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Samsung UNF6300 series review review: A good value for the Smart set

Picture settings: In true Samsung tradition there's plenty on tap here, including 2-point and 10-point grayscale control, an excellent color management system, and four picture presets. Samsung's class-leading Auto Motion Plus dejudder control not only turns the Soap Opera Effect on or off, it allows adjustment of both blur reduction and smoothness -- and new for this year includes a setting called LED Clear Motion that improved motion resolution further.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Connectivity: Nothing major is missing here. Three HDMI ports, three USB, and an optical digital output do the digital heavy lifting, while analog video is served by a single component-video port that's shared with composite video. There's no VGA-style PC input, but there is a port for the included wired IR blaster.

Picture quality
One of the main reasons I decided to review both the UNF6400 and the less expensive UNF6300 was to determine whether Samsung's 2013 Micro Dimming feature -- a major differentiator between the two on paper -- helped picture quality. It doesn't. In fact, the UNF6300 had slightly better picture quality than its more expensive linemate in our tests, with superior shadow detail and color. On the other hand, both sets gave mediocre black-level performance, leading to picture quality that's merely "good" and not up to the levels seen on a couple of the similarly priced models in my comparison.

Click the image at the right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV's picture controls worked during calibration.

Comparison models (details)
Samsung UN55F6400 55-inch LED LCD
Vizio E500i-A1 50-inch LED LCD
LG 47LA6200 47-inch LED LCD
Panasonic TC-L50E60 50-inch LED LCD
Panasonic TC-P50S60 50-inch plasma

Black level: The UNF6300 delivered a relatively lighter shade of black than the others in our lineup, leading to a less realistic rendition of darker scenes -- an issue especially visible in dimly lit rooms. It basically matched the UNF6400 in depth of black, beat only the LG, and fell short of the performance of the others to a greater or lesser extent.

The 12th chapter of "Skyfall," for example, lacked some of the punch seen on the Panasonics and the Vizio. The letterbox bars and silhouettes of the fighters were slightly more washed out, and the shot of Washington didn't have quite as much contrast and pop. The difference between the two Samsungs was almost impossible to discern, and both looked visibly less impressive than the Vizio and LE50.

Shadow detail wasn't an issue however. The 6300 showed every detail of the face of the mysterious woman in the next skyscraper and Bond's visage among the fluctuating lights (50:22). The gradation from darker to lighter appeared a slip more natural than on the Vizio E series, if not as good as on the Panasonics, but the differences in shadow detail between all of them were slight enough that it'd take a side-by-side comparison to tell them apart.

The 6300 did appear to outperform the 6400 in shadow detail. The two looked very similar in "Skyfall" with its mixed dark and bright scenes, but turning to the torture test of the hilltop scene in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" (Chapter 12, 45:55), the 6300 looked better. The 6400 obscured many of the details, and unlike its brother subsumed a lot of the near-dark areas, like the robes of the antagonists and the countryside around Hogwart's, in murk. I'm not sure if nondefeatable microdimming is the culprit, but in any case the 6300 beat its more expensive linemate in reproducing shadows in very dark scenes.

Color accuracy: No complaints here. The UNF6300 aced our objective color measurements, turning in the most accurate precalibration Movie preset reading I can remember seeing. Those gaudy numbers were borne out onscreen in accurate yet vibrant skin tones and colors -- the warm-yet-pale face of M at 51:13, the blood-orange hues of the Macau dragon at 55:28, and the bodies of the lovers in the shower at 1:06:34, for example.

In terms of sheer accuracy the Samsung 6300 outdid all of the others, although the Panasonic and Vizio were both quite close. Those two still didn't match the Samsung's great saturation, but overall the differences between the four are again subtle enough to require a side-by-side viewing. No so for the S60, with ts greenish cast, and the forlorn, washed-out LG.

As usual one weakness was the UNF6300's tendency to go bluish in black and near-black scenes, a tendency made more visible in letterbox bars by the set's relatively light black level.

