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The main sticking point is the TV's price, however, which is a staggering $2,800.

Front


The front of the UN46B7100 shows off the TV's large display and glossy bezel. Underneath the Samsung logo is the power touch button.

 

Back


The back of the TV has an J-shaped groove, which contains all the TV's ports. For information about these ports, see our Connectivity section.

 

Sides


The only interesting thing about the sides is how ridiculously thin they are. The TV is just 1.2 inches deep.

 

Stand/Mount


The stand is comprised of a clear column that runs down into a large flat base. The base has a beveled edge with four little pads on the bottom.

 

Controls


The only control on the TV itself is the power touch button, on the front of the TV.

 

Remote Control


The Samsung UN46B7100's remote is the standard design. It features good button layout, a backlight that can be turned on with a button press, and a slightly uncomfortable form factor. The bottom part of the remote has a little tail that feels a bit awkward in hand.

 

In The Box*(7.0)*


In the box you'll find the TV, its remote, batteries for the remote, a cleaning cloth, and manuals.

The TV isn't too difficult to set up, but it's a bit awkward to drop the TV into the right spot on its stand if you're flying solo. Recruit a buddy and it's smooth sailing.

 

Aesthetics*(9.0)*


This TV looks awesome. It's thin, has an attractive design, and doesn't have any extraneous buttons or flourishes. We like the styling on the bezel, which has a clear plastic outline around it. The TV doesn't exactly explode the HDTV aesthetic and reshape it in its image; it's the execution on each of its minor details that make this TV look great. 

Black Level*(7.43)*


Black level is a measurement of how much light the TV outputs on an all black screen. The lower the light output, the darker the black will appear. A deep black is important, because it allows the TV a wider range for differentiation between dark colors, and allows the TV to have a higher overall contrast ratio.

When we first measured the Samsung UN46B7100's black level we got a reading of 0.13 candelas per meter squared (cd/m2), which is pretty good. Typically anything below 0.15 is good, with anything below 0.10 cd/m2 qualifying as really good.

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We should note that the UN46B7100 has a dynamic backlight that can't be turned off. This means, once the TV is convinced it's showing a dark scene, the backlight will drop down, enabling the set to produce darker colors with greater ease. This feature would be fine if it were option, but as it is, it basically limits the amount of bright detail you can achieve in dark scenes. 

 

Peak Brightness*(8.92)*


In this test we measure how bright the Samsung UN46B7100 is able to get when displaying a pure white screen. A high peak brightness is important, both because it results in a higher contrast ratio and because it can help prevent external light sources from washing out the image on screen.

We measured the UN46B7100 at 356.53 cd/m2, which is a very high peak brightness. You shouldn't run into any issues arising because the UN46B7100 is too dim.

 

Contrast*(7.83)*


Human eyes are very sensitive to contrast, which is the difference between the brightest white and darkest black the TV is capable of. The Samsung UN46B7100's contrast ratio works out to 2742:1, which is a solid contrast ratio. Most LCDs have issues with contrast ratio, because they aren't capable of getting a deep black. The UN46B7100 shows it's no slouch in this regard.

 

Tunnel Contrast*(9.79)*


Ideally, black level shouldn't change when the image on screen changes. On some TVs, however, the black level will rise when most of the screen is bright. On this test, we check how the black level changes as the dark area shrinks. As you probably guessed from the score, the UN46B7100's black level remained more or lest constant throughout our test. It won't matter if the screen is 90% black or 5%: you'll get roughly equivalent black levels for each.

 

White Falloff*(6.80)*


This test is the opposite of the one above. Instead of checking for fluctuations in black level, we're examining brightness. Plasmas have some severe issues with this test, because it requires too much power to produce a full-screen white.

You can see that the brightness stays relatively stable throughout until the block of white was just 5% of the screen. At this point, the dynamic backlight kicked in, resulting in a 30% drop in brightness. While we understand the appeal of a dynamic backlight, we don't understand why the feature can't be turned off. Although it does allow for deeper blacks, it also results in a loss of clarity in all the non-dark parts, as illustrated by this test.

 

Uniformity*(7.25)*


The uniformity of the Samsung UN46B7100's display varied sharply between an all-white screen and an all-black screen. With the white screen we saw a small amount of darkening at the corners, but no problems in the center of the display and an overall smooth appearance. With the all-black screen, however, we saw significant brightening at the corners, that extended well into the main display. We also saw blotches of light in the center of the display and along the edges. Edge lit displays like the UN46B7100 actually have their backlights lined along the edge of the display and then bounce them off materials behind the display to try and even things out. It looks like Samsung still needs to do some work in this area.

