Samsung Serif TV, analysis: a design television to attract attention in the living room

In September 2015, we were surprised by Samsung's announcement to launch a new line of smart TVs that would completely break with the current trend of increasingly narrow flat screens with hardly any frame and nondescript appearance.

It was the Serif TVs, some models that would not incorporate the latest in panel technologies, 3D images or functionalities smartInstead, they would focus on the design and external appearance of the device, conceiving the television as one more decorative piece of the modern home.

They have been the personal bet of designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and after putting the first units on sale in the Asian market, a few weeks ago they arrived in Spain in the form of three different models with similar features although with different sizes and resolutions. Thus, we find 24, 32 and 40-inch screens with HD, Full HD and UHD resolutions respectively.

We have had the opportunity to test the 40-inch version for a few days, whose characteristics, benefits and behavior we will relate below.

Design and technical characteristics

Serif TVs are devices designed to visually impress those who see them for the first time, since they flee from the conventional design of current flat screens and instead opt for a wide frame inspired by the "Serifa" typeface that gives them their name and which resembles the capital letter 'I' in profile view.

Its body is thin in the center but it widens at the ends forming a kind of shelf on which we can return to the fashion of placing small decorative objects, leaving the mobile or a book, something that we had forgotten since the days of the screens of tube.

The Bouroullec brothers have devised two ways of placing the TV allowing it to be placed on a piece of furniture in a conventional way or directly on the floor using tubular legs that allow the TV to be placed standing up anywhere in the room and moved easily, being careful with the cables, of course.

To hide cables and connections, the TV has a removable panel on the back that comes with a matching color cover

Precisely, to hide these cables and connections, the TV has a removable panel on the back that comes with a color cover that matches the TV frame and gives it a minimalist look away from the typical format of smartTV current.

In addition, it is also worth noting the new remote control included along with the TV. We are faced with a piece of minimalist design in a sober white tone and that shows only the precise buttons to control the basic functions at the top, leaving the rest to be accessed through the renewed user interface that we will discuss later.

As for the technical characteristics, we are faced with a 40-inch (101 cm) screen with an Ultra Clear UHD LED panel (3,840 x 2,160 pixels) with PureColor technology and Auto Motion Plus governed by a Quad-Core processor that is not given more details on the product page.

It has a DVB-T2 / C / S2 tuner with HbbTV for Freeview channels and a 20 watt (10 + 10) stereo sound system compatible with Dolby Digital Plus and DTS. It has 3 HDMI ports that support support input signals up to UHD 50P / 60P 4: 4: 4 and 4: 2: 2, 2 USB 2.0 connectors to feed content to your media player, an optical digital sound output and connectivity WiFi 802.11ac.

Serif TV

characteristics

Panel

40-inch UHD LED (3,840 x 2,160 pixels)

Tuner

DVB-T2 / C / S2 with HbbTV

Sound system

20W stereo (I: 10W, D: 10W)

Connectivity

3 HDMI ports, 2 USB 2.0, optical digital sound output and WiFi AC

Dimensions

928.5 × 561.5 × 174.5 mm

Base weight

13.1 kg

Electric consumption

130 watts

Price

1,499 euros

See complete gallery »Samsung Serif TV 2 (6 photos)

Image and sound quality

To test the image and sound quality of the television, in addition to the poor DTT channels that we have in Spain and which can not indicate the true potential of a modern television at all, I turned to my usual test bench with several snippets of well-known movies extracted directly from their respective DVD and Blu-ray discs at the highest possible quality, without compressing or modifying the audio and video tracks in any way.

In addition, being a model with UHD resolution, I also used different trailers and the typical commercial demos that brands prepare to display in stores and attract the attention of consumers when they go to buy their new TV.

We begin with the sequences of "low" resolution, that is to say of DVD, that show a correct quality, both in the scaling and in the reproduction of the colors, although of course if we buy a TV of these characteristics we must be thinking, if not We have already done so, in moving to a more modern format such as Blu-ray.

the videos show a high level of detail in the textures without showing strange artifacts

With files at 1080p (Full HD) and especially with 4K (if we sit close to the screen to appreciate it better) things improve substantially, especially in terms of sharpness.

