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The has a somewhat matte black bezel with a clear plastic border. Up at the top, there's a camera for facial recognition and gesture control that's embedded in the TV's frame. The sets on display were 60- and 64-inch models, but a Samsung representative said there would be another size.

FI Front Image

As the plasma TVs were up against a wall, we couldn't see the back. It looked like all ports were on the rear of the set and faced outward.

Samsung says their new plasmas have a 1.5 inch profile. They were up close to the wall, so it was difficult to get a good impression of how thin they really were.

FI Left Image

The plasma TVs in the Samsung 8000 series don't get the new U-shaped stands featured on the LED lineup. Instead, they keep the same four-arm bases from last year.

FI Stand Mount Image

The may be updated, but it still looks dated compared to sleeker designs on the market.

Samsung was holding their specs close to the vest before the starts shipping this Spring. However, we were able to find out that this set has the expected 600 Hz refresh rate and 1080p resolution.

FI Front Image

This is a 1080p TV.

Samsung claims that a new Real Black Pro panel design and software updates improve black levels by ten percent. Our testing facility wouldn't fit in a carry-on, so we'll have to reserve judgement on the 's performance until we can get one in the lab.

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Samsung says the 's new panel also improves color performance. It's impossible to tell without in-depth testing.

The has a 600 Hz refresh rate.

There appeared to be no problems with viewing the from different angles on the show floor.

Samsung only had the 7500 series LED TVs set up for 3D viewing. These are their glasses, but we imagine they're similar to the ones that come with the .

FI 3D Glasses Image 1

The uses active shutter technology. We weren't able to test the set's 3D performance on the floor.

We'll appraise the 's 3D motion as soon as we can get one in our testing lab. On the show floor, there were only LEDs available for 3D viewing.

We couldn't see what ports were behind the , as it was pushed up against the wall.

This is a highly connected TV. A dual-core processor is said to improve multi-tasking performance, so multiple apps can run at the same time with minimal wait time while switching between functions.

Another new feature is AllShare Play, a cloud-based service that allows devices to share content. In demonstrations, we saw photos taken on a Samsung camera wirelessly displayed on the screen of the .

In addition to new apps -- including Angry Birds and episodes of Battlestar Galactica up-converted to 3D -- the also has three "Signature Services" including educational content for kids, a social network designed to keep families in touch, and a weight-loss app that uses the 's built-in camera to make an on-screen avatar mirror your workout routine. The children's shows sounds like a fun feature for families, but the others we could take or leave.

Samsung's 2012 TVs are also the first that can be easily upgraded by users. The company calls their future-proofing "Smart Evolution," and promises to have the first upgrade released in 2013. They come on a card that plugs into the television, and there's no word on how much those upgrades will cost.

Ports appeared to be on the back of the TV and facing perpendicular to the TV's rear.

There wasn't any remote on display, but a Samsung representative said the TV would feature both a conventional controller and Samsung's Smart Remote.

Regardless of what remote ships with the , it's secondary to the "Smart Interface" -- a suite of motion control, voice control and facial recognition technologies that allow users to control the set through a Kinect-like interface. We're eagerly anticipating the chance to get this set in our lab to conduct a more in-depth test all of these functions.

A camera on the top of the set captures hand gestures and responds to apps and menus accordingly. Expect to wave, grab and push at the air in front of new Samsung TVs like an air traffic controller.

As displayed during Samsung's press conference, voice recognition starts as soon as you say "Hi TV!" and lets you say commands like "Channel two," or "Web browser" to change channels or bring up apps. It may come in handy, though we expect most users to stick to a traditional remote as long as it isn't buried under the cushions.

Since individual users can customize their own settings and app profiles, facial recognition lets people "log in" to the set without entering any personal information except a picture of their face.

Oh, there's also an on/off switch on the front of the set, but that's so 2011.

FI Controls Image

Menu settings were unavailable for us to explore on the show floor, but were demonstrated on an 8000-series LED set during a booth tour. We expect they'll be similar across the lineup.

FI Menu Image 1

Though the has a brand new panel that supposedly improves color and contrast, the most heavily-advertised improvement to Samsung's flagship plasma was a complement of connectivity and user control features. New apps take advantage of cloud-based services and an on-board camera. Gesture control, voice control and face recognition add new ways of interacting with the TV's apps and menus.

The most compelling advances on the are user-interface enhancements. Otherwise, the new seems like a standard update.

Series

There is a 60" and 64" set in this lineup. Samsung says there may be another size available.

Meet the tester

Keith Barry

Keith Barry

Former Editor in Chief, Reviewed Home

@itskeithbarry

Keith was the Editor in Chief of Reviewed's appliance and automotive sites. His work has appeared in publications such as Wired, Car & Driver, and CityLab.

See all of Keith Barry's reviews

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