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Samsung UA55C7000 review: Samsung UA55C7000

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The Good So many features!. Great Blu-ray pictures. Best remote control yet. Integrated PVR with the addition of a USB drive. Two sets of 3D glasses included.

The Bad 3D is a slow drive through Wrong Town. 2D-to-3D conversion is fun, but when it gets it wrong it's awful. DVD's display softness.

The Bottom Line While 3D is probably one of the weakest aspects of this television, the 55-inch Samsung UA55C7000's abilities in other areas almost make up for it.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.7 Overall

Review Sections

Design

We wouldn't want to be TV designers, particularly for televisions such as LG's LX9500, which has virtually nothing to design. Samsung's designers had a bit more clay to play with when they were planning the C7000 television, and the result is a glossy black TV with a silver accent at the bottom. It's a slim TV too, and some might say too slim as it needs adapters for everything as it's not thick enough to support full-sized connectors at the rear. It's an anorexic 26.5mm, from front to back — which is probably more important if you hang it on a wall, but most people won't.

The most striking thing about this TV isn't the panel itself though, but the stand. It's delightfully 60's sci-fi kitsch and helps extricate it from the army of black plastic blobs out there in stand land. But despite its chrome looks it's actually made of plastic — hard-wearing plastic obviously — but we would have preferred actual metal.

Another way the TV differentiates itself is with the remote control. While it's not as cool as the model that will ship with the C9000 later in the year it's still pretty natty. In fact, we think it's the best TV remote we've seen up until this point. While in all honesty we'd probably still junk it and get a Harmony One, it's got a luxurious metal finish and laser-etched keys for use in the dark. It's also much easier to use than the Sony NX700 remote we looked at previously.

Features

What did you want to know? Yes, this is a 3D television built from an edge-lit LED design. While 3D free-to-air is coming, the majority of the content you'll probably watch initially will be 3D Blu-ray movies. Well, not so many titles. Would you believe a single title? The beauty of the 3D Blu-ray specification is that you can use any player, and while we used the accompanying Samsung BD-C6900 for our testing you could use any player. The C7000 ships with two pairs of coin-battery-operated glasses, with additional glasses worth AU$99 and rechargeable models costing AU$129.

If you look beyond 3D, the next and probably more important feature is media streaming and internet connectivity. Like the Blu-ray player, the TV ships with a program called Internet@TV, which is a combination of net applications and catch-up TV in the form of services such as BigPond TV. The company also offers a feature called AllShare, which is a DLNA client that enables you to slurp files across your network to watch on your TV.

The device has two USB ports, one of which accepts the optional wireless dongle and the other accepts hard drives. These drives can be used to playback media if you don't have a network attached or can be used for timeshifting or to record shows via the TV's single tuner.

Yes, this TV does have an embarrassment of features. To prove it, in the coming months you can also bung on an optional AU$150 Skype camera and use the TV to "phone home".

If you want to plug stuff in then there are plenty of avenues available to you. The first is four HDMI 1.4 ports, which include a return audio channel and potentially Ethernet in the one cable as well. But as there is very little 1.4 spec equipment available and even fewer cables this is something we couldn't test. Unfortunately, all of the other ports require proprietary adapters — which are included — which is a shame as these are something you could quite easily lose. The ports include a component connector, two AV ins, Ethernet, and a D-Sub for PC connection.

Performance

At the recent unveiling of its 3D TV we were almost impressed by the TV's capabilities, but what we saw then and afterwards in our studio didn't correlate, unfortunately. Yes, we're a little cynical about 3D, but we think that with some effort it can be done exceptionally well as in the case of Avatar and a decent cinema. Regrettably, everything else we've seen has been mildly disappointing or just plain wrong. The Samsung fits somewhere between the last two descriptions.

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