Next, although the Samsung UE46ES6300 3D images don't look quite as 'full HD' as they do on sets higher up Samsung's range, they're still pleasingly sharp for most of the time. Not least because the set avoids the heavy-duty motion judder that's oddly common with active 3D TVs, and also because the set doesn't suffer badly at all with crosstalk ghosting noise. There's a little bleeding where light objects sit alongside dark objects in the far distance, but this isn’t common or severe enough to be a deal breaker by any means.
The only rider to this is that you need to let the Samsung UE46ES6300 warm up for at least 45 minutes before watching any 3D sources, for until then crosstalk levels are much more aggressive.
The sense of depth in 3D pictures is strong and natural too, partly because of the reasonably limited crosstalk interference and partly because pictures enjoy a pretty decent contrast performance in 3D mode. In fact, thanks to the natural dimming action of the glasses, its 3D playback looks largely free of the contrast flaws we're going to be faced with in a moment when we turn to 2D viewing.
Aside from the minor crosstalk noise already noted, the only other issue we've got with the Samsung UE46ES6300's 3D pictures is that colours aren't as subtly defined as they are on Samsung's top-end 3D TVs, with more evidence of banding/striping over colour blends.
As ever with Samsung's 2012 TVs, before getting serious about testing its 2D picture performance we need to calibrate images away from Samsung's unhelpful presets, which push the backlight and contrast settings much too aggressively, so that colours look a bit cartoonish, noise levels look exaggerated, black levels look washed out and the backlighting look inconsistent during dark scenes.
For the record, we'd suggest setting the backlight to around 10 or 11 and contrast to around 75-80 for daytime TV viewing, but knocking the backlight down to as low as six or seven when watching a film in a darkened room.
However, while these settings improve things, they certainly don’t result in dark scene perfection. For instance, even with the backlight set as low as six - at which point, let's not forget, we really have taken a lot of brightness out of the picture - there remain visible backlight uniformity flaws, where some parts of the picture look cloudier than others. These flaws can be especially distracting if you're watching a letterboxed film.
There's also more general greyness handing over very dark scenes than there tends to be with Samsung's higher-level sets, which immediately makes such scenes look less convincing. It also causes a slightly cool tone to be injected into colours in the darkest parts of the picture.
The UE46ES6300 suffers worse from these problems than the UE46ES6800 or, especially, Samsung's premium ES7000 and ES8000 models - a result, we suspect, of the cheaper model's lack of micro dimming technology.
We were also disappointed to find the Samsung UE46ES6300 suffering from a common Samsung issue where if there’s a fade to black in a film, the TV actually turns off all its lighting momentarily. This sounds a good idea on paper, perhaps, but in reality switching the lights off and back on again in this way can be a very distracting experience.