First to grab your attention is a new, beautifully presented central hub menu screen, from where you can access all the TV’s AV inputs, multimedia file types, electronic programme guides, USB recordings, apps, video streaming services, an open Internet browser... pretty much everything, really. There’s even a universal search option on this hub that lets you look for content across every source on your TV - including the Internet at large, if you want.
Highlights of the new Smart service include LoveFilm, Yahoo, Skype, Acetrax, Twitter, Facebook, and GoogleMaps. There are also around 40 more niche gaming/information/news apps available as optional downloads. Currently these are all free, though you can bet that some you have to pay for will appear as the platform develops.
The UE40D7000’s specifications are impressive. In fact, unlike last year’s C7000 models, which represented a quite significant drop down in spec and performance from the C8000 series, the D7000 is actually identical in spec to the D8000 series. Its just that its design is a touch less opulent-looking, as it lacks the metallic flourishes of its slightly more expensive siblings.
Among the feature highlights are Samsung’s ‘800CMR’ (Clear Motion Rate) system for enhanced motion fluidity and sharpness, local dimming of the edge LED lighting, and a very long list of picture tweaks. These include gamma controls, white balance adjustment, and a full colour management toolset. You can even manually set the amount of processing effort the set’s motion processing system applies to judder and blur reduction - a great touch given how tolerances to different levels of processing differ from person to person.
In action the 40D7000 is a mostly outstanding performer - the best 40in edge LED TV we’ve seen so far, in fact. The main reason we say this is that its black level response is so good, combining deep, genuinely dark black colours (with much less of the bluish tinge seen before from Samsung) with an impressively even brightness level right across the screen. There’s a tiny bit of extra glow in the set’s corners, but it really is only noticeable when there’s a very bright object in the centre of an almost totally dark backdrop - a scenario that only rarely crops up in normal viewing conditions.
What’s even better about the 40D7000’s deep black levels is that they’re achieved without compromising brightness anywhere near as much as you might expect. This means that images with a mixture of dark and light content look exceptionally dynamic and punchy for an LCD TV, as the set doesn’t seem to make as many compromises to brightness and black depth as most LCD TVs would with such tricky material.