Samsung UN55H6400 HDTV Review
The 55-inch Samsung UN55H6400 LED LCD Smart TV exceeded expectations by delivering admirable imagery with few compromises at an attractive price.
Here’s our review.
Size, style, and setup
Ten minutes of assembly with a Philips-head screwdriver had the H6400 perched upon its chromed X-shaped base (aka the “Edge Quad Stand”) which provides 20 degrees of swivel adjustment in either direction. If you don’t want to stand-mount it, the H6400 is compatible with standard wall-mount hardware.
The 55-inch I reviewed received weighed 40.1 lbs with its stand attached, 36.6 lbs without. The TV’s overall width of 48.9 inches highlights its slim bezel design that measures 0.56 inches along the top and sides and slightly thicker across the bottom.
A clear strip of thin trim encircles the outside edge of the screen adding a bit of subtle bling. Powered on, the H6400’s lack of indicator lights or logo illumination made for a pleasingly distraction-free presentation.
The Samsung UN55H6400 retails for $2000 and is currently available from Amazon direct for $1097.99
The H6400 features four HDMI ports, a component video input, and three USB ports. One HDMI input is ARC-enabled for feeding PCM or surround sound audio formats from the TVs over-the-air tuner and apps to a compatible AV receiver. Sound from other HDMI inputs is passed over the ARC connection (and the TV’s optical audio output) making the TV an effective hub for feeding a compatible soundbar.
WiFi and Ethernet networking options functioned as expected.
The H6400’s features a native 120Hz refresh rate . Its dark screen surface is contrast enhancing, but not overly glossy and effectively minimized harsh reflections. Compared to the Samsung H6350 series, the H6400 adds an upgraded remote, 3D, and slightly increased motion resolution. The H7150 series ups the ante on the H6400 with a 240Hz refresh rate, so even better motion resolution, and upgraded speakers with a subwoofer enhancement.
Sound quality proved to be the H6400’s Achilles’ heel, with lifeless audio reproduction that required near-maximum volume levels in order to produce a listenable experience. Enabling the TV’s DTS TruSurround feature helped slightly alleviate this sound quality shortcoming by warming up the overall tone and improving dialog clarity, but the addition of a quality soundbar or speakers would be the recommended fix.
Samsung’s RF-enabled Smart Remote Control earns my award for being the best I’ve handled in 2014. The comfortable, palm-sized controller has a built-in microphone and touchpad to assist navigation. I absolutely love its precise, mouse-like cursor that enables quick and accurate menu navigation, app selection, or use of the on-screen keyboard. Unfortunately, cursor control doesn’t extend to most 3rd party apps (like Netflix).
Similar to the otherwise-excellent Samsung HU8550 4K UHD TV(review), the H6400’s sensitive over-the-air (OTA) tuner inexplicably overscans the image of 720p broadcasts, like those from ABC and Fox. So edges of the programming are cut off.
Sluggish channel guide navigation detracted from this would-be useful interface, but changing channels with the dedicated buttons on the remote proved a speedy alternative.
The H6400’s quad-core processor delivered a snappy app experience. Samsung’s selection of apps continues to be one of the most robust among smart TV manufacturers, and includes video streaming services like Amazon Instant Video, Netflix, Crackle, Flixter, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, and many more.
The H6400 performed well when viewed outside of its “front and center” sweet spot, with loss of contrast and color saturation becoming noticeable at 25 degrees off-axis. However, the image remained entirely watchable even at extreme angles.
The TV’s anti-reflective screen and ample maximum brightness (114 footlamberts) helped it tame even a sun-drenched room. For my calibrated setup, I enabled the LED Clear Motion feature (backlight scanning/blinking) that reduces light output by half in exchange for improved motion resolution. Enabling this feature on the Samsung HU8550 resulted in significant flicker, making it unwatchable. The same mode on the H6400 was relatively stable and quite watchable.
Screen uniformity appeared quite good for an edge-lit television, with only minor clouding observed when displaying a black background in a dark room environment. Black bars of letterboxed movies appeared uniformly dark with no signs of bright spots – all the more impressive considering the TV’s lack of hardware local dimming technology.
The H6400’s factory grayscale and color calibration of its Movie picture preset proved to be very good. My calibration setup for a dimly lit room environment included increasing display gamma to about 2.3 and adjusting the bluish magenta defaults closer to the HDTV spec.
One drawback of the TV’s white balance controls was their ineffectiveness at tweaking the darkest shades of gray. These controls were effective, on the other hand,for adjusting the mid-to-bright portion of the grayscale.
The accurate, well-saturated color output of this TV made for a pleasing viewing experience with a variety of animated and real-world HD video content. Heath Ledger’s Joker character from The Dark Knight looked particularly awesome, and the movie’s bright and dark details were well-rendered, further enhancing the viewing experience. The reference-quality Blu-ray epic Samsara was another example of the H6400 producing detailed, colorful imagery with natural skin tones and overall color representation.
The H6400 features Samsung’s independent de-blur and de-judder settings for optimizing the clarity of 30/60fps video and 24fps video sources respectively. Maximum de-blur levels resulted in about 750 out of 1080 lines of detail using the 1080i FPD Benchmark disc.
Reducing de-blur to half-strength resulted in 600 lines of detail, and setting it to minimum levels resulted in about 300 lines of motion resolution (similar to every other LCD).
Enabling the TV’s LED Clear Motion feature matched the motion resolution of the maximum de-blur setting and had a minor affect on judder artifact reduction other than the related reduction in overall picture brightness.
Samsara‘s many slow panning shots were a good test for the TV’s de-judder setting. Enabled at half-strength improved the appearance of fine details and it reduced flicker artifacts, but it also smoothed the motion to the point cinema purists may find it unacceptable (the so-called “Soap Opera Effect”).
Video processing is another strength of Samsung TVs, and the H6400 passed all of my 1080i video, film, and noise filtering tests. Broadcast and Blu-ray 1080i sources appeared well-detailed, as the TV correctly deinterlaced them into 1080p.
Input lag tests with the calibrated Movie picture preset measured 74ms. Enabling the Game Mode reduced this to 44ms. –This is less than 3 frames of delay with 60Hz video input. My gaming tests found this level of delay acceptable for fast-paced action titles, but some Sony TVs and the Vizio P-Series feature video lag levels less than half of the H6400.
The H6400 exhibited one notable hiccup with the demanding Spears & Munsil v2 Blu-ray test disc: a loss of fine chroma detail with component video (YCbCr) sources . More expensive and capable TVs like the Sony XBR-X950B, Samsung HU8550, and Samsung F8500 don’t have this loss, resulting in a potentially more detailed picture. Switching the source to RGB with the H6400 also avoided this loss, but component video encoding is the norm with most HDMI sources.
3D gaming with Super Stardust HD on the PlayStation 3 exhibited no obvious signs of crosstalk in its many fine line and particle details. The 3D movie and instant classic, Hugo, also proved enjoyable with only minor signs of crosstalk around brightly contrasted edges.
I continue to be impressed with the quality and consistency of video processing with Samsung televisions compared to other manufacturers, and the H6400’s factory calibration also rewards its owner with pleasingly accurate imagery with the ease of selecting a picture preset.
If you don’t care about Samsung’s Smart Remote Control or 3D, you can save some cash by going with the H6350.
HD Guru awards the Samsung UN55H6400 4 out of 5 hearts.
Disclosure: Review sample was obtained as manufacturer’s loan.
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