A Review of the Samsung 4K UHD JU7100 Series Smart TV – UN40JU7100, UN50JU7100, UN55JU7100, UN60JU7100, UN65JU7100, UN75JU7100
The Samsung JU7100 4K TVs offer an excellent combination of top-shelf features and an affordability that's somewhat lacking in the manufacturers even more exotic (read: awesome) SUHD line of TVs and for this reason, they are a great balance between wanting a powerful 4K home entertainment system while avoiding a budget shattering expense on your monthly credit card bill.
What’s not to like about the JU7100? This TV has everything you need for an excellent 4K and HD home entertainment experience, even if it doesn’t outright inspire awe as a SUHD JS9500 might.
The UHD picture dimming technology on the TV is superb, and makes the naturally excellent underlying Samsung 4K UHD display technology look even better than it already does. On tops of this, the display of the JU7100 is further augmented by contrast enhancement technology, precision black and peak illuminator picture quality enhancements and all of these are powered by a lightning quick quad-core processor.
Then there is Samsung’s smart TV operating system platform with Smart Hub interface technology. While not as sharp and intuitive as the webOS 2.0 of LG’s 2015 TV or even the Tizen OS of higher-end Samsung models, the Smart Hub on the JU7100 is still an excellent smart TV platform and this imparts a lot of value to the overall user experience with the JU7100. Helping things along even further is the heavily upgraded Smart Remote with touchpad technology and a host of voice recognition command features.
Next, there’s the Samsung HD upscaling engine, which really delivers superb results and could arguably be considered one of the three best of its kind on the overall 4K TV market. With this feature, the HD and SD content that will probably make up a majority of the video you watch on your own UN40JU7100 TV can be made to look a lot more like 4K video than it would on a native HD TV. In fact, Blu-ray HD content that gets upscaled on Samsung’s engine looks even better than native 4K content from streaming sources like Netflix.
Finally, we come down to the physical design of the UN50JU7100. As is almost always the case with a Samsung product, be it a smartphone, PC monitor or 4K TV, the UN50JU7100 looks fantastic. This is one beautifully elegant, minimalist 4K TV that looks good in any living room or den space without taking up too much room or weighing so much that it’s simply difficult to reposition it.
4.3 - 161 Reviews
On the other hand, Samsung’s JS7100 is also far from perfect and a few deficiencies are there to be found, even if none of them are deal breakers in any way shape or form.
For starters, these TVs don’t come with the much vaunted and honestly excellent quantum dot technology of the SUHD line of 4K models. Thus, even though the UN55JU7100 costs almost as much as a SUHD JS7000 4K TV, it fails to deliver this one key technology. In fact, given that both TVs have virtually identical features in all other respects and very similar prices, the QD display absence is all the more annoying.
Secondly, the UN55JU7100 is an edge-lit UHD TV. This aspect of it is downright annoying even though Samsung has added in other technologies to compensate and produce a considerably better than normal light flow throughout the back of the screen. Nonetheless, edge-lit is never the same as full-array, no matter how much additional technology is poured into it and the difference is notable sometimes in terms of light bleed along the screens edges, sometimes, but it can happen.
Furthermore, that Samsung is still unable to offer full-array LED backlighting in a 2015 4K TV that costs more than $2,000 is irritating. Because it is possible to include the technology affordably. Vizio has shown this to be the case with its full-array and highly affordable 4K TVs and Samsung is presumably the much more innovative company between the two.
Finally, there is a loss of color saturation at angle viewing on these TVs. Even Samsung’s very best SUHD models like the JS9500 can’t pull off decent clarity at wide angles so we can’t expect the UN55JU7100 to manage this.
On the whole, Samsung’s UN60JU7100 TV is not only excellent, it’s actually almost as good as some of the middle-grade SUHD models the company has released in 2015. While quantum dot technology is missing in this model, almost everything else is still there and this is probably why the higher than expected price is the case. Nonetheless, this is a generally superb TV and we recommend it highly.
Weight: 61.9 lbs wo stand/ 52.5 lbs with stand
Dimensions: (WxHxD): 57.6" x 35.3" x 11.6" inches with stand/ 57.6" x 33.2" x 2.3" inches without stand
Screen size: 40 inch - UN40JU7100, 50 inch - UN50JU7100, 55 inch - UN55JU7100, 60 inch - UN60JU7100, 65 inch - UN65JU7100, 75 inch - UN75JU7100
Smart TV: Yes, Smart TV with Apps, S-Recommendation
HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes (all 4 HDMI ports)
Refresh Rate: 240Hz
Screen Lighting: edge-lit LED backlighting
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes WiFi, Ethernet port
Remotes: Standard button remote and Samsung Smart Remote Control
Connectivity: 4 x HDMI 2.0 ports, 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, Ethernet, Component/Composite, Digital Audio out
Dynamic Contrast Ratio: over 1 million
Audio: 20W (10W x 2) speakers with DTS Premium Sound 5.1 and DTS Studio Sound
Processor: Quad Core
The core highlights of the Samsung JU7100 revolve around its diverse visual display technologies, which we’re going to briefly summarize here. Despite not being an SUHD TV, this model is still robust and almost identically good to some of the lower priced SUHD models out there. Furthermore, the UN55JU7100 shares the exact same connectivity features as its more advanced cousins.
Thus, for starters, the display of the UN65JU7100 offers an array of contrast enhancing and motion augmentation technologies for superior 4K and upscaled HD picture quality. Among these, you get the TV’s Precision Black feature, which is designed to offer a “superior” degree of black levels in the darker scenes on the TV’s screen. In reality, Precision Black is a poor substitute for the really awesome technology known as HDR or even the superior black levels found on full-array LED screens with highly effective local dimming. However, Samsung’s effort here is surprisingly decent at delivering what it promises.
