If you had to define ‘shelf appeal’ in TV terms, you could probably just point at a Samsung UE40D6530. For as well as blowing away the competition aesthetically - bar, perhaps, Samsung’s own D7000 and D8000 ranges - the UE40D6530 is strikingly affordable for a 40in full HD 3D TV. You’d normally be lucky if its £749 asking price bought you a bog-standard 2D 40in LED TV, never mind one that’s 3D ready and equipped with a full ‘Smart TV’ system.
In other words, the UE40D6530 is one of those TVs that seems at first glance too good to be true. So we guess the main job of this review will be to ask ‘so what’s the catch?’
Those champion looks we referred to earlier really are sublime. For a start, the glossy dark bezel is stunningly slender: just 12mm across from the screen to its outer edge. As well as enabling the set to fit into the sort of space where only a 37in or 32in TV would normally go, the tiny bezel really makes you focus more on what you really want to see: the TV’s pictures.
The TV’s rear is gorgeously slim too - under 30mm, in fact, if wall mounted. While slim, though, unlike some of Samsung’s 2010 TVs, the UE40D6530 isn’t so slender that it can’t accommodate key jacks like the aerial feed and an Ethernet cable without using ‘downsizing’ adaptors. This makes it less of a hassle to set up - as well as more cost effective for Samsung, no doubt.
The UE40D6530’s bounty of connections are all accessed from the side or below, enhancing the TV’s wall-hanging potential, and include four v1.4 HDMIs, three USBs, a component video input, a D-Sub PC port, a Scart (this is one where you DO still need a provided adaptor) and a LAN port. Most people won’t bother with the LAN, though, for the good reason that the UE40D6530 carries built-in wi-fi without the need for one of those aggravating USB wi-fi dongle thingies still favoured by most networkable TVs.
The USBs can, as usual, handle the vast majority of key photo, music and video formats, or they can be used for recording from the integrated Freeview HD tuner to compatible USB HDDs. As for the LAN/wi-fi connections, these can either ‘talk’ to your DLNA-enabled PC via Samsung’s AllShare interface, or take you online with Samsung’s Smart TV service.
This is a full version of Smart TV, moreover, complete with an open Web browser and Skype (via an optional webcam accessory), as well as access to the dozens of apps and video streaming services that now form Samsung’s Smart TV ‘empire’. Note that neither the Web browser nor Skype are available on the step-down 6100 LED series.
As noted in other reviews of Samsung’s 2011 Smart TVs, by no means all the apps available on the service are useful or even interesting. But then the same is true of the apps for Smartphones, and that hasn’t stopped them becoming a runaway success!