All round excellence from this Smart TV
What is it?This TV is part of Samsung’s ‘upper mid-tier’ 6 Series range which, in itself, is very well populated. We’ve actually already seen the UE32H6400 and the 55-inch H6400, that were very solid models so we’ll be expecting more of the same from this ever-so-smart TV. At the time of publishing, the UE40H6400 was widely available for £449, which is a full £350 lower than the recommended retail price and, therefore, a potentially very good buy.
Design & ConnectionsThe H6400 is of a now classic Samsung design with its narrow black bezel encapsulated in a transparent acrylic trim. The quad-foot stand isn’t particularly to our taste – and never will be – but at least it does allow for positioning which can be important when viewing angles are restricted.
There are a very comprehensive set of inputs and outputs around the back of the H6400, including 4 HDMI ports, all the legacy video connections, digital audio out and a headphone jack. Additionally, there’s a LAN port for a wired internet connection - as well as built-in WiFi - and the H6400 is capable of receiving Freeview HD broadcasts via its aerial socket.
Remote ControlsWe lamented the absence of the Smart Touch controller in our recent Samsung H5500 review so it was nice to be reunited with it for this one. For launching your apps and performing web searches it is far faster to use its voice command interface than it is to perform several key presses on the conventional controller. You might feel a bit silly at first, but we’d bet most wouldn’t go back once they’ve tied it
The Smart Touch also features a touch-sensitive pad on the front which can be used to scroll and there’s a gesture based pointer option, too, which is great when it works but it can be a little unreliable. The standard remote is fine enough and has a classic button layout but its rather small form-factor and fairly cheap construction are clues that Samsung would really like you to get to grips with the smart touch.
Lip-sync issues appear to be fixed with Version 2020
Lip Sync & AudioWe’ve read a few reports of owners suffering from sound/picture synchronisation problems with the H6400, which we know can be very frustrating. As it happens, Samsung issued a new firmware for this TV very shortly before this review was published and we can report we’ve had no such problems used in tandem with a YouView box, a Panasonic Blu-ray Player and from the internal tuners. We can’t promise Version 2020 will fix the problem for everyone but the signs from here, at least, are encouraging. In more general terms, the audio quality of the H6400 is actually pretty respectable for a flat panel TV with clean dialogue, a reasonable low-end and a decent sense of separation. It’s not the quality you will achieve via a separate system but it will tide you over nicely until you get one.
H6400 Smart TV FeaturesThere is an awful lot in the Samsung Smart Hub with the understandable emphasis being on video streaming services. In fact, Samsung’s Smart TV platform is almost certainly the most complete out there, in that regard, and gives you access to all the mainstream UK catch-up services – iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD & Demand 5 – as well as most of the major paid-for services, including Netflix, Amazon Instant and Wuaki. The one we would like to see added is Sky Now TV but there seems to be some exclusivity deal with LG for the moment. Elsewhere, you get an impressive web browser, a great media player and a content recommendation system too and we’d advise clicking on the first link in this paragraph if you would like to know more.
As ever, the out-of-the-box Movie picture mode was the most accurate to the industry standards, so we suggest that’s what you use, if you care about picture fidelity. It wasn’t perfect, however, and there was a noticeable green tint to whites, reflected in the RGB Balance graph below. You can also see from here that blue energy is lacking in the greyscale, whilst red was pretty much on-point throughout. In terms of colour, the H6400 was good in the default settings with only a few small hue and saturation errors to fix.
The calibration controls Samsung provide in their higher end TVs are simply superb so it didn’t take us very long to dial in reference performance in terms of both greyscale and colour. Owing to the native panel capabilities, we weren’t able to fully saturate red but without comparing directly to a display that can, it’s really not something you would ever pick up on.
Samsung H6400 Picture SettingsRealistically, the chances of someone spending £200+ on a professional calibration for a TV priced around £450 are slim, and we understand that, but you can still get a great performance out of the H6400 by making a few simple adjustments. For a very quick and easy fix, just slip it in to the Movie mode, sit back and enjoy or, to take it a little further, you could try the settings we came up with during our detailed calibration, obtained with expensive measuring equipment, software and specialist test patterns.
Input LagTo achieve the lowest possible input latency from this TV requires you to seek out the Game mode from the ‘General’ area of the ‘System’ Menu. With that performed, we measured an input lag of 40.7 milliseconds which isn’t too bad but there are TVs out there with lower latency so it’s worth checking out our guide, if you haven’t done so already.
There's almost nothing to fault
Samsung UE40H6400 Picture QualityThe H6400 boasts excellent native black levels – we measured an average of 0.043 cd/m2 from a chequerboard pattern, which is very impressive for the technology. To add to that – or rather not take anything away – screen uniformity was absolutely first class without any hint of backlight bleed or clouding on dark screens and we really can’t stress how much this improves on the immersion factor when compared to screens that are plagued with backlight issues – of which there are many.
As ever, with Samsung, video processing is another very strong suit so films are handled in the correct cadences, scaling of standard definition and 720p sources was excellent and video deinterlacing was also first rate so almost regardless of what you throw at it, the H6400 will produce superb images. The colour and greyscale accuracy noted above also adds to the overall picture quality, bringing with it naturalness and oodles of detail.
As active 3D systems go, we find Samsung’s implementation among the very best, especially in terms of there being an absence of noticeable flicker. There’s a caveat here in that the included 3D specs provide very little protection from ambient light so that they are best used in very low light conditions but then that’s something we would always recommend. We did notice some faint crosstalk on objects deep into the picture and those moving in the foreground but it was never enough to truly distract and for our limited 3D requirements, the H6400 is more than perfectly adequate.
At current pricing, this is a value proposition
- Almost unbelievable screen uniformity
- Excellent black levels
- Really good contrast performance
- Superb Smart TV features
- Current pricing is keen
- Shallow viewing angles
- Input latency could be lower
Samsung UE40H6400 (H6400) TV Review
Should I buy one?
You could do a lot worse, that’s for sure and with the current online pricing (October 2014), this TV represents really good value. The H6400 has a winning combination of features, design and picture quality that is rivalled by few in this price bracket. The viewing angles aren’t particularly wide, although you can swivel the stand, and serious gamers might find the input lag a little higher than ideal but neither are particularly major negatives in what is an excellent all-round package.
What else could I consider?
If you’re not bothered about 3D and a slightly more designer look, you could save yourself a few pounds by going for a stable-mate of the H6400, in the 40-inch H5500. You also might want to look at the Panasonic 40AS640, which provides broadly the same level of picture performance and also includes 3D and a contemporary design at a price not dissimilar to the H6400. For a more general look at what’s out there, we would refer you to our selection of Buyers Guides.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
2D Picture Quality8
3D Picture Quality7
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box7
Picture Quality Calibrated9
Ease Of Use8
Value for Money8
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