A couple of months ago I purchased the Samsung UE40F6400 40″ smart 3D LED television to replace my 32″ Samsung standard LCD television. Overall I’m moderately pleased with my purchase but I still believe that smart televisions have got a long way to go, and as I’ve said before 3D really isn’t that big of a deal and for most movies and TV shows, 3D isn’t necessary for the most part and occasionally can be somewhat of a distraction.
The television is extremely visually appealing, the bezel around the screen measures only just under 1″, the television itself is also an extremely slim and attractive unit. The primary colour is glossy black with a sort of glass type effect around the perimeter of the television. Fortunately due to it’s small bezel the television isn’t really all too much larger than my previous 32″ Samsung television with a much larger bezel. The slim, sleek television is complimented nicely with an elegant looking x shaped stand finished in chrome, the television can also swivel on it’s stand which is always nice. There are no physical buttons on the front of the television and a simple power indicator LED which bleeds through the bezel on the bottom right of the unit. On the back you’ll find the screw holes for attaching a wall mounting bracket to the back of the television, a load of vents, the antenna connection, component connections, a scart connection, 4 HDMI ports, an IR out port (to extend the IR receiver), a headphone port, an optical audio out port, and 3 USB ports, 1 of which are reserved for Samsung’s optional webcam attachment for using Skype. There were a couple of things that I thought samsung could improve on however, for one there are no cable management solutions behind the television, whereas on my previous television I was able to keep the cables tidy with the strap that was attached to the back of the television. The controls can also be a bit fiddly too, if you like to turn on / off your television by physically pressing the power button, it’s on the back as a sort of joystick which also controls the volume and channel selection which works well enough but seems unnecessarily fiddly. A simple touch panel built into the front bezel would have been preferable, although respectively space for forward-facing controls is an issue when you slim down the bezel.
Setting It Up:
Fairly straightforward, make sure you have a nice even soft surface to place the television on when you slide it out of the box, the setup will be easier with two people, but for most it’s still easy enough to set it up yourself. Next you need to attach the stand, if you’re mounting the television on a wall, you won’t really need the stand. The stand components should just slot into place, then use the 4 phillips screws provided to secure the stand. Be careful not to rub any zips that ma be attached to your clothing or other sharp objects directly against the LCD when moving the television if you’re moving it by yourself.
Then there’s the software setup, as soon as you’ve plugged it in and turned it on, the television will display the initial setup wizard, just follow the points on screen. Then after the initial setup you’re free to tune and tweak your television to how you like it.
Using The Television:
Most of the functions and apps can be found in the unified Samsung Smart Hub, it works well enough although I find Samsung’s interface for everything on the television to look very dated, similar in a way to Samsung’s TouchWiz Android interface, there’s just a lot of junk and clutter everywhere, it looks like the typical interface of something you might find from 2007, I’m not saying it needs to be totally flat, but Samsung sure could do with a lot more polish. I’ve also found when the television initially turns on, the Smart Hub can be jittery at times and starts to drop frames when transitioning between apps and other media. Some of the apps also seem pointless (like the browser which is really not great) and some of the apps are also poorly designed and generally look like utter dog crap and are as functional as a chocolate teapot. Such as the Twitter app which looks like it’s design was inspired from when Twitter was first created. Not good Samsung. Not good. Apart from these minor / major drawbacks the Smart Hub works well enough for the most part.
The DTV (or Freeview to us people in the UK) is a good experience overall, the interface is much better than on the rest of the system, it’s very similar to Sky in functionality (and looks to a certain extent) you can also plug in an external hard drive via USB and record what’s on TV which is definitely a useful feature. Some of the web apps work well, such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer which stream well with generally no issues.
The media player seems to work well enough and supports a wide variety of formats, simply load a USB memory stick or external USB hard drive with your music, videos or pictures and the television will more than likely play it if it’s a common file extension. The media player even supports MKV files! The interface doesn’t have much junk or clutter either which is nice and for a simple media player I should definitely think so.
Gaming on the television is ok, but you’ll probably need to adjust some settings before you get the best gaming performance. This is because of a technology Samsung use to smooth out moving images on screen. What I noticed however was that every now and then you’d see a delay of a few milliseconds on the screen. That may not sound like much but if you’ve got fast moving gameplay on the screen the game will almost seem jittery at times as the screen is trying to catch up with smoothing out those moving images. Turning off this smoothing feature didn’t really make any negative visual difference to me, other than putting an end to the annoying screen jitteryness, the gameplay was still nice and sharp and movement was smooth enough.
That brings us on neatly to the picture quality, I would say for an LCD it’s outstanding, the colour accuracy seems good, although you may want to turn down the saturation slightly in the settings. The blacks are nice and deep even at high backlight brightness. The one slight issue I did see which is only visible if the room is dark and the television is displaying a completely black screen, was that there was some slight backlight bleedthrough around the inner edges of the display, but it’s definitely not noticeable under general use.
Oddly enough the television comes with two remote controls. One is a classic remote control with all of the buttons on it that you would likely need and the other a smaller remote control with a few buttons on it and a trackpad. I didn’t really get a great deal of use out of the trackpad remote (assumedly because it’s mostly for the useless browser). The standard remote control was good enough for all intents and purposes, looks a little on the cheap side on the top of the remote but the underneath has Samsung’s wood like texture that they’ve been plastering all over their devices since the Galaxy S III. Fortunately both remotes come complete with their own batteries.
I’ve said since 3D televisions started to become popular that 3D was unnecessary for most content, and now that I’ve got my own 3D television I still stick by what I said. The television comes with two pairs of 3D glasses, which I suppose look kind of cool and geeky and are moderately comfortable to wear for an extended period of time. The glasses each use a button cell battery just above the nose arch to power glasses. It’s fairly easy to pair them to your television and to start watching something in 3D you simply need to hit the 3D button on your remote and it’ll give you multiple options for 3D then press the small button on top of the glasses. The 3D works well enough but as I say is mostly unnecessary and somewhat of a gimmick and a distraction. Unless you’re watching a film made to be watched in 3D (Avatar for example). The other issue I had with the 3D is that is can sometimes hurt your eyes after a while, I tried to watch the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special in 3D and had to just give up after the first 10 minutes (although I was in a dark room so that may explain). Gaming in 3D can equally be as eye-staining. On the plus side you can adjust the 3D settings such as how much depth you want to the image, the higher you set it the more 3D things will appear.
Overall the television is an ok purchase but as highlighted previously the UI needs major scrubbing, the smart functions need to be re-evaluated and the 3D is unnecessary for the most part but I suppose it’s a good to have the option and perhaps it would be someone else’s cup of tea to watch Sky News in 3D.
I purchased mine in store from Currys / PC World for a respectable £549