We mentioned the set's gesture control technology earlier, and it's fair to say the passage of time hasn't made this feature any more appealing than it was initially. The system still feels frustratingly imprecise, and it now seems clearer than ever to us that we just don't feel comfortable with waving our hands and arms at a TV.
The set's voice control system is more useful, up to a point. Again, perhaps because of our good old British reserve, we don't really feel comfortable barking orders at our TV. But we have found the set's voice recognition tools useful for inputting text into Internet search fields, where typing words in via the remote control would have been a nightmare.
The touchpad remote control Samsung ships with the UE40ES7000 alongside a ‘normal’ handset is probably the best of the touchpad remotes we've seen this year. At least its pad is large and reasonably sensitive. Having to press the pad in to select an option still aggravates given the potential for accidentally moving the cursor as you press, but otherwise it's a pretty reasonable stab at improving the experience of browsing the Web on your TV. Assuming you actually want to browse the web on your TV, which frankly we don't.
Being able to control TVs via second devices like phones and tablets has become a big deal in 2012, and to some extent the UE40ES7000 scores well here, with control apps available for both Android and iOS devices. However, you can only share what your TV screen is showing with Android devices, not iOS ones. This is obviously a decision inspired by Samsung's own Android self-interest, but it’s hard to stomach when other TV brands like Panasonic are largely platform neutral with their app development.
Settling down to watch the UE40ES7000 provides a swift reminder of Samsung's biggest mistake this year: poor picture presets. All of the provided options leave the backlight and contrast settings too high, resulting in over-ripe colours, exaggerated noise and some overt backlight inconsistencies, where the screen's edge LED lighting system fails to illuminate the whole screen evenly.
Thankfully you can largely eradicate this problem - which is only evident during very dark scenes - by reducing the backlight setting to around level 8 on Samsung's (rather limited) scale. You can even go lower if you're in a dark room. We'd strongly recommend, too, nudging the contrast down to around 80 from its 100 starting point.
Also worth dealing with is the TV's irritating - though hardly unique - tendency to leave its noise reduction systems switched on even when you're feeding in an HD source, and the way the set defaults to a 16:9 setting with overscanning rather than defaulting to the pixel-for-pixel Screen Fit option.