Samsung UE55H6400 – Picture Quality
Properly set up, the Samsung UE55H6400 is capable of rewarding you with exceptionally effective pictures for such an affordable 55-inch TV.
The star of the show is the image’s black-level response. With the backlight set as described earlier, the screen delivers depths of blackness that humble those of many much more expensive TVs this year – even though you have to retain more brightness than you do with many other Samsung TVs.
The use of a VA rather than IPS-type LCD panel helps in this respect, but Samsung’s backlight controls are also impressive, despite the lack of Micro Dimming. This backlight control also means that the UE55H6400 looks completely free of nasty backlight clouding or inconsistency flaws, even when fed a particularly difficult shot like centrally positioned white credits against a black backdrop. The Dynamic Contrast’s ‘Low’ setting deserves great credit, too, for the way it slightly improves the image’s dynamism while causing precious little distracting instability as the image content changes.
Because you have to retain more brightness in the UE55H6400’s pictures to stop excessive shadow detailing getting ‘crushed out’ during dark scenes, it must be said that the UE55H6400’s black-level response isn’t as consistently profound as it is with Samsung’s Micro Dimming TVs. There’s an upside to this, though, in that bright highlights in predominantly dark scenes are rendered more potently than they are by Samsung sets that benefit from lower brightness settings, boosting the overall sense of dynamism.
Another immediately obvious strength of the UE55H6400’s pictures is their intense sharpness when showing good-quality HD sources. Every tiny detail and texture is boldly rendered to deliver an HD performance that at times looks as if it’s being created using more than the 1920 x 1080 pixels the screen contains. In fact, as noted in the Setup section, the Samsung UE55H6400’s pictures tend to look a bit too sharp using its default picture settings.
The intense ‘HDness’ of Blu-rays and the best HD broadcasts does reduce a little when the screen has to render motion. But the impact of this is fairly mild by the standards of such affordable 55-inch TVs, especially if you take the time to set up the Custom motion mode described earlier.
Colours look a touch cool when you first fire the UE55H6400 up, unless you use its Movie setting. But this is fairly easy to fix via the flexible picture calibration suite, and in any case the cool flavour actually fits in quite nicely with other attributes of the image, so you may find you become accustomed to it quite quickly without needing to make significant changes.
While for the most part the UE55H6400’s pictures are impressively easy on the eye for such an affordable TV, there are places where its budget nature can be seen – and which might persuade you to try and find a little more money to step up to the more ‘forgiving’ H6700 series.
The biggest issue is that, while dark scenes look strong on the UE55H6400 when they’ve got some pronounced highlights to play off, if you try to reduce the backlight level to a point where it delivers the most credible black colour then when the image is almost completely dark. In the opening shot of Chapter 12 of the final Harry Potter movie on Blu-ray, where Voldemort’s assembled armies look down at Hogwarts from a hill at night, it can actually become quite tricky to see much picture information in the image at all!
The other issue – a common one with Samsung TVs – is that areas of fine detail can appear to fizz a little during camera pans or other small camera movements. Though actually we didn’t notice this on the UE55H6400 quite as regularly as we have on some more expensive Samsung TVs.
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We test every TV we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.