I wondered whether the 6300 suffered the same inaccuracies my colleague Ty Pendlebury noticed on the 6400 during the "Harry Potter" hilltop scene, and the answer is, no, it didn't. In contrast to the 6400, the 6300 preserved the accurate greenish tint of the original film in these areas, not showing the brownish-red cast seen on the 6400. I confirmed the difference didn't appear to be calibration-related. On the other hand, in "Skyfall" I didn't notice any similar issues, leading me to believe they only appear in very dark scenes. In brighter areas the two TVs looked very similar, and very accurate.

Video processing: The Samsung UNF6300 performed like a champ in this area, matching the UNF6400, and indeed even the flagship UNF8000, despite its lower Clear Motion Rate specification.

First and foremost it's capable of delivering true 1080p24 film cadence. Unlike most LED LCD TVs, however, it can also deliver full motion resolution at the same time -- you don't have to engage the oversmooth Soap Opera Effect to get optimum motion resolution. On the Panasonic E60, the LG and the Vizio, conversely, no mode offers true film cadence with zero smoothing and full motion resolution.

Of course if you're a fan of smoothing you might also appreciate the F6300's 10-point dejudder control under Custom for Auto Motion Plus, which enables you to dial in as much Soap Opera Effect as you like -- from "Downton Abbey" to "Days of Our Lives."

There's also a new LED Clear Motion setting under the Auto Motion Plus menu. Engaging it reduces light output by about 30 percent, but that's not a big deal at all since this TV (like most LED LCDs) has plenty of light output anyway. In both the On and Off positions, the TV was able to achieve the full 1,200 lines of resolution -- a superb score for a 120Hz television. On looked very slightly cleaner in our test pattern, however, so we left it engaged.

As usual with Samsung, you'll need to select the Auto1 setting under Film Mode if you want correct 1080i deinterlacing of film-based sources; the default Auto 2 failed our test.

In Game mode the Samsung showed a completely respectable input lag measurement of 44ms. I tried the trick of renaming the input "PC" but it didn't improve that result.

Uniformity: The F6300 has a nicely uniform screen for an edge-lit LED LCD, and significantly outperformed our UNF6400 review sample in this area. Yes, on test patterns the edges, especially the bottom edge, appeared brighter than the middle, but on program material the backlight irregularities were next-to-impossible to discern.

From off-angle the 6300 and 6400 were identical, and about average among their LCD peers, washing out dark areas worse than the Vizio and about as much as the Panasonic, but outdoing the LG. In brighter scenes the LG maintained color fidelity better, however; the Samsung tended to more quickly become bluish/reddish from off-angle.

Bright lighting: Again the two Samsungs were basically the same. The screen is sort of semimatte, and while it didn't deaden reflections quite as well as the Panasonic E60 and Vizio, it handled them better than the LG and especially the Panasonic S60. On the other hand the screen managed to retain its black levels relatively well in a lit room -- if not quite as well as the E60, better than the LG and the even more washed-out-looking Panasonic.

Sound quality: The F6300's audio quality was good for a TV, albeit not quite as impressive as that of the F6400 for some reason. Switching between the two, bass sounded a bit looser on Nick Cave's "Red Right Hand" and his vocals just a bit less clear -- but otherwise they sounded very similar, and better than any of the others in our lineup. Bass was decent and I could make out instruments well, and it didn't have the extremely thin sound that plagues many sets like the E60 and the LG 6200. Explosions in the bridge scene in "Mission: Impossible 3" had some gut impact and sounds that were lost on the others -- such as the truck horn that sounds immediately after one of the rockets hits -- were relayed well by the Samsung.

Black luminance (0%) 0.0139 Average
Avg. gamma (10-100%) 2.21 Good
Avg. grayscale error (10-100%) 1.024 Good
Dark gray error (20%) 0.392 Good
Bright gray error (70%) 1.099 Good
Avg. color error 1.088 Good
Red error 0.655 Good
Green error 1.084 Good
Blue error 1.617 Good
Cyan error 0.771 Good
Magenta error 1.491 Good
Yellow error 0.91 Good
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Pass Good
1080i Deinterlacing (film) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 1200 Good
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 1200 Good
Input lag (Game mode) 44.1 Average

Samsung UN55F6300 CNET review calibration report

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