Samsung’s run of super-impressive affordable TVs continues with the TU7020. Offering fine picture quality, class-leading gaming performance and support for plenty of streaming apps it offers excellent value on a budget. HDR performance is limited – as expected – and HDMI connectivity is thin, so this isn’t a convenient set for those with multiple sources.
- Detailed, natural-looking image
- Easy to set up
- eARC support
- Fast gaming performance
- Slightly sluggish UI
- Only two HDMI inputs
- Limited brightness for HDR
- Review Price: £349
- Edge-lit panel
- HDR10. HLG, HDR10+
- Game mode
- eARC support
- Weight: 11.6kg
- HGiG HDR gaming
The Samsung TU7020 sits within the Korean manufacturer’s affordable range of Crystal UHD TVs.
It has virtually the same spec as the TU7100, and comes armed with the brand’s 4K upscaling prowess, HDR support and a bevy of streaming apps via the Tizen OS.
Available in 43- to 75-inch sizes, the Samsung UE50TU7020 (£349) likely hits the sweet spot for size, performance and affordability.
Related: Best Cheap TV
Samsung TU7020 design – Fast set-up gets you watching TV in no time at all
The Samsung TU7020 sports an unobtrusive, well-built design that belies its affordable tag. There’s a reassuring feel to its build quality; the thin bezel gives the display plenty of prominence and the rear’s curved and brushed finish is of similar quality to more expensive models. The all-black finish offers a point of difference to the TU7100’s dark silver appearance.
The TV is supported by feet at either end, but at this size it shouldn’t pose a problem for placement on stands and tables. Unlike other TV brands, the feet offer sufficient clearance to slip a soundbar beneath.
Assembly takes just minutes – simply slot the feet in until they click. It’s a process that should make set-up less intimidating even for tech luddites.
There’s no smart remote, so you’ll have to make do with the standard wand. The layout differs from the more expensive models, and while it’s okay to use, it’s chock-a-block with buttons, some of which are very tiny.
Samsung TU7020 features – Two HDMI inputs disappoints, but core features are excellent
The most impressive aspect of Samsung’s approach is that the core experience is consistent across the range. While not outfitted with the fancier features of its more expensive siblings, the TU7020’s usability, app support and gaming are similar to what you’d see higher up the range.
However, the one area of disappointment is the number of connections. There’s no Bluetooth and the TU7020 has Wi-Fi 4, not Wi-Fi 5. Physical connections include a USB, digital optical, LAN and a terrestrial antenna, but there’s no satellite input and there’s room for only two HDMI. One of them supports eARC, and while that’s a pleasant surprise, having two inputs means swapping in and out of sources if you have a few. That’s not ideal.
Related: Best Dolby Atmos soundbar
Samsung’s Tizen is arguably the class-leading interface within the field. While exclusivity has run out on Apple TV and BT Sport, Apple Music is still under Samsung’s lock and key for now. Other apps supported include Spotify, Tidal, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Now TV. Samsung’s sets don’t support Freeview Play, but you do get its TV Plus service, plus all the UK catch-up and on-demand apps are accounted for along with BBC Sounds.
The interface can be a little sluggish, but not enough to induce fits of rage. While the Samsung TU7020 is SmartThings compatible, that doesn’t extend to operating the TV. SmartThings can be used for set-up, and the TU7020 is compatible with other SmartThings devices. However, the TV doesn’t appear to be compatible with the app, even for set-up purposes.
HDR support covers HDR10, HLG (iPlayer and Sky Q), as well as HDR10+ and the HGiG profile for gaming. HDR10+ is a dynamic metadata HDR format backed by Samsung, and it tailors the HDR performance to the display to refine the TV’s performance given its relative lack of brightness. As always with a Samsung TV, there’s no sign of Dolby Vision.
Related: What is HDR10+?
There is a Game mode, and while there’s no next-gen support for VRR, ALLM or 4K/120Hz, activating it unleashes a class-leading 9.7ms of input lag. Just be sure to put Game mode on “Auto” in the settings so that the TV automatically detects a connected games console or PC.
