Design and Connections
We gave some criticism to the motion handling of the ES7000 and ES8000 and the ES6540 seems to share 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 seems to be mercifully absent in the ES6540 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.
This is the first Samsung of 2012 where we have found a lag benefit in renaming the HDMI input. In Game Mode with input label unaltered, we measured a latency of around 62 milliseconds to controller input. With the HDMI1 input relabelled as PC or DVI PC, lag was instantly reduced to a far more palatable 45 milliseconds – or thereabouts – putting it pretty much dead average with those we have measured this year. 3D gaming is more responsive than any other we’ve tested so far, however, breaking the tape in just under 62 milliseconds.
- Standby: 0.0W
- Out of the Box – Standard Mode: 82.5W
- Calibrated – Movie Mode: 82W
- 3D Movie Mode – 117.4W
Picture Quality - 2D
It’s a pity that we’ve had to so greatly highlight these issues with the ES6540, both the ES7000 and ES8000 we reviewed were far better in this regard; and that’s forgetting the eminently less expensive 46ES5500, which was also possessed of far better uniformity. If you can look past or, better still, can’t see these issues then the Samsung 46ES6540 offers some very absorbing pictures thanks to some excellent video processing and spot-on colour reproduction. Viewing angles aren’t particularly generous - although the stand swivels to the extent where that’s unlikely to cause an issue. We noted motion resolution didn't get much above 250 lines for 1080p content, which means those prone to noticing LCD blur won’t be particularly satisfied but the ES6540 puts out crisp, detailed and lifelike pictures when on-screen action isn’t too frantic. As ever, we’ll be honest, we were expecting better from this 6 Series and Samsung needs to maintain the uniformity standards set by the higher-tier TVs throughout the ranges.
Picture Quality - 3D
Audio and Features
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 ES6540 feature bank.
- Fantastic accuracy
- Can go very bright
- Enormous feature set
- 3D is impressive
- Very good contrast performance, on paper
- Light pooling
- Panel banding
- Smeary motion without interpolation
- Weak viewing angles
- Quite expensive against performance capabilities
Samsung ES6540 (UE-46ES6540) 3D LED LCD Smart TV Review
The out-of-the-box Movie mode provided very accurate pictures even before we’d set about the calibration, and afterwards the graphs were a picture of perfection thanks to the comprehensive and excellent controls on board. The ES6540 showed some different processing characteristics to those we’ve seen on other 2012 Samsung LED TVs and the ability to pick up on the 2:2 film cadence was a plus, even if the slightly inferior standard definition scaling detracted somewhat.
On paper, contrast performance and black levels are impressive but each was seriously let down by extremely poor screen uniformity. The review sample was noticeably brighter in two large bands on either side of the panel and had large patches of light pooling dotted across the screen, which completely ruined the immersion in darker scenes; whilst panel array banding undid much that the accurate colour palette provided when large patches of single colour were on screen; a situation that occurs probably more times than you think, especially for sports fans. Native motion resolution wasn’t particularly impressive, either, although some conservative use of the Motion Plus processing can come in handy with fast moving video. The anomalies with Samsung’s Clear Motion Rate (CMR) technology find their way down the ladder from the higher-end TVs, unfortunately, and we encountered quite frequent stuttering and pauses as a result.
The saving graces of the ES6540 lay in its ability to go very bright – whilst staying accurate – and in the very creditable 3D performance, although the fairly mediocre panel response does mean the odd bit of crosstalk can be seen. Those that like to game in 3D should be fairly impressed by an input lag of around 62 milliseconds and, in 2D, gamers should be reasonably well catered for with a latency of around 45 milliseconds; although this can only be achieved by renaming the HDMI 1 input to PC or DVI PC.
We won’t beat around the bush, the Samsung UE46ES6540 came as something of a disappointment after what has come before from the Koreans and serious uniformity problems, in particular, prevent it gaining our recommendation.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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