As HDTVs become more common--some would say commoditized--TV makers go to ever-greater lengths to justify higher price tags. Nobody is going as far as Samsung this year. The company is the only one thus far to announce a full lineup of edge-lit LED-based LCDs, which cost a mint yet offer the most advanced technology and design you can get--at least until OLED comes along.
Each model among the three series of Samsung's lineup measures just 1.3 inches thick, thanks to that LED lighting system, which is also responsible for the TVs' excellent energy efficiency. The UNB7000 series is the middle child in price and features of the three; yet it includes buckets of add-ons, many of them interactive, along with extensive picture adjustments including a cool new tweakable dejudder mode. In our performance testing, encountered some picture quality trade-offs caused by the LED system, namely less-than-perfect uniformity and off-angle viewing, along with the backlights' somewhat distracting fluctuations. These issues keep the UNB7000 series from earning our highest accolades for performance, but in terms of design and features the expensive TVs set a standard that will be tough to beat.
Series note: The Samsung UNB7000 series is available in three screen sizes. We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 46-inch model, the UN46B7000 ($2,999 list), but this review also applies to the other sizes in the series, the 40-inch UN40B7000 ($2,399) and the 55-inch UN55B7000 ($3,799). All three sizes share identical features and specifications. Samsung also has a retailer-specific series currently exclusive to Best Buy, the UNB7100 models, that are identical except for gray coloring, as opposed to red, and with overall cosmetics similar to the step-up UNB8000 series.
Did we mention these TVs are really thin? The UNB7000 measures just 1.2 inches deep at its thickest point, and tapers even thinner toward the edges of the panel. Samsung offers a special thin wall mount, and if you decide to keep the TV on its stand, the thin panel will look equally impressive from the side.
Aside from the obvious thinness, the LEDs allows a couple other design bonuses. The UNB7000 runs a lot cooler than other LCD and especially plasma displays producing a similar about of light, and the panel itself weighs less than other models.