If you’ve been hesitant in the past about jumping into Samsung’s sometimes pricy TV universe, there definitely is an opening right now with the ultra-budget-friendly 50-inch Samsung 7 Series 4K TV—currently retailing for only $330.
This panel likely won’t wow cinephiles out there and doesn’t come near the picture quality of the Korean tech giant’s much-vaunted and much more expensive QLED offerings.
But if your chief purpose for this set is everyday TV watching and family movie nights, know that the 7 Series will probably exceed most of your modest expectations.
The TV’s VA-LCD panel provides decent picture quality with blacks that do get deeper than what you would expect from a budget offering. The colors are mostly accurate and there is high native contrast. It also does a valiant job in supporting HDR content.
As with most LCD-based panels, be aware that wide-angle viewing may fall short of what you’re looking for—so if you have wider or wraparound seating arrangements, make sure to take note of that. And if you find yourself often watching TV during the daytime or in a bright room, it may be in your best interest to purchase a heavy-duty curtain or blinds to reduce those annoying glares and reflections.
The 7 Series employs Smart TV capabilities powered by Tizen, which can be a mixed bag for some. Much like its Korean archrival LG’s webOS platform, the Tizen has a pleasant stripped-down interface but it really lacks any real punch that is needed for today’s data-heavy streaming TV world.
Moreover, Tizen really isn’t that flexible when it comes to sideloading apps, which could affect the TV’s use in different markets and regions. On a more positive note, the software now supports Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple AirPlay 2.
The overall design of the 7 Series is quite pleasing for a budget model—as the ultra-thin bezel on all sides gives it a very clean appearance. Keep in mind that the TV’s legs, however, are set quite far apart, so if you’re using a TV stand or a table, make sure that it is long enough.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.