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Samsung LND630 review: Samsung LND630

Samsung LND630

David Katzmaier

David Katzmaier

Editorial Director -- TVs and streaming

David has reviewed TVs, streaming services, streaming devices and home entertainment gear at CNET since 2002. He is an ISF certified, NIST trained calibrator and developed CNET's TV test procedure himself. Previously David wrote reviews and features for Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as "The Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics."

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3 min read

One of the most common requests we hear at CNET is for a TV that has good picture quality "without all that extra crap" (or words to that effect). Said extras included on many TVs these days include Internet connectivity and 3D, as well as an LED backlight for LCD models. Samsung's LND630 series comes pretty close to that no-frills ideal, delivering picture quality that's a match for many of the best LED TVs we've tested this year at a price that reflects its relative lack of extra features.

Samsung LN46D630

Samsung LND630

The Good

The <b>Samsung LND630</b> series exhibited very good picture quality, with relatively deep black levels, accurate color in bright areas and excellent video processing with proper handling of 1080p/24 sources. Its matte screen works well in bright lighting and the TV features numerous picture adjustment options and can stream video via USB and DLNA. We appreciated its classy styling.

The Bad

Shadow detail on the LND630 series was somewhat murky, its dark areas tinged were tinged a bit blue, and the benefits of 120Hz difficult to discern. A few slightly more expensive models have much better feature selections.

The Bottom Line

With image quality every bit as good as many expensive LED models, the Samsung LND630 is a great choice for a no-frills LCD TV.

Yes, the LND630 does have a 120Hz refresh rate, but you can customize its processing to get the benefits of 1080p/24, film-based Blu-rays without smoothing (yay!). More importantly, the step-down 60Hz LND550 lacks this model's color accuracy. Slightly more-expensive sets like the LED-based Sony KDL-EX523 series offer built-in Internet streaming, but for the price difference you could add a network streaming box to this Samsung. The LND630 doesn't provide quite the bang-for-the-buck of Panasonic's ST30 series plasma, but among LCDs we've tested, LED or otherwise, it's the value champ.

Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 46-inch Samsung LN46D630, but this review also applies to the 40-inch member of the series. Both sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Models in series (details)
Samsung LN40D630 (reviewed) 40 inches
Samsung LN46D630 (reviewed) 46 inches


A thin reddish-bronze strip helps break up the glossy black.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Design highlights
Panel depth 3.2 inches Bezel width 1.75 inches
Single-plane face No Swivel stand No

The LND630 looks the part of Samsung's nicest non-LED TV, with a sleek transparent edge that makes the bezel around the screen seem slimmer than it is. The bottom edge of the frame gets a bronze-colored strip to offset the black. We appreciated the swivel, although we noticed Samsung dropped the glass-topped base of 2010's LNC630 stand to go with glossy black plastic this year.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Remote control and menus
Remote size (LxW) 8.4 x 2 inches QWERTY keyboardNo
Illuminated keys 44 IR device control No
Menu item explanations Yes On-screen manual Yes

Samsung's standard midrange remote is included on the LND630, complete with backlighting behind nearly every key--a rarity in this class. We don't like the grid layout as much as the better-differentiated keys on some other remotes, but it's still perfectly functional once you figure out the logical groupings.

The TV has the same menus as last year, and that's a good thing. The transparent, blue-highlighted graphics are easy to read and navigate, and response is snappy. Text explanations are present for just about every function.

The LND630 keeps Samsung's old-school menus. We like.