Audio is delivered via the set’s 2 x 10W speakers. eARC support means it can pass through lossless audio, such as Dolby Atmos, to a compatible soundbar or system.
Related: Best gaming TV
Samsung TU7020 performance – Limited HDR but strong in terms of detail, accuracy and upscaling
The Samsung TU7020’s Crystal Display produces a pleasantly surprising performance. Colours in upscaled HD broadcasts have a natural appearance, far more subtle than some TVs costing twice as much. Watching Countdown, the TU7020 seems to get the various blues of the set just right, the hues of darker and lighter blues well conveyed.
In addition, skin tones are natural, favouring subtlety over outright punchiness. David Dickinson’s “tanned” look could come across as ruddy, but the Samsung TU7020 presents his various shades of orange (and red) without overcooking it. In general, complexions look good in terms of tone and appearance.
Related: Best TV
Motion is solid enough when the Picture Clarity settings are turned on, although movement can invoke a little judder with fast-moving content – the TU7020 has a less than grippy hold on NFL players when they’re grappling with each other. There is an odd artefact that pops up across multiple sources, a slight purple outline around bodies in motion. It’s slight, but noticeable.
Images upscaled by the Crystal Processor 4K are crisply defined and laced with clarity. Fine detail is excellent; whether its textures, objects or faces – the Samsung TU7020 is fantastic at digging up detail wherever it can find it.
And that’s also the case with 4K content, but in a more exacting manner. Ang Lee’s Hulk features widescreen shots of faces in close-up, and the Samsung TU7020 showcases them in fantastic fashion. You can see virtually all the bristles in Sam Elliot’s moustache, or the pores of Jennifer Connelly’s skin.
Related: Best 4K TV
Black levels hold up well – at least head-on – in the sequence from Alien (HDR10+), as the crew of the Nostromo investigate the alien ship. Like the Samsung Q80T, the TU7020’s image offers deep contrasts between the brightest and darkest part of an image, but it means definition in the darker parts are less finely excavated. At wider and acute angles colours lose a little saturation, and blacks can veer towards grey.
HDR performance is limited, although that isn’t a surprise at this price, with skin tones and highlights lacking the boldness you’d find in a premium set. You can boost HDR with the Contrast Enhancer – bumping up the brightness and widening the contrast – although it leeches a little detail out of the image.
That said, we’re happy with the colour performance the Samsung TU7020 offers. The gold tones on the 4K Blu-ray of Whiplash come across well, and the set is capable of displaying a wide range of colours. In the Avatar Blu-ray, colours are displayed with vigour and naturalism that’s tonally more on point than what’d you get from the Hisense A7500F, for example.
The 2019 RU7020 suffered from poor audio, and while the Samsung TU7020 won’t blow any doors down with its sonic ability, its clear delivery avoids sounding hushed or harsh. Voices are given good prominence, while bass is acceptable enough. There’s a decent amount of dynamism, but you can sense there’s a ceiling to its performance. It’s a good effort, but a soundbar would improve upon it.
Related: Best soundbar
Should you buy the Samsung UE50TU7020?
Samsung has already delivered a couple of excellent budget-priced TVs and the TU7020 is another to add to the list. Gaming performance is class-leading, eARC brings Atmos support at an affordable price, and overall picture quality is excellent – although it lacks the fireworks for true HDR.
Given its similarities to the TU7100, that set is another to consider since it features a speedier Wi-Fi 5 connection and has Bluetooth. Otherwise, they’re almost identical aside from the different finishes. There’s also the Hisense Roku TV to consider, similar price and similar features.
And there’s another Samsung contender in the mix. The TU8500 is higher up in the Crystal UHD range and commands a higher price. Down to £499 from £599, it provides an extra HDMI input, more smart features, and improved picture quality. You aren’t short of options when it comes to excellent cheap Samsung TVs.