One minute review
Flagship TVs with mind-boggling specs are great, but what we really want is an affordable TV with a screen size that is right for us
, and that it tackles the basics of being a TV in an impressive way. Samsung has understood this, which is why the AU7100 range exists. The list of positives is long, ranging from build quality and design, ergonomics and smart TV, to 4K picture quality. In all respects, the AU7100 absolutely ticks these boxes in a way that makes the asking price seem quite generous.
. And where it's less impressive, with sound quality and its ability (or not) to scale old content, most of the time, well, it's no worse than some alternative designs that cost a bit more. So, as long as you know the screen size you need and set a modest but not unrealistic budget, Samsung will sell you an AU7100 that will keep you satisfied for years to come.
Prices and availability
The Samsung AU7100 is already on sale in the UK, with the AU7000 being the closest American equivalent.
The 43-inch variant we're testing here costs €449, though it's available in several screen sizes: a 50-inch version costs €549, there's also a 55-inch €599, 65-inch €799, 70-inch €899, 75-inch (usually €999, although at the time of writing it's available from Samsung UK for €100 off that price) and a massive 85-inch model €1,799. So if you can't find a properly sized AU7100 on this line, the fundamental problem is more with you than Samsung. It's not uncommon for Samsung to develop specific model variants for specific territories, and that seems to be the case here. While there are Samsung models for the US and Australian markets that look quite similar to the AU7100, they are not exactly the same.
That said, the least that US or Australian customers can expect from the AU7100 model available to them is that it will be extremely competitively priced.
Even the most expensive TVs tend to play it safe in terms of design
- Surprisingly slim bezel.
- The feet are far apart.
- 6 cm deep.
, so no one should expect an exterior design to flourish when it comes to a mainstream model like the AU7100. Of course, there isn't, which is definitely a good thing.
It's a discreet model, the AU7100, with almost non-existent bezel around the top and sides of the screen.
The bezel at the bottom, which has a small central "Samsung" logo, isn't very large. And if you're not mounting your AU7100 on the wall, its simple plastic boomerang feet press and click to continue the minimalist vibe. Note that they are quite far apart
, so even a screen as relatively jittery as the 43-inch model we're testing here needs a reasonably large surface area to stand on. Unsurprisingly with a TV designed to hit a fairly small price/performance area, the Samsung is specced enough rather than generously. Three HDMI inputs
(all of which offer the auto low latency mode aspect of the HDMI 2.1 specification), a USB input, an Ethernet jack, an RF antenna terminal, and a CI slot count for physical inputs, while built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 take care of wireless connectivity
. There's a digital optical output for legacy soundbars and one of the HDMI sockets is eARC-compliant for a more modern equivalent.
The AU7100 is part of Samsung's line of Crystal UHD displays and as such is a 4K LCD/LED device with a backlight arranged around the edges of the display.
. The quality of the image is governed by the company's Crystal Processor 4K rendering engine
. As for HDR, well, it's Samsung business as usual, which means HLG, HDR10 and HDR10+ dynamic metadata, but not a nose for Dolby Vision. Samsung has managed to include 'Filmmaker Mode' as one of the AU7100's picture presets and the flashing warning about increased power consumption if this mode is selected never fails to amuse, given the low light of the resulting images.
Smart TV (Tizen)
The Tizen-based Smart TV interface that Samsung has persisted with for many years is so inherently correct that it only needs the smallest of updates to stay competitive.
- Comes with two remote controls
- Excellent Tizen-based interface
- Voice control possibilities
. So while the AU7100 isn't the only small, affordable TV that's equipped with a comprehensive and easy-to-use Smart TV portal, it's one of the best on the market. As has become accustomed to Samsung of late, the AU7100 comes with a few remote controls with which to navigate the interface, follow setup menus and whatever. One is (and there's no two ways about it) a confusing, nasty, cheap, overstuffed phone, while the other is a much nicer and much more minimal "just the basics" alternative.
