Samsung UE46ES8000 review

Samsung’s 46inch ES8000 is arguably the most audaciously specified TV in the world. Not only does it come loaded with all the usual toys, it also breaks new ground with motion and voice control. See all TV reviews.

To attract the set’s attention, you need to wave in exaggerated fashion at the webcam that bulges from the set’s bezel. Unfortunately, if it isn't as bright as day in your room, or it doesn’t like your wallpaper, it’ll steadfastly ignore you no matter how frantically you gesticulate. Visit Sony BRAVIA KDL-55HX853 3D LED TV review.

In complete contrast, the voice control system works well. It’s activated by the command, “Hi TV!” and provided you’ve not mumbled, will offer up a string of vocal prompts. Go to Group test: What's the best TV?

The UE46ES8000 has three HDMIs, plus SCART and component, PC VGA, three USBs (one of which can be used to timeshift to a hard disk), a CI Slot, Ethernet and an optical digital audio output. Wi-Fi is built-in, too. There's even a stickered-over ‘Smart Evolution’ port. From 2013, Samsung says it will sell modules to upgrade the set’s graphics and processing capabilities.

Samsung UE46ES8000 video review

HD imagery is razor sharp. Details twinkle and colours pop out; contrast and black levels are profound. Motion resolution is also extremely good, although don’t overdo the set’s MotionPlus processor; ramping it up too high has rather ugly consequences. Standard Freeview content generally looks quite acceptable. Sound quality is decent, thanks to some effective processing and good stereo separation.

The UE46ES8000’s 3D performance is bright and immersive. There’s still crosstalk lurking amid the zombies of Resident Evil: Afterlife, but for the most part it’s easy to lose yourself in the depth of its images. Two pairs of Active Shutter 3D glasses are included.

Samsung’s online portal offers a wide variety of streaming video as well as more than a thousand downloadable apps. Content services include Netflix, Dailymotion and Vimeo, although BBC iPlayer and LoveFilm were conspicuous by their absence during our audition. Samsung says they’re on the way. One area of significant improvement over last year’s models is file support. Both from local USB and across a network from a NAS, the TV plays all popular formats.

Samsung UE46ES8000: Specs

  • Screen size/resolution: 46inches, 1920 x 1080
  • Contrast ratio: Not stated
  • Brightness: Not stated
  • Speakers: 20w (2 x 10w)
  • Built-in tuner(s): Freeview HD, DVB-S2
  • EPG: 7 day
  • Inputs: 3x HDMI, component, composite, Scart, VGA
  • Outputs Digital: optical audio, headphone
  • Networking: Ethernet, integrated Wi-Fi
  • Ports & Slots: 3 x USB, CI slot
  • Dimensions (w/h/d): 1038.7 x 614.7 x 30.8
  • Weight: 12kg
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Screen size/resolution: 46inches, 1920 x 1080
  • Contrast ratio: Not stated
  • Brightness: Not stated
  • Speakers: 20w (2 x 10w)
  • Built-in tuner(s): Freeview HD, DVB-S2
  • EPG: 7 day
  • Inputs: 3x HDMI, component, composite, Scart, VGA
  • Outputs Digital: optical audio, headphone
  • Networking: Ethernet, integrated Wi-Fi
  • Ports & Slots: 3 x USB, CI slot
  • Dimensions (w/h/d): 1038.7 x 614.7 x 30.8
  • Weight: 12kg
  • Warranty: 1 year

OUR VERDICT

The UE46ES8000 is a bold stab at redefining the high-end TV market, one that almost pays off. Even without its voice and motion control party tricks, this would be considered a highly desirable 3D TV, with a strong online proposition and characteristic Samsung design. Expensive certainly, but then the future never comes cheap.

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