While we're in a negative frame of mind, the Samsung UE46ES6300 also falls short of Samsung's step-up TVs with its motion processing, as fast-moving objects and camera pans clearly lose a little clarity versus static images. This makes action-packed HD pictures look softer than they do on the step-up UE46ES6800.
However, to put this in perspective, the degree of resolution lost over moving objects isn't actually at all dramatic by the standards of the set's price point, and can be improved a little by the 'Clear' option of Samsung's motion processing system (the higher settings for it tend to look too unnaturally fluid for our tastes).
The Samsung UE46ES6300's relatively budget nature is apparent, too, in its handling of standard definition. For images look softer, slightly less naturally coloured and more prone to motion blur than they tend to on more expensive Samsung sets.
Again, though, some context is required here, since for its money the UE46ES6300's standard def pictures are by no means below par. Especially as they aren't as blighted as those of many budget TVs by heavy-duty MPEG compression or mosquito noise.
A final predictable niggle is that the picture's colour and contrast take a hit if you have to watch from an angle of more than around 30-35 degrees off axis. But this is hardly a rarity in the TV world.
Despite its numerous flaws, the Samsung UE46ES6300 isn't really a bad performer overall. For instance, joining its successful 3D images are some strong HD colours that look bold but also natural in the set's post-calibration state. Skin tones generally hold up well, except for where they’re affected by the slightly cool tone noted during dark scenes.
HD pictures look extremely textured and crisp except for when there's a lot of motion too, and while black level flaws become apparent during dark scenes, where pictures combine both bright and dark material the set’s contrast range actually looks rather good.
It also struck us how well the Samsung UE46ES6300’s screen absorbs reflections from the room, minimising the potential for distractions from such potential viewing aggravations as wall lights and sunlight.
Another bit of mostly good news concerns the Samsung UE46ES6300’s input lag. For while the screen’s issues with dark scenes and slight motion blurring don’t make it a perfect gaming monitor, we measured an average input lag figure of slightly under 40ms, which can be considered low enough to leave your skills intact. Oddly we did record a couple of rogue input lag measurements of around 66ms, but these were certainly the exception rather than the norm.
The Samsung UE46ES6300’s sound is decent enough for the set’s price. The mid-range sounds a bit cramped thanks to a lack of deep bass and a shortage of treble detail, but there’s enough power and openness to deliver a vague sense of soundstage expansion when required by an action scene; voices sound reasonably clear; the soundstage appears engagingly wide; and only very occasionally do the speakers distort or cause the TV’s cabinet to ‘phut’.
The Samsung UE46ES6300 holds its own respectably well against most similarly affordable 46in TVs. Its online and multimedia features are particularly strong for its money, and its pictures have their moments. However, the lack of Samsung’s micro dimming technology does knock picture quality during dark scenes, meaning we’d advise that anyone attracted by Samsung’s Smart technology try and save a couple of hundred pounds more to step up to the micro dimming-equipped UE46ES6800.