Samsung LNC630 review: Samsung LNC630

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MSRP: $1,099.99

The Good Reproduced relatively deep black levels; mostly accurate color in bright areas; solid video processing with proper handling of 1080p/24 sources; matte screen works well in bright lighting (40- and 46-inch models only); numerous picture adjustment options; streams video via USB and DLNA; classy styling.

The Bad Subpar shadow detail; dark areas tinged somewhat blue; benefits of 120Hz difficult to discern.

The Bottom Line Solid image quality and features as well as sleek looks make Samsung's mainstream LNC630 LCD an affordable alternative to LED TVs.

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6.6 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 6
  • Performance 6

TV makers are pushing LED-based LCD TVs hard, in part because the newfangled backlight scheme allows thinner, more aggressive designs and slightly better energy efficiency. However a larger part, we suspect, has to do with profit margins: TVs with LED backlights generally cost more than those with standard fluorescent, or CCFL, backlights. Samsung sells numerous so-called LED TVs, but the LNC630 series isn't one of them. This midrange LCD uses the standard backlight, doesn't cost a fortune, and yet manages in some ways--chiefly screen uniformity--to produce a better image than the company's edge-lit LED models. It also competes well against the competitors' CCFL sets, with more picture controls and options, in addition to sleeker styling, than just about any of them. All told the midrange Samsung LNC630 series is a tempting target for buyers who don't care about Internet features or LED.

Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 46-inch Samsung LN46C630, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series, with one exception: the 55- and 60-inch sizes use a glossy, as opposed to a matte, screen finish. For that reason, the remarks that mention a matte screen do not apply to those sizes. Aside from this difference, all sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality. This review was updated on November 11, 2010, to note this difference.

Models in series (details)
Samsung LN40C630 40 inches
Samsung LN46C630 (reviewed) 46 inches
Samsung LN55C630 55 inches
Samsung LN60C630 60 inches


Transparent plastic edges the LNC630's frame.

Design highlights
Panel depth 3.2 inches Bezel width 1.6 inches
Single-plane face No Swivel stand Yes
Other: Transparent stand stalk; flat glass base

Glossy black, transparent edges and touch-sensitive controls mark the LNC630 series as one of the sleekest TVs you'll find at its price point. The panel is supported by Samsung's trademark see-through, swiveling stand column atop a flat, glass base in matching black with transparent edges. We really like the minimalist overall look, and suspect this model will blend into living room decors much better than the company's spider-legged step-up TVs.

The transparency continues in the stand stalk.

Remote control and menus
Remote size (LxW) 8.4 x 2 inches Remote screen N/A
Total keys 49 Backlit keys 44
Other IR devices controlled No RF control of TV No
Shortcut menu Yes Onscreen explanations Yes

Samsung's standard 2010 remote is included on the LNC630, 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 last year's remotes, but it's still perfectly functional once you figure out the logical groupings.

Samsung didn't change its basic TV control menus on this model, 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.

Yes, even the menus are see-through.


Key TV features
Display technology LCD LED backlight N/A
3D compatible No 3D glasses included N/A
Screen finish Matte Refresh rate(s) 120Hz
Dejudder (smooth) processing Yes 1080p/24 compatible Yes
Internet connection No Wireless HDMI/AV connection No
Other: Streams videos, music and photos via DLNA or USB

The LNC630 series is currently Samsung's least expensive LCD to feature 120Hz processing, and though it lacks the Apps of the step-up LNC650 models, and the LED backlights of even high-end Samsungs, it's still well-featured for its price point.

Competing sets in this range lack goodies like Samsung's DLNA capability, which allows media streaming over a home network (we didn't test this feature) thanks to the set's LAN/Ethernet jack--which can also grab firmware updates. Video streaming via USB is also a nice touch to add to the standard music and photo capability. We'd also be remiss if we didn't mention the matte screen, which cuts down on reflections better than the glossy screens on step-up Samsung LCDs.

DLNA streaming is a nice touch at this price level.

Picture settings
Adjustable picture modes 4 Independent memories per input Yes
Dejudder presets 3 Fine dejudder control Yes
Aspect ratio modes -- HD 4 Aspect ratio modes -- SD 4
Color temperature presets 4 Fine color temperature control 10 points
Gamma presets 7 Color management system Yes
Other: New 10-point color temperature system; RGB filters and built-in test patterns

The LNC630 offers basically the same level of control found on flagship Samsung TVs, and that's a significant improvement over many sets at this price. Highlights for tweakers include a new 10-point grayscale system that works pretty well--(albeit not as well as LG's) in addition to a dejudder control system and a color management system that both work better than LG's. Internal test patterns and red, green, and blue color filters also aid would-be calibrators.

Full dejudder controls let tweakers control smoothing and blur reduction.

Other features
Power saver mode Yes Ambient light sensor Yes
Picture-in-picture Yes Onscreen user manual No
Other: Basic onscreen "HD connection guide; onscreen troubleshooting; Sound-only option

Not much goes missing here, and picture-in-picture is relatively rare these days. The troubleshooting section is nice but is mostly geared toward easing the job of customer service reps tasked with diagnosing owner problems over the phone. We like the option to turn off the screen manually, leaving just the sound, which cuts power use down to 21 watts.

HDMI inputs 3 back, 1 side Component video inputs 2 back
Composite video input(s) 1 side S-video input(s) 0
VGA-style PC input(s) 1 back RF input(s) 1
AV output(s) 1 audio Digital audio output 1 optical
USB port 2 side Ethernet (LAN) port Yes

The selection here is excellent, with plenty of digital and analog connections for even the most extensive home theaters. The LNC630 actually outdoes the analog input selection of many higher-end Samsung TVs.

The back panel leaves no inputs wanting.

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