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Samsung UE40F6500 (F6500) TV Review

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Business as usual from Samsung's solid six series

by Mark Hodgkinson Dec 20, 2013

  • Home AV review

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    Samsung UE40F6500 (F6500) TV Review
    SRP: £599.95

    What is the Samsung UE40F6500?

    Whilst Samsung is ploughing most of its marketing into 4K and OLED, this is the sort of TV that is their bread and butter.

    The 6 Series is almost the very epitome of a Samsung product. Stylish, feature-rich but competitively priced. In fact the range has multitudinous entries with only some minor cosmetic tweaks and processing differences to distinguish amongst them.
    The model under scrutiny here is the UE40F6500 that features all of the Korean's usual wealth of Smart features, 3D technology and carries a current online price in the mid £500 region. Is it worth the dosh? Let's find out.

    Design & Connections

    You've seen one, you've seen them all but that's not say the F6500 is boring. There's an extremely narrow black bezel framing the gloss black screen which is all wrapped up in a strip of silver. It's contemporary and chic, for sure, but we'll leave you to make your own minds up about the 'quad-stand.' We decided some time ago it wasn't our cup of cocoa but your mileage may vary. It doesn't swivel, which is surprising, as we can see no reason for it not to. At under 9kg, the panel is hardly heavy!
    Samsung UE40F6500 Design & Connections
    Samsung UE40F6500 Design & Connections

    To the back and sides of the UE40F6500 are the usual and expected array of connections. There are 4 HDMI (3 side-facing/1 ouwtard) and a total of 3 USB ports. You have legacy scart, component and composite options, too, plus digital audio out and terminals for HD Freeview and Freesat services.

    Samsung's policy of sending out two remote controls with all their Smart TV continues so you have a regular, if maybe slightly too small and cramped, black remote and a touchpad affair with built-in mic for voice commands. It works quite well but the majority of things - bar web browsing - are easier achieved via ye olde remote.
    Samsung UE40F6500


    Menus

    There might be an awful lot packed into Samsung's Menus but they are fairly easy to find your away around, with just a couple of illogical option placements. The Picture Menu lays at the heart of things and is home to the usual array of exotic sounding controls and options. You can bypass most of the unnecessary ones by selecting the Movie picture mode and you'd be doing yourself a favour, in terms of image accuracy, in the process.
    Samsung UE40F6500 Menus
    Samsung UE40F6500 Menus


    We like the fact Samsung includes a helpful e-Manual in the Support sub-menu and there's even the option of allowing Samsung's support staff to remotely access the TV, should you run in to difficulties. Most of the rest is fairly slef-explanatory with further menus for Sound, Broadcasting, Network, Smart Features and System. It's in the System menu where you'll find the Game Mode, which is of note to console & PC rig owners if you want the silkiest experience.

    You want features? You've got 'em!

    Features

    Samsung's Smart TV offering continues to go from strength. Not only does its extensive range of VoD services remain the only to boast BBC iPlayer, 4OD, 5 on Demand and ITV Player amongst its ranks but it also offers the most expansive connected experience currently available. LG pushes them mighty close and may soon overtake but Samsung till holds the crown and new services are added all the time. There's far too much to go in to within the space of a television review, so why not check out our dedicated feature.
    Samsung UE40F6500 Features
    Samsung UE40F6500 Features


    Calibration

    Pre-Calibration

    The F6500 was almost suspiciously accurate in its out of box Movie mode but once we'd tuned Brightness, Contrast and Backlight settings to suit our viewing conditions, things were even better.

    Delta Errors for greyscale (graph on the left. below) averaged at less than 2 and they say a dE level of 3 is imperceptible to the human eye, although we would dispute that closer to black and white. Colours are almost as impressive, too, with just a few errors and a bit of uneven luminance to deal with. Excellent stuff!
    Samsung UE40F6500 Calibration
    Samsung UE40F6500 Calibration

    Calibrated

    We would have been a touch shamefaced had we not managed to line everything up to what represents close to perfection, especially since Samsung provides such an excellent set of calibration controls. We went straight to the ten point White Balance sliders and tuned greyscale and gamma to ruler flat standards meaning we're in great shape to deal with the colours.
    Samsung UE40F6500 Calibration
    Samsung UE40F6500 Calibration

    As we can see from the CIE Diagram, above right, the only minor - and it's very insignificant - issue was with a slight under-saturation of the red primary. You would be pressed to notice, in all honesty, and the results for accuracy at less saturated levels are almost equally impressive. We're certainly not complaining here!
    Samsung UE40F6500 Calibration
    Contrast, Black Levels & Screen Uniformity

    Samsung's record for sending us LED TV samples possessing excellent screen uniformity, this year, continued with the UE40F6500. There was barely a spot of uneven light visible on very dark screens, although we did pick up on some panel array banding, from time to time. Nothing like to the extent at which we've seen with some other TVs and if you're buying in to LED/LCD it usually goes with the territory but you might notice with fast panning action.
    Samsung UE40F6500 Calibration
    In terms of black levels, Samsung consistently uses panels that achieve better than most of the competition. The results are very good dynamic range and contrast performance and pictures with plenty of oomph. For the number crunchers; we recorded the average black level to be 0.036 cd/m2 from an ANSI checkerboard pattern. With a full screen white luminance set at 120 c/m2 for consistency, we measured the average peak white level to be around 115 cd/m2, that gives an ANSI contrast ratio of about 3,200:1, which is certainly better than most of the competition - particularly those with passive 3D technology on-board.

