Samsung's F8000 and F7000 LED models are essentially the show ponies of its current TV line-up and so are too pricey for everyday telly buyers. As a result, it's Samsung's 6 series TVs that will be the serious contenders for most people's cash. The UE40F6800 sits at the top of the series 6 line-up and costs around £670, but it includes 400Hz motion processing, active 3D support and Samsung's truly excellent smart TV system.
The F6800 doesn't include the camera and motion controls found on Samsung's F7000 and F8000 sets. Unless you want to make video Skype calls from your TV, it's not a huge loss as I've never found the motion controls reliable enough to be useful. The TV does support voice control, but the mic is built-in to the Bluetooth touch remote, so you'll already be holding a remote in your hand if you're trying to use voice commands. As the voice recognition system is still slightly hit and miss you're often better off using the remote to do the commands you'd otherwise call out.
Samsung says the voice recognition is most useful for searching for shows and movies in online services. This would be true if voice search worked across all apps, but it doesn't. In fact, it only works with Samsung's own movie rental service -- not with Netflix or Lovefilm.
The F6800 uses the same menu system and smart TV system as the company's high-end models, which is great news as it's the best in the business. It looks very slick and attractive and because it's powered by a dual-core processor, everything moves along at a satisfying pace.
The picture controls are pretty comprehensive. As well as including the basic Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Sharpness and Colour controls, there's also a Colour Management System accessible via the Advanced Settings menu. When you're tweaking the picture it's also handy that Samsung allows you to isolate the three primary colours in the image via the RGB Only Mode.
This model also benefits from Samsung's excellent EPG. It looks attractive and feels speedy to navigate around using the remote. It also has an integrated video thumbnail window in the top left hand corner of the guide. Samsung's smart TV system includes TiVo-like suggestions of upcoming shows or movies you might want to watch, which is neat.
Design and connections
The F6800 looks quite different to most of the other models in Samsung's current range. It has more of an easel design, where the set is propped up on two legs that sit at the extreme edges of the set. It also has quite a thick Perspex edge that runs around the outer edge of the TV extending beyond what is otherwise a narrow bezel. I think it would have looked better without the added Perspex, with a cleaner and more modern design. Overall, though, it's a fairy handsome TV.
The set comes with two remote controls. The first is a standard InfraRed zapper with good sized buttons and a comfortable feel, while the second is Samsung's touchpad remote. The latter includes the mic for the voice control features, and also supports a few gestures to speed up navigation of the smart TV systems. For example, you can swipe back and forth to quickly skip between the smart TV category screens.
Samsung has been pretty generous with the connections on this TV. It has four HDMI ports, for example, with three of these side mounted and the forth tucked away on the rear of the set. There are also three USB ports, as well as a Scart socket and component video inputs.
Unlike the higher-end models in Samsung's range, the F6800 only has one Freeview HD tuner, so although you can record shows to drives plugged into its USB ports, you can't watch another channel while a recording is in progress. That's not really a feature I'd expect to see at this price though. Naturally there's also an Ethernet port on the rear and Wi-Fi is built-in. It supports screen mirroring from compatible Android devices too.
One of the big strengths of Samsung's current range of TVs is their smart TV system. This set uses exactly the same smart TV system as the F7000 and F8000. It's fast and smooth and looks very modern, just like the type of OS you'd expect to see on a tablet computer.
It's split into scrollable themed screens, the first of which is 'On TV'. It displays suggestions for shows you might want to check out that are either currently on or coming up later. As it learns your viewing habits over time, its suggestions become smarter the more you use the TV.
Flick right and you'll get to Film and TV Shows, which is essentially Samsung's own On Demand service. Flicking right again lands you on the Photos, Videos and Music screen, which is the TV's onboard media player where you can play files either stored on USB drives or shared to the TV from a laptop or networked hard drive.