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Samsung 7-series TV stays Smart, loses curve and dimming

The UNH7150 series, the highest-end Samsung LED with neither 4K resolution nor a curved screen announced at CES, adds a new split-screen function to its suite of Smart TV extras but lacks the step-up models' superior local dimming.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Have your heart set on a non-4K resolution, non-curved Samsung LED LCD TV in 2014? You might have some tough choices to make.

The UNH7150 series -- available starting in April in 75, 65, 60, 55 and 46 inches -- is the company's highest end 2014 TV to lack both of those oh-so-trendy, and in our experience, oh-so-underwhelming, features. Unfortunately, it also lacks the kind of hardware-based local dimming that we liked so much on a couple of 2013 models we reviewed, like the UNF8000 series. Maybe Samsung will release a flat, 1080p resolution LED LCD TV this year that has said dimming, but it didn't happen at CES 2014.

Based on our experience with the UNF7100 series last year, which performed about as well as the 6-series models, the software-based "Micro Dimming" on the H7150 doesn't do much to improve picture quality.

Beyond its picture the H7150 does preserve one extra found on the company's higher-end 2014 TVs. Called "Multi-Link Screen," it can divide the screen into two separate windows, each showing different content (live TV and YouTube, for example). Also absent from the 2014 6-series models is something called "Instant On," which turns the TV on in only 1.3 seconds. We're curious to see whether this last feature has any impact on power consumption.

Samsung's 2014 Smart TV suite, arranged around five "pages" just like the excellent 2013 version, gets one major addition this year: the Social and Media pages have been combined into one, and a new Games page has been added. Samsung says they'll include "lite versions" of popular game titles, and that at launch around 20 games will be available for download. For a controller you can choose either your smartphone or tablet, or the newly designed remote.

Powering all those brains is a quad-core processor. Notably, the H7150 and its less-expensive brethren are not compatible with future Evolution Kits. The H7105 also outdoes the styling of its lower-end brethren with a thinner bezel -- 0.2 inches thick around the edges, to be exact.

Check out the Samsung TV roundup for more on the company's CES 2014 releases.

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