The Samsung STB-E7500E runs super-fast thanks to the dual-core processor inside. Web pages load instantly, channel changing is quick and it moves between most menu screens in the blink of an eye, although there’s a wait while Smart Hub loads up.
Although there is a really attractive EPG, annoyingly it only displays five channels at once in order to make room for a live TV box. A programme synopsis and a row of options along the bottom also feature. Slick and easy to follow, the Samsung STB-E7500’s EPG offers excellent dialogue boxes for series recording. The Schedule Manager lists the times when the selected show is being broadcast over the coming week.
Elsewhere, onscreen presentation is uniformly excellent – modern and very friendly. The Home menu’s large animated icons and huge text make things nice and simple.
The Setup screen and contextual Tools menu are logical too, plus the Freeview info banner is comprehensive – you can browse any channel up to a week in advance, making it a convenient alternative to the full EPG.
One criticism of the operating system arises when you compare it with Humax’s YouView PVR – Samsung’s Freeview channels and online video streaming are found in two separate areas, whereas the YouView box integrates its catch-up TV content into the main EPG, which feels much more intuitive. What’s more, Humax offers BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand 5; iPlayer is Samsung’s only catch-up TV service.
We didn’t have any trouble getting to grips with the remote. Everything is clearly labelled, and its button layout feels natural and intuitive, with the most commonly used keys – menu, volume, channel change and playback – placed directly under the thumb. But there’s a lot of clutter towards the bottom, which crowds out the important Record button.