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Samsung UE55MU7000 review: cracking TV for under £1000 available in many other size options

It’s easy to forget that Samsung isn’t just about high-end QLED TVs. Indeed, its most popular offerings are regulation LED LCD models – and they don’t come more mainstream than this polished mid-ranger. If you’re hankering after a better than budget screen from the brand, but can’t quite spring to a flagship model, then this 7 Series model still manages to offer impactful HDR with a minimalist, smart design.

Samsung UE55MU7000 4K HDR LED LCD TV: Design

You’d never guess this is a sub GBP1000 set from its design. It’s impressively slim, with a high gloss black bezel and silver trim. The back panel is similarly uncluttered.

Inputs include four 4K ready HDMIs, so there’s plenty of room for your 4K sources, and a trio of USBs.

The Samsung MU7000 range

The MU7000 line is positioned just above Samsung’s various 6-Series models, and as well as the 55-incher here, comes in 49-, 65-, and 75-inch screen sizes. You want their full titles?

Well, okay… Samsung UE49MU7000, Samsung UE65MU7000, Samsung UE75MU7000. Happy now?

Samsung MU7000 55-inch: Performance

Samsung UE55MU7000 review: cracking TV for under £1000 available in many other size options The MU7000 is as at home with HD as it is with 4K UHD sources.

Images appear sharp, and nuanced. Colour vibrancy is impressive, and there’s a high level of contrast, courtesy of Samsung’s local dimming. The set optimistically lays claim to extremely bright HDR, up to 1000 nits for small spectral highlights, although measurable HDR performance is probably going to be significantly less.

Even so, this is glary enough to make the most of HDR10 and HLG. There’s no Dolby Vision or HDR10+ support. Although edge lit, UHD Dimming enhances contrast by independently adjusting tone and brightness based on content.

4K fine detail is easily discernible, provided you don’t sit too far back. The golden rule of 4K is view nearer than you would an HD screen of the same size, or leave your sofa where it is and buy bigger. Image depth is fine, although don’t come to this mid-ranger expecting OLED-style blacks.

Dynamic Crystal Colour technology keeps images on the right side of ripe, while Precision Black image processing is used to improve shadow detail. The set uses assorted upscaling techniques to make the most of standard HD SDR sources. Its HDR+ dynamic range upscaler lifts SDR content by ramping up brightness and colour.

We’ve seen some superb, and surprisingly subtle, SDR-to-HDR image processing in the wild (Sony’s object-based remastering is probably the best), but Samsung’s approach is a little more blunt force. It’s worth trying though, particularly if you want maximum picture whammy for your cash. Be warned: HDR+ may create artefacts and exaggerate noise though.

Sports fans will appreciate Samsung’s Supreme Motion processing technology, which effectively reduces image blur and judder. Try not to use this interpolation for movies or cinematic TV shows though, as it adds a shiny looking soap opera sheen, which makes everything look like a daytime soap. As this isn’t an IPS panel (as favoured by LG), there’s a limit to how far you can sit off angle before colour intensity and contrast fade.

Finally, given that you can’t actually spot any speakers on the MU7000, it’s probably remarkable that the MU7000 sounds as good as it does. It’s still worth planning a soundbar upgrade, though.

Samsung UE55MU7000: Features

Samsung UE55MU7000 review: cracking TV for under £1000 available in many other size options At the heart of this set is Samsung’s second generation Eden smart TV platform, which takes an intuitive approach to menu navigation, and allows a welcome level of customisation based on what sources and services you want swift access to.

A Quad Core processor puts a spring into menu navigation. OTT apps include Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, both with 4K and HDR capability, plus all the main catch-up TV services. However, this Samsung model doesn’t feature Freeview Play, so no natty roll-back EPG or integrated IP channels, which is disappointing.

On the plus side, Samsung’s own TV Plus VOD film service promises to keep you amused, should you fancy an impromptu movie night. There’s even voice navigation, via S Voice on the remote control, which allows limited control via simple spoken commands. But with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant fast becoming the talk of the town, a secondary chat interface seems a bit redundant.

The supplied remote also offers a level of universal control, if you find that more intuitive than simply using different doofers (we don’t).

Samsung MU7000: Verdict

Currently selling for well under a grand (the 65-incher is only just over GBP1000), the MU7000 is a cracking mid-range 4K UHD option. It’s up against stiff competition from the likes of Panasonic, Hisense, Sony and Philips, but the build quality, design and performance in bright rooms make it a very attractive option.

We rate the UE55MU7000 as a great mid-range buy, particularly for bright room viewing.

It combines bright HDR imagery with a crisp aesthetic design.

Throw in a fair amount of streaming service support, and you’ve got a Samsung set that more than delivers on its price promise.

Samsung Q8C review: 4K HDR QLED 55-incher is the best choice for those who still hanker for a curved TV

If you’re after a 4K TV with cinematic flair, a curved set could be just the box office ticket. It’s a form factor Samsung has long championed. As a bonus, the QE55Q8C puts the bend into a high performance QLED panel.

