It’s understandable for a TV maker to prioritize flagship products, but the fact that most seem to put very little work into their entry-level models is unacceptable.
Samsung is virtually alone in making its core performance and feature set available at extremely low rates, as evidenced by the new UE43TU7100, which is the company’s cheapest 4K model at the moment.
Samsung UE43TU7100 review – Design
The UE43TU7000 is the less expensive model, although the two TVs differ mainly in their finishes — the TU7100 on review here has a smart-looking dark silver finish, and the TU7000 is plain black. The sets are otherwise equal, according to Samsung, so if you don’t mind the slightly more basic aesthetic, you may save a little more money by going with the TU7000.
Both variants include plastic-feeling but quite elegant-looking plastic feet that give the set a reasonably wide footprint of roughly 85cm and raise the set around 7cm above the area on which it is positioned. That’s an ideal location for a soundbar like the Sonos Beam.
The raised bezel is beautiful and narrow, but there’s a slight gap between it and the point where the display proper begins, which appears to be a bit of a fake. The set is about 6cm deep without the feet, which is slim but not super-slim.
Samsung UE43TU7100 review – Features
Aerial, ethernet, and USB ports, an optical audio output, and two HDMIs are located on the back panel. Even at this price point, it’s unusual for a TV to have so few HDMI ports, but we assume this is a constraint that will only affect a small number of purchasers. A common setup might include a speaker linked to the eARC-enabled HDMI 2, and a source, such as a PVR or games console, connected to HDMI 1.
Because the TU7100 runs the same Tizen operating system as Samsung’s flagship sets, you won’t need to dedicate one of the HDMIs to a dedicated streamer. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies & TV, Rakuten, Disney+, and Apple TV are all available in 4K and HDR10 (HDR10+ in the case of Amazon and Rakuten).
BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5 are also available, and Now TV, BT TV, and BT Sport provide contract-free access to Sky and BT’s exclusive programming. Meanwhile, Plex enables for local streaming of your own media files, and Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, BBC Sounds, and TuneIn may be used to stream music and radio. AirPlay 2 is also included, providing iOS users with another way to stream entertainment to their televisions.
Tizen’s operating system is also clean and intuitive, albeit it feels a little sluggish in operation here when compared to Samsung’s more powerful devices. It’s nothing too unpleasant, just a tiny slowness while switching between apps and scrolling through the home menu. The TU7100 features a simple, plastic remote (the TU8000 has a smarter, stripped-down One Remote) and no built-in voice control – though it can respond to orders delivered via an Alexa or Google Assistant-powered speaker.
In terms of basic technology, this is an LCD display with an edge LED backlight. It is compatible with HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG, but not with Dolby Vision (no Samsung TV supports the Dolby format). Its HDMIs enable ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), which automatically switches to the TV’s Game mode when a game signal is detected, reducing input latency to a very low 18ms. VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) isn’t supported, which is understandable given the price.
Samsung UE43TU7100 review – Picture
We play the HDR10+ 4K Blu-ray of 1917 and am immediately impressed with the TU7100’s image. Of course, it’s compromised, as it has to be at this price point, but those concessions are in the appropriate spots, and the set provides a satisfying core performance.
The set certainly lacks the contrast range of a higher-end model, but the blacks are surprisingly deep for such a low-cost TV, and there’s plenty of overall punch. Looking across the river to Écoust-Saint-Mein, Lance Corporal Schofield notices that the TU7100 is a sharp and detailed performer, with individual bricks apparent in the building on the opposite shore and the entire picture presented with solid three-dimensionality.
As Schofield slowly ascends the poorly illuminated stairwell, the Samsung gives a wealth of information, unearthing subtleties that other TVs at this price just cannot. This clarity and detail are given without any sense of artificiality or over-enhancement, and the TU7100 handles motion similarly. When you change the processing mode from Auto to Custom, the set achieves a decent mix of smoothness and authenticity.
The overall palette of 1917 is subdued, and the TU7100 responds accordingly, avoiding enhancing certain colors as other sets do. We’ve seen the French fields portrayed in a fairly obnoxious green that clashes with the overall tone of the film, but that’s not the case here.
That isn’t to say the TU7100 isn’t lively when it needs to be. We turn to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 on 4K Blu-ray, and the TV handles the neon-lit title sequence and the rainbow-breathing, neon gunk-filled Abilisk admirably.
When upscaled to 1080p Blu-ray, the TU7100 proves to be a good upscale. The image is clear, detailed, and tonally balanced, and the set decreases picture noise while leaving the deliberate film grain in place. We detect a tiny lack of black depth here, but it still goes reasonably deep and combines that with good insight and sharp highlights.
The TU7100 handles standard-definition content admirably, whether through the integrated tuner, one of its many apps, or a treasured DVD. Dirty Harry’s well-worn copy is crisp and controlled, with brilliant but natural colors. Overall, this is an amazing image performance for a TV of this size and budget. To see a meaningful difference, you’d have to invest a lot more money.
Samsung UE43TU7100 review – Sound
It should come as no surprise that the TU7100’s 20W sound system isn’t a sonic masterpiece, and you’d be wise to spend on a soundbar to complement it. However, if you insist on using the built-in speakers, their performance is absolutely adequate.
There are three sound options available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Because it is the clearest and most concentrated, standard is best suited for most content. Amplify enhances bass and treble and opens up the sound, making it a nice choice for movie night, while Adaptive Sound appears to split the difference in our room at least.
The treble is a tad strident in all modes, and there’s a predicted lack of weight, solidity, and dynamism that’s to be anticipated at this level. The TU7100, on the other hand, sounds good by current standards.
- Impressive sharpness and detail
- Tonally balanced
- Intuitive, app-packed interface
- Slightly sluggish operation
- Only two HDMIs
Samsung UE43TU7100 review – Verdict
The TU7100 is about as cheap as TVs go, and as long as you don’t anticipate the moon on a stick, you’ll be pleased with its performance.
Of course, expectations should be adjusted at this end of the market, and while the TV has its limitations, it performs well in terms of fundamental picture and sound performance and sports the greatest, most-app-packed operating system in the business. There’s little reason not to buy if you can live with only two HDMIs.