There's no built-in voice control here, but if your Samsung is on a common network, it can be controlled using an Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant smart speaker.
Or there's Samsung's proprietary Smart Things control app, which is as stable and useful here as it is with any other Samsung TV.
(Image credit: Samsung)
Price is important to keep in mind when considering the images the Samsung AU7100 is capable of delivering.
- Pleasant and compelling 4K images
- Far from the worst gaming monitor out there
- Can make climbing a chore
No, it's not the brightest screen on the market and no, the power of its scale won't make you think you're watching native 4K content when you're not. But, Does it represent good value for money? Oh definitely.
With premium content on board
(Scorsese's The Irishman via Netflix is still a telltale watch, even if Samsung can't handle the Dolby Vision element), the AU7100 proves to be a composed and detailed watch with a lot of relevant observations to make
. On the texture of the skin and the general condition of the face of the elderly in the film. The colors are subtly differentiated, with many variations available when it comes to shades, patterns and textures.
This is also true for black tones and white tones, although the Samsung isn't as bright and struggles to deliver true black.
, there is still a lot of detail revealed in these tones, thus a quite satisfying sense of contrast. The balance achieved by the AU7100 in terms of color and contrast is satisfying in almost any circumstance, as Samsung is able to handle the nuances of lighting with real skill.
Edge definition is sharp, with native 4K images, image noise is little more than hearsay
. The movement is also managed with real confidence. If you want an affordable TV to get the most out of your 4K content, the Samsung AU7100 should be at the top of your list.
Upscaling a 1080p Blu-ray disc of Oshi's Ghost in the Shell pushes Samsung out of its comfort zone, but not too much.
The color palette remains expansive and (befitting this content) bordering on lousy, while detail levels remain respectably high. However, here is the installation of the AU7100 with black tones: they are fairly uniform and lack variation. However, image noise is kept under control and edges are always described with confidence
. Motion will also remain smooth and convincing, as soon as you dive into the setup menus and tweak the settings. "Vibration Reduction" and "Clear Motion LED".
However, anything less information-rich than this may seem somewhat approximate. The noise in the image is gaining confidence, the edges become a little, well, the movements on the screen begin to look jerky and unnatural. Fans of old daytime TV shows already know that they may look dated, but the AU7100 proves to be less forgiving of them (or less capable of them) than other "affordable" alternatives.
(Image credit: Samsung) It's a pretty good gamer monitor, although next-gen console owners will likely be looking for something with more capabilities than that, HDMI 2.1.
. Input lag is respectably low, and with high-quality playback on board, all the good stuff around colour, motion and detail remains intact.
- Stereo sound and 20 watts of power
- Composite and quite distinct audio quality
- Will work with Samsung 'Q Symphony' sound bars
As it is too predictable with a television of this price, the AU7100 has a rather prosaic sound system
. The dual full-range speakers, totaling 20 watts, won't surprise anyone, but to be fair, the Samsung AU7100 is far from being the poorest TV on the market
. It's quite a distinct listen, with the kind of midrange fidelity that makes vocals full of character and dialogue easy to follow. It almost goes without saying that there's little presence in the low frequencies, but even if you decide to figure out what those 20 watts are capable of, the AU7100 is still a composite listen.
“Q Symphony Lite” is available here,
so when you decide that a new soundbar for your AU7100 is fundamentally essential, check out Samsung's “Q Symphony” line.
These allow the TV's speakers to join the soundbar rather than be replaced by it, and the result should be richer, wider sound.
Should I buy the Samsung AU7100 Crystal UHD TV?
(Image credit: Samsung)
Buy it if...
You like to be in control Voice command, control app or remote control. Take your pick, the Samsung AU7100 as it has it all. You prefer high-quality content Not a huge surprise, but this particular Samsung TV does its best job with native 4K elements, making it ideal for people who subscribe to UHD streaming services.