Unlike the sprawling, complicated Samsung HT-F9750W, unpacking and installing the Samsung F6500 is a quick and easy process. Whip out the little speakers and plonk them on the TV stand and shelves, rig up the colour-coded cables and hook up the main unit to your TV via HDMI.
There’s no automatic calibration here, but that’s not a problem given how easy it is to carry out. Within the setup menu is a choice of Normal Mode – where the surround speakers are placed at the back of the room – or Simple Mode, where all the speakers can be placed at the front of the room, with virtual surround filling in the gaps.
The speaker settings menu allows you to set levels and distances for each channel, plus there’s a dedicated subwoofer level menu accessed by pressing the ‘S/W Level’ button on the remote. You can also access a basic selection of picture adjustments by hitting the ‘Tools’ button during playback. There are Standard, Dynamic and Cinema presets, plus a User setting offering manual sharpness, noise reduction, contrast, brightness, colour and tint levels.
Samsung’s onscreen menus look fantastic – stripped-down and simple but utterly stylish. The huge, brightly-coloured tiles on the Smart Hub home menu contain crisp HD icons, and break your options down into three sections – Films and TV Shows, Apps and Photos, Videos and Music. There’s no room for ambiguity with those titles.
The Films and TV Shows menu (renamed from 'Movies and TV Shows' on earlier systems, for some reason) illustrates content with large poster art, leading you to the relevant provider using a series of logical menus. The Apps menu is a basic grid of icons, with recommended apps along the top. Select ‘More Apps’ at the bottom and you can organise your content, while new content can be downloaded from the ‘Samsung Apps’ store.
All of the other screens, from DLNA/USB media playback to the straightforward setup menu, are designed with maximum user-friendliness, making this system an absolute joy to use.
That feeling is compounded by the system’s excellent remote, which crams in a lot of buttons without feeling overly cluttered. That’s because they’re nicely separated into sections (the playback keys glow in the dark, for example) and each one is clearly labelled.
We also love the HT-F6500’s fast operation – it skips from menu to menu instantly and loads up complex apps in no time. We didn’t encounter any problems downloading apps or streaming video from services like 4OD, plus it’s one of the fastest Blu-ray disc loaders we’ve encountered.