 

Greyscale Gamma*(8.65)*


The Gamma curve is the curve along which a television makes the transition in the greyscale from dark to light. When we first measured the Samsung UN46B7100's gamma curve it came out close to 3.0, which is significantly higher than our ideal of 2.1 to 2.2. Thankfully the UN46B7100 offers a gamma controls that runs from +/- 3. Adjusting this control up to +3 and running our test again we measured the UN46B7100's gamma at a much better 2.47. This is still a little bit higher than we'd like, but is close enough that it shouldn't be a problem.

This is good because a gamma that's too aggressive can reduce the perceived contrast on the display, and as we mentioned in our contrast section above the human eye is very sensitive to this.

 

Resolution Scaling*(8.48)*


The Samsung UN46B7100 has a resolution of 1920 x 1080, and supports full 1080p content. The 'p' stands for progressive, which means all 1080 lines of content from top to bottom are displayed at once. This is the highest quality of HD content available, although it's generally only available from Blu-ray discs. Most of the content you'll see on your HDTV will come in a different format, and in this section we look at how well the UN46B7100 handled that content.

480p*(8.75)*

This is standard definition content, which comes in two flavors. In both cases you get 480 lines of resolution from top to bottom. This is the standard definition content you get from broadcast television or from DVDs. The Samsung UN46B7100 had some problems with overscan, meaning it cut off parts of the display. In this case it cut off 3% of the content on all sides. Thankfully that was the only major problem we detected, there were no problems with with moire patterns, which can appear in complex patterns, legibility or resolution.

720p*(7.95)*

This is the lowest resolution of content that quaifies as HD, with 720 lines of content from top to bottom. 720p is used on the internet and sometimes by sports broadcasts. The Samsung UN46B7100 had the most problem with 720p content. There were no oversan issues, but we did notice some cross-hatch patterns that appeared when the HDTV was displaying complex patterns. We also noticed problems with displaying high resolution patterns. The problems weren't so bad that the television was unwatchable, but they were there.

1080i*(8.75)*

This level of HD content has the same resolution as 1080p, but the 1080 lines of resolution are alternated between two sets of 540 lines and interlaced together, which is what the 'i' stands for. Broadcast HD is 1080i because it cuts the signal that has to be sent in half. The Samsung UN46B7100 had no problems displaying 1080i content.

Color Temperature*(8.96)*


Like anything that emits light your HDTV puts off a certain temperature of light. The industry standard for color temperature is 6500 Kelvin (K) and we adjust calibration on HDTVs to get as close to this number as possible. It's extremely important that color temperature stay stable whatever a television is displaying. This is because variations in color temperature can cause blue or yellow casts to the content on your HDTV. Below you can see a graph of the Samsung UN46B7100's color temperature across the greyscale, from black to white.

 

RGB Curves*(8.07)*


The Samsung UN46B7100 did a good job in this test, with some variation from the mean, but not enough to cause serious problems. This can be seen more clearly in the graph below. Here we plot the same data as above in a color space. The red circle on the graph indicates the area within which the human eye is incapable of perceiving changes in color temperature. You can see that the vast majority of points fall within this circle, indicating that the UN46B7100's variation in color temperature will have little impact on your viewing experience.

Below we've compared the RGB curves of the UN46B7100's and a few competing HDTVs.

 

 

 

Color Gamut*(4.32)*


All HDTVs must display colors in the same way, matching an international standard known as Rec.709. This is done to ensure that the colors you see on your television are the same as the colors the creator of the content wanted you to see. Below you can see a graph of the Samsung UN46B7100's measured color gamut against Rec.709.

The Samsung UN46B7100 did not perform particularly well in this test. You can see from the graph that there was significant error across the board and especially in the blue to red range. This means that you can expect the colors on the UN46B7100 to be slightly off from the colors the content produce actually wanted you to see. Few HDTVs actually do well in this test, but the UN46B7100 was poor enough to fall below our average score of 5.31. For those geeky enough to be interested the exact color coordinates defining the UN46B7100's color gamut are listed below.

Motion Smoothness*(8.0)*


The Samsung UN46B7100 supports a 120Hz refresh rate, which is twice the standard 60Hz. LCD manufacturers have been increasing refresh rate in an attempt to reduce motion blur, with some televisions up to 240Hz now. On the Samsung UN46B7100 the 120Hz refresh rate seems to help significantly reduce motion blur. The blur reduction tool can be tweaked along a scale from 0 to 10. You can also adjust judder reduction in the same way.

