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As usual, the UE40B7020's out-of-the-box picture settings are none too impressive - all vulgar colours and exaggerated sharpness, with the result that while pictures might look eye-catching, they don't actually look at all credible.
Thankfully the UE40B7020's Movie preset quickly gets things looking a whole let better, and some quality time spent deactivating the TV's various noise reduction and edge-enhancement settings very soon has HD pictures looking as we'd hoped they'd look: that is, very impressive indeed.
As with the UE46B8000 I tested recently, the single most startling feature of the UE40B7020's pictures is their superb black level response. For even though the TV uses edge-mounted LEDs rather than rear-mounted ones, and so can't support localised dimming, Samsung has managed to deliver phenomenally deep, rich blacks that can sit right alongside dazzlingly bright whites and vibrant colours. There seems to be little if any need for the brightness reduction required by normal LCD TVs when they try to produce a convincing black colour. Especially if you set the Samsung's Black Tone setting to Dark.
Please note, though, that in order to attain the same black level prowess for HD console gaming enjoyed with Blu-ray films, you will for some reason have to change the TV's HDMI Input setting to Low rather than Normal, as well as choosing the TV's dedicated Game mode.
If my talk of deep blacks sitting right alongside bright whites on the UE40B7020 surprises you for a TV with edge-based LED lighting, I suggest you check out the section in the UE46B8000 review. For in that I discuss at some length why Samsung maintains that edge-mounted LED lighting is actually superior in picture quality terms to rear-mounted LEDs, rather than just being a technique useful in helping build slimmer screens.
Moving on, I also found myself hugely impressed by the UE40B7020's colours. As I regularly find with LED screens, there's an intensity and dynamic range to the colourscape that you just don't get with the vast majority of non-LED LCD TVs. There isn't quite the same range and subtlety when it comes to colours that I witnessed on the Sharp LC-52XS1E I reviewed yesterday - but then that TV costs £9,000! Compared more fairly against anything else in the UE40B7020's sub-£1,200 price point, the Samsung's colours look genuinely exceptional.
The UE40B7020 scores with the sharpness of its HD pictures, too. Detail levels are extreme, with facial pores, the weave of clothing and other such HD specialities all being reproduced with aplomb - and without the accompaniment of nasty stuff like dot crawl or ghosted edges. So long, that is, as you avoid the disruptive Edge Enhancement feature the set provides.
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