The 46D7000’s 3D pictures look brighter, more colourful, more detailed and deeper than they did last year too, adding up to a 3D picture that we’d class as the best overall that we’ve seen so far.
The 46D7000 is a terrific 2D performer, too. Without Samsung’s surprisingly comfortable 3D glasses on, it’s easy to appreciate, for instance, the profound depth of its black level response. After a little calibration, there’s almost none of the greyness or backlight inconsistency over dark scenes that we usually associate with edge LED lighting.
Colours are outstanding too, achieving an uncanny balance between gorgeously rich saturations and the sort of tonal credibility and blend subtlety that helps make pictures look both believable and rich.
The 46D7000’s HD images are pin-sharp and ultra-detailed too – among the sharpest we’ve seen in fact. And this is without calling on the services of the set’s rather over-the-top edge enhancement and sharpness-boosting options.
Tied in with the 46D7000’s impeccable sharpness is its improved motion handling. This was good, last year, provided you were careful with the Motion Plus processing, but this year, Motion Plus works its magic at reducing blur and judder while creating fewer side effects. As always, moreover, we greatly appreciated the exceptional flexibility Samsung provides for adjusting Motion Plus to suit your tastes, with separate ‘sliding bar’ strength adjustments for the judder and blur components of the processing.
In keeping with the last couple of generations of Samsung TVs, the 46D7000 does an excellent job of upscaling 2D material too, adding detail without exaggerating source noise.
Usually at this point we’d start to moan about how excellent Samsung picture quality is let down by another impoverished audio performance from the TV’s slender bodywork. But amazingly, this time it’s different. There’s a genuine sense of bass to the soundstage, a more open mid-range complete with a little breathing room to expand into during action scenes, and trebles sound clean but seldom shrill. Blimey.
So is the 46D7000 perfect? Not quite. There’s still residual 3D crosstalk, as noted earlier, especially over very bright sequences. And it’s a shame you only get one pair of Active shutter glasses included as standard.
We occasionally got the impression, too, that the central third of the image was slightly less bright than the outer two-thirds, though this wasn’t as obvious as on the 55D8000, and frankly hardly warrants a mention at all.
The final niggle is one you get with the vast majority of other LCD TVs, namely a drop off in colour and contrast if you watch the TV from much of an angle.
While last year’s Samsung 7000 models represented a significant step down in quality from its 8000 models, this year’s D7000 models are all-but identical. Which is to say they give you the same outstanding performance level for around £100 less in a slightly less flash but still lovely design. In other words, they’re another reason for the 2011 competition to feel really rather scared…