Not to be confused with OLED, QLED is a variation on Quantum Dot technology, which offers improved colour fidelity and off-angle viewing with LED LCD TVs. Samsung may be the only major TV brand still hawking curved screens, but the Q8C is undeniably a head turner. If you want a telly that’ll look good in a bright viewing environment, it’s also got the backlight brightness to oblige.

Samsung Q8C (QE55Q8C) review: Design

Slick and contemporary sum up this set’s dress sense. The black and silver frame is classy, while the central stand is eminently practical. The quality of finish is high; even the rear panel has a metallic finish.

Connectivity is off-loaded to Samsung’s discrete One Connect junction box. This accommodates four HDMIs, a trio of USBs and an Ethernet connection. The One Connect box routes AV to the TV via a single cable, which keeps things nice and tidy.

The set itself still needs its own power lead though. Obviously the main thing to be addressed with the Q8C’s design is its shape. With its gentle curve, you do get some odd reflections at times, but it’s certainly striking.

You either like curved tellies or you don’t, so I’ll leave that one up to you. There is probably a reason there are no other curved tellies in T3’s list of favourite TVs[1], though…

Samsung Q8C: the range

Samsung Q8C review: 4K HDR QLED 55-incher is the best choice for those who still hanker for a curved TV The Samsung QE55Q8C is positioned between Samsung’s Q7F and Q9F ranges and comes in 55-, 65- and 75- inch screen sizes.

Their full names respectively, then, are Samsung QE65Q8C and Samsung QE75Q8C.

Samsung QE55Q8C 4K HDR QLED: Performance

Despite its various functional niceties, the key attraction of the Q8C remains its QLED panel technology. A refinement on Quantum Dot filtering, which has been around for some time, it’s key attraction is that it offers wide, deep colour and high brightness.

HDR support covers everyday HDR10 and broadcast HLG HDR. The screen is also compatible with the dynamic metadata standard HDR10+, a rival of sorts to Dolby Vision. It remains to be seen if HDR10+ gains wide traction with content suppliers (being an open standard, expectations are high).

Let’s hope so, as there’s no support for DolbyVision. The Standard image preset is our go-to viewing mode for most content. It offers a high average picture level, while retaining balance and depth.

The set’s inherent brightness comes into its own in brightly lit spaces. It really cuts through with colour and contrast. The Q8C is tailor made for daytime viewing.

For regular SDR (Standard Dynamic Range) content, there’s an upscale mode dubbed HDR+ . This ramps up brightness and colour vibrancy, although some might feel the end result is overwrought and oversaturated. It’s ultimately a matter of taste.

Peak brightness with genuine HDR sources is very high – upwards of 1500 nits. The curved screen favours square-on and direct, close viewing. The curve can throw up odd reflections though, and when viewed off axis tends to look wonky with onscreen EPGs.

To help fine tune motion handling, a Custom setting individually tailors judder and blur. Keep both low and you’ll get an acceptable performance for fast moving sports. If you don’t like the kind of soap opera effect you get from image interpolation, motion processing should be turned off.

Audio provision is perfectly fine, although we suspect buyers might ultimately want to partner this set with a matching Samsung curved soundbar.

Samsung QE55Q8C: Features

Samsung Q8C review: 4K HDR QLED 55-incher is the best choice for those who still hanker for a curved TV Smart functionality is good, if not class leading. Samsung’s Eden interface is easy to navigate and supports a range of catch-up services, including BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 and My5.

This icon-based interface allows users to customise which apps and sources appear on the Home screen. All key third party streaming services are onboard, and both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video support 4K and HDR streams. However there’s no support for Freeview Play, which has become ubiquitous on rival up-market connected 4K TVs.

It’s disappointing that Samsung continues to snub Freeview Play (it’s now the only major TV brand holding out against this connected update to subscription free TV) , but at least all the main TV catch-up players are provided. The Q8C comes with two remotes, a Bluetooth zapper with voice integration, and regular wand. The TV supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Once online, it’s compatible with networked DLNA devices, and will play files from NAS and USB devices. You can also timeshift from the set’s tuner onto a USB hard drive.

Hisense 55-inch U7A: Verdict

Samsung Q8C review: 4K HDR QLED 55-incher is the best choice for those who still hanker for a curved TV This Q8C is currently available for around GBP1,299, which represents a significant saving on its GBP1,699 launch price.

While there are 55-inch flatscreen UHD models available for less, they tend not to have the impact or HDR chops of Samsung’s QLED technology. It’s a good value buy. If your three tick boxes are (1) QLED, (2) HDR and (3) curved, then Samsung QE55Q8C is an easy recommendation.

That aside, it’s a superior 4K HDR LED TV that’s particularly suited for daytime and bright room viewing.

References

  1. ^ T3’s list of favourite TVs (www.t3.com)

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