Samsung UN46ES7100F LED TV Review
A higher-end LED model that is very close in specs to the ES7500.
Samsung releases a ton of different TV models every year, and the company doesn't offer much in terms of product variability between some of them. The ES7100 is a higher-end LED model that is very close in specs to the ES7500. The major difference is that the ES7500 has a built-in camera for motion controls, while the ES7100 does not.
The 46-inch model we tested does well in certain areas, namely color consistency and contrast—it's also equipped with Samsung's excellent smart interface. The ES7100 is far from perfect, though: the viewing angle is inferior and the screen's uniformity is disappointing. The 3D experience, which is usually a strong feature on Samsung TVs, is very good, but not as spectacular as it was on the ES7500. With an MSRP of $2,309, the 46-inch ES7100 is $300 less than the 46-inch ES7500, but it's not necessarily a better value TV.
The ES7100 is razor-thin, but its stand may be a turn-off.
As far as TVs go, Samsung makes some of the slimmest and the ES7100 is no exception. This thin, lightweight LED TV is beautiful to look at. The stand looks like it came from the future, though some will love it, others will find it too extreme. Personally, I enjoy its X-shaped design since it's a break from the monotonous nature of most other TV stands.
Connections are located on the back of the ES7100 and includes all of the important ports: there are three HDMI inputs, a single USB port, a component input, and a digital audio output, to name a few. Beneath the ports, you will find the on-set controls for the ES7100, which looks like a little joystick. Samsung calls this the Jog Stick and it can power the TV on/off, change the volume or input, and access the menu. The Jog Stick was quite intuitive and access was never a problem.
Smart TV Features
Samsung's smart platform is simply great.
Samsung's menu interface is a joy to navigate. The main menu interface has six categories of sub-menus: Picture, Sound, Channel, Network, System, and Support and a short description pops up once an option is selected. Simply put, this is among the best menus on the TV market.
Samsung's smart platform is equally impressive. The main interface, called the Smart Hub, features premium apps (Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora) at the top, and downloaded apps towards the bottom. Speaking of downloaded apps, there are a lot to choose from. Samsung offers a robust app store that stands above most smart TV platforms, even LG. While many of the apps available consist of awful games, there are some good alternative video streaming services to download, plus it's good to know that Samsung has some developer support for their platform.
The Samsung ES7100 misses the mark in a few key areas.
The ES7100 starts to disappoint when it comes to picture quality. To be clear: the quality of this TV is by no means terrible, but considering the asking price of $2,309, it should be better. For example, the total viewing angle of 21° on the ES7100 is awful. LED TVs usually don't have exceptional viewing angles, but this one was exceptionally bad. The poor screen uniformity was another drawback. A completely dark screen looked blotchy with bright spots, an effect known as flashlighting.
Luckily, the colors looked pretty good on this TV. The range of colors that the ES7100 can produce matches up nicely with the industry standard. Likewise, this Samsung can get fairly dark and quite bright, which produces an excellent contrast. The motion performance on the ES7100 was satisfactory: there were not too many motion artifacts in the picture aside from the occasional jerkiness from a highly detailed image and some jagged lines.
The ES7100 offers good, not great, 3D.
The ES7100 includes four active 3D glasses that differ from those included with the ES8000 and ES7500. While those TVs have 3D glasses that are lightweight, flexible, and comfortable, the glasses that come with the ES7100 are stiff and felt like they might fall off my head. The 3D effect was still noticeable with these glasses on, but there was the occasional image ghosting that ruined the immersion.
A good TV that stumbles in some key areas.
Samsung has done a lot of things right with the ES7100: the black levels are modestly dark, the colors look good, and motion is decent. The inclusion of Samsung's excellent smart interface is never a bad thing, and the normal menu interface is a joy to use.
The factors that really bring the value down on the ES7100 are the dismal viewing angle, the uneven screen uniformity, and the uncomfortable 3D glasses that come with it. Since the ES7500 is only a few hundred dollars more, features a built-in camera, a snazzy smart remote, and better 3D, we would recommend choosing it over the ES7100.
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