Throw the HT-F6500 in at the deep end with Transformers: Dark of the Moon on Blu-ray and it does a fine job with the movie’s dumb yet enthralling action.
The scene in which the soldiers battle Shockwave at Chernobyl is handled with immense power – the snake-like robot thunders through the building with huge waves of bass and a snappy midrange rattle. When the Autobots join the party, the flurry of clanking metal is cleanly yet forcefully delivered with little trace of harshness.
This commanding performance belies the size of its diminutive speakers. There’s a surprising amount of muscle under the bonnet, allowing it to fill the room with the volume turned up barely over half way. There’s admirable drive behind each collision and blow from a metallic fist – everything sounds big and meaty. But it’s delivered with a crisp, smooth tone that doesn’t make you wince – a result, we’d wager, of the valve amp’s ability to smooth off any hard edges.
During the movie’s chaotic finale, effects are accurately sited and steered around the room at great speed, plus impeccable tonal uniformity across the entire system makes it sound solid and cohesive. It could do with a little more poise and composure at times, particularly in the bass department, but for the most part the Samsung offers nothing but pure, unadulterated excitement.
In addition, DTS Neo:Fusion does a superb job, lending a wonderful sense of height and width to the soundstage in its High setting, as well as beefing up the overall sound. Its expansive spread fills in the gaps between channels, making you feel completely surrounded. Unlike the HT-F9750W, it doesn’t stress high-frequencies quite so obviously and therefore sounds a lot more natural.
The speakers’ CPID (Ceramic Polypropylene Injection Diaphragm) cones and tiny dome tweeters do a fine job of reproducing detail. From delicate robotic bleeps to the crunch of a demolished building wall, every sound is conveyed with admirable clarity. It’s not quite as finessed or insightful as a decent separates system (or even the HT-F9750W) but for the money it’s outstanding.
The good news continues with the system’s clear, authoritative speech reproduction – it nails the richness, depth and robotic rasp of Optimus Prime’s voice, and makes Shia LeBoeuf’s quick patter as intelligible as possible.
The HT-F6500 also does a fine job with music beamed via Bluetooth, offering decent timing, tight, nimble bass work and crisp high-frequency detail. Again it lacks the silkiness and refinement needed to make genres like jazz and classical really shine, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.
On the visual side, the HT-F6500 can’t be faulted. It makes light work of the complex, super-detailed robot CG, reproducing even the smallest scuff and dent with pin-sharp clarity. Colour reproduction is similarly dazzling – the robots’ primary-colour paint jobs are bold and radiant, while human skin tones look natural (or as natural as possible through Michael Bay’s bleached, grainy camerawork).
Add a third dimension and the image becomes even more absorbing and immersive. The Samsung makes The Hobbit’s spectacular digital and real-life locales look absolutely stunning in 3D, drawing you deep into the story and rendering everything with the same crisp detail and eye-popping colours as 2D.
Given its dynamic, powerful performance, packed feature list and stylish, high-quality design, the Samsung HT-F6500 represents outstanding value for money for £400 (or even less if you shop around online).
It takes all the best bits of the flagship Samsung HT-F9750W – such as DTS Neo:Fusion, valve amplification and market-leading internet content – and shoves them into a more compact and affordable system.
So if you’re looking for an all-in-one package with lots features, cracking sound quality and a snazzy design but you don’t want to pay through the nose, then the HT-F6500 should be your first port of call.
Terrific sound quality, generous features, chic design and an affordable price – how many more reasons do you need to check out this brilliant all-in-one system?