Samsung UN60JS7000 4K LED TV review

Snap up this future-proofed Samsung 4K TV while you still can

Samsung’s JS7000 is a gorgeous TV at a remarkable price.
Samsung’s JS7000 is a gorgeous TV at a remarkable price.
Samsung’s JS7000 is a gorgeous TV at a remarkable price.

Highs

  • Outstanding color
  • Uniformly bright
  • Respectable black levels
  • HDR and WCG capable
  • Attractive design

Lows

  • No local dimming affects black levels
  • Narrow sweet spot
  • No motion or touchpad remote

The JS7000 may be a 2015 model and therefore considered “old” by tech-geek accounts, but if you need to purchase a new set in 2016, I highly recommend you snatch up one before they’re gone for good. It may be last year’s model, but it will outperform many of the 2016 TVs coming out that cost more.

The JS7000 series offers a tremendous amount of bang for your buck in terms of picture quality and screen size – a rarity, indeed – plus it folds in some elements of future-proofing you’ll be hard-pressed to find from competing manufacturers.

Now comes the part where I normally say this review applies to the other screen sizes in the series. Except, I can’t say that this time. There is a difference between the 55-inch version and the 50- 60-inch versions in the JS7000 (perhaps this explains why the 55-inch is actually cheaper than the 50-inch version at Amazon right now) … more on this in a moment.

Out of the box

The JS7000 might not have all the flash of its super-model superiors, but that doesn’t make it any less attractive. Its screen is flat, not curved. It has an impressively thin bezel, a surprisingly thin overall profile, and it comes with what I think is a perfectly lovely table-top stand. In other words, there’s a lot to love about how this TV will look in your entertainment area and, as far as I’m concerned, glitzy accents tend to date a TV’s style anyway; timeless designs are usually a better pick.

Functionally speaking, the JS7000 comes with an ample amount of anti-glare treatment on its screen. This is crucial for any room with light coming in through windows during typical viewing times and makes viewing much easier in environments that have lots of interior lighting speckled around the room.

The JS7000 does not come with a motion remote or touchpad-style remote, which is probably a contributing factor toward the set’s affordable price point. I tend to prefer old-school remotes anyway – anything you can arm with a backlight is a winner in my book – but I do see the value in being able to zip through user name and password entry a little faster with a more advanced remote.

You won’t find any 3D glasses in the JS7000’s box because the TV isn’t 3D capable. If you’re unaware, 3D TVs never caught on because at-home 3D brings more problems than advantages. Don’t worry, there’s plenty going on under the hood to make sure you’re dazzled every time you turn this TV on.

Under the hood

As one of Samsung’s SUHD TVs, the JS7000 offers both wide color gamut (WCG) and high dynamic range (HDR) support, making it able to process the latest 4K Ultra HD content offerings from streaming services like Amazon and Netflix, as well as recently-introduced Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. This is important because I, along with most of the video enthusiast community, feel HDR and WCG offer a more readily visible improvement over 1080p HD televisions than 4K’s added resolution does on its own. This is what I mean when I say “future-proofed.” No technology is ever truly steeled against future developments, but this TV offers processing and display capabilities many others don’t. 

The JS7000 also has a full-array direct backlight system which results in more even brightness across the entire screen, and it also means the TV tends to suffer less from backlight blooming at its edges the way edge-lit TVs do. However, the JS7000 does not have local dimming. I know, I know. Lots of review sites say it does, but I double checked and learned that Samsung’s so-called “UHD Dimming” isn’t hardware-based dimming that actually controls whether individual LED backlights are illuminated or not. Rather, it’s a bit of software processing that, according to Samsung, “is picture optimization that enhances UHD resolution detail.” Fortunately, this doesn’t result in a heavily compromised picture. We get into the nitty gritty later in the review.

As for the TV’s processing – one of the most influential factors in a TV’s picture performance – the JS7000’s is very good, indeed.

On the software side of things, the JS7000 runs Tizen OS, Samsung’s proprietary, tile-based smart TV system — one of the better options available today.

