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Samsung UE46ES8000 review

Samsung's new flagship 46-inch TV pretty much rocks

Our Verdict

For

  • Irresistible design
  • Outstanding 2D
  • Very good 3D
  • Leading online system

Against

  • Poor picture presets
  • Gesture control can frustrate
  • Backlight bleed with 3D
  • Average audio

Samsung has introduced a trio of new TV control systems for 2012.

First there's the second remote, complete with a touchpad for simpler navigation of web pages and Smart Hub menus. For the most part this remote works admirably, with just the right level of swiping sensitivity in the pad, an ergonomic weight and shape, and even a built-in mic that greatly enhances the usefulness of the TV's voice recognition system.

The only thing wrong with it, actually, is the way you have to press the pad to select an option or web link. Quite often when you try to do this you also slightly slide your finger across the pad, thus moving the on-screen cursor before you've selected the option you wanted.

The voice control system, meanwhile, is clever on two counts. First, it only activates after you bark out a special activation phrase - "Hi TV" is the default, but you can change this. This means it's extremely rare for the system to be activated accidentally by, say, sound from a programme or film you're watching.

The other strength of the voice system is that so long as you speak clearly, the set can recognise almost any words or phrases you can think of - extremely handy when it comes to inputting data into search fields on web pages.

Samsung UE46ES8000 review

Furthermore, as noted before, you can quietly talk your commands into the touchpad remote rather than always having to shout them. And we quickly discovered that the less loudly you have to speak, the less silly you feel!

The weakest link in the new control chain is the gesture control system. While the TV tracks movements of your hand surprisingly easily provided you take the time to set it up right, it struggles to work at all in low light, and it's really tricky to get the cursor on the screen to make small enough movements when you get close to a link you want to select.

The best thing about the gesture system is that in conjunction with the voice controls, it enables you to use the TV without needing to use a physical remote control at all. This, we'd say, is genuinely revolutionary.

The Smart Hub menus on the Samsung UE46ES8000 do an excellent job of making it easy to navigate your way through the huge amounts of content the TV has to offer, and the TV's set up menus are attractively designed too.

There are some organisational issues with the set up menus, though. For instance, the Game preset is tucked away in a set up menu rather than sitting with the other picture presets. There are also two separate Advanced picture menus when one would have been more sensible.

Samsung UE46ES8000 review

Samsung has arguably tried to do almost too much with its control innovations for one generational leap, and the gesture control system feels like it's been introduced before it was quite ready.

But still, after a little experimentation the good about Samsung's latest operating system far exceeds the bad.

Sound quality

Accompanying the Samsung UE46ES8000's mostly excellent post-calibration pictures is a passable audio performance. As usual with such skinny TVs, there's neither enough bass nor enough dynamic range to really let it sing with action scenes.

But the mid-range is decently open, so that the speakers seldom sound harsh or muddy, and treble detailing is strong.

Value

By today's standards, £1,900/$3,000 is a substantial amount to have to find for a 46-inch TV. But the Samsung UE46ES8000 is, after all, a flagship TV. In fact, it's a Samsung flagship TV, which means it comes sporting more bells, whistles, innovations and design prowess than you get from probably any other brand right now.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Digital TunerDVB-C (MPEG4), DVB-S2
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports3
Number of SCART Interfaces1
Product Family8000
3D Type3D
EU Energy LabelA
Brand NameSamsung
Screen Size116.8 cm (46")
Aspect Ratio16:9
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)14.60 kg
Backlight TechnologyEdge LED
Operating Power Consumption81 W
Standby Power Consumption100 mW
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
DLNA CertifiedYes
VGANo
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand653.70 mm
Width with Stand1038.70 mm
Depth with Stand210 mm
Number of Common Interface1
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
SCARTYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports3
3D TechnologyShutter
3D ConversionYes
Energy Consumption per Year119 kWh
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredYes
Motion Interpolation TechnologyClear Motion Rate 800
Height614.7 mm
Width1038.7 mm
Depth30.8 mm
Sound SystemDolby Digital Plus, Dolby Pulse, DTS, Surround Sound
Product Series8000
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesPicture in Picture, Auto-off, Sleep Timer, Teletext, Auto Program, Web Browser, Face Recognition Camera
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelUE46ES8000U
Product Name46" ES8000 Series 8 Smart Full HD LED TV
Manufacturer Part NumberUE46ES8000UXXU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Intuitive interaction with voice and motion control
New sophisticated Smart Interaction technology enables you to operate your TV without pushing a button. You can easily control functions such as turning on / off your TV, changing channels, accessing apps and navigating the web using simple voice commands and motions. Built-in camera with face recognition technology lets you log on to Smart Hub and your personal accounts with no need to type your ID or password. Experience a whole new way to interact with your TV.

Package Contents
  • 46" ES8000 Series 8 Smart Full HD LED TV
  • 2 x 3D Active Glasses
  • Smart Touch Control
  • Remote Controller
  • IR Blaster
  • Batteries
  • Power Cable
  • User Manual
  • E-Manual
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)12 kg