Samsung UND8000 series
Look closely at that picture. Do you see the edge surrounding the screen? No? Now, imagine what this TV would look like unwrapped and in your living room. As we said in the review: "The all-picture design is a spectacular success, conveying a look in person that will command attention and be worth the exceedingly high price to a certain subset of buyers with cash to burn." No wonder it's the only TV we've ever awarded a 10 in Design.
Samsung UND6400 series
Although not quite as icicle-thin as the UND8000 from the previous slide, the Samsung UND6400 still manages to outdo the frames of the competition by a narrow (get it?) margin. Maybe it's because if that slightly thicker frame that the less expensive UND6400 actually outperforms the UND8000, with one of the better edge-lit pictures of the year.
Sony KDL-NX720 series
Design is subjective, so we understand if some people don't share our enthusiastic appraisal of Samsung's ultrathin, picture-first frames. For them perhaps a different kind of minimalism, embodied by Sony Monolithic styling, is more to taste. These TVs look like featureless black rectangles when turned off, for an undoubtedly sleek look that nonetheless might clash with your holiday bric-a-brac.
Sony XBR-HX929 series
Yes, we're big fans of these Monolithic Sonys, too. The HX929 has a slightly thicker frame and is a bit wider in the depth dimension than the NX720 from the previous slide, but it still maintains that "black-slab-of-death" aesthetic that'll look much better once you pack your tinsel away. It also sports a metal-topped stand and one of the best TV remotes we've ever used.
Samsung PND8000 series
Speaking of remotes, not many can do what the clicker included with Samsung's PND8000 plasma can: allow you to type tweets, status updates and searches for "Eggnog recipes" into the built-in browser--all without the holiday-spirit-sapping hassle inevitably brought by onscreen keyboards. Externally the PND8000 and PND7000 are beautiful, dead ringers for one another. Their thin, metallic, transparent-edged bezels, not to mention inch-deep panels, help them outclass competing plasmas.
Panasonic TC-GT30 series
With its thin frame and panel, you might mistake Panasonic's sleekest plasma TV for an LED-based LCD if you look at it from the side. The GT30's picture stands up a lot better to such off-angle viewing positions than any LCD, though, and in fact competes well with the best TVs on the market. It might not have the design chops of the Samsung 7000/8000 series, but some gift-getters might prefer its more understated exterior.