What can the Samsung PS60E6500 do to change that? Probably not a lot is the most likely answer but at a suggested retail price of under £1,900 it has the potential to deliver truly large screen viewing at an extremely reasonable price-point. Given the heritage of the E65000, and the fact that Samsung plasma TVs tend to deliver higher contrast pictures the larger the screen gets, we’re expecting good things do actually come in large packages too!
Design and Connections
The remote control is a replica of what we saw with the ES5500 LED TV and is a slimmed down iteration of those of recent years. We were pleased to note the aspect ratio button (P.Size) button is retained as it was missing in the Flagship TVs versions, although it means the lower tiered model gets no backlight. Overall, it’s a highly effective design with button lay-out sensibly deployed and is comfortably operated with just the one hand.
The 3D Menu allows the user to choose the 3D Mode (2D to 3D, Side by Side, Top and Bottom etc.), the 3D Perspective (which adjusts the 3D perspective), Depth which only affects the 2D to 3D mode, L/R Change which swaps the images for each eye and 3D-2D which shows 3D content in 2D.
As we mentioned in the introduction, it’s typical of Samsung plasma TVs to have deeper blacks in the larger screen sizes but the performance here is something of an unexpected surprise. Moving on to the more realistic ANSI checkerboard test which gives a better sense of the intra-frame contrast, and the numbers to note are for the white portions of the pattern. Creditably the E6500 is able to hang on to its blacks very well but is unable to deliver the same levels of luminance, managing only just over 90 cd/m2 at best. In fact, looking at the same chart in Steve’s recent Panasonic VT65 review we can see the white level numbers are extremely similar which backs up our view that there’s not much between the two plasma manufacturers for picture brightness with real world material in their most accurate picture modes. Still with an ANSI contrast of 3000:1, the Samsung PS60E6500 is no slouch.
With the HQV Blu-ray benchmark disc the Samsung PS60E6500 also performed very well. With our Blu-ray player set to 1080i the E6500 correctly deinterlaced and displayed both the video and film resolution tests (provided the Picture Size is set to Screen Fit). The Samsung also showed a fast response to changes in cadence as well as excellent scaling and filtering and good resolution enhancement. The display had no problems handling 24p material either when Cinema Smooth was engaged which multiplies the 24 frames to 96 via 4:4 pulldown technique.
Moving on to the Spears and Munsil test disc and the Dynamic Range High test that showed the TV as having excellent headroom performance from reference white (video level 235) up to peak white (video level 255) with absolutely no signs of clipping, even with Contrast and Cell Light set very high. The disc also has a pattern allowing you to check the black and white dynamic range with the E6500 able to display all the darker shades simultaneously with peak white.
The Samsung E6500 proved a slightly more responsive gaming TV than the E8000 showing a latency to controller input of around 38 milliseconds in Game Mode, which is selected from the General area of the Setup menu. The renaming of an HDMI input to PC made no difference. We’ve only seen one TV dip under the 30 millisecond barrier which puts the E6500 toward the top-tier of the 2012 TV ranges.
- Standby: 0.0W
- Out of the Box – Standard Mode: 225W
- Calibrated – Movie Mode: 226W
- 3D – Movie Mode: 301W
Picture Quality - 2D
Like the E8000, the biggest flaw was with ‘brightness pops’, where image luminance will raise and lower at fairly frequent points, which can be distracting. Floating blacks are again present but the steps Samsung have taken to control luminance stability, down low, have certainly moved things on from last year and only the most sensitive of people to this phenomenon are likely to notice. Unfortunately we count ourselves amongst the very sensitive but it rarely troubled us in the way it was handled by the E6500. There’s no doubt the generous 60 inch screen is a contributory factor to the immersion factor but the E6500 is almost all we could have asked for, especially at this price level.
Picture Quality - 3D
The Smart Hub features a good degree of customisability, with the ability to create personalised folders to put content in to, thus avoiding the hub looking cluttered. Top middle of the Hub is the 'Your Video' section that works on a recommendation engine basis, where your viewing habits are tracked and suggestions based on genre, subject matter, director, actor/actress are made for your further viewing. The engine will search material from the various VoD services, including iPlayer and YouTube too. Habits are tracked from EPG selections, searched for material through the Smart Hub and recordings scheduled using the PVR functions as the E6500 also has the ability to make recordings to external storage via USB with them also available through the Smart Hub.
In terms of non-VoD apps, Samsung still leads the pack in the variety, and number it has on offer. Social networkers are taken care of with dedicated Facebook and Twitter apps as well as the Social TV feature that allows you to enjoy programming with your friends even when you’re not with them, via a chat tab down the right hand side of the screen. They will, of course, have to have a compatible Samsung product to do so.
- Fantastic black Levels
- Excellent contrast
- Extremely accurate images - post Calibration
- More than competent video processing
- Impressive 3D performance
- Motion handling is sublime
- Market leading smart features
- Only 3 HDMI ports
- 3D Glasses don't block out enough ambient light
- Brightness pops and floating blacks
Samsung E6500 (PS60E6500) 3D Plasma TV Review
Menus are simple enough to navigate, although the sheer number of options might bemuse some. Thoughtfully Samsung have provided an excellent e-Manual built in to ease the confusion. As ever, with a Samsung product, the number of Smart features is dazzling and the Smart Hub is filled with Video on Demand services, streaming possibilities, gaming and social networking apps and any number of diversions. Samsung still certainly leads the way in the Smart Stakes.
Following a painless calibration, the PS60E6500 produced some of the very finest pictures we’ve seen in 2012. With outstanding black levels and excellent dynamic range, believable and accurate colours and smooth as silk motion handling, the E6500 is probably the first TV we’ve seen this year to give the Panasonic plasma range a run for their money. Two familiar issues, in floating blacks and brightness pops, were still present but the former is only noticeable to the acutely sensitive although the latter did rear its head more often. Certainly not deal-breakers though, as far as we are concerned.
3D performance was pleasing, although we (I) don’t get on at all well with Samsung’s SSG-4100 3D glasses. As ever some crosstalk could be spotted in high contrast scenes but it was never enough to break the immersion. The Samsung E6500 proved a slightly more responsive gaming TV than the E8000, showing a latency to controller input of around 38 milliseconds in Game Mode which puts it amongst the better gaming displays we’ve tested with the new custom made device.
Once again Samsung’s 6 series plasma offers a serious amount of screen, with a great deal of quality at a price that’s almost shockingly low. As a result, it’s an absolute shoe-in for an AVForums Highly Recommended award.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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