Samsung UN65HU7250 4K LED TV Review
4K? Check. Curved screen? Check. Spectacular picture? Not at all.
Behind the Screens
The Samsung UN65HU7250 (MSRP $3,999.99) is a pricey 65-inch 4K TV with more weaknesses than strengths. Despite generating very bright highlights, it struggles to produce deep black levels to contrast them. The HU7250's color production is fairly accurate right out of the box, so viewers needn't lean on professional calibration in order to enjoy a reliable color space. Given the size of the HU7250, one of its biggest drawbacks is undoubtedly its narrow viewing angle. A 65-inch screen practically demands to be enjoyed by groups of people at a time, but unfortunately, the HU7250's viewing angle is preposterously narrow.
Testing takes place before and after calibration so we can compare a TV's out-of-the-box performance with its maximum potential. In the case of the HU7250, Samsung's offering users a complete color management system, 2- and 10-point white balance adjustments, a gamma slider, and an expanded color space.
I began on the "Movie" picture mode with the color temperature set to "Warm2." During the calibration process, I made several adjustments to the TV's white balance and corrected the TV's primary and secondary color points using the color management system.
Below are the pre- and post-calibration settings for reference.
Grayscale & RGB Balance
In digital color all neutral tones—black, white, and all of the grays in between—are actually the combination of carefully balanced red, blue, and green. How smoothly a TV produces such neutral tones says a lot about its overall performance. We measure the amount of grayscale error in a collective called DeltaE, with a DeltaE of 3 or less considered ideal.
Prior to calibration, the HU7250 produced a middling 4.75 DeltaE. I was able to squash this down to 1.67 using the TV's 2- and 10-point white balance controls. This means you'll get crisper neutral tones, without the distracting color casts that plague lesser TVs.
A closer look at the grayscale reveals the HU7250's struggles with red and blue. While its emphasis of green remains more or less the same, the HU7250 under-emphasizes red in favor of blue, especially as it approaches peak brightness. In this case, an informed calibration helped tremendously.
Contrast ratio is a TV's reference white (100 IRE) divided by its deepest black level (0 IRE), and a high contrast ratio is the cornerstone of an immersive, detailed picture. The HU7250 is capable of producing bright highlights (I measured a reference white of 221.9 cd/m2), but its black level bottomed out at a paltry 0.09 cd/m2.
The result is a middling contrast ratio of 2465:1; not dismal by any stretch, but disappointing for a TV of this caliber and price. The HU7250 gets bright, but it doesn't get dark enough to do justice to the 4K blockbusters you'll undoubtedly want to screen on this thing.
In all likelihood, a 65-inch ultra-high definition television is an investment made with friends and family in mind. After all, if a picture this big can't hold up at multiple angles, what's the point? Our viewing angle test determines precisely how far away from a direct line of sight a viewer can sit while still experiencing an uncompromised picture.
Unfortunately, the HU7250's curved screen seems to be more of a hinderance than a blessing. I measured a total viewing angle of 22°, or ±11° from center to either side; too narrow for large social gatherings. Despite Samsung's claims that their curved screens increase immersion, it simply does not seem to be the case unless you're five feet away and planted square in the center of the picture.
A color gamut is a visualization of every color a television is capable of producing with special attention paid to primary and secondary color points. The precise hue, saturation, and luminance of these points are dictated by the International Telecommunication Union. Our measurements determine how close a TV comes to meeting these standards.
The HU7250's out-of-the-box color performance is quite good, but magenta, cyan, and white are skewed slightly towards blue. While keeping the color space on "Auto," I used Samsung's color management controls to rein in the HU7250's color points, resulting in an even better color palette.
Our gamma test determines how evenly a TV distributes luminance from one level of the grayscale to the next. Poor gamma manifests itself in crushed details, particularly in the darker areas of any given picture. We test and calibrate TVs for a gamma curve of 2.4, which is considered ideal for dark rooms. Keep in mind, however, that lower gamma curves (2.2 - 1.8) are better suited for dimly lit or bright rooms.
If you're planning on placing the HU7250 in a room with a touch of ambient lighting, its out-of-the-box 2.2 gamma curve is perfect. After calibration, I measured a gamma of 2.4, which is better suited for darkened home theaters.
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