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Lifewire / Andrew Hayward
Crisp 4K screen
Low input lag
HDR isn’t very impactful
Issues with reflections, viewing angles
Missing some apps
Pricier than flat alternatives
Curves don’t really justify the added expense of the RU7300 and the HDR doesn’t wow as much as it should, but there’s still a lot to like if you can get the right price.
Curved TVs haven’t caught on in a big way, given that the vast majority of 4K HDR sets sold today are still flat. Still, curved-screen sets are out there if you want something a little different, or perhaps something that provides a supposedly more immersive viewing experience. These days, Samsung is really the only brand-name manufacturer still pumping out new curved sets in North America, with a range of sizes and prices available.
Samsung’s 55-inch RU7300 Curved 4K HDR Smart TV is on the lower end of that price scale, with an MSRP of $550, but seen on sale for less than $500. It’s a sharp-looking set, given the high-resolution 4K image, and the curved design is appealing—although it comes with the same set of limitations and complications as any curved TV screen.
Lacking brightness holds it back a bit, minimizing the effect of HDR, but this is still a pretty nice set for the price, assuming that you’re fixated on a curved screen. I tested Samsung’s RU7300 for more than 80 hours across streaming media, video games, movies, and more.
The Samsung 55-inch RU7300 has a bit more visual pop than your average large-screen 4K HDR set because it is physically popping out towards you on the right and left sides, unlike a standard flat television. It’s a subtle curve overall, but enough to be just noticeable—especially from the sides. That might make it an awkward fit for wall mounting, but it has a distinctive edge that’s unlike nearly every other TV you’ll find in stores.
Curves aside, Samsung went pretty minimal on the front of the set, with a black plastic frame that’s nearly uniform around the screen—but slightly thicker on the bottom, with a tiny Samsung logo sitting on a small metallic accent at the center. The two legs strike a wide stance on either end, and aren’t especially chunky.
Meanwhile, the back of the TV has a series of uneven ridged horizontal stripes that are attractive. You’ll find the array of ports here, split between two panels. There are three HDMI ports, two USB ports, an optical audio out, an Ethernet port, and hybrid component/AV cables for older devices. That should be plenty for your various devices, although some TVs around this price point pack in another HDMI port.
The included remote control is compact, but filled with all of the buttons you’ll need to navigate menus, tap in channel numbers, and reach your favorite streaming services. It has dedicated buttons for Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video right on the remote, plus there are four programmable, color-coded A-D buttons for favorite channels. The TV itself also has a small control nub underneath the Samsung logo, but it’s difficult to feel around for and use.
Low input lag means that games feel responsive, making this set well-suited for gaming.
If you’re setting the Samsung RU7300 up on a stand or table, then you’ll need to install the legs. That is extremely straightforward: each is designated for a certain side and simply requires popping in and tightening a couple of screws. Meanwhile, if you opt for wall-mounting, you’ll need a standard VESA 200x200 mount—however, you may need longer screws. The screws on my existing wall mount (for a flat-screen TV) weren’t long enough, so I had to order specialized ones.
Initial software setup can take a few minutes, as you’ll be prompted to log into a Wi-Fi network if you don’t have an Ethernet cable plugged into an active connection, and you may have to download updates to Samsung’s built-in interface. It was a pretty quick process for me.
At 3840x2160 (4K Ultra HD) resolution, Samsung’s RU7300 has sharpness covered, delivering crisply detailed visuals across the board. Native 4K media looks fantastic, as expected, and lower-resolution media scales up pretty smoothly. And low input lag means that games feel responsive, making this set well-suited for gaming.
Samsung advertises HDR support here, but it doesn’t pack quite the same punch as on some other TVs in this price range. This curved set just doesn’t get immensely bright, so it’s difficult to see quite as much variance in the dynamic range. Watching Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 4K, it’s still inherently vibrant due to the source material, but lacks the extra edge in dynamism and contrast, and even looks a bit dim at times. The image quality isn’t bad in any way, but it doesn’t hit quite the peaks that I’d expected.
As for the curved design, it’s difficult to really see the advantages beyond wanting something a bit different from the pack. Whether playing games or watching movies or TV shows, I didn’t feel like the picture was any more immersive due to the slight arc of the display. But the curved screen does bring some notable downsides, such as ambient light more clearly reflecting off of the curves, and viewing angles suffering at wider angles.
The Samsung 55-inch RU7300 has a pair of stereo speakers with a total output of 20W, and they’ll get the job done for everyday viewing of streaming shows and movies, and playing games. Playback is clear and full, although it’s not heavy on bass—and unlike a lot of other modestly-priced televisions, I wasn’t immediately itching for a soundbar. You’ll see an improvement from external speakers, certainly, but it doesn’t feel as necessary here.
Samsung’s own Tizen OS-based Smart Hub interface is used on this curved smart TV, providing easy access to streaming video apps and settings. Most of the heavy hitters are here, either already installed or available via the built-in app marketplace, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and even Apple TV. There are some omissions, however: both Twitch and Bravo were missing in action when I searched for them. Samsung also offers a number of free streaming channels in partnership with Pluto TV, in case you miss the sensation of flipping channels for something to watch.
Even with some popular apps missing, the interface is very clean and easy to use, taking up only a small chunk of space at the bottom of your screen when hunting for your next app so you can still see what you were already watching or playing. Sponsored ads for streaming video channels and newly-released movies might be annoying to some users, however.
Native 4K media looks fantastic, as expected, and lower-resolution media scales up pretty smoothly.
There aren’t many curved televisions currently on the market, so it’s difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison. However, looking at other mid-range 4K HDR Smart TVs with flat screens, you can find numerous models for less cash than the $550 asking price of the RU7300. Still, the RU7300 has been selling for around $480 as of this writing, which is easier to stomach if you’re set on a curved screen.
Here’s one example of how you can save a fair amount of cash by skipping the curved screen—and get a better TV in the process. Vizio’s M-Series Quantum 50-inch 4K HDR TV (see on Best Buy) is a little smaller in size, sure, but not significantly so. Better yet, it delivers a brighter and more vibrant picture, with local dimming zones boosting the black levels.
They’re not significantly far apart in overall quality, but with the Vizio set priced at $400 and seen on sale for less, it shows that lower-priced sets can actually be an upgrade over this curved option.
The curve isn’t essential, but it’s a solid mid-range TV if you can find it on sale.
If you’re sold on a curved screen, whether it’s due to the distinctive nature or purported added level of immersiveness, then the Samsung 55-inch RU7300 Curved 4K HDR Smart TV is a pretty good mid-range choice. It’s more expensive than similarly-specced flat 4K HDR sets, but that’s the price you’ll pay for a significant niche feature. Samsung’s curved set comes up a little short on brightness, which impacts the quality of the HDR experience, but otherwise provides a nice-looking picture, responsive inputs, and a slick-looking interface.