The Samsung UE40F6400 uses an edge LED lighting system to illuminate a full HD TV. There’s no local dimming, as Samsung prefers its Micro Dimming system that breaks the image down into small ‘sections’ for analysis so that the TV can deliver a more accurate selection of automatic picture settings.
But you do get Samsung’s 200Hz-like ‘200 Clear Motion Rate’ system, along with a pleasingly expansive setof picture calibration tools that include colour and gamma management, as well as reasonable control over most aspects of the TV’s processing options.
The main reason is that it delivers a vastly more satisfactory contrast performance than the majority of its mid-range peers, mixing its predictably bold, punchy bright colours and whites with a pleasingly convincing black level response that makes dark scenes look believable, consistent and stable in a way most rivals – specifically those, intriguingly, that use passive 3D panels rather than active ones – do not.
The lack of local dimming also means that the brightness of light parts of predominantly dark scenes takes a bit of a hit versus how they might look on a screen with local dimming. But where the first point is concerned, it’s entirely reasonable given that the UE40F6400 is much more affordable than either of its siblings.
As for the second point, many people will find the slight lack of brightness of dark scenes vs locally dimmed screens offset handily by the more stable, consistent look to the UE40F6400’s images – especially if they’re able to keep light levels in their rooms low when watching films. Certainly you don’t have to worry about the obvious light ‘blocking’ around bright objects witnessed on the vast majority of locally dimmed TVs.
Being able to deliver an excellent black level response by mid-range TV standards also helps the Samsung UE40F6400 produce an impressively natural colour performance. After only a small amount of tweaking we were extremely happy with the subtlety, balance and naturalism of the colour palette on offer, with skin tones proving particularly well defined for such an affordable set.
Clearly the motion processing inside the Samsung UE40F6400 is an order of magnitude below that carried by Samsung’s high-end LCD TVs. Because of this we felt rather dissatisfied with all the motion processing options on offer.
For instance, even the relatively low-powered 'Clear' setting we might usually opt for results on the Samsung 40F6400 in some pretty unpleasant juddering and stuttering. However, the good news is that the panel’s innate response time is good enough to mean you don’t suffer much resolution loss over moving objects even if you deactivate the set’s motion processing altogether.
The UE40F6400‘s HD pictures are crisp, clean and detailed too, and this is achieved without images looking too noisy so long as you nudge the TV’s sharpness setting down below the 50 start point employed by most of the TV’s presets.
Standard definition isn’t upscaled to the panel’s full HD resolution quite as immaculately as it is on Samsung’s F7000 and F8000; the resulting images look a little noisier and less subtly coloured. But again, they still look superior overall to those of most other TVs we’ve seen this year in the same sort of price area.