Samsung UE75ES9000 TV First Look
From a TV point of view, Samsung had a fairly quiet IFA 2012 - a result
mostly, we suspect, of the January Consumer Electronics Show in Las
Vegas being its main focus these days. However, as well as showing an
updated version of its OLED TV (though without any pricing or even
release date) and a very pre-production 70-inch 4K screen, it did have one
startling new ‘definite’ telly to show off: the Samsung UE75ES9000.
Hitting shops very soon, this is a massive 75-inch model (huge screen sizes was definitely a key IFA theme this year) belonging to Samsung’s very highest tier of TVs. It’s actually the first new 9000 model we’ve seen in the UK since 2010, when we received the painfully expensive but extraordinarily pretty, pencil-thin, metal-bodied Samsung UE55C9000.
Samsung UE75ES9000 Design
The high pricing is set to continue, with the Samsung UE75ES9000 set to cost a cool £8,000 or so. The Samsung UE75ES9000 isn’t as slim as its predecessor, though; instead its main design attraction is its distinctive ‘Rose Gold Blush’ colour. Plus, while the set’s rear isn’t as slim as that of the ‘old’ 9000 series, it can hardly be called fat, and the minimal amount of bezel looks puny in the context of the screen acreage it supports.
The Samsung UE75ES9000’s design holds a fun little secret, too: a hidden camera. Tap the centre of the TV’s top edge, and up pops a camera you can use for either Skyping friends and family or, of course, using the gesture control system Samsung has pioneered for its latest TV generation. Push the camera down again when you’re done with it and you’d never know it was there.
Presumably Samsung has discovered that people didn’t like the camera permanently jutting out of the Samsung UE46ES7000 and Samsung UE55ES8000 models for either aesthetic or perceived privacy reasons.
Arguably the single most important point about the Samsung UE75ES9000 is that it’s Samsung’s only TV (for now, at least) to use local dimming. In other words, it can adjust the brightness level of different sectors of its edge LED lights individually, which experience (especially of the Sony KDL-40HX853 series) suggests can deliver a greatly enhanced contrast performance.
Even under the harsh lights of Samsung’s stand it seemed that the Samsung UE75ES9000 delivered on this extra contrast hope, managing to reproduce a bright Samsung logo at the centre of a black backdrop without the bluish undertone to black colours or the obvious backlight clouding that can trouble other Samsung edge LED TVs.
What’s more, we also struggled (admittedly in less than ideal testing conditions) to see much sign of light ‘blocking’ around isolated bright objects, suggesting that the local illumination engine in Samsung’s flagship TV really is of a superior quality. Whether it’s quite as good as Sony’s latest efforts will only become clear when we get a Samsung UE75ES9000 into proper testing conditions.
What certainly was blindingly obvious even under the IFA show lights, though, was how exceptionally vibrantly coloured and bright the Samsung UE75ES9000’s pictures are. The image really stood out from the crowd, causing plenty of oohs and aahs from onlookers. It probably helps this aspect of the picture quality that as well as the local dimming, the Samsung UE75ES9000’s macro dimming system can analyse in real time an astonishing 1152 zones of the picture when trying to calculate the TV’s optimal picture settings. This is twice as many as even Samsung’s ES8000 TVs can manage.
To top all this seemingly impressive performance stuff off, the assorted sumptuous full HD views and skies - including a mesmerising timelapse shot of the stars moving across the sky at night - used for the Samsung UE75ES9000’s showreel all looked crisp and clean. And yet...
We came to the Samsung UE75ES9000 immediately after checking out the latest 4K screens from Toshiba and Sony, and couldn’t help but feel the lack of all those lovely extra pixels on the UE75ES9000’s screen.
The 4K challenge?
This is to some extent unfair, of course; Sony’s upcoming 84in 4K screen will cost at least £20,000 when it comes out, and while Toshiba’s 84in 4K TV likely won’t cost anywhere near that much, it will still likely be priced well above the Samsung UE75ES9000. Based on the fact that Toshiba’s upcoming new 55-inch 4K TV is being positioned below the £7k Toshiba 55ZL2, though, we can say confidently that it will cost substantially less than the Samsung UE75ES9000. So there is perhaps a slight question mark over how much manoeuvre room there is in the premium 1920x1080 TV market.
That said, if as hoped the Samsung UE75ES9000 really does combine a new level of Samsung picture quality with the brand’s exceptional multimedia features and class-leading online service, then it will doubtless find an enthusiastic audience. Especially among those who value design as much as they value technology.