Samsung UN55F6400 Review (UN55F6400AF)

55 inch 1080p 120Hz 3D LED Smart TV

by , Senior Editor

Strengths

Samsung UN55F6400
  • Front and center picture quality
  • Game Mode for Gaming - cut input lag down to 30ms
  • 4 HDMI and 3 USB ports give a lot of flexibility for a home theater setup
  • Wifi connection for streaming and downloading apps is fast
  • Active 3D playback for dedicated 3D content
  • 2D to 3D conversion provided good results
  • The included Touch Pad remote is helpful and easy to use
  • Smart Hub provides many useful apps as well as the largest selection
  • 10pt white balance really hones in a strong calibrated image
  • Touch Pad remote is small and easy to use and speeds navigation

    Weaknesses

  • Contrast, blacks and color wash out very quickly from off center
  • The semi-matte screen produces some glare from room lighting
  • Sound/Audio Quality – Especially voice volume and clarity
  • Auto Motion Plus with 2D images (thankfully it can be turned off)

    Neutral

  • Design and Appearance
  • Auto Motion Plus really helps 3D content
  • Voice recognition feature is limited in effectiveness

    For most, 55 inches is the perfect size for a living room TV. The UN55F6400 is a small step up from the F6300 series below it. The small step gets you some pretty hefty feature upgrades. 3D functionality and Micro-dimming on the edge lit LEDs. 3D playback is strong here as it provides a good amount of detail and depth. There is a lot of competition in the 55 inch class namely from Panasonic, LG, and Sony.

    Samsung UN55F6400
    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 is important to get the colors just right. Color reproduction was natural an not over saturated. The UN55F6400 has a semi-matte screen instead of a clear coat. The matte-type screen reflects a lot of room light and tones down the brilliant image we've seen in top tier models. It also reduces depth 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 front and center, black levels on the UN55F6400 are great. The black letter box bars on the Days of Thunder Blu-ray were a deep inky black. Other dark areas of the screen showed just as good 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.

    Samsung UN55F6400 Contrast
    This shot from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Blu-ray shows strong contrast and shadow area detail on the 55F6400

    Picture Modes

    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 – Tough One

    The biggest problem with this TVs picture quality. Color and contrast degrade pretty early at about 20 degrees off center and it quickly gets worse from there. The amount of “wash out” is also more severe than LED TVs with a clearer coat. Above and below off center viewing gave a similar result. This is important for those who plan on wall mounting the TV above eye level. Or for those with wide angles in their viewing room.

    Samsung UN55F6400 Side Angle Viewing
    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 Dimming

    This is stated as one of the better specs of the UN55F6400, 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.
    Samsung UN55F6400 Days of Thunder
    This shot from the Days of Thunder Blu-ray is an excellent example of the sharp detail and strong contrast 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.

    3D Performance

    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 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 UN55F6400 gave a good performance.

    Active 3D glasses for the Samsung UN55F6400
    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.

    Samsung UN55F6400 Game Mode
    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 55F6400. 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.

    Samsung UN55F6400 Input Lag
    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 UN55F6400 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.

    Smart Hub Navigation Breakdown

    The content in Samsung's is organized on 5 different pages to make it easy to find exactly what you are looking for. Here is how they are broken down:

    Social is where you will find all of your twitter and Facebook information as well as a host of trending and recommended content to explore on the social web

    The Apps page displays all of your downloaded apps as well as a slew of recommended apps to try out displayed at the top of the screen

    A Look at Some of the Apps

    You Tube App - It's a flashy app, but you are better off pulling YouTube up on the browser for a faster experience. The app is better suited for browsing instead of searching. 3 out 5.
    CNBC - If you areinto cnbc this one is pretty good. You get a live feed of the channel, a selection of videos, hot stocks, and a my stocks tab to keep track of your own stocks on the fly. 4 out of 5
    Fox - A bunch of clips for different fox shows. They all range from 40 seconds to two minutes. The shows we looked at had anywhere from 70 to 100 clips. Some even had ads before the clip started. We didn't see any episodes offered here. 2 out of 5.

    The On TV menu aggregates TV shows that are currently on well as shows that are going to be on soon. The Smart Hub gathers information of previously watched content and shows you things that fall in with your interests

    The Movies & TV Shows screen gathers movies from internet platforms, live broadcasts, and Samsung's Media Hub for you to choose from. From here you can find pricing information and anything else you need for a specific movie.

    The Photo & Video page is for viewing personal photos and videos on the big screen. These may come from connected devices or from over a home network.

    This breakdown provides a nice way to quickly get to where you want to be. I think it does a good job of separating the different reasons one would go into the Smart Hub to begin with.

    Samsung UN55F6400
    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.

    USB Playback

    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.

    Menu - Easy to Use

    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


    Samsung Smart Touch Remote
    The remote for the UN55F6400 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 UN55F6400. 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.

    Voice Recognition

    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.

    Appearance


    Samsung UN55F6400
    This shot shows the qudrapod stand as well as the thin bezels. Notice how dark the stand is compared to last year's that were a bright chrome

    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.


    Samsung UN55F6400 Stand and Bezel
    This close up shot shows how dark the stand is compared to last year's that were a bright chrome

    Value Rating:8.5

    The Samsung UN55F6400 sells for around $1,400, putting it in direct competition with the LG 55LA6900. I like the look of the LG more, but I'd lean toward the feature set of the F6400. The Panasonic TC-L55ET60 is another option for competition, but sells for $200 more and has the flashiest appearance of the three.

    Overall Rating: 8.7



    Robert Wiley 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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