    Contrast levels are certainly more than respectable

    Video Processing

    The 40F6500 showed Samsung's usual assurance with the elements of picture processing. Scaling of standard definition signals was very clean and clear, whilst its ability to lock on the PAL 2:2 film cadence means its a good bet for those still with large DVD collections. Video deinterlacing was also as solid, with no noticeable break up of fine details or other untoward artefacts. As you would expect, the F6500 was perfectly capable of handling 1080p24 signals without introducing judder or jerkiness and it showed equal adeptness with our 1080i50 discs, of which there admittedly not many. The only thing we still notice is that the involuntary motion processing (CMR) continues to throw up the odd hiccup and stutter with action that features sudden changes in pace. We guess this as a hard one to nail down for Samsung but we would like them to do so!

    Gaming Performance

    You will need to engage the Game Mode from the General section of the System menu in order to extract the the minimum of latency from the F6500. We would certainly recommend that you do, as without it, we measured lag at over 100 milliseconds which will be noticeable to just about anyone. With Game Mode on, input lag was reduced significantly to just under 41 milliseconds so it's not the most responsive TV we've tested but should be fine for most.

    Energy Consumption
    • Standby: 0W
    The following measurements were taken with a full screen 50% white pattern:
    • Out-of-the-Box – Standard Mode: 62W
    • Calibrated – Movie Mode: 53W
    • Calibrated - 3D Mode: 88W

    Customary solid video processing from Samsung

    Samsung UE40F6500 Picture Quality - 2D

    There was almost nothing to fall out about in terms of the 2D images. The solid base of the pleasing blacks and ensuing pop meant it treated us to some very dynamic pictures. Having colours that, well, just look like they are intended is also a major bonus and the fact that the greyscale and luminances were spot-on ensured a perfect tonal balance.

    There's something about the panels Samsung employ that gives them an incredibly sharp and detailed look - it's the pixel structure but we won't bore you with the details -and it can be incredibly appealing with the likes of nature documentaries. We would argue that some displays look more 'filmic' with Blu-rays but we know a lot of people prefer this kind of image.

    Our minor criticisms? Viewing angles aren't the best and the lack of a swiveling stand doesn't help. We saw some faint panel banding on very bright screens with panning and Samsung's CMR (Clear Motion Rate) panel driving will sometimes be caught on the hop by action that suddenly changes pace. As usual, the easiest way to go and find this is by putting on some sporting action with frequent slow-mo replays. It can be quite comical but sometimes frustrates.

    Overall, the Samsung UE40F6500 was exactly what we have come to expect from them. Solid, very solid.

    Samsung UE40F6500 Picture Quality - 3D

    Samsung supplies a couple of pairs of 3D active shutter glasses with the F6500 but whether 40-inches is enough to fully enjoy those kind of images is up for debate. We have been spoiled recently by some relatively massive 3D TVs so there was a period of acclimatisation necessary. Once our eyes had made the necessary adjustments, we were actually quite impressed with what was on offer.

    The F6500 has brightness to burn that helps combat the natural dimming of the glasses and affords images enough pazazz to convince. You'll struggle to notice much pop-out from anything but dead centre at 'normal' viewing distances but you can still see the added depth and images were generally free of ghosting. Motion seemed about as natural as 3D ever gets and its perhaps in the realms of fairly close-up 3D video gaming where this TV could serve best.

    There's no doubt that 3D is done better when done bigger but this 40-inch certainly makes a decent fist of things.

    Conclusion

    8
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10

    Pros

    • Very accurate images
    • Good blacks
    • Impressive contrast
    • Pleasing screen uniformity
    • Incredible smart features

    Cons

    • Some banding at times
    • The odd motion hiccup
    You own this Total 6
    You want this Total 3
    You had this Total 0

    Samsung UE40F6500 (F6500) TV Review

    The Samsung UE40F6500 is an extremely solid television with all the seasonal trinkets and baubles one could possibly desire. The design is typically sleek and slender, although we'll pass on the old chicken foot stand, and there's enough connections to keep a cupboard full of devices happy.

    Samsung's Smart TV platform remains ahead of the pack and offers a huge array of video on demand and catch-up streaming services, including all the UK Free-to-AIr players; this as they never tire of telling us, makes them unique. There's plenty else besides, including a web browser, viewing recommendation engine and media player so enough to keep most happy.

    The video processing was as good as ever from Samsung and combined with the solid foundations of impressive blacks, punchy contrast performance and highly accurate colours - even prior to calibration - the F6500 produced some sublimely natural and detailed pictures. There were one or two uniformity concerns with a spot of panel banding and the motion processing will sometimes have a hiccup but, overall, we were happy.

    As we said above, there is very little to fall about with the Samsung UE40F6500. You might be able to find similar quality at a slightly lower price but Samsung's recent solid performances provides some assurances so it's an easy recommendation.


    The Rundown

    Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level

    8

    Screen Uniformity

    8

    Colour Accuracy

    9

    Greyscale Accuracy

    10

    Video Processing

    9

    2D Picture Quality

    8

    3D Picture Quality

    8

    Sound Quality

    6

    Smart Features

    10

    Build Quality

    7

    Ease Of Use

    7

    Value for Money

    7

    Verdict

    8

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