Samsung UE40H6500 (H6500) TV Review
3D, Smart and Steady
What is the Samsung H6500?This is yet another Smart TV from Samsung’s well populated 6 Series and, as the product number suggests, sits bang in the middle of it. Specifically, this is the 40-inch UE40H6500 we have for review but there are also 48 and 55-inch versions available. For comparisons sake, the H6500 is one rung above the recently covered UE40H6400 and three beneath the H7000, although current online pricing (November 2014) has the H6400 and H6500 more or less neck and neck. The only real spec difference between the two is a slightly higher screen refresh rate for the H6500.
Design & ConnectionsWe’re running out of new ways to describe Samsung’s 6 Series and the 40H6400 sports a look which will be familiar to anyone who has visited a TV retailer in the last couple of years. The distinctive quad foot stand makes a reappearance, which means you can swivel the screen, and the tiny black bezel around the edges and at the top, gives the screen a floating look. In terms of detailing, there’s a flash of silver right at the bottom of the chassis, a small SAMSUNG logo in the centre of it and an indicator light off to the right. It’s a pleasant looking telly but not exactly in the designer category, unlike Samsung’s range of curved TVs
It’s not the slimmest TV in the world, however, as there are some reasonably sized speakers packed in to the chassis, giving a maximum depth of 63.1mm so it might not be the ideal candidate for wall mounting. The H6500 is well serviced in terms of connections and comes with 4 available HDMI inputs, 3 USB ports, the usual legacy video connections, as well as Toslink digital and headphone audio outputs. There’s also a LAN port around the back but the H6500 does come with WiFi connectivity built in too. The H6500 is both Freesat and Freeview HD compatible, thanks to aerial and satellite terminals on the side connections panel.
Remote ControlIt’s always good to have choices and that’s exactly what Samsung provides with the UE40H6500’s controllers. There’s your usual, familiar looking remote, which is compact but easy enough to use and then there’s the new Smart Touch controller. Smart Touch brings with it voice commands that can include web searches, TV programming, movies and even the ability to launch apps and it works very well. There’s also gesture control, with an on-screen pointer, although that didn’t prove quite so effective but the smart touch is a great little controller, nevertheless, and we use it always now.
It's always good to have choices
Samsung Smart TV AppsWe could fill an entire review on this subject so that’s exactly what we did but to provide the abridged version, we think Samsung’s platform is currently the most comprehensive out there. It has games, a ton of video streaming apps – including most of the big boys – and there’s a clever content recommendation system built-in. There is also a very impressive media player, you can either stream to or access via connected USB storage but you really need to read the full review to get a better picture of all that’s on offer.
Picture SettingsConsidering this TV can be picked up (November 2014) for under £500, it’s highly unlikely many will find themselves the subject of a professional calibration, it would, after all, be around another 50% of the cost of the TV. That said, once it was getting a little long in the tooth that could be money well spent, in terms of an upgrade as the default Movie Picture mode is quite green tinged. It’s still the most accurate and the one we’d advise going with but you could do even better by having a look at our Picture Perfect guides. Alternatively, you could give our Review TV settings a whirl, although they aren’t likely to be a perfect match for your own TV.
As said above, the pre-set Movie picture mode had quite a green cast, particularly noticeable in whiter shades, in its pre-calibrated state. When you’re approaching delta errors of ten in the greyscale, then it is something quite easily visible. As usual, and was we can see from the CIE chart below, the colours were very accurate for an untouched mode.
A noticeable green tinge in default Movie Mode
Anybody familiar with these sections of our reviews, will know that Samsung’s calibration controls are amongst the best so it will come as no surprise, to them, that we fairly easily able to massage the greyscale and colour accuracy to near perfect levels. The biggest improvement, without doubt, was the removal of the green tinge but the images also benefited in having more punch, by virtue of the fact we were able to hit the gamma target suitable for our viewing room and ideal lighting conditions.
