Samsung UN50F6400 Review (UN50F6400AF)
50 inch 1080p 120Hz 3D LED Smart TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
The UN50F6400 only slightly differs from the F6300 series below it. The two features the F6400 keeps are 3D playback and Micro-dimming. They are two pretty big features that really change the experience with your TV. Micro-dimming makes a huge impact on picture quality. Keep that in mind if picture quality is one of the most important features. The F6400 is on the edge of being a middle of the road model, so there is a lot of value found in this TV.
There is a good bit of detail in light and dark areas seen in this shot. Color presentation does tend to be a bit over saturated, but not to an extreme level
Picture Quality Rating: 8.6
The 10pt white balance really helps to get the white balance to the right levels. Color reproduction is natural and not over saturated. The UN50F6400 implements a semi-matte screen instead of the clear coat screen seen on top tier models. These matte-type screens reflect a lot of in room light. The result is a toned down image that doesn't have the brilliance seen in top tier models. A sense of depth in images is also reduced somewhat. The bright edge LED lighting helps to balance out the downsides of the matte screen by providing more rich colors and a good deal of contrast. All of that said, from relatively close to front and center we felt the picture displayed was very good with lots of light flow-through to help with depth perception. The picture is remarkably similar to the ES6500 from last year.
Black Levels and Contrast – Solid Performance
From a front and center position, black levels on the UN50F6400 are fantastic. The black letter box bars on the Days of Thunder Blu-ray are a deep inky black. Other dark areas of the screen show just as strong performance without too much loss of detail. Blacks are not as stout as the best Plasma TVs, but for a mid level LED TV they are strong. Contrast has a great showing here too. Light and dark areas of the screen are separated nicely and don't bleed into each other – as long as you are not at side angles.
This shot from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Blu-ray shows strong contrast and shadow area detail on the 50F6400
Dynamic – Over saturated but not as much as some of the other brands. The backlight and contrast are maxed out. The sharpness is a little softer than most dynamic modes.
Standard – This is the energy saving mode. Contrast is maxed out and the backlight is cut to about 50% at a setting of 12.
Natural – Again, maxed out backlight and contrast here as well. It has more yellow tone. This is a very bright picture mode - A close cousin to the dynamic setting.
Movie – The closest to a good calibrated picture setting. The contrast is bumped down a bit and the backlight isn't overpowered. The advanced settings are enabled. Warm2 color tone is the default.
Side Viewing Angles – Typical for an LED TV
The biggest problem with this TV's picture is the side angle viewing. Color and contrast degrade pretty early at about 20 degrees off center and get worse faster from there. The amount of “wash out” is also more severe than LED TVs with the previously mentions clear coat screen finish. Above and below off center viewing give a similar result. This is important for those who plan on wall mounting the TV above eye level and for those with wide angles in their viewing room.
This shot provides a clear example of how quickly the contrast and colors degrade as the viewer moves from a front and center position. The second shot is from about 20 degrees of center
Micro DimmingThis is stated as one of the better specs of the UN50F6400, but it is not something on which to place a lot of emphasis. The contrast is fairly strong on this TV from front and center, we think Micro Dimming plays a very small part in it. There is no way to test the efficacy of the feature through Picture setting options on the F6400.
This shot from the Days of Thunder Blu-ray is an excellent example of the sharp detail, strong contrast, and bright colors the F6400 LED TV is capable of from front and center
Auto Motion Plus- Very Important Setting
The Auto Motion Plus feature is set to On by default in all of the preset picture setting modes. It is really only good for watching 3D content on the F6400 – unless you like the “Soap Opera Kitchy Cardboard Cutout” effect which results from eliminating too much natural background blur. For everything but 3D you are better off turning it off or going to the Custom setting within Auto Motion Plus and turning the Blur Reduction setting to 10 and the Judder reduction setting to 0. This is also an acceptable option. The feature creates a lot of background clarification, making images look terribly unrealistic by eliminating natural background blur and causing unnatural looking movement. Turn it off in the Picture Options menu and everything will be fine again. After turning it off, judder will be very apparent. Give your eyes some time to adjust before deciding which way is best for you to watch. When viewing 480i based content we saw slight improvements when the setting was low.
(Note: to get to the setting click on Menu, swipe across to Picture, Scroll all the way down to Picture Options, Scroll down to AutoMotion Plus.)
LED Clear Motion is located in this menu as well. It can be accessed when in the Custom mode of the Auto Motion Plus settings. It is supposed to further help with motion blur, but to us it just seemed to dim the overall image.
Before you continue to with your 3D content, Change the picture mode to Movie and the Auto Motion to Standard. This is key to getting the best out of any 3D image. In doing so, judder is eliminated and images bright. The resulting image is sharp and clear with a good amount of depth. Colors appeared slightly subdued for 3D images, but they are certainly not bad. As usual for active 3D glasses, a small amount of flicker is present. It may be better suited for dark viewing rooms. Just like the side angle viewing for 2D content, color and contrast fade very quickly when moving from front and center. Overall the UN50F6400 gives a good performance.
This year's Active 3D glasses are extremely light and have a more streamlined design
The design of the 3D glasses is pretty similar to last year, but you'll see they are a little more streamlined. They have clean lines and are super light. 2 pairs of glasses are included in the box.
Gaming – Not Bad After some Tweaks
Getting to the Game Mode
Go to the Systems menu near the bottom of the main menu. Scroll down to the General settings and open that menu. Game Mode is located here. It seems like a pain to dig into the menus like this to turn it on or off.
