Samsung KU6500 Review
UN65KU6500FXZA, UN55KU6500, UN65KU650D, UN55KU650D
4K UHD LED backlit LCD TV, Smart TV, HDR, Curved TVThe KU650D is the wholesale club (i.e. Costco, Sams Club model number). There are no notable features changes.
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
- Screen Reflection is not severe
- Upscaling and conversion of lower HD and standard def to 4K is solid for the price point
- Contrast and Color from front and center
- Great light flow through from LED edge lights
- Web browser included
- On-screen menu system is easy
- Low input lag in game mode
- Gaming Mode input lag (good TV for Gaming)
- HDR Premium with Active Crystal Color for future proofing
- 60Hz TV, judder can be apparent with Automotion turned off especially with lower end resolutions
- Automotion Plus “Telenovela” effect
- Side Angle Viewing contrast and color saturation degrades
- Aesthetic Appeal not a super high end look
- Slow starting time on some Apps 6-12 seconds for some Apps like Netflix and Amazon Instant
- Small selection of preset picture modes
- Screen Uniformity out of the box is good (it often does not last as the TV wears)
- We noted no motion blur from high end signals 1080p, 720p, but some with standard def resolution
The KU7000 4K LED TV from Samsung is best priced 4K offerings from Samsung but still has ample some good features like Smart TV offerings, UHD Picture Dimming, a quad core processor, HEVC 4K streaming decoding, and a contrast enhancer. Though the 7000 has 4K UHD resolution, it rivals 1080p TVs of the same size from a year or two ago in price, one of its best features.
Picture Quality Rating: 88/100
As we've mentioned many times before, edge lit LED backlit LCDs are not the ideal picture technology (even in 4K), however Samsung's semi clear coat screen is a big plus. Images are clear and color information is accurate. Over time, some light bleed is likely to occur – noticeable during very dark or black background scenes. Colors pop very well for an LED TV and Samsung has the brightest LEDs (peak Whites) in the industry if you need a very bright screen. The clear panel technology in this screen which helps to absorb ambient light is an excellent feature.
This shot shows good contrast and light flow from windows in the KU7000
HD to UHD Upscaling and Conversion
Generally, with scaling you get what you pay for. This is an area of great differentiation among 4K TVs. Some of the more expensive ones will have much better scalers. But, the 7-series does a reasonably good job for the price point. Scaling is exceptionally important since most of the TV we watch these days is streaming from Amazon, Netflix, HBO...or 720p cable. A TV's upscaling will never be able to make as much difference as the original signal source, but it can create cleaner, sharper image edges in the best case. The KU7000 does a good job presenting streaming and 720p signals. The scaler is not of the cheaper variety. This 4K TV will not look better than a very good 1080p TV with standard and HD signals, but wait!, there are no more very good 1080p TVs. The manufacturers stopped making them. While not the most robust scaler, the KU7000 gets a good score for the price of the TV.
LED Edge Backlight – A Standout Feature
The light flow through created by the Samsung LED backlights has been a major positive for the last couple of years and continues with this UHD offering. It's one of the TVs best characteristics. Some complain that it can cause screen uniformity issues. To tone down the LED backlight from causing some uneven screen uniformity issues turn the backlight setting (found in the picture settings menu) down to a more reasonable level – around 80% is what we recommend. This will keep screen uniformity issues from arising and you still have plenty of brightness from this super bright LED TV. Having powerful LED backlighting in case you need it for super bright room conditions is a plus.
Side Angle Viewing – Much Room for Improvement
Color saturation and contrast do fade when viewing from off center though much more subtly than I expected. In fact, the untrained eye will likely not see much difference in contrast saturation until around 15 degrees off center. Early models of the 4K TVs from Samsung did not look this good from the side and were more in line with standard HD LED TVs. Don't get me wrong, it's still a drawback, but not as pronounced as it once was. This was probably the single biggest drawback compared to OLED aside from the deeper blacks and richer colors on OLEDs.
Active Crystal Color System/Calibration
The KU7000 employs Samsung's new Active Crystal color which is still a step down from the SUHD models with Quantum Dot. But it's a step above the KU6300 with a wider color gamut for potentially capturing more HDR color information. One thing we like about this TV though is color accuracy and ease of calibration to get a very passable picture. Click here for the calibrated picture settings.
Refresh Rate Concerns/Motion Blur
The native panel refresh rate is only 60Hz for the KU7000 so you will see some judder on those movie scenes with side to side panning. The backlight manipulated Motion Rate is 120. This is another compromise for a lower priced TV. This is not to be confused with fast action sports performance. Motion blur from sports is actually negligible if non-existent. It's 24fps material, movies where you will likely notice the judder the most. You can always add the Telenovela effect by using the Auto Motion Plus feature and get rid of some or all of the judder.
