The UNES7100 Series falls at the higher end of Samsung's 2012 lineup of LED-based LCDs. It shares a lot of performance specs with the top-shelf UNES8000 Series that we recently reviewed (link tk), but it omits a few of the top-tier features you'll find in that series. The UNES7100 includes screen sizes of 46, 55, and 60 inches. Although this write-up focuses on the 60-inch UN60ES7100, the other models in the series offer identical specs.
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The UN60ES7100 uses edge LED lighting and includes Samsung's Micro Dimming technology, which I learned during my review of the UN55ES8000 is not local dimming as I define it. Rather than physically dimming the actual LEDs, Micro Dimming uses a form of electronic dimming in which the processor dims/brightens "zones" within the image itself via the TV's Dynamic Contrast and Black Enhancer tools. The UNES7100's basic Micro Dimming technology doesn't have as many zones as the Micro Dimming Pro and Micro Dimming Ultimate in the UNES7500 and UNES8000, respectively, but I don't expect that to make a huge difference in overall black level and contrast. The UNES8000 Series was capable of producing respectably deep blacks, but its overall contrast and fine shading were not as good as the better plasma and local-dimming LEDs I've tested. Also, it suffered from screen-uniformity issues, a common problem in edge-lit LEDs. On the other end of the spectrum, the UNES8000 was capable of a lot of light output, and the Ultra Clear Panel did a very nice job rejecting ambient light to improve contrast under brighter viewing conditions. Those qualities made the UNES8000 an excellent bright-room performer, and the UNES7100's similar specs suggest similar performance.
The UN60ES7100 has Samsung's Wide Color Enhancer Plus technology and a Clear Motion Rate of 720 (compared with the UNES8000's CMR of 960). CMR determines motion resolution using refresh rate, image processor speed, and scanning-backlight technology. The TV has a true 240Hz refresh rate. The UNES8000 was capable of excellent motion resolution; the UNES7100's slightly lower CMR number means fast motion may not be quite as clear but should still be very good. This TV is also an active 3DTV that uses frame-sequential 3D technology, in which it alternately flashes a full-resolution left-eye and right-eye image. Four pairs of active 3D glasses are included in the package.
The UN60ES7100's attractive design includes a virtually bezel-free front face and a thin, brushed-metal frame that sits on a criss-cross stand (it does not feature the stylishly curved Arch Flow stand found on the UNES8000, but at least this stand swivels). This 60-inch TV has a slim depth of 1.2 inches and weighs just 43.7 pounds without the stand. The input panel includes three HDMI ports, one shared component/composite mini-jack that requires the use of the supplied breakout cable, and an RF input to access the internal ATSC and ClearQAM tuners. There's no PC/RGB input. An Ethernet port is available for a wired network connection, and three USB ports are included--for media playback and the addition of USB peripherals like a keyboard or camera. You can also use a wireless keyboard/mouse combo, thanks to the TV's built-in Bluetooth. Finally, a mini-plug IR jack (called EX-Link) supports RS-232 for integration into an advanced control system.
The setup menu includes a thorough assortment of picture controls, including: manual and automatic backlight adjustment; RGB gain/offset controls; 10p white balance controls; flesh tone adjustment; an advanced color management system; seven gamma presets; and digital/MPEG noise reduction. The Auto Motion Plus menu includes a Clear mode that reduces motion blur without changing the quality of film sources, Standard/Smooth modes that add frame interpolation to reduce film judder and produce smoother motion, and a Custom mode in which you can independently adjust the blur and judder tools. A separate LED Motion Plus control flashes the LEDs to further reduce blur. In the 3D realm, you have access to most of the same picture adjustments, excluding LED Motion Plus, 10p white balance, and Black Enhancer. The 3D menu gives you the option to manually adjust the 3D perspective and depth, perform 3D optimization, swap the left/right images, and perform 2D-to-3D conversion. On the audio side, the UN60ES7100 offers multiple sound modes and features SRS TheaterSound HD.
The UNES7100 Series comes with the basic Samsung IR remote, which is fully backlit and generally intuitive to use. This TV does not include the higher-end Smart Touch Bluetooth-based remote with touchpad/slider functionality, which comes with IR blasters to control other A/V gear. Samsung offers a free iOS/Android control app that replicates the buttons on the IR remote and adds a touchpad slider and virtual keyboard for text entry. The TV's back panel also sports a Jog Control joystick for menu navigation.
The UN60ES7100 is a networkable TV with built-in WiFi and access to Samsung's Smart Hub Web platform. Smart Hub includes Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, CinemaNow, Pandora, Facebook, Skype, and many other services that you can download through the Samsung Apps store (some are free, others are not). A full Web browser is available, DLNA/AllShare media streaming is supported, and the Search All function allows you to search for content across the various VOD services, the Web, and your personal media collection (via USB or DLNA). The UNES7100 Series uses a dual-core processor that allows for multitasking and faster performance, but it lacks the integrated camera that you get on the step-up ES7500 and ES8000 models (you can add a camera via USB). It also lacks the Smart Interaction services found in those higher-end models--that means no voice or motion control. It does offer the new Signature Services apps called Fitness, Kids, and Family Store that allow for a more interactive experience. Family Store is essentially a closed social network in which you invite others to join, then you can share photos and memos.
Read about the high points, low points, competition and conclusion of the Samsung UN60ES7100 on Page 2 . . .