Samsung LED LCD UN46B7000 HDTV Lightning Review: Avoid!

Generally, I love LED LCDs. The UN46B7000 is Samsung's set with 120Hz refresh and internet widgets. It's not backlit, like the XBR8, but sidelit, and is as thin as two of your fingers. You should avoid buying this set.

The Price: $US3000

The Verdict: The problem is that this set dims the sidelights whenever the program material gets dark, and it does it in the most ungraceful way ever. Check out the menu that I popped on screen, merely to show you what happens to white material on screen when the backlight is dimmed to increase black level.

See how everything white goes dark, too?

So, if there's a scene in a movie where there's a moonlit night, the lighting in this set would crank everything down, including the moon itself. Backlit LED tvs can turn off individual lights to increase blacks, yet keep LEDs lit in the area around the on screen moon; this set idiotically turns everything off. (*Some other sets do this for energy savings, but there's always a way to set the backlight to a consistent brightness level.)

I didn't even benchmark the set after this, as there was no need for me to measure other features when the set had such a glaring problem, which Samsung claims is not a bug. Oddly, many technical reviewers glossed over this fact, giving this set editor choice awards while brushing away the issue.

My impressions of the rest of the set are here, however: • The TV's colours are inflated like a lot of LCDs but the picture and motion handling are pretty damn comparable to any modern late model LCD. • There are no buttons on the set, so if you lose your remote, you're fucked. • The TV is about 1.2 inches thick, and all the ports are tucked nicely away on the side. But because the case is so thin, the speakers sound terribly thin. Worse than on an old 22 inch TV I have in the back of the house. • The case's translucent edges are among the best designed cases of any modern gadget, in my opinion. • The internet widgets and content take a long minute to boot up and include Flickr, twitter and weather apps. They aren't worth the $US150-$200 over the 6000 series which eliminate these extras. There's a media streamer (which I didn't test) recipes, simple video games, exercises, art and animated children's songs, like this really freaky one about having the munchies.

• Off axis viewing isn't great, but isn't bad. • If you have noise reduction on on this set, it will strip the grain from movies, practically, making everything look like it was shot on a cheap digital camcorder. Turn it off. • It's worth repeating that this set is generally gorgeous. • Like all LED sets, they're energy efficient. But again, there's no localised dimming with this set, which is side, not backlit.

The good news is that Samsung can fix this dimming issue by firmware. The bad news is that I haven't heard they even believe its an issue yet. I've never been so irritated by such a beautiful TV and recommend you steer clear.

A nice picture

Super thin

Dimming sidelight issues.

Sounds thin


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