Samsung UE40ES6300 TV Review
Samsung's entry-level 3D Smart TV comes under scrutiny
What is the Samsung UE40ES6300?Up before the jury today is Samsung’s UE40ES6300, a mid to high-end TV from the Korean giant's ranks that boasts most of their formidable feature-set. It’s Full HD 3D capable, very connected and typically stylish. Samsung really does like to cater for as wide a customer base as possible and the ES6300 is no less than the third 6 Series TV we’ve seen from them in recent months. Past performance has been good, rather than great, but there’s plenty of promise on which the ES6300 can build. Let’s find out if third times is the charm.
Design and ConnectionsThe Samsung UE40ES6300 is very much in keeping with rest of the 6 Series with a very slim chassis and a relatively narrow frame although it’s no micro-bezel, as per the 7 and 8 series. It’s still a very contemporary design, however, and we like the blackness of it all which is given an accent by a transparent strip that runs around the outside of the bezel. As for the stand: Quad Foot, Schmod Foot but at least it swivels and is a little more unobtrusive in black than it is in silver.
The remote control is more or less a replica of those we saw with the flagship Samsung models and is a slimmed down iteration of those of recent years. We were pleased to note the aspect ratio (P.Size) button is retained in the ES6300 as it was missing in the flagship TV versions, sacrificed for the sake of providing shortcuts to some of the features in the Smart Hub. It’s a well thought out design with button layout sensibly deployed and is easily operated comfortably with just the one hand.
At the back of the UE40ES6300 there’s a joystick type controller with which owners can perform basic controls and it also acts as the power on/off switch. Also at the rear and on the right-hand side are the connections, which include two outward facing HDMI inputs. There is a 3.5mm audio in jack next to HDMI1 for passing the audio if you are using a DVI cable. HDMI2 is allocated as the ARC (Audio Return Channel). There are also three USB ports, with one of them allocated for use with an external HDD. Other connections include an optical digital audio output, a RGB Scart and a headphone socket. Also on the back there are connections to an external aerial and a satellite dish, inputs for composite and component video and stereo analogue audio. There is also an Ethernet port, although the 40ES6300 does feature built-in WiFi. Finally, on the left-hand side there is the power cable socket, which uses a detachable 1.5m long two-pin cord.
MenusThe Picture Menu contains 4 Viewing Modes - Standard, Natural, Dynamic and Movie – with the latter offering the most accurate out-of-the-box alternative. There are also all the usual front panel controls of Contrast, Brightness and Colour plus Backlight and Sharpness sliders and a largely unnecessary Tint control. From the Picture menu, you can also access sub menus for Screen Adjustment, 3D, Advanced Settings and Picture Options. The Screen Adjustment menu allows access to the Picture Size options with Screen Fit the go-to choice for high quality HD material. Within the Options sub-menu, you can choose the Colour Tone (read colour temperature) which gives you a choice of Cool, Normal, Warm1 and Warm2. There is also a Digital Noise Filter and an MPEG Noise Filter, both of which we would recommend turning off. In this sub-menu, you will also find HDMI Black Level for choosing between PC and Video levels and the Film Mode option for cadence detection. Finally there are options for both Motion Plus and LED Motion Plus both of which we will look at later in the review.
Within the Advanced Settings sub-menu there is Dynamic Contrast, Black Tone, Flesh Tone, RGB Only, Expert Pattern which provides a series of test patterns and Black Enhancer. Within Advanced Settings there are all the key calibration controls including Gamma, a choice of a two or ten point White balance controls and Colour Space which gives you a choice between Auto, Native and Custom, with the latter allowing access to a full Colour Management System (CMS).
Test ResultsFor those interested in a more comfortable viewing experience and something much closer to the industry standards for video playback, the Movie Picture Mode is a marked improvement over the factory settings. The greyscale is still a little plus-blue - but considerably less so - and a stair-step pattern is still tarnished to the eye. The far more palatable colour palette does, however, compensate and we’re now in the realms of ‘watchable’. There are still big improvemnets that can be made and, thanks to a very comprehensive calibration suite, we shouldn’t have any problems in doing so.