Despite having the configuration of this parameter more or less in the middle (as it came just after opening the box), the videos show a great level of detail in the textures without exhibiting strange artifacts as long as we do not raise the sharpness to the maximum, of course .

The colors also breathe new life and adjust perfectly to our tastes through the configuration menu, being able to choose between different pre-programmed modes (the natural one is the one I liked the most) depending on the lighting conditions in the room. The contrast is also very good with black levels and details in the dark areas at the height of the high-end LED panels, although far from the desired OLED.

As for the sound, it is all the good that we can expect from a flat screen TV. That is, enough to see DTT and daily use with series and conventional programming but that is a short in terms of power if we want to enjoy a more demanding cinephile session.

The different equalization modes are not that they help much to improve the perception of quality, although they can get us out of trouble with some Internet videos that have too low a sound or muted voices. Of course, it should be noted that it offers a good separation of the stereo channels, which is a point in its favor.

SmartTV interface and functions

We are used to the fact that new generation televisions come full of functionalities of the so-called "smart" that fill the control menu with multiple apps that are often useless that we will never use.

Serif TV is not like that, since its interface has been redesigned so that minimalism prevails. It is enough to turn it on for the first time to realize that the user's entrance door to the television is a clean interface, with only a few initial menus in which we will find the configuration options.

Whether using the traditional remote control or the one that includes a motion sensor, we can move around the different screens comfortably, receiving feedback on our actions through a soft click sound.

The Serif TV interface has been redesigned so that minimalism prevails

Within the "Applications" section we find, after configuring a simple wizard to connect to the local network and a couple of additional options, with the possibility of installing the apps that we like the most within those that the Samsung universe allows us.

In the case of the model that I have tested, it came as standard with only about 5 applications installed, so we have to be the ones to decide which ones we want to have present on our television.

They are classified by theme (games, videos, information, etc.) and the installation is extremely simple, you just have to enter the one that interests us, read the description, give it to install and it will already be inserted in the main menu of applications so that let's use it whenever we want.

How do they work? Well, I tried several videos like YouTube or Vimeo and they loaded quite quickly, both the application itself and when moving around the different screens and playing the videos, being recommended to use the remote control with a motion sensor to move more comfortably through internal options.

Xataka's opinion

The first thing we have to point out is that the Serif TV is not a smart TV in use. It has been conceived as a striking and decorative design piece for the living room rather than as a conventional television on which to watch news and gossip shows.

The image quality (and to a lesser extent that of sound) is at the height of a mid-range TV or perhaps medium-high, especially if we feed it with good content and spend a few minutes configuring the different settings it offers us. the brand avoiding selecting options such as motion enhancement, which in my opinion gives an unrealistic feeling especially to movies and series.

It comes with several interesting extra options, such as the screen saver from which it is possible to access basic services such as the clock, Bluetooth speakers, applications or the photo gallery. It also has PIP and Time Shift whenever we connect an external memory to one of its USB ports.

However, the 1,499 euros that this model costs will probably back down many users less interested in the external design of the TV and looking for lower prices or more inches.

Worth? If you are looking for a state-of-the-art TV with an unconventional shape that attracts the attention of visitors as soon as you enter the house, Serif TV will be your best ally. If instead you prefer to have a larger size for an equivalent price, then it is probably not the best option.

8.1

Design9 Image quality8 Sound quality7 Interface and software8.5

In favor

  • Design, if you like the shape
  • Minimalist interface
  • Good definition level with Full HD and 4K content
  • Good media player

Against

  • Design, if you don't like the shape
  • There are only sizes up to 40 inches
  • Somewhat poor sound when watching movies
  • High price

The Serif TV has been loaned for testing by Samsung. Can inquire our policy of relationships with enterprises

More information | Samsung

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