By CHONG JINN XIUNGbytz@thestar.com.my
Forget the remote control. The ES8000 Smart TV understands voice commands and hand gestures.
WE SAT face to face with a sleek 46in ES8000 Samsung Smart TV. Then we spoke to it, "Hi, TV," to turn it on.
That's just one of the ways to interact with Samsung's range of ES8000 and ES7500 LED LCDs. With a built-in camera and unidirectional microphone on top of the TV frame, the Smart TV can hear commands and recognise movements.
It took a few tries before the TV could recognise our voice but it was neat to control the TV with just the sound of our voice. We could also ask it to adjust the volume, change channels and launch applications.
It also comes with a remote that has a built-in microphone to improve the Smart TV's ability to understand commands.
Moving on, the TV's motion sensors are activated by holding up a hand to control a cursor on-screen and pinching with all the fingers is the equivalent of clicking with a mouse.
This simple scheme allowed us to launch apps and browse the Web by using our hands.
The motion sensors are sometimes slow to detect movements - so, it can get tiring after awhile especially when typing with the virtual keyboard.
On the bright side, the integrated web browser supports Adobe Flash apps and games, as well as tabbed browsing. However, only three tabs can be open at any one time.
The Smart Hub is the main area for accessing information, content and apps. The interface is simple to navigate and most of the useful apps are prominently featured.
There are several apps which take advantage of the TV's built-in camera and microphones. Family Story, for instance, allows content like photos and videos to be shared with friends and family. It is a very cool app for keeping in touch with others but they also have to own a Samsung TV, smartphone, Tablet or notebook.
Health conscious viewers can use the Fitness app to keep themselves active by following customised workout programmes.
Unlike Microsoft's Xbox Kinect system, the Smart TV doesn't detect the user's movement but instead just shows a mirror image of yourself performing the exercise.
There is also a Kids app which has interactive games and a collection of children's storybooks. Apart from apps specifically designed for the Smart TV, there are also tons of Samsung apps for accessing services like YouTube.
The features of the Smart TV have not been perfected yet and do not work all the time but they are there when you need them. Also, the Evolution Kit allows the TV to be upgraded and Samsung could improve the features in the future.
Other than the voice command and motion recognition, the HDTV also has a lot of very handy apps tailored for the TV.
You can surf the Net, share photos and videos, and do just about anything on it.
All in all, the ES8000 is a feature-packed TV that's worth checking out if you have the cash to spare - this baby costs RM12,999.
Pros: Beautiful screen; new and innovative ways to interact with the TV; lots of connectivity options.
Cons: Voice recognition isn't always accurate; typing on the virtual keyboard can get tiring.
DISPLAY: 46in with LED backlight
RESOLUTION: 1080p (1,920 x 1,080-pixels)
CONTRAST RATIO: 25,000,000:1
PORTS: Three HDMI ports, composite, component, 3 USB ports, Ethernet port, digital audio output
SPEAKERS: 10-watt x 2
DIMENSIONS (W x D x H): 10.38 x 65.3 x 21.0cm
OTHER FEATURES: Smart Apps, photo and video playback via USB port, web browser.
Review unit courtesy of Samsung Malaysia Electronics (SME) Sdn Bhd, 1-800-88-9999