"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Key TV features
Display technology LCD LED backlight N/A
3D technology N/A 3D glasses included N/A
Screen finish Matte Internet connection No
Refresh rate(s) 120Hz Dejudder (smooth) processing Yes
DLNA compliant Photo/Music/Video USB Photo/Music/Video

The LND630 is the only non-LED Samsung LCD to offer 120Hz processing. It lacks the Internet streaming found on many step-up LED-based 2011 Samsungs, but it does have the ability to play back multimedia files via DLNA. Its Ethernet port can also download firmware updates if necessary.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Picture settings
Adjustable picture modes 4 Fine dejudder control Yes
Color temperature presets 4 Fine color temperature control 10 points
Gamma presets 7 Color management system Yes

Samsung offers its full range of picture settings on the LND630, providing as much control as on any flagship-priced TV on the market. We especially appreciate the customizable dejudder and the company's superb color management system. As we mentioned the step-down Samsung LND550 series lacks this TV's color adjustments and hence color accuracy (see below).

Picture settings are a major strength of this TV.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Connectivity
HDMI inputs 3 back, 1 side Component video inputs 2 back
Composite video input(s) 1 back, 1 side VGA-style PC input(s) 1
USB port 2 side Ethernet (LAN) port Yes

Nothing major goes missing here, and four HDMI ports are plenty for just about anybody. It's worth noting that the second component input doubles as the one back composite, so you can't use both simultaneously.

The LND630's input bay is spacious compared with most LEDs'.

The LND630 delivered very good picture quality, on par with Samsung's own UND6400 LED-based model--one of our favorite LED TVs of the year. The D630's strengths include deep black levels and accurate color, augmented by the ability to handle 1080p/24 sources, solid screen uniformity for an LCD TV and that elusive (at least for Samsung) matte screen finish. Our quibbles--some loss of shadow detail and bluish tinge in black areas--were minor in the scheme of things.

As usual with Samsung, the Movie preset came closest to our ideal dark-room picture settings, although in this case (also as usual) it measured a bit too blue, with darker gamma and somewhat higher light output than we'd like to see. All of those picture controls allowed an accurate calibration, especially with Samsung's excellent color management system. The grayscale and gamma weren't quite as accurate as we'd expect from a 10-point system--there was a lot of grayscale fluctuation from measurement to measurement in the middle of the scale (40-50 percent) and too-coarse controls toward the bottom--but still great for a TV in this price range.

For our comparison and image quality tests we employed the lineup below and watched "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 1" on Blu-ray.

"="" bgcolor="#CCCCCC">Comparison models (details)
Samsung LN46C630 (2010) 46-inch LCD
Samsung LN40D550 40-inch LCD
Sony KDL-40BX420 40-inch LCD
Vizio E3D420VX 42-inch LCD
Insignia NS-42E859A11 42-inch LED-based LCD
Samsung UN46D6400 46-inch LED-based LCD
Panasonic TC-P50ST30 50-inch plasma

Black level: The LND630 acquitted itself well in this category. In dark scenes like the meeting of the bad guys at Voldemort's in Chapter 2, its black letterbox bars shadows and the clothing of the participants, for example, all appeared darker and more realistic than on the Vizio, the LG or the Insignia. The depth of black was very close among the others, from the cheaper Samsung LN550 up to the higher-end UND6400 and Panasonic plasma. The plasma still held the edge in perceived contrast since its bright areas looked brighter and punchier than the others, but the LND630 basically tied the UND6400 and the LNC630 in this regard.

Shadow detail was good--we saw more detail in Snape's cape and black hair than on the LNC630, and the Insignia, while the washed-out blacks of the Sony and Vizio made shadows much less realistic--but still not up to the standards of the UND6400 or the plasma. Again the less expensive LND5500 basically tied the LND630.

Color accuracy: Again the LND630 fared very well against the comparison models, an advantage due mainly to its excellent adjustment options. Skin tones, like the faces of the good guys as they gather in Chapter 3, looked well-saturated and natural. In fact the LND630 was among the best in the lineup in this area, matching and at times outclassing the UND6400. Each of the other sets fared a bit worse, from the less saturated Panasonic, Insignia and Vizio to the overly blue Sony and Samsung LND550.

The Samsung LND630 also maintained a more accurate color of black and near-black two of than the cheaper sets, avoiding the bluish tinge of the Sony and the red of the Insignia. The LND630 was still a bit worse off overall compared to the others, thanks to its own bluish blacks, but the effect wasn't egregious.