Next we have what Samsung call Peak Illuminator technology. In contrast to the Precision Black, the Peak Illuminator works on the opposite end of things, it improves specific on-screen details by adding in increased LED illumination behind the brightest parts of the picture. This is naturally a difficult thing to pull off in an edge-lit 4K screen but the UN65JU7100’s screen gets a lot of help from a combination of what the company calls their ultra-clear technology, a layer on the screen that allows for some better than normal light flow from the edges to images in the middle of the display, and from the fact that Samsung’s LEDs in particular are exceptionally bright by industry standards, thus adding much more brightness to imagery than you would normally expect from a edge-lit display.
Moving on, another major highlight of the UN65JU7100 is definitely the TV0s upscaling engine. Samsung does a superb job at scaling HD and even SD content upward son its 4K TVs and the effect of this shows in the UN60JU7100. HD signals show a market improvement in their clarity, by maybe 30 to 45%. This applies particularly to high quality HD signals such as those from an HD Blu-ray signal being fed into the TV via HDMI 2.0 cables. On the other hand, SD video only benefits somewhat from the upscaling technology of the UN60JU7100 and in this we could even argue that the SUHD line of TVs is superior, they do a better overall upscaling job and their superior results are more notable in upscaled SD signals.
Finally, there’s the operating system on the UN60JU7100. This is another thing that Samsung got very much right on this TV and the user interface of the smart TV platform and its accompanying S-Recommendation engine and Smart Hub all work very well together. However, the OS on this particular Samsung 4K TV is not the even better Tizen OS/Smart Hub that is now found on the Samsung SUHD TVs. The JU7100’s Smart Hub is more like that of last year’s models but it still works great and works at excellent speed thanks to the quad core processor in the TV.
4.3 - 161 Reviews
Unlike Samsung’s SUHD TVs, the UN75JU7100 doesn’t come with quantum dot nanocrystal color enhancement technology. This is maybe the TV’s single biggest visual deficiency, but only in comparison to these even more superior 4K models from the same company or to other QD TVs from Sony. Put up against a large percentage of conventional 4K UHD LED TVs from other brands, the UN75JU7100 actually performs admirably well and offers not only a nicely bright display that’s complemented by decent contrast into dark tones but also offers excellent color thanks to the wide color enhancer plus technology which, while not as good as quantum dots, still manages to deliver a decent augmented color spectrum.
What really stands out on the UN75JU7100 however, is its brightness. This is surprising given that we’re dealing with an edge-lit 4K TV here but Samsung really has put together some great technologies to compensate for the deficiencies of edge lighting and created a TV in which some extraordinarily bright LEDs combine with a layer in the screen for spreading light to create excellent illumination of on-screen content. The black levels and overall contrast are also greatly helped out by this brightness.
On the other hand, off-angle viewing is less than stellar and moving just a few feet from the screen’s center axis will considerably reduce the clarity and vibrancy of video on the TV. This isn’t a major problem for most viewers but if you want perfect off-angle viewing, you’re better off with an OLED TV from LG, assuming you can afford it.
Finally, the refresh rate on the UN75JU7100 sits at 120Hz with a Motion Rate of 240Hz. These two deliver some very good rendering of fast action sequences with minimal juddering and motion blur. There is also an Auto Motion setting in the TVs Advanced Picture Menu but you might want to turn this off because the effect it creates, while smoother for action, looks too much like something horribly unrealistic from a soap opera, or from the so-called “uncanny valley” of cinematic viewing.
As far as connectivity goes, the Samsung UN60JU7100 delivers on all the hardware essentials and a great online browsing experience through its smart TV platform.
In terms of hardware, you get the benefit of 4 HDMI 2.0 ports with full HDCP 2.2 compatibility and the TV comes with HEVC and VP9 video compression decoding built into it, thus letting you access the whole nine yards of streaming online 4K content. The HDMI 2.0 ports don’t have HDR capability (for this you’d need HDMI 2.0a) but they’re still great for 4K content from external media devices at a full 60 frames per second. There are also three USB ports, of which one is a 3.0 port, built into the TV.
Finally, the smart TV system of the UN75JU7100 is loaded with access features for downloading media and other apps while also giving you a full web browser for navigating the internet. Finally, the TV is also fully compatible not only with ultra HD content from Netflix, Amazon.com Instant Video and UltraFlix, it also gives you access to the more limited but Samsung-exclusive libraries of 4K programming from services like M-Go and Comcast’s Xfinity service. These can only be accessed by newer Samsung 4K TVs thanks to agreements between the two companies.
The price of the Samsung JU7100 is actually one of its cons. This TV is great but it’s also somewhat expensive for not being an SUHD TV. The JU7100 costs almost as much as Samsung’s lower end SUHD JS line TVs, despite lacking some of their better features. The 40 inch UN40JU7100 retails for $1,097.99, 50 inch UN50JU7100 for $1,297.99, 55 inch UN55JU7100 for $1,497.99, 60 inch UN60JU7100 for $1,997.99, 65 inch UN65JU7100 for $2,297.99, and the huge 75 inch UN75JU7100 for $4,297.99.
4.3 - 161 Reviews
To summarize briefly, the JU7100 is a great TV but it does suffer from a slight lack of brightness uniformity due to its edge-lit LED array, it doesn’t offer the really spectacular color gamut offered by quantum dot technology and it is not an HDR capable 4K TV. Also, the off angle viewing on this model is not very good.
• Excellent backlighting for an edge-lit model
• Great connectivity options
• Very good OS/smart TV
• Decent contrast and color
• Very good UHD upscaling
• More expensive than it deserves to be
• No HDR
• No quantum dots
• No enhanced Tizen OS
• No full-array backlighting