The Samsung UE40H6400 is yet another five-star screen from the Korean company – following big brother UE48H6400 (£700) – and the 40in Full HD screen easily lives up to expectations, with its wealth of smart features (no other manufacturer offers all the UK catch-up TV services) and a picture that’s been tuned to look as naturally subtle and realistic as possible.
The UE40H6400’s colour balance is beautifully judged. Skin-tones are convincing.
There’s enough subtlety in shading and gradation to flesh out the contours in people’s faces, whether it’s in the Pacific Rim Blu-ray or a re-run of Friends via standard-def.
It’s a crisp and clear screen with high- and standard-def content alike, and never looks too sharply etched or noisy even with DVD. Black levels are blissfully deep and insightful.
In the tricky dark scenes in The Monuments Men the Samsung easily deciphers objects from the shadows. Whites are clear and punchy, although the Sony KDL-40W605B’s whites are slightly cleaner, more stark. Motion is smooth, too.
The chase scene in The Adventures of Tintin is exciting, with the TV’s active 3D technology delivering impressive depth. The glasses are lightweight, although the active 3D tires our eyes after a while.
Colours stay punchy and the picture doesn’t lose its wealth of detail, though.
We’re happy to find decent sound from the Samsung. Smooth edges mean no brightness or hardness, while voices and special effects have weight.
It’s easy to listen to, and there’s good detail to soundtracks.
It’s a smart-looking set too, framed by a thin bezel that shows off the glorious 40in screen.
Build quality is sturdy, slim and light, while the shiny-metal quad-stand gives stability. You get two remotes with the UE40H6400, both well-built and responsive.
The curved smart remote nestles nicely in our hand and is easy to operate, but we find the small, standard wand more natural and instinctive to use on a daily basis.
Samsung’s smart remote inevitably draws comparisons with LG’s magic remote with their similar curved design and pointers.
The cursor on LG’s remote is better behaved and is easier to control across the screen, while Samsung’s glowing pointer is a little twitchy and overenthusiastic. There is a generous offering of smart features.
Samsung’s Smart Hub – music, movies, TV shows, on-demand, streaming and social media services – is great to use.
Apps are well organised, but what sets Samsung TVs apart from rivals is the availability of all of the UK’s catch-up terrestrial TV services: BBC iPlayer, 4oD, ITV Player, and Demand 5.
Samsung’s remote app turns your smartphone or tablet into a second screen. You can also browse channels in a transparent sidebar that doesn’t encroach upon full-screen. Channel-hopping is smooth and moving around the Smart Hub is easy, but the small trackpad is less intuitive. We kept looking down to make sure we didn’t press the wrong buttons.
There are four HDMI inputs, and you can play stored media using any of the three USB ports and also record programmes with PVR functionality. There’s wired or wireless networking, too, and a Freeview HD tuner.
The UE40H6400 is an engrossing screen, with smart features that rivals struggle to match.
However, the Sony KDL-40W605B is equally subtle and captivating, and costs £100 less. Nonetheless, the Samsung is a stunning TV. Recommended.