An exciting-looking and -sounding screen with a great set of catch-up services overshadows any niggles – this is a highly desirable Samsung TVWrite your own review
- Sharp and subtly detailed picture
- Deep black levels
- Great sound quality
- Excellent catch-up TV services
- Easy to use
- Whites could be punchier
- 3D isn’t comfortable for long periods of time
- Voice interaction feature is ineffective
The Samsung UE32F6400, as is typical of the company’s TVs, comes with an impressive list of features.
This 32in LED-backlit LCD screen offers a full selection of catch-up TV services and smart features alongside a Freeview HD tuner – and with such a sharp and impressively subtle Full HD screen, we found ourselves enjoying this TV straight from the moment we pressed Power On.
Samsung UE32F6400: picture
Spin a Blu-ray of Skyfall, and the UE32F6400 dazzles with a crisp and very detailed picture – this is an exciting TV screen. The textures of buildings and clothing feel realistic, and there’s an impression of depth to the picture that holds your attention.
The Samsung manages to dig out subtleties deftly, with shadows and highlights falling naturally on objects and faces.
The black levels are inky deep without swallowing up details in dark scenes, and there are no noticeable motion issues. However, it isn’t quite as punchy in the whites as we’d like. Lamplights and neon skylines shine brighter in rival sets such as the Panasonic TX-L32E6B and Philips 32PFL4258T.
The colour palette also veers slightly towards a reddish tint that most noticeable on skin tones. People’s faces look a little florid compared with a more naturally balanced screen such as the Panasonic TX-L32E6B. Despite that, the overall balance doesn’t suffer, producing deep blues alongside the lush reds.
Switch to standard-definition TV or a DVD, and the Samsung retains that sharp and detailed image – although we’d turn the noise reduction on low when watching Freeview channels.
3D is by no means a given when it comes to 32in TVs, so it’s a bonus that Samsung offers active 3D here. There are no active glasses included, so you’ll have to buy them separately from Samsung’s website (they’re £15 per pair).
Play Dredd in 3D and there’s a dramatic depth to the scene, while overall the picture retains its clarity and good contrast levels. However, we found our eyes starting to strain very quickly. A 32in screen doesn’t give you the real-estate needed to fully enjoy 3D films, and motion isn’t smooth enough to watch a full film comfortably.
Samsung UE32F6400: sound
Another feather in the Samsung’s cap is its sound quality. We expected the usual thin sound that we associate with flat-screen TVs, but instead enjoyed a weighty, satisfying and well-rounded presentation.
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There’s no harshness, voices sound clear and expressive, and it’s comfortable to listen to regardless of content. While not perfect, it’s by far the best-sounding 32in TV we’ve come across this year, with the Sony KDL-32W653A coming up second.
Samsung UE32F6400: smart features
If you’re big on catch-up TV, then you’re in luck. Samsung is the first (and so far only) TV manufacturer to offer the full selection of UK catch-up TV services: BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5.
While most TVs include BBC iPlayer, the inclusion of all four services will no doubt be a big attraction to avid TV fans. Movies-on-demand services are thin on the ground with only Netflix available, but you can watch shorter videos on the YouTube app.
We streamed an episode of New Girl on 4oD, and spent an enjoyable time following the hijinks of the four quirky flatmates. The stream was smooth and uninterrupted (apart from advertisements), and the picture was bright and colourful with very little noise or motion issues.
The UE32F6400 features Samsung’s five-panelled Smart Hub – the same home screen you’ll find on Samsung’s larger screens. While Panasonic’s interface offers greater customisation, the Smart Hub is still a slick and colourful system that keeps your streamed media, smart content and social apps separate from the main broadcast TV area.
S-Recommendation, which suggests programmes you might like based on your viewing habits, is included on the UE32F6400, too. It responds to your preferences the more you watch the TV.
Samsung UE32F6400: streaming and connections
The UE32F6400 is also DLNA certified, meaning you can stream media from compatible devices on your home network. We streamed a couple of FLAC and WAV files from our NAS device, and the Samsung played the songs without interruption. Wireless is built in, but we find a wired connection offers the best stability.
There’s a good spread of connections on the UE32F6400, too, with four HDMI inputs being the standout spec – only the Finlux 32F7020-T matches the Samsung for its generous HDMI input count. Alongside a standard complement of analogue inputs (and one digital output), there are also three USB ports for playing stored media and recording TV programmes to external hard-drives.
Samsung UE32F6400: control methods
Samsung gives you a number of options for controlling this TV. There’s a standard remote control, a stripped-down Smart Touch control, a free app for your smartphone, and voice interaction. The small, logical standard remote is our favourite, though.
The Smart Touch remote looks and feels impressive – but it isn’t quite as intuitive for everyday use as the standard handset. Swiping across the touch screen pad is smooth and responsive, but we found ourselves reaching for the more practical remote more often.
You will need the Smart Touch remote to use Samsung’s voice control feature. We’re surprised to see this feature on the company’s smaller sets, but as we found with Samsung’s larger screens, using voice commands is still a limiting and frustrating experience.
It doesn’t register instructions beyond simple commands to change the volume and channels, and the suggestions in the on-screen box aren’t always helpful. It’s hard to see why voice interaction was included when it’s so much quicker to simply use the physical remote.
The SmartView control app is neat and simple. The volume and channel buttons are big and responsive, and you can easily switch inputs and access the menus from the app.
Touch the satellite icon and you can browse through a list of channels according to name or channel number, or even take a peek at the upcoming programmes on a specific channel.
You can also use your smartphone or tablet as a second screen – the View section displays the current TV show you’re watching.
However, app use is restricted to iOS devices and a few Samsung ones, including the Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note 10.1 and Note 2. Samsung seems to want to keep the app in the family: other Android handsets, such as the HTC One and Sony Xperia Z, can’t use the control app
Samsung UE32F6400: verdict
It might have its niggles – the voice interaction and 3D being its lowest points – but this Samsung is still very desirable. The offer of all four UK catch-up TV services will definitely be one of its main attracting points, but from a very listenable sound to a very exciting picture quality, this Samsung is one of the best 32in TVs we’ve seen this year.
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