Design and Connections
The supplied remote control took us by surprise, we’re not afraid to admit, and is something of a departure from what we’ve seen, so far, from the Korean’s in 2012. There are no rubberised buttons, instead the controls are actioned by a ‘clickable’ facia. We’ve slightly mixed feelings about that; it’s easier to locate proper buttons in the dark but then Samsung has provided a backlight and it does look quite cool so it’s probably a score draw, for us. Button placement is typically well thought with plenty of space in between and there’s a groove on the back in which you can place the index figure to give it nice balance, making it easily operable with but one hand.
Contained in the Picture Options sub-menu we have the Film Mode that has Auto1, Auto2 and Off options which we’ll test in the Video Processing section. There are also a couple of noise filters (Digital Noise and MPEG). With the (most accurate) Picture Mode of Movie selected the Colour Tone (read Colour Temperature) of Warm 2 is automatically selected, which usually provides pictures closest to industry standards. Finally, under the Picture Options, there’s a choice of settings for HDMI Black Level that should be at Normal for Video content and Low for PC levels.
For the very first time since we began using our dedicated lag testing device, we found that the renaming of the HDMI input was necessary to achieve the lowest latency to controller input. Using Game Mode, we measure lag at around the 60 millisecond mark, which is disappointing and noticeable playing at World Class in FIFA 13. Editing the input name to ‘PC’ brought lag down to almost bang on 45 milliseconds, which is far more in line with our needs and expectations. We did note, however, an awful lot of blurriness when long balls were played – that was the CPU, of course, so we would never take the Sam Allardyce approach – that was quite distracting and possibly as a result of the CMR processing being disabled in this mode.
- Standby: 0.0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Standard Mode: 67W
- Calibrated – Movie Mode: 66.5W
- 3D – Movie Mode: 99W
Picture Quality - 2D
Regular, or even semi-regular, readers will know that our biggest criticisms around LED technology generally stem from uniformity problems, so it’s no great surprise that our biggest issues with the ES6800 supplied for review was of that variety. On the plus side, there was little in the way of panel banding – alternating strips of uneven luminance – but there was certainly a fair share of light pooling that definitely diminished some of the good work in other areas. It wouldn’t have been so distracting if it was just a matter of affecting darker content when we dimmed the lights, as is often the case, but we actually noticed the pooling first when looking at the TiVo EPG – which is a bright red. The problem was not so much the amount but the intensity of the patches and although it could be mitigated somewhat by reducing the Backlight control, we could never completely get rid of it. Now you have to consider that we, as reviewers, are going to be looking out for such problems and that, in general day to day viewing, it wasn’t something that could be seen permanently but things like this tend to get under one's skin more as time goes by.
As one expect for the technology, viewing angles aren’t generous but as the opposite can be said for the degree of ‘swivelability’ present in the stand, unless seating positions are extreme, it should be possible for everyone in the room to see a decent picture. In general, the Samsung UE46ES6800 brings plenty to the table, it’s just a shame it’s sometimes tripped up by such a familiar failing.
Picture Quality - 3D
Audio and Features
Samsung’s suite of features is so extensive that we felt compelled to give them their own dedicated review and just about all that’s missing, from all that is covered there, are the voice and gesture controls as well as the Evolution Upgrade kit. In short, the ES6800 is stuffed to the gunwales with apps and services.
- Very accurate, post calibration
- Decent contrast
- Mostly excellent video processing
- Smarter than your average bear
- Nice remote control
- Poor uniformity
- Limited viewing angles
- Some very noticeable blur - particularly with games
- Very minor undefeatable high frequency detail reduction
Samsung ES6800 (UE46ES6800) 3D LED LCD Smart TV Review
Menus are nearly as comprehensive as the feature-set but we were slightly dismayed that the 10 point white balance controls didn't quite function 100% as we'd like. That's not to say we couldn't achieve an excellent calibration but it left us with that nagging feeling we could have done better. Once calibration was complete, the sense of accuracy was palpable and a far cry from the over-lit and excessively blue tinted pictures out of the box, Standard mode provides.
To underpin the convincing colour palette, contrast performance was impressive but the deep blacks were undermined, somewhat, by some serious light pooling issues that weren't only evident in darker scenes. Video processing is mostly excellent and should you subject your ES6800 to the rigours of standard definition content, you'll find them handled with aplomb. Naturally these things are designed to show off the glories of HD and here we were rarely disappointed with bags of detail on display. Motion handling could be better and we were witness to some aggressive blur, at times, especially with fast moving video based content. The use of a touch of Motion Plus here, can reap some reward. We'd not recommend any such interpolation 'guessworkery' for movies, however, but the LED Motion Plus option is interesting with film based content and worth investigating. Similarly, 3D material displayed a few motion hitches, here and there, but it rarely took away from the sense of immersion and the bright, punchy images convince. Gamers will need to switch the name of an HDMI input to PC to get the most responsive experience and it's well worth doing.
If it weren't for the intrusive light pooling problems we encountered with the sample provided for review we'd certainly consider it worthy of a Recommendation and possibly more. As it is we've no alternative but to implore the manufacturers - and not just Samsung - to tackle the engineering challenges of LED technology and gives us at least something approaching respectable screen uniformity in exchange for our hard earned readies.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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