TV function and browsing. It is a welcome addition since processing speed and multitasking were slow before the upgrade to the quad-core.
Appearance and Design
The NU7100 has a nice design with a half inch border charcoal matte frame surrounding the screen. The screen is 2.4” in depth (for the 55” model) so plenty thin for wall mounting. I like the stand design and in general the straight forward look of this TV. It tapers up from the bottom to the top in the back to give an interesting and modern appearance.
The NU7100 has a basic remote this year – step down from both the NU8000 and the MU7000 from last year. But good enough for the non-techy inclined.
There is plenty of volume from the two inbuilt down-firing 10w speakers. It's not what I would call high quality defined audio, but it gets the job done. If you are going with one of the larger models, you will likely want a sound bar.
The 7-series is DirecTV ready for 4K content. 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. Though we were not able to test the HDR Premium picture, it's nice to have some future proofing HDR compatibility included. This just means that it will be able to display some types of HDR content on the screen. The active crystal color system's wider color gamut should enjoy more benefits from HDR content. There is a Game Mode for gamers. This is a good gaming TV with around 28ms input lag when Game Mode is enabled. It obviously has dual band Wifi included. Obviously, the KU7500 adds the curved screen element.
Features It Lacks
The UHD Dimming feature really does not qualify as local dimming and does little to enhance contrast in various areas of the screen. 3D is not included. 120Hz panel is not included. Even though the NU7100 has HDR compatibility, it does not have a very wide color gamut for enjoying the best benefits of HDR. Even though the 7-series does a good job of up-conversion, it does not have a high end scaler. The NU7100 includes a scaled down version of Samsung's Smart Hub rather than the top of the line Tizen OS.
Value Rating: 90/100
UN65NU7100 - $999. If it had a higher Hz rate I could go “all in” on the 65 inch model. That's one of the only drawbacks. Still a great deal.
UN50nu7100 - $549. About the best quality you will find in the market for this size TV. You pay a couple hundred more dollars for the extra features and picture quality then you would a stripped down 1080p 49 inch model.
UN40NU7100 - $449. Like the 49” above, this is likely the best quality 40 inch TV you will find in the market this year. You pay a couple hundred more dollars for the extra features and picture quality then you would a stripped down 1080p 40 inch model.
UN55NU7100 - $649. A great deal and value. Again the 120Hz panel would be nice. But what a price!
UN75NU7100 - $1799. A 75” Samsung LED for $1799, kidding me?
As the second lowest price Samsung 4K TV this year, value is an important aspect of this TVs appeal. Pricing is very appealing. It has the “stuff you really need,” in a TV these days. The basics, in other words, are covered.
Overall Rating: 93/100
- 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
- Contrast Enhancer
- 4k color drive pro
- 4K HDR Pro
- Motion Rate 120 (60Hz native panel with backlight scanning)
- Speaker output power: 10W x 2
- Quad Core Processor
- Samsung Smart View (Mirroring)
- MHL-compatible HDMI input for viewing photos/videos from a compatible smartphone on the TV's screen
- 3 HDMI, 2 USB Connections
- Wi-Fi Built-in (802.11ac)
- HEVC decoder included (for watching streamed 4K content)
- Mobile to TV Mirroring; DLNA
- Free downloadable apps for iOS and Android™ enable you use a compatible smartphone or tablet as a remote control
|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|