With both 2 and 10 point White Balance controls to manipulate in addition to an excellent CMS, we were able to achieve outstanding results. The Samsung controls have the happy knack of (usually) doing what one would expect and with an initial 2 point greyscale calibration, followed up by a tickle with the 10 point controls, we manage to flat-line both the gamma and greyscale response, giving us a perfect basis on which to portray the colour signal. The tiny errors here are now all but insignificant, although the small excess of blue in the black is visible. That’s not a limitation of the controls, just a panel trait.
We were able to extract a similar degree of excellence from the CMS and it’s only with a small under-saturation of red at full saturation that there is anything noticeably amiss; and then only with highly familiar reference material. In fact, if we look to the graph below that displays colour performance at lower stimulus levels, we can see that red tracks very well meaning the tones of white skin look pretty much spot-on. It’s worth noting the same chart, pre-calibration, was considerably less flattering. Taking care of the white balance sorted out most of the issues between 0 and 50% saturation whilst the CMS tidied up the rest very nicely, proving the excellence of the controls. They may not have any ISF or THX credentials but who cares when you can get these results?
There’s no doubt the 2012 panels used in the upper-tier Samsung TVs have a slightly diminished contrast performance from the preceding year but the ES6300 still does well here. From an ANSI checkerboard pattern we registered an averaged black level of 0.065 cd/m2 in calibrated Movie mode, taken with a Klein K-10 in conditions as dark as possible. Full screen white was set to as close to 120 cd/m2, as possible, in order to maintain the fairness of the test but the ES6300 wasn’t able to maintain that level of peak light output on a mixed frame, averaging 102.9 cd/m2 on the checkerboard, which gives an ANSI Contrast figure of around 1580:1, which is fairly respectable. As we mentioned earlier, blacks do tend to look blue – and more so off-axis – but they were generally convincing, even in brighter conditions, and more importantly the panel had good uniformity meaning there was little in the way of light bleed or pooling marring dark scenes.The Samsung 6 series performed slightly differently to the 5, 7 and 8 products here and are able to detect and lock on to a 2:2 film cadence. Scaling of 576i, SD signals is not quite as strong, however, although perfectly respectable. It is also capable of good to excellent video deinterlacing and motion adaptive deinterlacing, with only very slight jaggies appearing on the bottom most extreme of the three moving bars in the HQV test. The ES6300 also had no problems displaying film material with scrolling video text when Film Mode was set to Auto2. Blu-ray 1080p24 material was portrayed correctly with no frame skipping or unwarranted judder, which is refreshing considering some of the displays we’ve seen lately.
We gave some criticism to the motion handling of the higher end Samsung LEDs of late and the 6300 also shares Samsung’s Clear Motion Rate (CMR) processing technology which sometimes stutters and pauses it way through the action. The actual interpolation of the Motion Plus engine is quite pleasing for sporting action, when set to Clear or a conservative User setting and the ‘black frame insertion’ technique of the LED Motion plus can be particularly effective with film. The undefeatable Noise Reduction, which can remove film grain and other high frequency detail in pictures, is absent in the UE40ES6300, happily, but for anyone that doesn’t like the grain effect, a Low setting of the Noise Reduction control in the Picture Menu, is remarkably effective in removing it.
Gamers wanting to get the most out of the Samsung ES6300 will need to utilise the renaming of source input feature and change the HDMI 1 input label to PC. Without doing so the Game mode lags at over 63 milliseconds, which is not good for a dedicated preset. By renaming to PC, the latency drops to under 45 milliseconds, which is good but not great.
- Standby: 0.0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Standard Mode: 68.5W
- Calibrated – Movie Mode: 64.3W
- 3D Movie Mode – 80.4W
Samsung UE40ES6300 Picture Quality 2DWe’re often forced to expend quite a lot of space discussing panel problems when reviewing LED TVs. Don’t blame us, they weren’t our idea but this appraisal will be mercifully free of the topic. Which means this particular sample was able to deliver very accurate and detailed High Definition pictures, free of intrusive light uniformity or panel array issues which is always refreshing. We’re currently in the midsts of a Boardwalk Empire-athon and its stylised, period look was served full justice by the EH6300. There’s always a good deal of shadowy goings-on too but here the EH6300 can sometimes struggle with a lack of gradation between black and very dark grey but, for the most part, we never felt ourselves robbed of undue detail.