Motion Artifacting*(7.0)*


Unfortunately the Samsung UN46B7100 didn't do as well with motion artifacting as it did with motion blur. Artifacts are things that appear on the display that shouldn't be there, usually due to a processing problem. The biggest problem with the Samsung UN46B7100 in this area was a very obvious rolling shutter effect, which is noticeable in white and black areas of the display. We also saw some areas of leading and trailing brightness that shouldn't be there.

 

3:2 Pulldown & 24fps*(7.5)*


3:2 pulldown refers to the process by which an HDTV takes a broadcast signal that comes in at 60 frames per second (fps) and turns it into a 24fps image. This is necessary when you are watching a film that should be displayed at 24fps to give it that film-like look. The Samsung UN46B7100 did a decent job of this. We look at a test pattern and noticed only minor errors due to processing. When looking at test footage we noticed a slight 'jaggy' effect on the screen, but nothing major. The Samsung UN46B7100 is also capable of handling native 24fps content that comes in from a DVD or Blu-ray player, although we should mention that you probably want to turn off the 120Hz refresh rate when watching such content to retain the film-like look.

Viewing Angle*(5.66)*


The Samsung UN46B6000's viewing angle isn't the best we've seen. Once you get 27° away from center, you'll be viewing the picture at 50% contrast. Once you're 40° or more away from center, you'll only see between 10% and 20% contrast. Below we've compared the UN46B7100 to some competing models. 

 

Reflectance*(2.5)*


The Samsung UN46B7100 has a very reflective display. External light isn't just mirrored back at you, it creates a star pattern on the screen. Even when the light is at an angle, it creates streaks across the screen. You should be very careful about how you set up the UN46B7100 to make sure that stray lights don't shine on the display.

 

Video Processing*(2.5)*


The UN46B7100 has a handful of video processing features. Most of them have a relatively minor effect, if they have an effect at all.

 

Calibration


DisplayMate_Logo.jpg
Very few TVs come out of the box precisely calibrated to offer the best possible picture. To make sure we're scoring based on a TV's best possible performance, our first step in the review process is to calibrate the set. To do so, we use a CS-200 ChromaMeter to take measurements and DisplayMate, which is a television calibration program.

Below are all the settings we used to achieve optimal picture quality. While these settings will be fine for most users, you can alternatively pay someone to come into your home to calibrate your TV for you. The bonus of purchasing this service is your TV will be specifically calibrated to fit your viewing environment.

 

 

Video Modes


As with most HDTVs, the Samsung UN46B6000 offers several different preset video modes. We've listed all these modes below, along with Samsung's description for each. 

 

Samsung-UN46B7100-remote.jpg
Ergonomics & Durability*(5.85)*


At first glance the Samsung UN46B7100's remote looks similar to the remotes we've seen from other Samsung HDTVs. There's a glossy finish and a nicely curved back. The buttons provide good key travel, but could provide better tactile feedback. The balance is good, the remote is bottom-weighted so it gets a little more precarious as you move your hand towards the top. We love the backlight on the remote, which has a dedicated button to turn on/off and gives off a comfortable orange glow when turned on.

The UN46B7100's remote has a strange plastic 'wing' that juts out from the bottom. Although this wing can be useful for scratching your back, or reaching something that's a few inches out of arm's length, it makes for an awkward grip.

 

Button Layout & Use*(6.10)*


The Samsung UN46B7100's buttons are laid out slightly differently from other Samsung remotes. The most obvious difference is that the Volume/Channel buttons and the D-Pad have swapped places, so the D-Pad sits above the Channel/Volume controls and just below the number pad. This still places most of the key controls in easy reach of most people's hands when holding the remote at neutral, although those with small hands may have to stretch just a bit. The labeling on the buttons is very good with large text, although some of the abbreviations used can be a bit arcane. We were happy with the wide range of angle that the HDTV responds to.

 

Programming & Flexibility*(1.0)*


The Samsung UN46B7100 cannot be used as a universal remote, but it can control other Samsung devices connected via HDMI using their Anynet+ technology. We're not big fans of proprietary systems like this, but will award one point for it.

Input Ports*(4.0)*


Due to its design, the UN46B7100 is a bit sparse on the ports. It has 4 HDMIs, a set of component video inputs, a VGA in, an analog audio in, and a 3.5mm audio in.

