There are plenty of inexpensive TVs on the market, but while you may be inclined to overlook many of them — often coming from lesser-known brands — the Samsung 40-inch NU7100 Smart 4K UHD TV promises plenty that should interest shoppers.
The compact smart TV offers 4K resolution, HDR support, excellent audio quality and a smart TV experience that's nearly identical to that offered on TVs that cost three or four times as much.
Samsung 40-Inch NU7100 Smart 4K UHD TV Specs
|Screen Size||40 inches|
|Resolution||3840 x 2160|
|HDR||3 HDMI, 2 USB|
|Refresh Rate||60 Hz|
|Ports||3 HDMI, 2 USB|
|Audio||2 channels, 20 watts|
|Smart TV Software||Samsung SmartThings|
|Size||36 x 20.9 x 2.3 inches [w/o stand]|
|Weight||18.7 pounds [w/o stand]|
The Samsung NU7100 is a compact TV that's fairy attractive and has average-size bezels. On the back of the TV is a charcoal-gray, textured panel, which is a step up from the basic, matte-black panels seen on similarly priced competitors. The set comes with attachable feet that are sturdy plastic with a gray, faux-metallic sheen.
It's worth noting that 40 inches is very small for a 4K display, perhaps too small. At 40 inches, your ideal viewing distance will be roughly 3 feet. However, the NU7100 is also small enough to be easily assembled and moved by one person, while larger TVs will often necessitate a second set of hands. This TV weighs just 18.7 pounds, so you can pick it up unassisted, and the 36 x 20.9 x 2.3-inch measurements make this set a good fit on a table or countertop.
In case you want to hang it on a wall, this Samsung TV does have holes for attaching a 200 x 200-millimeter VESA mount.
The Samsung NU7100 is outfitted with a single connector panel on the right hand side of the TV, placed in a few inches from the edge. On that panel, you will find three HDMI ports (one with ARC support), two USB ports, a TosLink digital-audio output, an RF connector for antenna and cable, and a LAN port for wired networking.
Wireless connections include 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth.
The NU7100's 40-inch panel offers all the right features, with 4K resolution and decent HDR support. It also offers compatibility for HDR10, HLG for live-broadcast HDR and Samsung's proprietary HDR10+ format.
The set delivered acceptable color and brightness in our test viewing, but without local dimming, unwanted backlighting issues hampered the HDR support. In Blade Runner 2049, scenes that relied on stark contrast between silhouettes and colorful environments were dampened by black shadows turned gray. However, in more brightly lit fare, like Spider-Man: Homecoming, we saw vivid colors and fairly smooth action.
The NU7100's 40-inch panel offers all the right features, with 4K resolution and decent HDR support.
The inexpensive set is slightly limited in terms of color gamut. When measured with our spectrophotometer, the Samsung reproduced 98.5 percent of the sRGB color space. While that's not terrible — it's better than what many models under $500 offer — it does fall behind results from leading models, like the LG UK6300 (99.8 percent) and the TCL 43S517 (99.8 percent).
When we tested the display's color accuracy, it registered a Delta-E rating of 2.6 (closer to zero is better), which puts this set between the more accurate TCL 43S517 (1.7) and the less precise LG UK6300 (3.7). In our eyes-on evaluations, we saw very little noticeable inaccuracy.
On single-color test screens, the 40-inch LCD panel did exhibit some minor shadows in the corners of the screen, but less than we've seen on some competing models, like the LG UK6300 and the TCL 43S517. Viewing angles are nice and wide, with only minimal color shifting when viewed from a 45-degree angle.
MORE: Best Cheap 4K TVs (Under $500), Ranked from Best to Worst
When we connected our Xbox One X, the gaming console was ready to go, with support for 4K gaming at 60 Hz. While HDR and expanded color options weren't available, the TV immediately detected the console after it was plugged in, and I was gaming at Ultra HD resolution almost immediately.
The Samsung has two-channel, 20-watt sound, which is enough to produce great volume. On Spider-Man: Homecoming, the volume got quite loud, easily filling our test lab and bringing out the film's dialogue and sound effects. Airplanes roared, alien weapons blared, and dialogue was clear.
Listening to Leisure's "Moonbeam," I was pleased by the unexpected depth in the bass levels. The richness of the low end makes it seem like the TV has a subwoofer, though it does not.
The Samsung has two-channel, 20-watt sound, which is enough to produce great volume.
Once turned up to 50 percent volume, the bass levels took on some distortion, but otherwise, audio quality remained clear and undistorted all the way up to full volume.
MORE: Best Soundbars for the Money
Samsung's smart platform offers most, but not all, of the features seen on the company's more-premium, QLED TVs. You'll get the same wide selection of apps, polished menus and navigation, and wide smart home compatibility. Notably absent, however, is Samsung's Bixby voice assistant. The included remote lacks a built-in microphone, so there's no voice search for content and information.
The TV also lacks the screen-saver-like Ambient mode featured on the company's QLED models. Neither artwork nor weather updates will appear on this TV when it's not in use. Instead, you'll just get the usual black screen.
The remote is one place where you'll see a stark difference between the NU7100 and Samsung's more-prominent QLED sets, like the Q8FN. Instead of the refined One Remote offered with pricier models, which we have consistently praised, the 40-inch budget option gets a basic remote.
Sure, you can still get around in the apps and menus of the home screen, and changing channels and volume is simple enough. But the rubber buttons, the D-pad stuck in the middle of several other buttons and the design of the remote do little to make the navigation more intuitive.
While the Samsung 40-inch NU7100 makes for a decent, budget-friendly 4K smart TV, it's not the best we've seen. The set offers good enough performance, but similarly priced competitors offer better color reproduction and accuracy. If you can live with deficiencies in those areas, the smart features offered on the small set, along with 4K resolution and HDR support, make for a good value.
For a better deal and a slightly larger screen, check out the 43-inch TCL 43S517. In addition to the larger size and more affordable price, the TCL offers superior picture quality, both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support, and the sort of voice-interaction that the NU7100 lacks.
Credit: Tom's Guide
Get instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips.