I surfed this forum (and others) and read many reviews before I set my sights on the Samsung UN60F7100.
But in retrospect, I suspected that I had made up my mind quite quickly. I always liked the picture quality of samsung. The colors tend to be overly saturated, yes, but that could be calibrated to yield very nice results. Moreover, my first LCD TV was a Samsung. The LA40R81, which had fantastic PQ.
It had been 6 years since my last TV purchase and I wanted an upgrade. A 60 incher seemed like the natural progression (as I'm sure, any forummer here would attest to).
Cue in the UN60F7100. In terms of colors and contrast, the UN60F7100 did not disappoint and I was a happy owner of this brilliant piece of technology. I was somewhat realistic in my expectations, having read much about issues with clouding/light leak, flashlighting, what have you. This forum has a way of setting us up with the worst expectations! I was prepared to overlook some of these issues since, as was shared in my first post, the purpose of a TV to me is to watch real content, not so much color slides and test patterns. I was treated to images such as this:
A side issue; I wondered how Samsung could market this 60" version as as an ultra thin 5mm bezel when the bezel for this TV exceeds 1cm. Still, my main focus was 2D PQ, everything else, including the smart hub, etc was secondary.
I first started to notice issues with light leak when I watched movies at night. I have a very young kid, and like any new parent, the only time I could watch TV was in the wee hours. The viewing environment was not pitch dark because I kept a couple of down lights on as ambient lightning. This notwthstanding, light leaking became obvious, and pretty difficult to defeat even with adjustments to the backlighting. I share here, a few shots from my first unit showing the light leakage. Note that I had switched off all the lights when I took these. The image from the iphone 5 camera is somewhat exaggerated due to the low light environment but nonetheless, it is certainly visible.
I must emphasize that I did not deliberately go out of my way to look at black screens. It's just that once something like this catches your attention, inevitably you want to see if it is something which poses serious concern in terms of quality. This is how it looks like for end credits.
To the credit of Samsung, their technician who came down to "assess the fault" was quite ready to replace this with a new unit, notwithstanding his position that light leak was not something which could be totally eliminated for edge lit LED TVs.
[Note: I live in Singapore and our purchase return policies are certainly not as customer friendly as those in the United States. You might be amused to know that the 60F7100 here costs S$4,300, or about US$3,400).
Anyway I agreed with the technician in principle but disagreed on the extent to which a customer should be made to accept these 'flaws'. Samsung replaced a second set for me quickly. The second set had, to me, comparable light leak issues. In addition, I also observed a white mark/line on it, which was visible even in normal day time TV viewing. These images below show the light leaks on my 2nd set, and the white line which is near the left edge of the TV. Note that there is some exaggeration here because the camera compensated for the low ambient lighting. Edit: forgot to add, there was also noticeable dse on both sets which I neglected mentioning. This was spotted by my wife. You might be wondering why we notice such things. Truth is, our tv was on the Babytv quite a lot and the cartoon programmes tend to have simple pictures comprising large patches of uniform colors.
I brought this to the attention of Samsung again. Expectedly, the technician (same guy) came down again to review the set. This time though, he took the view that the light leak was within acceptable standards, and that the white line was normal. Nonetheless, he was prepared to order a replacement panel (not TV).
Samsung subsequenlty replaced the panel (not the entire unit). I confirm here that the 60UNF7100 panel which was ordered as a replacement was manufactured by SHARP.
This was written clearly on the box label. When I first asked the technicians who attended to the replacement, they claimed that all panels were manufactured by Samsung but when I pointed them to the label, they conceded that I was right.
In any case, you would already have guessed the outcome. I did not take any photos but the light leak on this panel was the worst of the lot. It could be seen in broad daylight, quite clearly. They agreed to take it back on the spot.
Samsung, having considered my case, is prepared to refund me, but maintains that their panels are of good quality and that the light leaks are concomitant to their strong backlighting system. I suppose we have to agree to disagree.
This experience does not affect my perception that Samsung makes very good TVs. What was disappointing to me was the quality control in respect of parts from 3rd party vendors. Samsung might have been prepared to keep switching panels for me until I received a satisfactory one, but it was something I was not quite prepared to consider, given that each new one that came was worse than the last.
I might add that the customer service was still pretty good, and for all I know, should they resolve quality problems in the future, of if they are rid of such problems with OLED, I'm quite prepared to give their products a try again.
What is perhaps more troubling for me is the lack of better options. I certainly won't go for Sharp (their panels blow!) Sony doesnt manufacture 60 inchers, and their TVs lack color management features. LG also seems to be suffering from backlight issues. I merely wanted to find a TV of acceptable quality but it certainly feels to be out of reach at this juncture.Edited by congster - 9/30/13 at 8:46am