 

Output Ports*(2.0)*


The TV has two output ports: analog audio and digital audio.

 

Other Connections*(4.0)*


The UN46B7100 has an Ex-link port and a LAN port. The Ex-link will help you connect other devices to the TV and the LAN port grants you the magic of internet connectivity.

 

Media*(2.0)*


The TV also has two USB ports, which will allow you to view media from a USB device.

 

Placement*(5.5)*


The TVs design doesn't leave a lot of space for ports, is is the downside of an otherwise awesome TV design. The port placement is kind of awkward, jutting out at an angle

Audio Quality*(4.0)*


We weren't impressed with the Samsung UN46B7100's audio quality. The sound was very flat and weak on the high end, regardless of sound mode. The mode that sounded the best was music mode, but then it was too loud in the high end. If you spent some time messing around with the equalizers you could probably get something bearable.

There was a surround sound mode, but as with many TVs, it was mainly a 'make actions sound slightly better' toggle. It gave the sound a bit more presence and depth, but it didn't really create the illusion of surround sound.

In summation, we'd probably recommend buying an external speaker setup with this TV.

 

Menu Interface*(7.5)*


The Samsung UN46B7100's menu system is the same that we've seen on other recent model Samsung HDTVs. There is a tabbed interface that takes up the left side of the display with the tabs arranged at the far left. Most of the interface is taken up with a list of menu options, with various controls like sliders, pop-up menus and sub menus. These are consistent, so you won't have to figure out how to use multiple types of sliders.

There's a very helpful information box at the bottom of th menu that gives you a clear idea what the selected function will do. The menu is navigated using the directional pad on the remote. Overall the interface is simple and easy to use. Most of the more obscure and advanced functions are hidden in sub-menus, so the average user won't be overwhelmed by them.

The one qualm we have with Samsung's menu system is that there's two 'advanced' menu, the Advanced Settings menu and the Picture Options menu. These two menus could've been slightly better labeled, because it's not immediately obvious which one will have the setting you're looking for.

 

Manual*(0.0)*


Like other Samsungs, the UN46B7100 has a manual loaded onto a USB drive. The information on the USB drive can only be accessed by plugging it into one of the USB ports on the HDTV. There's also a more traditional quick setup guide, which walks you through connections, but there's no paper version of the full manual. The problem with a USB manual that only works with the HDTV is that if the television isn't working neither is your manual. We recommend you download the PDF version from Samsung's website.

Formats*(10.5)*


The Samsung UN46B7100 is a full 1080p television, which means it can natively support the highest quality of HD content, which is usually only found from Blu-ray discs. It can also handle all of the other standard formats. For content that is supposed to be viewed at 24 frames per second, it supports this natively if you have a DVD or Blu-ray disc, or it can perform the 3:2 pulldown process for broadcast content. Finally the UN46B7100 supports the xvYCC expanded color gamut, although you'll need content that comes with that specific color gamut and this is not widely available yet.

 

Photo Playback*(6.0)*


The Samsung UN46B7100 can play photos off a USB device or over the network. Both options lead to the same viewer, which is a strip of photo thumbnails. You can enlarge the selected photo by pressin the center select button of your remote's directional pad. This takes it full screen where you can zoom and rotate the photo. There's also a photo slideshow option, with support for background music if it's also stored on the USB device or available on your network. The biggest problem we saw with the photo interface is that it was a bit slow to respond.

 

Music & Video Playback*(3.0)*


Music and video playback are both supported from either an attached USB device or over your network. The interface is very similar to that we saw from photo playback, with a strip of either music or video files that you can move between and with multiple sorting options. Music playback is limited to Mp3 files, but video playback supports a wide variety of options including AVI, MKV, ASF, MP4, 3GPP, PS, TS. That last refers to ripped DVD files, which is a nice feature you don't often see. Once again we noticed a bit of a slowdown, and we were also dissapointed that there's no support for AAC or WMA music files or WMV and MOV video files.

 

Streaming Playback*(3.0)*


The Samsung UN46B6000's internet connectivity options offer the potential for a whole new world of online content. Unfortunately as of now it's pretty limited. Samsung offers a variety of online widgets, giving you access to services like Twitter, USA Sports, weather amongst others. From a media standpoint, however, all you get is support for Flickr and Yahoo's video site. It's dissapointing that we don't have access to services like Hulu, Youtube and Netflix, which is where the real promise of a web connected television lies. To be fair, however, this is more the fault of content companies rather than Samsung.

