Samsung also scores points with the PS60E6500 over Panasonic with the way its pictures seem less negatively affected in brightness terms by the amount of ambient light in the room. The Samsung PS60E6500 sports one of Samsung’s Real Black Pro filters, and this seems to do a great job of stopping light from your room affecting the plasma cells in the TV.
Yet more good news finds the Samsung PS60E6500's ability to upscale SD content to its full HD resolution with this service handled with aplomb, adding detail and sharpness, yet simultaneously tackling with surprising efficiency the sort of source noise you tend to get in all too many standard definition digital broadcasts these days. There was a time when watching standard definition broadcasts on a 60-inch screen really wasn’t much fun at all, but Samsung is leading the way in making those days a thing of the past.
Samsung PS60E6500 3D
Next up is 3D, courtesy of the two pairs of glasses you get free with every Samsung PS60E6500. And once again the PS60E6500 comfortably outperforms our expectations. In fact, it delivers one of the very best 3D experiences we’ve had.
For starters, its sheer size makes 3D much more effective, filling your field of vision rather than just presenting you with a weird 3D ‘hole’ in your living room as you get with small 3D screens.
Also quite mesmerising is how detailed and ‘HD’ 3D images look. You can easily see such minutiae as the weaves in people’s clothing and individual strands of hair - all noiselessly, and all without any of the jaggedness and line structure that you get with some rival passive 3D systems.
Even more tellingly, HD 3D pictures look quite a bit more detailed on the Samsung PS60E6500 than those of Panasonic’s mighty 3D plasmas, making them arguably the most genuinely HD 3D images we’ve yet seen on a domestic plasma TV.
Colours look surprisingly natural despite the impact of the 3D glasses too, and motion is impressively well handled - for the most part. The reason for this qualification is that oddly the image occasionally pauses momentarily, as if it’s skipped a frame or two. The cause of this is unclear to us, and it doesn’t happen in 2D mode. But luckily it doesn’t happen regularly enough with 3D to really irritate, and thus leaves the numerous 3D picture strengths to rule the roost.
When it comes to crosstalk ghosting noise, the Samsung PS60E6500 suffers with it slightly more than the likes of the Panasonic TX-P55VT50 (though slightly less than the Panasonic TX-P65ST50B). However, overall we’d class the amount of crosstalk as pretty low-level, so again, it’s the positives that win out overall.
The last aspect of the Samsung PS60E6500’s pictures to test is the screen’s input lag - a crucial performance aspect for gamers. Happily we measured the PS60ES6500’s input lag at below 30ms, making it one of the best TV’s we’ve seen this year when it comes to minimising the delay between an image arriving at its inputs and that image appearing on its screen. Just make sure if you’re gaming, though, that you select the Game mode tucked away inside the General part of the System sub-menu.
Joining the Samsung PS60E6500’s mostly terrific pictures is a decent audio performance. The extra size of the TV’s bodywork allows it to produce a more rounded tone than Samsung’s skinny-boy LED models, complete with more bass and a generally richer soundstage. There’s a slightly muddy character to really loud scenes, but overall the sound quality is good enough to make adding a separate sound system something you can at least delay if funds are currently tight.
Samsung PS60E6500 Verdict
The Samsung PS60E6500 is one of the biggest and most pleasant TV surprises of the year. Not only is it far and away Samsung’s best plasma TV yet, but it’s arguably our favourite Samsung TV of 2012, period. Especially given how cheap it is.
It also proves, crucially, that Panasonic isn’t the only plasma brand still worth considering.