Sticking in one for the kids, Madagascar, and the Samsung really shows its teeth, the gloriously bright colour palette truly shines and the EH6300’s good handling of Blu-ray ensures there’s no undue judder to complain about. When things are moving faster at higher frame rates than Blu-ray generally provides, there is a touch of blur but sports lovers could do worse and there’s always Motion Plus to lend a hand. Overall, it was a very good showing here for the Samsung ES6300 and provided you can seat yourself centrally to the screen, one that should impress most as viewing angles most certainly are not a strong point.
Samsung UE40ES6300 Picture Quality 3DAlmost all LED TVs we’ve seen in 2012 have shown significant improvements in the 3D department, across the gamut of manufacturers, and Samsung’s 6 series doesn’t buck this trend with it being capable of producing wonderfully engaging added-dimension entertainment. Subjecting the Samsung to our crosstalk torture test that is Happy Feet 2 did reveal some crosstalk and ghosting, also the observant might spot a touch of judder in motion, especially with Blu-ray based 3D content, but it’s never really enough to defeat the added level of immersion 3D can bring, when done right. This reviewer isn’t the biggest fan of the 3D eyewear supplied with the ES6800 but opinions are mixed and they are certainly very lightweight and comfortable to wear. For me, they let in far too much light which ups the flicker factor to intolerable levels.
Audio and FeaturesThe ES6300 features 2 downward firing speakers with a claimed 2 x 10W output and SRS TheatreSound processing technology. In truth we’re rarely impressed by the pseudo-surround processing in any flat-panel and the ES6300 did nothing to change that. In its conventional stereo output, the Samsung provided passable audio but it was pretty toppy and lacked any authority in the lower frequencies. Situation normal, really, but at least there’s nothing offensive to report.
So packed are the Samsung TVs with features, we decided to write a separate review entirely devoted to them. You can find that here and it’s only the voice and gesture controls, of note, missing from the ES6300 feature set.
- Strong contrast
- Impressive blacks
- Great screen uniformity
- Highly accurate after calibration
- 3D is nice and bright
- Boatloads of features
- Some stuttering and pausing with motion
- Viewing angles are poor
- Quad stand
- Game mode is laggy (although there is a remedy)
Samsung UE40ES6300 TV Review
There’s no mistaking the ES6300 for anything other than a Samsung product with the trademark quad-foot stand and slim chassised design and even if the former isn’t to our taste, it’s difficult not to be impressed by the rest of the package. Connectivity options are plentiful although we would like to see 4 HDMI ports as standard at this level but the inclusion of built-in Wi-Fi does go some way to compensate and make accessing the abundant feature-set that much more straightforward for those that don’t seat their TVs near to their internet connection.
The generous calibration controls allowed us to dial in almost perfect colours and these, buoyed by decent black levels and abetted by strong picture processing, allowed the UE40ES6300 to deliver striking high definition images, packed with detail and believability. It doesn’t perform too shabbily with standard definition either but whether HD or SD, you’ll want to be sat flush on to avoid both contrast and colour wash-out as generous viewing angles are definitely not one of its selling points. However, on the plus side, there was little to nothing in the way of screen uniformity issues to poop the party. The ES6300 was no slouch with 3D, either, although there’s a certain jumpiness with 3D Blu-ray at times. Gamers will need to utilise the renaming of input feature to get the most out of the ES6300 as default Game Mode just doesn’t cut the mustard.
There’s very little to complain about with the Samsung ES6300 - it does the lot well, with good contrast, highly accurate colour, excellent processing and capable of handling SD, HD and 3D without too much fuss. If you’re in the market for a mid-range, mid-size 3D TV with plenty of features and your budget is just south of £600, we’d certainly recommend you add the ES6300 to your demo list.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £879.00
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level7
3D Picture Quality6
Ease Of Use9
Value for Money7
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