 

Other Media*(0.0)*


The Samsung UN46B6000 does have additional media options like a built-in DVR, DVD or Blu-ray player.

Power Consumption*(8.92)*


One of the touted benefits of LED backlit televisions is lower power consumption, and the Samsung UN46B7100 would seem to deliver in this area. To test power consumption we adjust the backlight to get the brightness level as close to 200cd/m2 as possible. In the case of the Samsung UN46B7100 this was achieved by putting the backlight at a setting of 5. We the run a standard video and check to see how much power is being draw at 2, 4 and 6 minutes. You can see our results below.

The Samsung UN46B7100 turned out to draw an average of 106.73 Watts at a backlight level of 5, which is above average for all HDTVs and is the best score put up by a television 46-inches or larger that we have reviewed. You can see below that the UN46B7100 beat out all three of our comparison HDTVs. The outlier is our Plasma model, which tend to be power hogs.

 

Value Comparison Summary


This one is a pretty easy comparison: the B7100 has better online features, but the B6000 has marginally better picture quality. In our opinion, the B7100's expanded online content library makes up for the $200 difference. The test results were so similar 99% of people wouldn't notice the difference.

Blacks & Whites


These scores were very similar. The B7100 has a slightly higher black level and brightness. The B6000 has a better contrast ratio overall.

 

Color Accuracy


Although their color temperatures shift in different ways, both TVs erred in equal amounts. The B6000 had a slightly better color response and both TVs had the same gamut.

 

 

 

Motion


Both TVs handled blur well, but the B6000 dropped the ball on artifacting.

 

Viewing Effects


Both TVs had similarly shallow viewing angles.

 

Connectivity


Since the B6000 has a different, thicker form factor, it was able to squeeze in more ports.

 

Other Comparisons


The main difference between the two TVs is their internet content. The B7100 is simply capable of doing much more with its LAN port.

Value Comparison Summary


The Vizio is a great TV for its price. It has 120Hz, but doesn't have the Samsung's online capabilities. The Vizio is also thicker and doesn't have the Samsung's aesthetic appeal. This battle is mainly dependent on your budget.

**

Blacks & Whites**


The Samsung just about sweeps the Vizio in this section. The one area the Vizio comes out on top is peak brightness, and it's by a negligible amount.

 

Color Accuracy


The Vizio squeaks past the Samsung on color accuracy. The differences are very minor, however, and the average viewer wouldn't notice a difference between the two.

 

 

 

Motion


Both TVs had very similar results on our blur and artifact tests. Neither one had serious issues in either area, although the Samsung tended to have slightly more artifacting than the Vizio.

Viewing Effects


The Vizio had a solid viewing angle for an LCD. It managed to beat the Samsung by a small margin.

Connectivity


The Vizio has a wider selection of ports, but lacks the Samsung's LAN and USB options.

Other Comparisons


The Samsung's online content is one main difference between the two TVs. With the Samsung you can access Yahoo! content, including Flickr. It also has two USB ports for viewing media on a flash drive. 

Value Comparison Summary


While the Panasonic is very inexpensive for its size and is capable of impressive blacks, it has issues with anything bright. The Samsung has comparable picture quality with less artifacting and a better feature set, but you'll have to shell out an extra $1800 for the privilege.

Blacks & Whites


The Panasonic had a much deeper black, but had some serious issues outputting bright colors. This seriously hurt its contrast ratio, although it's still higher than the Samsung's.

 

Color Accuracy


While the Samsung doesn't have any real issues with color temperature, the Panasonic was basically perfect. Its color temperature never strayed far enough to be perceptible. The Samsung had better color representation and a more accurate gamut, although it didn't out-perform the Panasonic by a significant margin.

 

 

 

Motion


The Panasonic had some issues with artifacting. Both TVs handled blur well.

 

Viewing Effects


The Panasonic, as a plasma, didn't have any issues with viewing angle.

 

Connectivity


The Panasonic has more analog audio inputs, but is otherwise has the same poor port selection as the Samsung.

 

Other Comparisons


The Samsung's online content is one main difference between the two TVs. With the Samsung you can access Yahoo! content, including Flickr. It also has two USB ports for viewing media on a flash drive. 

 

Samsung 7 Series


The Samsung 7 series is comprised of a bunch of thin LED LCD HDTVs. The TVs feature 120Hz refresh rates, can play media off a USB flash drive, and can stream online content.

Meet the tester

Alfredo Padilla

Alfredo Padilla

Editor

Alfredo Padilla is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.

See all of Alfredo Padilla's reviews

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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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