The best bit of LED TVs was not their much-hyped voice- or motion-control features, but really their slick smart TV system, as it supports all four of the big UK terrestrial broadcasters' catch-up TV apps.and F7000
The UE40F6400 ditches the camera (and motion controls) of those models, along with their micro-dimming technology, quad-core processor and Freesat HD tuners. It retains the superb smart TV system, however, as well as the Freeview HD tuner and 3D support.
Perhaps more importantly, it's much more affordable. The 40-inch model I tested can be found online for £650 or less (it's also available in 32-, 46-, 50-, 55-, 65- and 75-inch models). So does it offer a good compromise between features and price?
The F6400 doesn't have a camera, so it lacks the motion control features found on Samsung's F7000 and F8000 models. It's not much of a loss though, as I didn't think this feature was much cop when we tried it on those TVs. It does, however, support voice control. There's no mic built-in to the TV, so instead you have to use the secondary touch remote, which has one built in.
The voice-recognition engine can now deal with natural speech, so as well as using basic commands such as "channel up" and "power on", you can ask it to search for movies by name on its on-demand service, for example. This only works with Samsung's own movie service, however, not with Netflix or Lovefilm, so it's pretty useless.
To use the voice search you have to press the mic button on the touchpad remote, so it's pointless using it for standard commands for the TV, such as changing the volume, as you've already got the remote in your hand. Also using it to search for stuff or to launch apps is still quite hit and miss. It usually works out the words you're speaking to it, but often isn't sure what you mean by them. As a result, it quickly becomes quite frustrating to use and ultimately we think most people will quickly give up on it.
User interface and TV guide
The TV's menu system for controlling stuff like the picture and audio settings looks pretty much identical to what's appeared on Samsung's other TVs over the last couple of years. That's not a negative, as it's still excellent thanks to its attractive look and logical layout. The TV includes a full colour-management system too, so you get very fine control over its pictures.
The menus are a tad more sluggish to navigate and a little bit slower to respond to changes than those on the high-end models, because this set relies on a dual-core processor rather than the quad-core chips used in the F8000 and F7000. The difference is quite small though.
The guide is also one of the better ones you'll find on today's TVs. It's bright and cheery and has an integrated video window so you can keep an eye on the show you're watching while perusing through the guide. It also now links back into the smart TV system, so you're given suggestions on shows or movies you might want to watch based on your previous viewing habits.
Design and connections
The F6400 is, perhaps unsurprisingly, not a looker in the same league as the F8000 and F7000 sets. The bezel around the screen is a tad thicker than on today's high-end TVs. Its combination of glossy black with Perspex edging is essentially the same design Samsung's high-end plasmas were rocking last year. Unfortunately, it also has a very similar four-pronged stand, which looks overly showy and is a bit naff compared to the ribbon stands on LG's sets.
The TV is well specified when it comes to connectivity, though. It has four HDMI ports as well as full-sized Scart and component sockets. It also has Wi-Fi and Ethernet onboard, along with three USB ports. It supports Miracast so you can mirror what's on the screen of compatible Android smart phones and tablets to the TV over Wi-Fi.
It lacks the Freesat HD tuners found on the higher-end models, however, and also only has a single Freeview HD tuner. If you already have a PVR, or get your TV service from a third party such as Sky or Virgin Media, this won't be much of a loss to you.
Smart TV system
The F6400 uses the same smart TV system as Samsung's pricier models, but as I've said, its dual-core rather than quad-core processor means it feels a tiny bit slower to me. What's really important with the smart TV system is the content on offer, and on that front it's still top-notch.
As with the other F-series TVs, the smart TV system is now split across various themed screens. The On TV page shows the currently selected channel in a thumbnail window alongside a grid of picture thumbnails that represent various shows that are coming up that it thinks you might be interested in. It learns your viewing habits over time to adjust these suggestions and make them more accurate, rather like.