Samsung UE75ES9000 Smart TV review

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posted on Thursday, 1st November 2012 by Steve May

home cinema  Smart  LED 

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Screen sizes are on the march. With 50-inch displays now commonplace the demand for larger panels is growing, and that's good news for custom installers (not to mention TV manufacturers who continue to haemorrhage money).

The UE75ES9000 is Samsung's largest ever consumer LED LCD offering. Sitting at the top of the brand's TV range it apes the advanced functionality found on the ES8000 screens, including gesture recognition and voice control, but offers different cosmetics. The webcam which appears as a raised bump on the frame of those models here pops up from the cabinet itself. The 7.9mm bezel is an unusual rose gold colour, while the pedestal stand is utilitarian rather than avant garde.

The UE75ES9000 is distributed to the CI trade by AWE Europe. Product manager James Drummie told Inside CI that the set is proving to be an easy upsell: "Positioned alongside a 65-inch model, clients usually have no hesitation in opting for the larger screen," he says.

Samsung UE75ES9000: Build and features
This big Samsung is certainly deceptively easy to live with. Viewers quickly get accustomed to the image size. With all the current debate about 4K, it's easy to forget that 1080p doesn't betray any pixel grid structure when watched from 1.5 - 2m away.

The set is extremely well specified. There are three HDMIs (one ARC compliant) of which one supports MHL (Mobile High Definition Link is used by Samsung and others to deliver HD from mobile devices). Scart and component connection is available via adaptors. There are three USBs and an optical audio output. Network connectivity comes via Ethernet or built-in Wi-Fi. Consumers concerned about the upgrade potential of the TV should be satisfied with the Smart Evolution upgrade port. If Samsung decides to migrate from dual core to quad core picture processors next year, they'll apparently be able to purchase a slot-in upgrade.

For installation flexibility, the set offers both Freeview HD and a generic satellite DVB-S2 tuner, which will work with any spare Sky dish LNB feed. 

Samsung has made quite a noise about voice and gesture control in its marketing messages this year. It'll be interesting to see just how much of a draw the set's physical interaction proves to be. Although promoted as future tech in the brand's TV advertising, in practice it's less than satisfying to use. Indeed, gesture control actually becomes more of problem on this larger screen. The integral camera had a real problem indentifying movement if the viewer was sitting close to the display. It invariably took a lot of gesticulation to effect relatively simple commands which could have been done in seconds using traditional control methods. Two remote controls are supplied in the box, a standard Samsung IR and a Smart Touch Bluetooth controller with touch pad, which needs to be paired to a separate BT receiver. 

Similarly voice control enjoyed only sporadic success. There was a lot of shouting at the screen required to simply turn up the volume. At times it feels like you're telling off a naughty child.

Of more immediate appeal is the brand's Smart Portal, which offers a wide range of IPTV services, including Netflix, BBC iPlayer and YouTube. Media streaming via AllShare over network or from USB covers most codecs.

Samsung UE75ES9000: Performance
Inevitably where this 75-inch display really excels is with sheer visual impact. Offering 60 per cent more glass than a 55-inch panel it's big, bright, detailed images are positively seductive. The set does need some work to bring out its best though. Direct from the box, the TV's LED edge-lighting is just too much, with the screen taking on torch-like intensity. The subdued Cinema preset offers welcome relief.

Image clarity is high, and when using Blu-ray as a source the screen looks positively spectacular. Black level performance is good and generally noise-free, provided you sit square on. Installers should note that the ES9000's off-axis performance isn't great, with deep blacks turning rapidly to light greys. This can give a very different viewing experience if you're relegated to the cheap seats.

Motion Plus requires some juggling. It needs to be engaged to preserve motion clarity, as without it resolution drops to around 700 lines. However engaged, the set can create a fair number a lot of motion artefacts - the compromise solution is to use the Custom setting with Blur Reduction at around 7 and Judder set to 0.

Interestingly, the screen exhibits a vertical anomaly at the extreme right and left dges. Looking not unlike a slight shadow, it resembles the 'crease' seen previously on Sony's KDL-55HX923 and appears a consequence of the panel manufacturing process. For the most part, it's not intrusive, although videophile viewers will probably find it an annoyance. 

The set is 3D compatible, with four pairs of Active Shutter glasses bundled. While there's some crosstalk double imaging evident if you're determined to find it, it's not intrusive and doesn't diminish the entertainment value of Ice Age 4: Continental Drift and its ilk.

Perhaps surprisingly, the built-in 2 x15w sound system is rather good. Clearly there are big benefits to be had by providing a separate audio solution, but the set's sound is not too shabby in its own right and is certainly superior the rear-facing speakers favoured by Panasonic on the TX-P65VT50 plasma.

Samsung UE75ES9000: Verdict
Overall the Samsung UE75ES9000 can be considered a high impact display that highlights just where the 'considered purchase' screen market is going. It's arguably not a videophile grade TV, but it is undeniably compelling. It's a panel that's surprisingly easy to live with (even in a modestly sized room) and even easier to sell-up.

The Samsung UE75ES9000 Smart 3D LED TV is available now.
Retail price: £7,999.
CI distribution is via AWE Europe. For more on AWE Europe visit our partner page.

Steve May

Steve is a veteran of the UK consumer electronics industry, having covered it for
various media outlets for more than 20 years.

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Posted by Darren Shear on 2nd November 2012, 2:21 PM
You can get a really good cinema projector and screen for this kind of money, I know what I would choose.
Posted by James Middleton on 5th November 2012, 9:32 PM
Great screen but not sure on black levels still prefer my trusty old Pioneer plasma

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