Video processing: The LND630 series has most of the same processing options found on higher-end Samsungs, and when it comes to dejudder it offers more adjustability than the competition. Its three dejudder presets--Clear, Standard and Smooth--join a Custom setting under the Auto Motion Plus (AMP) menu. Engaging any of the three presets introduces the characteristic smoothing effect, as well as some artifacts, so we preferred the freedom of Custom. That mode, which includes both a Blur Reduction and a Judder Reduction setting, lets you tweak both parameters to your liking. We prefer minimal dejudder, but having the option to dial in as much or as little as you like is very welcome, and works much better than we saw on LG's custom system, for example.

In the AMP menu at Custom with Judder Reduction at 0 and Blur reduction at 10, the LND630 offers the best of both worlds. It turned in its full-motion resolution and handled 1080p/24 properly. With AMP set to Clear or Off, the set seemed to be treating the image with 2:3 pulldown, showing the slightly stuttering cadence seen on 60Hz models (Clear looked smoother than Off, however). The other AMP settings introduced more smoothing/dejudder.

As with some previous Samsungs the LND630 needs to be in Auto 1 film mode to pass the 1080i video deinterlacing test, for what it's worth.

Uniformity: The LND630's standard CCFL backlight beat the edge-lit LED backlights of in our comparison at maintaining an even image across the screen. In dark scenes we saw no indications of the without the brighter corners and/or edges we saw on the edge-lit UND6400 and Insignia, or the Sony BX420 CCFL TV for that matter. It wasn't up to plasma standards when we looked closely at test patterns, of course, but obvious flaws in screen uniformity--the kind that show up in program material--were absent.

When viewing from off-angle the screen of the LND630 washed out black and dark areas to about the same extent as most of the CCFL models. The Vizio and the LEDs were worse in this regard however, while, as expected. The plasma trounced them all.

Bright lighting: Unlike higher-end Samsung TVs the LND630 has a matte screen, which serves it well in bright rooms where lights, windows and bright objects cause reflections. Such objects appeared dimmer and much less distinct, and thus less distracting, then they did on the UND6400 and the Panasonic plasma, for example. The rest of the sets in the lineup also have matte screens, and in general they all performed equally well in this category.

Power consumption: After calibration the LND630 used almost exactly as much power as the LED-based UN46D6400. While we'd expect the LED to be more efficient, most other like-sized LEDs we've tested, such as the LG on the comparison chart below, are thriftier with their power use.

Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.0052 Good
Avg. gamma 2.21 Good
Near-black x/y (5%) 0.2751/0.2721 Poor
Dark gray x/y (20%) 0.3173/0.3313 Average
Bright gray x/y (70%) 0.3127/0.3293 Good
Before avg. color temp. 6624 Average
After avg. color temp. 6476 Good
Red lum. error (de94_L) 0.8553 Good
Green lum. error (de94_L) 0.6607 Good
Blue lum. error (de94_L) 0.1158 Good
Cyan hue x/y 0.2235/0.3346 Good
Magenta hue x/y 0.324/0.1482 Good
Yellow hue x/y 0.4151/0.498 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
1080i De-interlacing (film) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 600 Average
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 600 Average
PC input resolution (VGA) 1,920x1,080 Good

Juice box
Samsung LN46D630 Picture settings
Default Calibrated Power save
Picture on (watts) 81.608 81.586 81.595
Picture on (watts/sq. inch) 0.09 0.09 0.09
Standby (watts) 0.0631 0.0631 0.0631
Cost per year $17.94 $17.94 $17.94
Score (considering size) Good
Score (overall) Good

Annual energy consumption cost after calibration

Samsung LN46D630 CNET review calibration results

(Read more about how we test TVs.)

Samsung LN46D630

Samsung LND630

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 6Performance 7Value 8
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