Samsung UN65F6400 Review (UN65F6400AF)

65 inch Active 3D 120Hz LED TV

by , Senior Editor

Strengths

Samsung UN65F6400 LED TV
  • Front and center picture quality has great characteristics
  • Significantly reduced input lag in Game Mode
  • Speedy wifi for video streaming and app downloading
  • Active 3D shows a lot of depth
  • 2D to 3D conversion adds a new layer to refresh familiar content
  • Touch remote makes navigation faster and is easy to use
  • Smart Hub provides plenty of apps, social options, and streaming options
  • Menu system has plenty of options for easy calibration
  • 4 HDMI and 3 USB ports should be enough for most users

    Weaknesses

  • Contrast and color quickly degrade viewers move further from front and center
  • Screen reflections with the semi-matte screen finish
  • Voices are muffled due to emphasis on background music and sound FX

    Neutral

  • Appearance is nothing new, but not bad
  • Auto Motion Plus benefits 3D content
  • Voice recognition feels like it could use some polish

    The UN65F6400 is the second largest in the F6400 series. It is a slight step up from the F6300 series below it. The two series are pretty much the same except for 2 major additions in the features department. First there is local dimming, that helps to create a better contrast ratio, and second is the inclusion of active 3D. Those are two big upgrades for such a small step up. This TV is aimed at those looking for a value model that offers a little more than just a nice picture. The difference between this one and the F6800 is the “window” design and the 240Hz refresh rate.

    Picture Quality Rating: 8.6

    The UN65F6400 features a semi-matte screen versus the clear coat I like so much on the top tier models. I'm not personally a fan of the matte finish because picture quality does take a hit. They tend to reflect more in room light which tones down the brilliance of the image. This is a big difference between the F6400 and 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. The 10pt white balance really helps to get the white balance to the right levels. Colors end up looking natural and not over saturated. The biggest problem present with the 65F6400 is side angle viewing.

    Black Levels and Contrast – Solid Performance

    From the best viewing position, I see excellent black levels on this LED TV. The black letter box bars on the Days of Thunder Blu-ray are 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.

    Samsung UN65F6400 Contrast
    This shot from The 5th Element Blu-ray shows strong contrast and dark area detail on the 65F6400

    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 – Typical for an LED TV

    As I mentioned before, the biggest problem here is side angle viewing. Color and contrast begin to drop off at about 20 degrees off center and quickly get worse faster from there. The picture is looks even more wahsed out 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.

    Samsung UN65F6400 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

    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.

    Samsung UN65F6400 Days of Thunder
    This shot from the Days of Thunder Blu-ray is an excellent example of the sharp detail, strong contrast, and bright colors the 65F6400 LED TV is capable of from front and center

    (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 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 UN60F6400 gives a good performance.

    Active 3D glasses for the Samsung UN65F6400
    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 UN65F6400 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 65F6400. The picture settings in Game Mode are separate from the normal picture presets. I think they initially look pretty bad. Samsung even warns about a loss of picture quality. Make some changes to remedy the situation. 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 UN65F6400 Input Lag
    This show how beneficial the Game Mode is for getting rid of most of the input lag.

    Features Rating: 9.0

    Samsung Smart Hub 2.0

    The Smart Hub platform has received a hefty redesign from the last year's version. The platform is much more intuitive and user friendly, especially for those accustomed to smartphones and tablets. I'd certainly say it is an improvement. Navigation and organization of content see the biggest upgrades while features like voice-recognition and a slew of recommendation features have been added to the mix. The UN65F6400 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.

    Samsung UN65F6400
    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

    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

    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.

    Read our full review of Samsung's 2013 Smart Hub here.

    Web Browser and Wifi

    Bing is the default search engine and the home screen when the browser is first opened. Surfing with the Touch Pad Remote 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.

    Dual Core Processor

    The plague of slow smart TV suites is coming to an end. Faster processors are the remedy to the problem of slowness for web browsing, multitasking, and navigation. This is a very nice upgrade for TVs residing in the mid tier category like the UN65F6400. The dual core processor speeds up navigation and web browsing considerably. We recall the slowness of Smart TVs in the past and are very welcoming to this speed boost. The top tier models in the Samsung lineup this year have received quad core processors as an even further upgrade. Since the F6400 is looking to be a value TV, a dual core processor will surely do the trick.

    Menu - Easy to Use


    Samsung UN65F6400 Menu
    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


    Samsung Smart Touch Remote
    The remote for the UN65F6400 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 UN65F6400. 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.

    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 UN65F6400
    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.

    Value Rating: 8.6

    This 65 inch LED TV sells for around $2,200. There isn't much offered from other manufacturers to compete in this size class. The Toshiba 65L7350U gives the same feature set for $200 less. Front and center picture quality is not as strong on the Toshiba though. A plasma option is the Panasonic TC-P65ST60. For $200 more, any side angle viewing issues are eliminated.

    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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