Quick Picture Calibration Settings
Quick Calibration:The following settings are for a medium to dark room light. Since calibrations can vary among different TVs even from the same model number, we no longer post the advanced 10 point White balance calibration settings. However, TV manufacturers have improved at providing a preset picture setting that is pretty close to D65 out of the box. The settings below will get you close. Try the Warm 2 setting and for a couple days to get used to it. If after a couple days picture images still seems to warm (reddish tones), change it to the Warm 1 mode. Also, if you are viewing in a brighter room environment, you may prefer the Warm 1 mode.
|Picture Mode: Movie|
|Digital Clean View||Off||Gamma||0|
|AutoMotion Plus||Off||RGB Only||Off|
|Film Mode||Off||Color Space||Auto|
|HDMI Color||MPEG Noise Filter||Off|
|HDMI Black Level||Auto||Film Mode||Off|
|Dynamic Contrast||Off||LED Motion Plus||Off|
|Color Tone||Warm 2|
Notes:The Backlight setting is the easiest and quickest way to adjust for room light conditions. For brighter rooms move the setting up and darker rooms down. Game Mode may be enabled under Special Viewing Mode. The Digital Clean View mode may be utilized for lower quality and lower resolution content like 480p DVDs, non-HD cable, and streaming TV that is not HD quality.
Auto Motion Plus - Know When to Use this Feature
The Auto Motion Plus feature is something that comes as a blessing and a curse. By default it is set to On in all of the preset picture setting modes. You will likely want to turn it off for streaming content, DVDs, Blu-rays, and TV shows. The feature gives you a dreadful “Telenovela Effect”, making images look unrealistic by eliminating too much natural background blur. Turn it off in the Expert Settings menu and everything will be fine again. You'll immediately see judder when you disable it, but your eyes will adjust momentarily. The features does not hurt good quality live sports programming so you may want to use it there. Another experiment you may want to try is using it with poor quality DVDs. It can help the viewing experience there, bringing these old movies to life. Just be familiar with how to s and it won't be a problem.
Another possibly acceptable setting is enabling the feature using the Custom setting and using a low value on the De-Blur portion of the setting.(Note: to get to the setting click on Menu, swipe across to Picture, Scroll down to Expert Settings and scroll down to AutoMotion Plus.)
Features Rating: 85/100
Samsung Smart Hub
The 7-series does not get the top Samsung Tizen OS Smart Hub of the top models, but instead gets a similar Smart Hub suite to last year with the same basic design. Samsung hit the mark with their user interface and intuitive navigation. This time around you will see the Game tab as one of the major smart TV pages. The On TV page allows for individual logins. This means different members of the family can have different recommendation settings. This is a big plus for a home with multiple TV users. The Smart Hub for the KU7000 includes a full web browser.
The quad-core processor greatly increases the speed of the Smart TV function and browsing. It is a welcome addition since processing speed and multitasking were slow before the upgrade to the quad-core.
Appearance and Design
The KU7000 has a nice design with a half inch border charcoal black matte frame surrounding the screen. The screen is 2.5” in depth so plenty thin for wall mounting. It's no knockout design, but I like thee lines of the new stand. It's also very sturdy while looking updated and modern.
The KU7000 has a nice upgraded remote control complete with touchpad or 5-way controller. It helps with browsing and streaming TV functions.
There is plenty of volume from the inbuilt 10w speakers. It's not what I would call high quality defined audio, but it gets the job done.
The 7-series is DirecTV ready for 4K content. The TV has built in Wifi, and plenty of HDMI inputs (4) and 3 USB inputs. It also has mobile to TV mirroring and a Game Picture Mode for gamers. Though we were not able to test the HDR Premium picture, it's nice to have some future proofing HDR compatibility included. This just means that it will be able to display some types of HDR content on the screen. The active crystal color system's wider color gamut should enjoy more benefits from HDR content. There is a Game Mode for gamers. This is a good gaming TV with around 28ms input lag when Game Mode is enabled. It obviously has dual band Wifi included. Obviously, the KU7500 adds the curved screen element.
Features It Lacks
The UHD Dimming feature really does not quality as local dimming and does little to enhance contrast in various areas of the screen. 3D is not included. 120Hz panel is not included. Even though the KU7000 has HDR compatibility, it does not have a very wide color gamut for enjoying the best benefits of HDR. Even though the 7-series does a good job of up-conversion, it does not have a high end scaler. The KU7000 includes a scaled down version of Samsung's Smart Hub rather than the top of the line Tizen OS.
Value Rating 90/100
The KU7000 has a little sharper design and Active Crystal color gamut as the two upgrade features above the KU6300 below it. As the second lowest price Samsung 4K TV this year, value is an important aspect of this TVs appeal. Pricing is very appealing. At around $1399 for the 55” version it's a great deal. At the smaller end $999 for the 49” size is less exceptional. It has the “stuff you really need,” in a TV these days. The KU7500 sells for $200 more for the curved variety.. if you're into curves.
- 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)
- Contrast Enhancer
- Motion Rate 120 (60Hz native panel with backlight scanning)
- Speaker output power: 10W x 2
- Quad Core Processor
- Samsung Smart View (Mirroring)
- MHL-compatible HDMI input for viewing photos/videos from a compatible smartphone on the TV's screen
- 3 HDMI, 2 USB Connections
- Wi-Fi Built-in (802.11ac)
- HEVC decoder included (for watching streamed 4K content)
- Mobile to TV Mirroring; DLNA
- Free downloadable apps for iOS and Android™ enable you use a compatible smartphone or tablet as a remote control
- Other Dimensions:
- UN55KU7000 - 53.7" x 33.6" x 14.5" with stand, 53.7" x 31.1" x 2.5" without
- UN55KU7500 - 48.5" x 28.1" x 3.8" without stand, 48.5" x 30.9" x 13.1 with stand
|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|