Samsung PS60E6500 Performance
The Samsung PS60E6500 is also a dab hand at playing back video, photo or music multimedia, be it from USB storage devices (via its two USB inputs) or a DLNA networked PC. Samsung could do with making its TVs easier to hook up to Macs as well as PCs, though. Only providing its ‘AllShare’ DLNA software for PC platforms just doesn’t make sense in these Apple-obsessed times, no matter what Samsung’s personal affiliations might be.
Attempting to set the Samsung PS60E6500 up for our tests reveals a reasonably healthy set of adjustments. You can, for instance, adjust the Cell Light output (the plasma equivalent of LED’s backlight adjustment), as well as the usual contrast and brightness options. Plus there are highlights of an optional, multi-level dynamic contrast system, a black tone booster, a flesh tone adjustment, gamma and white balance tweaks, and various types of noise reduction. Most of which, as usual, we strongly recommend that you leave turned off, at least when watching high definition content.
Samsung plasmas really closed the gap on their Panasonic rivals last year, only to see the Japanese brand surge ahead again in 2012 with the extraordinary black levels of its latest NeoPlasma panel designs. However, while the Samsung PS60E6500’s black level response certainly isn’t on a par with Panasonic’s best efforts, the set still produces a very winning picture overall. Especially considering it’s a 60-inch Smart TV that costs under £1,500.
Let’s address the black level thing first. Basically, very dark scenes look undeniably slightly greyer in their darkest parts than those of the Panasonic TX-P65ST50B and especially the Panasonic TX-P42GT50 and Panasonic TX-P55VT50 models. However, the black level ‘gap’ strangely doesn’t seem as pronounced on this 60-inch model as it does with Samsung’s smaller plasmas. Especially if you set the Samsung PS60E6500‘s Cell Light output down to around its 8 or 9 level for dark room movie viewing (though we’d recommend running it a bit higher for normal daylight TV fare).
In fact, watching dark scenes on the Samsung PS60E6500 is a hugely engaging experience, especially compared with the greyness and clouding problems so routinely witnessed with such content on LCD TVs. What’s especially good is the way the set’s impressive black levels are achieved with practically no loss of shadow detail - an achievement that proves especially effective with material like the burning repository sequence in Chapter 15 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt II. Here you get a stunning contrast range between the fire and the blackness of the unlit walls and shelves, as well as being able to make out all manner of subtle detailing in the objects that litter the repository’s floors.
It’s a big relief, too, to be able to enjoy very dark scenes without having to be on the look out for the sort of backlight inconsistencies so common with LCD tech.
There is a touch more green dotting noise visible on the Samsung PS60E6500 in some especially dark areas than you get with Panasonic’s latest plasmas, but this is very low-level, and you might not notice it at all from a typical sort of viewing distance.
Samsung PS60E6500 Picture Quality
The Samsung PS60E6500’s pictures look impressively sharp with HD sources too, as the 60-inch screen and an apparently very pure video path revel in all those extra pixels of image data that make HD so lovable. This sharpness remains almost completely unaffected by motion, too, partly as a result of plasma’s innate response time advantage over LCD, but also as a result of some impressive Samsung-specific work in this key department. In fact, we’d say motion is handled better on Samsung’s models than Panasonic’s, as moving objects look both slightly more natural and also less affected by the noise that remains one of Panasonic’s only real weaknesses this year.