Input LagThe UE40H6500 proved a reasonably responsive display, in its Game mode, with an input latency of 40.7 milliseconds to controller input. That puts it as a mid-ranking gaming TV and there certainly are more responsive TVs out there but it was fine for us. You might want to change some of the picture settings for a bearable picture, however. Changing the Colour Temp to Warm 2 and knocking down the Contrast, Sharpness and Backlight controls would be a good start!
Samsung UE40H6500 Picture QualityWe’ve reviewed so many Samsung TVs in 2014 that we almost always know what to expect. And that is, a TV that provides a combination of deep blacks, great colour accuracy and excellent video processing capabilities. No surprises, then, that this one largely lived up to expectations, delivering on the promise of all that have gone before. Obviously, the colours looked better after we'd calibrated but the H6500 will still impress out of the box.
Regardless of whatever we threw at it, the H6500 produced pictures ranging from good to great. Given this is what would now be considered a relatively modest sized screen, accordingly standard definition pictures look very acceptable, particularly if you’re supplying it with DVDs rather than broadcast TV. Like just about every Samsung we test, the 40H6500 is capable of locking on to all the ‘relevant film’ cadences – whether High Definition or Standard. If you really want to see it at its best, however, you’ll want to have some Blu-rays on hand where it can show itself off with plentiful detail and it’s here where the colour accuracy shines through most.
The provided sample wasn’t perfect however, we noticed a couple of screen uniformity issues, both on dark and light screens. Whilst the odd bit of a dirty screen effect, during pan shots, on lighter shades wasn’t too distracting, the patches of uneven light on dark scenes was a more annoying proposition. They also did nothing for the dynamic range of images by robbing them of some shadow detail.
3D Glasses are provided
We found the presentation in 3D largely pleasing, too, although you may notice some ghosting when on screen action becomes frenetic. That’s particularly applicable with high contrast scenes, where edges of objects are more prone to double imaging. For the most part, however, the impressive colour accuracy of the Movie mode made images look natural and there was all the pop-out and depth you would associate with the technology.
The native black levels are raised in the 3D mode so you don’t get quite the same contrast-rich experience you do with 2D, but for the occasional extra-dimensional session, it more than does the job. Samsung packs in a couple of pairs of active shutter eyewear in the box, so at least it will cost you nothing to find out if you like it.
We measured average black levels , in 2D modes, akin to those of previous models, at around 0.04 cd/m2. This could be improved on slightly by using the dimming controls but that was a balancing act in itself. You can get rid of some of the light pooling and slightly improve on perceived contrast performance with it on, but it comes at further expense to detail in the dark areas. The only other weakness we would highlight is that when watching off-centre from the screen, you won’t be getting quite the colourful performance as you do from plumb on.
- Good colour accuracy
- Customary great video processing
- Incredible Smart TV features
- Decent contrast
- Clouding on dark scenes
- Some dirty screen effect
Samsung UE40H6500 (H6500) TV Review
Should I buy the Samsung UE40H6500?
This is a very solid TV with an almost all-encompassing array of Smart TV features and an attractive design. Great video processing, superb colour accuracy and very good black levels are the hallmarks of the Samsung ranges and the H6500 bears them all. Pictures in both 2D and 3D had plenty of detail, depth and realism and, all in all, this is a very solid television. We would have liked to have seen better screen uniformity, however, although to be fair it was still superior in that regard to many that we, see so it’s another worthy of an AVForums Recommended Award.
What Else could I Buy?
Let’s assume a budget of around £500 for a Smart TV in the 40-42inch class. For that, you could go out (or even stay in) and buy the 40-inch version of the Panasonic AS640, which will provide you with pretty much the same standard of pictures and an almost as impressive array of apps. We would also recommend looking at the Sony 42W829, which while a little more expensive, does give some more screen estate, which is always welcome.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £849.99
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
3D Picture Quality8
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box7
Picture Quality Calibrated9
Ease Of Use8
Value for Money8
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