Samsung's TV range this year is so extensive that we wouldn't be surprised if the brand's own product managers struggled to remember exactly which features define each model. This is especially true of the mid-range six series, where there are 6900 models, 6800 models, 6710 models, and the 6300 models under scrutiny today in the shape of the 46in Samsung UE46ES6300.
With so much potential for confusion, our first job should probably be to pick out which key features establish the Samsung UE46ES6300's position by comparing its spec list against the other 6-series LCD set we've seen recently, the Samsung UE46ES6800.
Two things in particular stand out: the lack on the UE46ES6300 of Samsung’s micro dimming system, and the UE46ES6300's use of a 200CMR (200Hz-like) motion engine versus the UE46ES6800’s 400CMR system.
Micro dimming is a proprietary Samsung system that breaks the picture down into small segments for analysis so that the TV’s automatic backlight, contrast and brightness controls can do a more effective job of continually optimising the picture's settings. So not having it on the Samsung UE46ES6300 will likely reduce its contrast performance. How much remains to be seen.
The shift down to 200CMR, meanwhile, will likely damage the UE46ES6300's motion clarity versus its more expensive sibling.
Aesthetically the Samsung UE46ES6300 is surprisingly attractive for a 46-inch TV available for under £700. Its bezel isn't as super-slim as the ones wrapped around Samsung's flashiest TVs, but it's still less than 2cm across. Most of the bezel is black, but a little cuteness is added by a see-through plastic outer cowl.
Connections are solid. There’s a disappointment in that you only get three HDMIs rather than the now-common four. But a surprising plus is that the expected Freeview HD tuner is joined by a Freesat HD one for folk still not able to receive Freeview HD broadcasts or who prefer the Freesat HD proposition.
The Samsung UE46ES6300 also has three USBs for playing back photo, video and music files from USB storage devices, or you can stream the same sort of files from a DLNA networked PC via either a LAN port or the UE46ES6300's built-in Wi-Fi.
These network connections further permit you to go online with Samsung's latest Smart TV system. This is a good find at the Samsung UE46ES6300's price level, especially given that the online TV services are the most content-rich and beautifully presented such services currently available. Stand outs on the platform include the BBC iPlayer, the ITV Player, YouTube, Netflix, LoveFilm, KnowHow TV, Curzon on Demand, Acetrax and PictureBox.
The last major feature on the Samsung UE46ES6300's spec sheet is active 3D playback supported by two pairs of free active shutter glasses. This makes the decision by Sony and Panasonic not to include free glasses with the majority of its 3D TVs (or any, actually, in Sony's case) look very stingy.
Having just mentioned 3D, we might as well kick off the testing phase of the review by looking at the Samsung UE46ES6300's handling of the 3D Blu-rays of Prometheus and Tangled. And the news is predominantly good.
Particularly impressive is how dynamic and colourful images look, as donning Samsung's exceptionally lightweight active shutter glasses results in a much smaller drop off in image brightness than we would have expected.