Cosmetics & Features
Earth Goes Shiny and Mystical
Our first observation of the 46-inch C7000 is that while it may be slim, the panel is actually deceptively heavy for its size. Still, it is possible to assemble it alone if you can tackle 16.8kg. Out of the box, this TV doesn't come with the base affixed so it's best to keep a screwdriver handy. If you aren't too rosy with rose-colored hues associated with previous Samsung TVs, then we have some good news for you. The C7000 is part of Samsung's redecorated "Crystal Design" which now includes an X-shaped base and polished metallic looks. Nicknamed as "Mystic Earth", we have to admit it is a welcome change from Samsung's previous construct. Like most Edge-lit sets, the new Series 7 is yet another anorexic contender with a lean 26.5mm depth. On the whole, it does exude a more luxurious feel compared to its predecessor from the B-series. This panel swivels as well by the way. Aside from its metallic accents below, the bezel is crafted with a deep shade of brown so it shouldn't be much of a distraction when viewing this TV in a brighter environment.
Another notable change is the remote which accompanies the LED series. The wand has been given a brushed-metal makeover, and the finicky rotary-dial found on Samsung's earlier iterations has been done away with. Upon inspecting the back panel, we found four HDMI 1.4 jacks as required by Blu-ray's 3D specifications. To maintain its overall thinness, Samsung decided to use special adapters for the "larger" ports, meaning you'll need to connect the adapter if you are hooking up a LAN cable for instance, as we did. The ports are slightly recessed (around 80mm deep), unfortunately. With wall mounts, you might find it hard to insert a USB device if space between TV and wall is tight. If you are using the supplied "quad" stand, on the other hand, we noticed the TV exhibited a fair amount of wobble even when secured with all the required screws.
Aside from the 3D Starter Kit, Samsung is also bundling the BD-C6900 Blu-ray player so you need not worry about compatibility issues, or go on a hunt for a 3D-ready deck. This sort of arrangement, while anti-competitive, ensures best compatibility and will be here to stay for some time until the 3D consumer market matures with more options. Other than these, we have little gripes about the C7000's setup. Based on its looks alone, Samsung's Series 7 does make a classy, handsome living room showpiece.
Despite its slim figure, this babelicious display does pack some serious firepower in the features department. For starters, it hordes a DVB-T tuner and also does MPEG-4 AVC compression. Blessed with Ethernet capabilities, one of the C7000's big incentives also lies with its Internet@TV portal where Samsung Apps await. It's basically an online TV store with a multitude of applications you can download at leisure. For now, they consist mainly of news, games, music, social media and video widgets based on what we've found. One annoyance, however, are the prompts urging you to update the application every now and then. In any case, you can now make Skype calls via the TV based on the improved SILK audio codec. Note that you'll require Skype's "Freetalk TV" camera for video chats though.
With a USB drive plugged in, you can similarly enjoy the TV's recording or "Media Play" features. Not only does it save your favorite TV programmes onto a USB drive, but it does Timeshift recordings in the mix as well. There are no major changes to the TV's main UI, except that it has morphed from red to blue this time. The interface is informative, but it can be finicky when it comes to managing its display options. As usual, the same visual presets are there; namely Dynamic, Standard, Natural and Movie. You can also save some pennies by enabling its "Energy Saving" feature which dims the backlights in accordance with the surroundings. Another new additive is the 10p White Balance option, which allows you to tweak the white balance by messing with RGB levels. For now, let's move on to the DisplayMate and HQV tests to see what its video processor and panel are capable of.