The Samsung RU7100 is a good 4k LED TV that has decent overall picture quality. It can deliver deep blacks, thanks to the high native contrast ratio, and it is good for a dim room. However, it lacks a local dimming feature to further improve dark room performance. It has good gray uniformity and great color accuracy out of the box. It doesn't have a wide color gamut and can't get very bright, especially in HDR. Motion handling is mediocre, but the input lag is remarkably low, which makes the TV very responsive; something that will please gamers. Unfortunately, it does not support any of the advanced gaming features found on higher-end Samsung models, and the image loses accuracy when viewed from the side.
The Samsung RU7100 is a 2019 entry-level UHD TV. It is the replacement of the NU7100 in Samsung's lineup, and it is meant as a more budget model that lacks some of the more advanced features found on the higher-end UHDs like the Samsung RU8000. It is comparable to most other budget LED TVs, like the LG UK7700 or the Vizio E Series 2018.
The design of the Samsung RU7100 is excellent, similar to last year's Samsung NU7100. The stand supports the TV well and allows only minimal wobble. It is, however, nearly as wide as the TV, so you need a large table to place it on. The back of the TV is made of plastic with the same textured finish found on last year's Samsung TVs. Cable management is serviced through guide tracks on the back of the TV and with the help of a couple of clips that attach to the legs. The build quality is decent, and you should have no issues with it.
The stand is plastic but supports the TV well. It is almost as wide as the TV, and the legs cannot be reversed. There is some wobble, but not too much.
Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 38.3" x 10.4"
The borders of the Samsung UN55RU7100 are plain and have an average thickness.
The RU7100 has almost the same thickness as last year's NU7100. The thickness is roughly uniform, which looks good if you VESA mount it.
The bottom edge of the Samsung RU7100 gets quite warm. This is likely due to the edge LEDs, but shouldn't cause any issues.
The RU7100 has decent overall build quality. The external casing is almost entirely made of plastic. There are no gaps or loose ends other than some flex in the seam where the back joins the borders; this should not be an issue.
The picture quality of the RU7100 is decent. It has a high native contrast ratio and can deliver deep uniform blacks, but it lacks a local dimming feature to further improve dark room performance. It can get decently bright, and it is more suitable for an average-lit or dim room. It does not have a wide color gamut and cannot get bright enough to deliver a good HDR performance. The Samsung UN55RU7100 has decent reflection handling and good gray uniformity that will please most sports fans. Unfortunately, it has narrow viewing angles, just like most VA panel TVs, and the image quickly loses accuracy when viewed from the side.
The native contrast ratio of the RU7100 is excellent. This is great for watching movies in a completely dark room. Unfortunately, the TV does not have a local dimming feature to further improve the contrast ratio.
The Samsung RU7100 does not have a local dimming feature. The above video is provided for reference only.
The SDR peak brightness of the RU7100 is decent, just slightly better than last year's NU7100. The UN55RU7100 is more suitable for average-lit or dim rooms, as it cannot get bright enough to overcome glare.
We measured the peak brightness after calibration, using the 'Movie' picture mode, 'Warm 2' color temperature, '2,2' gamma, and we set Auto Motion Plus Settings to 'Off.' Different picture modes and color temperatures may be brighter.
The setting that controls the brightness of the backlight is called Backlight.
The HDR peak brightness is disappointing. The RU7100 can't get bright enough to deliver a vivid HDR image. Small highlights in dark scenes are dimmed by the TV's algorithms, as shown by our 2% window test. This is known as CE dimming.
Our measurements were taken in the 'Movie' picture mode, with no calibration settings and Auto Motion Plus settings set to 'Off.' Some settings may produce a brighter image.
The RU7100 has good gray uniformity. The 50% gray image is a little darker at the sides and especially at the corners. However, the center of the screen is more uniform, so the minor dirty screen effect isn't very noticeable. This is great news if you enjoy watching sports.
In the 5% gray image, the uniformity is good and you can't easily spot any uniformity issues.
The viewing angle is disappointing, just like with most VA panel TVs. The image loses accuracy at fairly small angles off-center. As you increase your viewing angle, you will first notice the blacks intensifying, then a shift in grayscale shades followed by a shift in the colors, and finally, the brightness will begin to fade.
The RU7100 has very good black uniformity. Although you can see some flashlighting, it is not very visible under normal viewing conditions. It becomes more noticeable if you watch a very dark scene in a dark room. Unfortunately, there is no local dimming feature to improve black uniformity.
The UN55RU7100 has decent reflection handling. The semi-gloss screen handles reflections very similarly to the NU7100. In most rooms, there shouldn't be any issues, but in a bright room with many windows, reflections might become distracting.
The out of the box color accuracy of the RU7100 is great. The Picture Mode that gave us the best results is the 'Movie' picture mode. The minor color inaccuracies are hard to spot unless you are an enthusiast. With Color tone set to 'Warm 2,' the color temperature is slightly colder than the 6500K target. The gamma does not follow our target and some scenes are brighter than others.
The RU7100 has excellent color accuracy after calibration. Any remaining inaccuracies are almost impossible to spot without the aid of a colorimeter. The color temperature is almost spot on the 6500K target, and the gamma follows the target curve more closely, but not perfectly.
Changing Color Space settings from 'Auto' to 'Custom' reduced the color gamut drastically, so we had to make big changes in the color calibration. We recommend that users leave it at 'Auto' to avoid this.
You can see our recommended settings here.
Blu-rays and other 1080p content, including non-4k console games, are displayed well.
