October 24, 2011
| by Grant Clauser
The picture performance on this LED was mostly very good, though there were a few issues that I noticed from time to time. First the good, the TV sailed easily through all the video processing, deinterlacing etc. test patterns I ran on it. Colors and black levels required only a little adjustment to get them to near perfect levels. If you want the best picture with little effort, then pick Movie Mode, but the TV gives a professional calibrator plenty of settings to tweak. The overall look was great; however, the TV did show some of the uneven light distribution that often comes with edge-lit LED TVs. The TV’s black level varied toward the edge of the screen. This effect was noticeable on some test patterns, but not particularly apparent in regular content. Occasionally I’d notice some light banding effects that seemed to be due to the LED pattern.
As mentioned earlier, this is a smart TV with a similar, but improved online feature set as last year’s models. With built-in Wi-Fi making your network connection is easy. Samsung calls its internet feature Smart Hub, which is basically a landing page from which you can launch various apps. The app selection (in the hundreds) is probably the largest in the TV industry right now and includes everything you’d expect including Netflix, Vudu, Skype and Facebook plus lots of games and weird stuff.
The QWERTY keyboard makes entering text easier, but getting the remote’s Bluetooth connection to sync took a couple of tries. Be persistent, because once it works, it works well.
You can also play your own PC-stored content on this TV via your home network and a DLNA connection. Included in the feature set is a web browser, and it works, but standard web browsing is still a chore compared to a PC or even a tablet.
On the 3D front, the TV performs very well. Unlike with passive-3D systems, Samsung’s active 3D allows full 1080p resolution to reach each eye. This produced some of the sharpest 3D images I’ve seen on a TV. At the same time I did see a little ghosting. On a few underwater scenes in an IMAX-produced movie the effect was very strong, but was not apparent in Avatar or Despicable Me.
If you have an Android table or smart phone, Samsung offers a great app for controlling the TV. I used the app on a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tablet, and it worked well. For most people this won’t replace their remote, but it’s a good accessory remote.
Overall, this is one of the most satisfying TVs I’ve used recently. Aesthetically, it’s gorgeous, the picture looked great in most viewing situations, and the combination of extra features fills out the total package.
Full specs can be found here.
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had audio training from Home Acoustics Alliance and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.