Samsung PN59D7000FF Review
A stunning, high-end plasma TV fashioned by Samsung for 2011.
The Samsung PN59D7000 ($2,599 MSRP) is a stunning, high-end plasma TV fashioned by Samsung for 2011. It has 59 inches of great, 1080p picture quality and, as a second-generation plasma, it handles 3D reasonably well. Replete with integrated Wi-Fi and a Smart Hub of apps and streaming, this could be the one stop for your every TV need.
The grey, brushed metal bezel looks fantastic.
The PN59D7000 is a great divergence from the standard black-rimmed displays, looking classy without the distracting "Touch of Color" that past Samsung televisions have had. The metallic bezel is very narrow, due to the “+1” design. This confusing marketing strategy claims that its bezel occupies 1 inch less space on the diagonal, compared to the bulkier bezel of a competing television. A thin, plastic border surrounds the bezel, characteristic of Samsung’s design language.
It’s worth noting that this TV looks identical to the more expensive D8000-series except for its stand: It rests on a rectangle of brushed metal, while the D8000 series has four legs of metallic-looking plastic.
Smart TV Features
The menu system on the Samsung PN59D7000 is very clean and simple to use.
When you load up the menu for the PD59D7000's smart features, you're greeted with a friendly, intuitive interface. On the left side of a black box, colorful icons and their labels define categories of settings. Scrolling up and down this list highlights a category and populates its settings into a rounded, blue box to the right.
Selecting subcategories in the blue box lists its contained settings in a dark frame to the right. We liked this feature, as it made it easy to find the subcategory for the setting of your choice, such as the Film Mode in Advanced Settings. Simple, easy to figure out—why aren't more menus this good?
If you've paid attention to the onslaught of displays for this year, you'll know that streaming is big and Samsung put its money on the Smart Hub for its 2011 line. Minimizing the source video to a small thumbnail in the upper left-hand corner, the Smart Hub lays out a bar of downloadable apps above channels, sources, and media playback options. It'll depend on the individual user whether these are very useful or not, but at least they're included for those who will make use of them.
The D7000's high-quality performance is undeniable.
The Samsung PN59D7000 tested with excellent color integrity, a very wide contrast ratio, and superb screen performance—both its motion handling and total viewing angle. This television looks great and is completely without performance-based drawbacks.
The D7000 may be loaded with extra features, but its strength lies in doing its most basic job. Of course, for an MSRP this high you expect stellar performance, but at least your money is going toward a great picture and not just an unending list of features few people are going to want.
Better 3D than last year, but we still wouldn’t watch it voluntarily.
Television manufacturers desperately wish they were in the future and the only means they know to get there, besides simply waiting, is to produce a TV that can display 3D without making you want to vomit. Whether 3D is the future or not, both content and display manufacturers are doubling down their bets. We can say beyond a doubt that their efforts have improved dramatically since 2011. We have seen admirable attempts already this year, particularly with second-generation plasmas like the Samsung PN59D7000.
Still, we cannot say we are behind the technology just yet. While plasmas’ high refresh rate diminishes the constant flicker that can make LCD 3D nauseating, this one still exhibited some flicker with extreme foreground objects and fast movement. The frame rate of the display is limited to the video encoding, so even though the plasma appears very smooth for slow-moving objects, racing cars still look a bit flickery and ethereal. Additionally, crosstalk issues occasionally give the picture a “not right” feeling with ghostly halos of nausea-inducing double-vision.
The D7000 could be an ideal centerpiece for a home theater.
The high-end Samsung PN59D7000 1080p plasma TV ($2,599 MSRP) impressed us with its picture quality, which has improved brightness and contrast ratio over other plasmas. It is extremely color-accurate, and does an excellent job with motion. We’re not in the business of complimenting current 3D technology, but this second-generation plasma handled it reasonably well, if that's your kind of thing. Finally, the Samsung PN59D7000 is complete with integrated Wi-Fi and a Smart Hub to make use of it.
Superlative performance? A boatload of features? 3D performance that won't make you toss your cookies? The Samsung PD59D7000 lives up to its billing. With customizable apps and streaming to go along with its color accuracy, this could be the ideal centerpiece for a home theater. Still, it's an expensive box if you aren't going to make use of everything. If you aren’t sure you’re willing to pay for every part of this bundle, you may want to look into some of our alternative recommendations.
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