If you dig into this TV’s specs, you may notice that it is listed as having a 60Hz native LCD panel with an “effective motion rate” of 120Hz. That can be a little confusing, as many sites (including Digital Trends) will say that, generally, 120Hz is better than 60Hz. However, in this case, the JS7000’s motion blur is so negligible, there’s nothing to be concerned with. I’ve seen plenty of 120Hz TVs with far worse overall performance, so I would encourage you to set this metric aside for the purposes of gauging the TV’s quality.

Samsung JS7000 SUHD TV
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends
Bill Roberson/Digital Trends

Speaking of panels, I want to get back to something I teased at the top of this review: The 55-inch version of the JS9500 uses a different type of panel from the 50- and 60-inch versions that allows for a much wider viewing angle, but at the expense of black level depth. In short: The 50- and 60-inch versions are going to have better black levels and color saturation may even be superior, but if you move off axis, things get hazy in a hurry. There’s a narrow window for the best picture quality.

The 55-inch models panel allows for a much bigger sweet spot, but the picture probably won’t be quite as sweet as the 50-inch and 60-inch models.

The Hookup

The JS7000 offers 4 HDMI 2.0 inputs – all of which are HDCP 2.2 compliant — which should allow enough direct connections from game consoles, DVD/Blu-ray/Ultra HD Blu-ray players, Cable/Satellite boxes, and even a streaming set-top box like a Roku, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV.

For the purpose of our tests, we connected a TiVo Bolt 4K Ultra HD DVR, Roku 4, and an Oppo BDP-95 Blu-ray player (Samsung’s UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player was not yet available at time of testing) as external sources. We also accessed Netflix and Amazon Prime Video using the TV’s built-in apps.

The Picture

When I sit down to evaluate a TV like the JS7000, I temper my expectations. This is not meant to be a videophile’s TV the way Samsung’s own JS9500 or JS8500 were designed to be. This is a TV that is meant to bring next-gen picture quality to the masses, so I expect some compromises and the occasional cut corners. But, over and over again, I kept thinking: This TV’s picture quality is scary good.

If you look really, really close, you can find the JS7000’s flaws. There’s a little bit of halo around bright objects on otherwise black backgrounds. Some objects that should be black are sometime just a shade gray-ish. And, as I mentioned before, the sweet spot is a little narrow for my liking. But outside of those small details, the JS7000 is a stunner.

Over and over again, I kept thinking: This TV’s picture quality is scary good.

Color expression is one of this TV’s strong suits. I enjoyed minute differences in shades of yellow, pink, green, and purple. Brightness is also a huge asset, and is intense enough to do battle with a room saturated with sunlight and still look vibrant. The TV pulls of HDR pretty well, too, thanks in no small part to its high-brightness capabilities. And, as mentioned before, this TV was great for watching sports because it exhibits virtually no motion blur. Movie watchers will love it, too, for its minimal judder when watching 24 fps movies.

Perhaps it’s just as important to remark that this TV didn’t do anything especially wrong. There were no nagging quirks that bugged me while watching any kind of content. I just enjoyed watching the TV whenever I sat in front of it, and that’s possibly the most important thing one could say about a TV.

The Sound

You’ll get no raves from me about this TV’s sound quality, but I will say it is a huge step forward from many of the super-thin TV’s I’ve reviewed over the last five years or so. Sound is perfectly acceptable for everyday watching, and it can get plenty loud without venturing into distortion territory. As always, though, if you want a really immersive sound experience that is deserving of a TV this size, it’s time to look at a sound bar or home theater system of some sort.

Conclusion

Every year, just after the holidays and as the Super Bowl approaches, I get asked repeatedly to offer a single TV model as a can’t-lose option to consider. Though I’m generally wary of saying any one tech product can be a one-size-fits-all solution, I didn’t hesitate to recommend the JS7000 series from Samsung. For me, it ticks all the right boxes, and is future-proofed well enough to remain relevant for years to come. As I said at the top of this review, if you’re in the market for an affordable, large-screen TV, pick up the UN60JS7000 and never look back. You’ll be glad you did.

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