Even smarter 3D

With advanced ‘net connectivity, 3D and designer looks, this Samsung LED is a formidable bargain. Steve May reports

Samsung’s 40UED6530 LED puts forward such a convincing case to be crowned Britain’s Best Value 3D LED TV, there really doesn’t seem much point considering anything else.

It sells for a mere £1,100 (or less) yet delivers a top notch Freeview HD picture, is 3D ready (obviously), can record onto an external USB hard drive, has integrated wi-fi and offers access to the brand’s rapidly evolving Smart Hub apps and IPTV portal. Of course, there are some caveats that are worth knowing before you buy, so keep reading.

Pretty as a picture

Some might say it’s even prettier than the brand’s Series 7 and 8 models. The transparent, super-thin bezel and crystal neck are elegant in the extreme.

This screen does a sensational job with high quality 2D feeds from Blu-ray and HD TV channels. There’s no overt luminance noise, nor ‘soft drink fizz’ in its pictures, just glorious, velvety clarity. The set’s black level is deep, while shadow detail is acute enough to reveal a black kitten in a coal scuttle.

With Motion Plus turned off, the native motion resolution of this panel rests at about 875 lines. With it engaged, it jumps to a full 1080 lines. However, the various processing modes available can create smudgy motion artefacts around certain moving objects. Motion Plus also removes picture judder, but affects the visual texture of celluloid, making all feature films look as if they were shot on video. It’s worth trying out the custom settings here. You might find the best solution is to keep turning it Off and On, depending on the programme material you’re watching.

Stereoscopic performance is entertaining, but not technically outstanding. There is clear double imaging in some 3D sequences, most noticeable on high contrast outlines. The set offers adjustment tweaks for 3D Perspective and 3D Optimisation, but these merely move the problem to and from the screen plane. On the plus side, its 3D images are bright despite Active Shutter eyeware, while colour vibrancy is undimmed.

Samsung has a great portal playground. Its Smart Hub offers a torrent of VoD from YouTube, LOVEFiLM, Daily Motion, BBC iPlayer and Acetrax. You’ll also find the brand’s exclusive Explore 3D service, which disgorges free 3D movies and trailers with reckless abandon. The quality of this side-by-side streaming 3D is surprisingly good.

However, Smart Hub’s social media component is a little awkward. To log into Facebook or Twitter you need to set up a separate access account with Samsung itself.

This is a bit of a drag. Several days after creating my account, I forgot the password. When prompted, the TV offered to send me a temporary one, but this failed to arrive and I never bothered to log on again.

More positively, the screen offers a great built-in browser that supports Flash and also maintains a live TV window, so you can watch and surf at the same time.

There’s wide ranging media streaming for music and video files. The most comprehensive media support comes via local USB, so if you have MKVs you’ll need to manually transport your files to the TV on a thumb drive.

Overall, the 40UED6530 is a ridiculously tasty screen for the money. Its image quality alone makes it a dish worth ordering.

HCC VERDICT

Highs: Sharp HD image quality; content-rich Smart Hub portal; integrated wi-fi
Lows: No 3D glasses; mild 3D crosstalk; social media is a faff
Performance: 4/5
Design: 5/5
Features: 5/5
Overall: 4/5

Specifications

Full HD: yes 1080p/24 3D: yes and 2D-3D conversion
Tuner: yes, Freeview HD Component: yes
HDMI: yes 4 x v1.4 Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Sound: 30w (2 x 15W) Brightness (claimed): N/A
Dynamic Contrast ratio: ‘Mega’
Dimensions: 933(w) x 549(h) x 30(d) mm
Weight: 10.7kg
Features: Edge LED backlight; Ultra Clear Panel; Motion Plus; USB media playback; integrated wi-fi; Smart Hub portal featuring BBC iPlayer, YouTube, LOVEFiLM, Explore 3D and more; Ethernet connection; built-in web browser