Movies are slowly becoming available in 4K Blu-ray, there’s now greater number of 4K sources, whether its Xbox One S – or streaming service such as Netflix.
However, as great as Samsung's flagship KS9000TV is, it’s more than a bit expensive at around £2,000 lying around. Happily, you can still get one of the best 4K HDR experiences available today by opting for Samsung's entry-level SUHD TV for 2016, the Samsung KS7000. And now it’s even cheaper because of Black Friday..
Prices for the KS7000 start at a much more palatable £1,099 for the 49" version, and around £900 for Black Friday – and that’s the one we’re testing today. Even without the Black Friday discount, that's £500 less than the 49in KS9000 – a significant saving. It's also available in 55", 60in, and 65" sizes (the UE55KS7000, UE60KS7000 AND UE65KS7000), and image quality should be similar across the range.
Design-wise, the KS7000 is different from the rest of Samsung's SUHD range. Instead of opting for the floating stand design of its pricier stablemates, the KS7000 has two sets of feet that slot in at either end of the TV. You'll need a table or TV stand at least as wide as the TV itself to accommodate it, however. The KS7000 can be wall-mounted too.
Generally, I'm not a fan of foot-stand designs since they often don’t look as elegant as traditional central stands. However, Samsung's take on it here is the best I've seen, as they slot into place, no screwdriver required. This makes setting up the KS7000 far easier than the KS9000.
The KS7000's bezels are also super-slim, allowing its 10-bit Quantum Dot panel to take centre stage. This is Samsung's own kind of LCD technology, and the results are impressive. Straight out of the box, our colorimeter showed it was displaying an impressive 98.9% of the sRGB colour gamut in Standard mode; it covered a full 100% when set to Movie. The black level was fantastic as well, hitting an ultra-low 0.05cd/m2 in Movie mode.
I'd expect no less from a TV that qualifies for the Ultra HD Alliance's UHD Premium badge, which guarantees you're getting the best 4K HDR experience currently available. To meet these requirements, a TV must have a 10-bit panel that displays at least 95% of the DCI-P3 colour gamut (a much wider colour space than standard sRGB), have HDR support, a peak brightness of 1,000cd/m2, and a black level that doesn't exceed 0.05cd/m2.
I wasn't able to measure a peak brightness that high using my X-Rite i1 Display Pro colorimeter, but it still recorded a mighty impressive 850cd/m2 using an HDR test disc and a white pattern that occupied 10% of the screen. That should offer plenty of brightness for most types of content, and our 4K Blu-ray discs certainly didn't look any worse for it.
The Lego Movie still had plenty of punch, for example, with highlights looking eye-searingly bright across the board. Likewise, the flaming debris and flashes of lightning in the penultimate fight scene of Batman vs Superman looked stunning, with clipping kept to a minimum. Colours displayed plenty of depth and contrast levels were excellent.
Much like Samsung's curved TVs, image quality does deteriorate slightly as you move away from the centre of the screen, but it’s nowhere near as pronounced as its curved sibling. This makes the KS7000 a better fit for large and small rooms alike, as you should be able to see the screen fairly clearly no matter how many people you have crowded around it.
The Samsung KS7000 is in its element when it's displaying native 4K HDR content, but its SUHD Remastering Engine also does a brilliant job of upscaling regular Blu-rays and HD TV channels. Our Star Trek Blu-ray, for instance, still looked wonderfully sharp and crisp, and was packed with plenty of detail – everything from wisps of messy hair to individual tufts of grass – so you shouldn't have to play around with the noise-reduction settings too much to achieve the best picture.
Gamers will get good use out of the KS7000 as well. Switch to the TV’s dedicated Game mode and our Leo Bodnar lag tester shows that you’ll get a decent response time of just 22ms. That's 0.5ms slower than the KS9000 – but you'd be hard-pushed to notice, even in the twitchiest of first-person shooters. It's certainly better than the 121ms response time I measured in Movie mode (again slower than the KS9000's equivalent), but it's worth noting that only Movie mode offers the full two-point and ten-point white balance settings, so you won't necessarily be able to get such an accurate picture with Game mode enabled.
The only thing I wasn't so keen on was Samsung's Auto Motion Plus feature, which inserts extra artificial frames to help make playback look smoother. The Auto setting did a reasonable job in most instances, but I still noticed the odd glitch, particularly on smaller moving objects. Large swathes of highly detailed clothes also tended to blur together a little, so I'd recommend turning it off.