The RU7100 has a decent color gamut. It is not wide enough for great HDR performance, but it is still wider than most SDR TVs, and an improvement over last year's NU7100.
The 'Movie' EOTF cannot follow the input stimulus closely and produces less bright images.If you find HDR content too dark, you can try setting Contrast Enhancer to 'High' and Brightness to '5.' With all of these enabled, the image gets brighter, as shown here.
In 'Game' mode, the EOTF cannot follow the target curve closely and starts to roll-off relatively early, very similar to the 'Movie' mode EOTF.
Update 05/08/2019: We have retested the color gamut for the RU7100 after discovering an error in our results and have updated the scores to our new finding.
The RU7100 has disappointing color volume, which is expected for a TV without a wide color gamut. It is not a significant improvement over the NU7100 as it cannot produce bright saturated colors like those in a bright outdoor scene.
The RU7100 has good gradient handling. Some moderate banding is noticeable in dark gray, green, and blue. This is hardly noticeable in person. Unlike higher-end Samsung models, setting Digital Clean View to 'Auto' didn't remove banding in our test image.
There are no signs of temporary image retention, which is typical of VA panels.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
The motion handling of the Samsung RU7100 is mediocre. It has a fast response time, so there is only a very short blur trail behind fast-moving objects. The backlight uses PWM to dim and the flicker frequency is 240Hz but it drops to 120Hz in some modes, and this might bother some people. This TV has very little stutter, and motion appears fluid in lower frame rate content like movies. It supports motion interpolation up to 60Hz and has a Black Frame Insertion feature to make the image crisper, but it does not work very well.
Very good response time for the RU7100. Most transitions are fast, so there is only a very short blur trail behind fast-moving objects. In dark scenes, however, some smearing may be present due to the longer transition between darker shades, such as from 0% to 20%.
The RU7100 uses PWM to dim the backlight. Only when the backlight is set at max is there no flicker. The flicker frequency is 240Hz and was measured in 'Movie' mode with Auto Motion Plus disabled. Unfortunately, some TV settings have 120Hz flicker. Simply setting Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom' changes the flicker to 120Hz. The 'Game' and 'Standard' picture modes have 120Hz flicker all the time, as shown here.
This changing flicker frequency has also been observed in other Samsung TVs like the Q60R.
The RU7100 gives you the option to introduce flicker to make the image crisper. In 'Movie' mode, setting Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom' changes the flicker of the backlight to 120Hz, as explained in the Flicker-Free box. If you don't want Motion Interpolation, set Judder Reduction to '0.'
Activating LED Clear Motion changes the flicker to 60Hz. Unfortunately, motion with 60Hz BFI doesn't look good, as you can see in the photo above. This happens because the pulse timing isn't very good. The backlight pulse catches the TV in mid-transition, resulting in the double-image seen in the photo.
In 'Game' mode, the backlight always flickers at 120Hz, and unfortunately can't be made to flicker at 60Hz.
The Samsung RU7100 can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 60Hz. To enable motion interpolation, set Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom' and adjust the Judder Reduction slider. Leave LED Clear Motion to off unless you want Black Frame Insertion.
Note that, like many Samsung TVs, simply setting Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom' changes the backlight flicker from 240Hz to 120Hz, as explained in the Flicker-Free box.
Low-end Samsung TVs like the RU7100 do not have a Game Motion Plus option to add motion interpolation in 'Game' mode.
The RU7100 is great at displaying content without stutter, even on low frame rate movies. The transition between frames appears smoother thanks to the slower response time.
Unfortunately, the Samsung UN55RU7100 cannot remove 24p judder from any source. We tried setting Auto Motion Plus to 'Custom' and Judder Reduction to '0' but it didn't work. We also tried enabling Film Mode, but it didn't work either.
The Samsung RU7100 does not support AMD's FreeSync variable refresh rate as the higher-end Q60R model does.
The Samsung RU7100 has excellent low input lag and supports most common resolutions, including 1440p @ 60Hz which has become popular among gamers. It displays proper chroma 4:4:4 in all supported resolutions as long as it is in 'PC' mode. Unfortunately, there is no support for DTS or eARC.
Excellent low input lag on the RU7100. Both 'Game' mode and 'PC' mode have low input lag. A welcoming change is that when in 'PC' mode, you do not have to enable 'Game' mode for low input lag, unlike on higher-end Samsung TVs like the Q900R.
Chroma 4:4:4 is only properly shown when the input icon is set to 'PC,' denoting that the TV is in 'PC' mode.
The RU7100 supports most common resolutions and refresh rates, including 1440p @ 60Hz, just like the Q60R. Full bandwidth signals, such as 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4, require Input Signal Plus to be enabled for the input in use. Input Signal Plus is the new name for what was previously known as HDMI UHD Color.
Chroma 4:4:4 is properly shown in all resolutions provided the TV is in 'PC' mode.
Unlike last year's NU7100 where all inputs were facing sideways, some of the inputs on the RU7100 are facing outwards.
Like the Q60R and 2018 Samsung TVs, the RU7100 does not support DTS, nor does it support eARC. Like the Q60R, there is a Dolby Atmos Input setting, so it likely does support lossy Atmos passthrough via Dolby Digital Plus sources, such as the native Netflix app.
The sound on the Samsung RU7100 is decent, almost identical to NU7100. It can get decently loud but may not be loud enough for large or noisy environments. It doesn't have deep bass and won't produce any thump or rumble, but it will deliver clear and intelligible dialog. For a better sound, dedicated speakers or soundbars are recommended (see our recommendations for the best soundbars).