Crysis on the Playstation 3 is bright and colorful with strong constrast
Turning on the Game Mode is the best way to go for gaming on the 50F6400. The picture mode in Game Mode has its own settings, and initially look pretty bad. Standard is the only available picture mode while Game Mode is on. Take the time to turn the sharpness down to 10 or less, the Color Space to Auto, Dynamic Contrast to Off, Color Tone to Warm1, and the Screen Size to Screen Fit. Adjust the Backlight and Brightness to your personal preference. This will provide a decent picture quality as well as a cut down on input lag. This made Okami HD and Crysis for the PS3 look fantastic and the input lag was negligible at a decent 30ms. Enabling 3D once again changes the picture mode. Make similar adjustments to get the picture looking better. 3D produced a lot of judder and may not be the best way to enjoy a game. We tried out 3D with Crysis. The effects of depth look great but have a bit of cross talk to take away from the immersion.
This show how beneficial the Game Mode is for cutting down on input lag.
Features Rating: 9.0
Samsung Smart Hub 2.0
The Smart Hub platform has received a major over haul since last year. It seems a lot of effort has gone into making the platform more intuitive and user friendly. I'd certainly say it is an improvement. Navigation and organization of content saw the biggest upgrades while features like voice-recognition and a slew of recommendation features were added to the mix. The UN50F6400 does not implement the quad-core processor like some of the top tier models. Instead it uses dual-core processing to run browsing and smart TV navigation. Last year the Smart Hub was run down with slowness and the occasional crash, but our tests didn't show any problems in that area.
Read our full review of Samsung's 2013 Smart Hub here.
On the Apps page you will find all of your downloaded apps, like the ones listed below. Samsung has also implemented lots of recommendation features this year. On the top of the screen you see some recommended apps
Web Browser, Touch Pad Controller, and Wifi
Bing is the default search engine and the home screen when the browser is first opened. Surfing with the touchpad is faster and easier than a traditional 5-way controller. Your thumb moves a cursor round as if it were on a laptop track pad. It's not as efficient as LG's Magic Remote, but we liked it. The voice recognition only works for inputting searches if the soft keyboard for the search field is open. The Wifi connection was easy to establish and it help up well while surfing the web. For streaming content it worked really great too.
The first thing you have to make sure of is to plug the device into the USB 2 Port marked with HDD. This port is designed to work with devices that have a lot of storage. When the menu to open the drive comes up select all media so it doesn't only show pictures or video. It didn't seem like there was an easy way to switch the content types. From there it's pretty simple to navigate the drive to find your content and get it to play on the TV. This is a great way to turn your TV into a giant photo frame.
This shot of the USB Media Player shows a selection of photos on screen. It is easy to use and viewing photos on a big screen is a lot of fun
Menu - Easy to Use
Here is a shot of the menu. It's easy to read and navigate between the menus. The right-hand side shows everything that is in the sub-menu or gives an explanation of the menu item
The menu is very similar to what we have seen from Samsung in the past. Its well organized and easy to find your way around. The left hand side list all of the major sections. One feature we really liked was the list of sub menu contents on the right hand side. For example, when you highlight Picture Options, you get to see every option located in that menu right on the screen. It's a subtle feature, but it can make finding a certain feature faster.
Touch-Pad Remote - Nifty
The remote for the UN50F6400 has a swipe pad that makes it easy to switch between the main Smart Hub screens. This one is black instead silver found on the top tier models.
Swiping on the touch remote is definitely faster than a 5-way controller. We found it to be about 2x faster than pressing arrow buttons. It's the only remote included with the UN50F6400. Be aware that there are no numbers and not too many buttons. Samsung has included an on-screen soft remote to make up for insufficient keys. We didn't find ourselves missing some of the buttons, but having to access an on-screen menu to switch to channel 75 seems like it would be a chore. There are dedicated keys for the Mic, 3D, Smart TV, DVR, and the Menu. The remote also has a nifty back-light button.
The voice-recognition is improved over last year, but it still leaves a lot to be desired. It works well enough when picking up on different words and understanding simple speech. But you usually need to know a specific set of commands for the TV to follow a command. Don't worry, some of those commands are listed on screen. You could even say “Show Commands” to see them all. It might speed browsing just a bit over the touch pad remote, but only for simple one and two word searches. In order for the Voice Recognition feature to work for Apps, the search field must be located and opened. Kind of defeats the whole purpose, doesn’t it?
Sound Quality – Room for Improvement
The speakers can push a plenty of volume at 50% to fill a room. However, voices are weak and overpowered by music or background noise. When viewing Days of Thunder we thought there was ample volume, but we struggled to hear voices throughout the movie. We tried Standard, Music, Movie, Clear Voice, and Amplify none of which improved the situation. Clear Voice or Standard is probably our preferred mode for this TV. Standard is probably the best all around, but it doesn't have the full range we have seen on some of the LG LED TVs. Turning on DTS TruSurround in the Sound Effects menu helps a little with the flatness, but doesn't do a lot for the range.
The 4 legged quadrapod stand has a dark charcoal metallic color instead of the black from last year. The stand allows for about 25 degrees of swivel in either direction. The glossy black plastic bezels measures half an inch with a clear acrylic plastic on the outside to frame them up nicely. It's hard to notice the clear frame without looking for it. The overall depth is just under 2 inches. It's a simple but attractive design.
This close up shot shows how dark the stand is compared to last year's that were a bright chrome
At $1,100, the UN50F6400 proves to be a good deal when compared against similar options. The Panasonic TC-L50ET60 sells for one hundred dollars more, but only has an eye catching silver design over the F6400. Vizio's M501d is budget option with similar features and a much lower price tag
Overall Rating: 8.7
|Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Wiley never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...Wiley does. Read more about Robert|
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