Samsung UN50H6350 Review
From Samsung With Love
The Samsung UN50H6350 (MSRP $1499.99) is a 50-inch smart TV, and a member of Samsung's "Series 6" lineup for 2014. Ranging in price from $799 to $2,799, the lineup includes 32-, 40-, 48-, 55-, 60-, and 65-inch sizes.
If you're thinking of purchasing the UN50H6350, we recommend first mulling over whether you're going to take full advantage of Samsung's smart platform, as that's the real draw here. The H6350 boasts decent picture quality, but also suffers from the usual issues attributed to edge-lit LED TVs—light-bleed during dark scenes, and blurriness during motion.
While the current $999 online price might make the 50-inch H6350 look like a "royale" bargain, the sale is not enough when compared to Vizio's 48-inch E Series, which still retails for hundreds less.
The song remains the same.
The UN50H6350 looks quite similar to 2013's F6300 series. Samsung's "Quad" stand design—four skinny legs dressed in silver plastic—is still in full force. The entire back casing is plastic, too, which cuts the TV's weight down to just over 30 lbs.
There's only one change from last year's design: a thin, curvy strip of metal that races along the bottom of the panel. Yet still, as with any TV, the screen is the major focal point. The narrow bezels and spindly legs seem to just fade away in the dark.
Users will find a healthy selection of ports here. Three HDMI, three USB, and a coaxial jack live in a slightly recessed area on the TV's right side. All the way around back, you'll find an additional HDMI input, plus an IR out, an audio out, a LAN (ethernet) in, and a shared component/composite input.
Samsung throws in the standard infrared remote with this TV. It's long, thin, and easy to hold, but the topmost buttons are always a little out of reach of the thumb. There's also an IR blaster included for set-top-box control.
Best of all, though? The UN50H6350 swivels, so you'll have maximum flexibility when deciding where to put it in the room.
Samsung's Smart Hub keeps getting smarter.
We've watched Samsung's Smart Hub grow from an ambitious mess to something precocious and useful. When it comes to full-fledged platforms with apps, games, a browser, and content integration, the Smart Hub is almost always a "smart" choice.
The most notable change from the 2013 iteration is that all of the content and apps are now compressed into four pages, or "Sub-Hubs" as we like to call them: Movies & TV Content, Games, Apps, and Multimedia. The Social page has been dropped—good riddance. We won't miss tweeting from a TV.
It's a very simple and subtle layout, displaying content choices on each page. Apps has partners like Netflix and YouTube, while Games features a selection of flash games that can be played with either the included remote or via the Smart Hub app. Movies & TV Content pulls the obvious from connected sources like cable, while Multimedia harbors the best of things like news, web videos, and anything connected via USB or DLNA.
Samsung's menu software remains mostly unchanged, but that isn't a bad thing. The semi-opaque blue menus for Picture or Audio are simple to navigate using the directional buttons on the included remote. Samsung's usual picture modes (Standard, Dynamic, Natural, and Movie) are still here, too, and have only been tweaked slightly since last year.
Picture quality purists who plan on either calibrating the H6350 at home or hiring a calibrator to do it for them will be glad to know that the Series 6 TVs include both 2-point and 10-point white balance menus, as well as a gamma slider and custom color space.
All of the software—be it the settings menu or the Smart Hub—runs at a satisfying speed, though it's not a huge improvement over last year. Tasks like loading up a website or typing in your WiFi password are still better on a PC or smartphone, but if you're in the market for a smart TV, this one's a great choice.
Not For Your Eyes Only
Time in the lab left me with mixed feelings concerning the H6350. Where picture quality is concerned, this Samsung does a lot of things right. We tested good black levels, plenty of brightness, and accurate colors. That said, the UN50H6350 struggles a bit with motion, and has uniformity issues related to its edge-lit LED backlight.
TVs with this type of backlighting use LEDs along the perimeter of the screen, which provide light to the entire display. While this sort of design conserves energy and makes for a very light, thin panel, it can also cause problems with black areas on screen.
For example, while watching Skyfall, I noticed that the black letterbox bars above and below the picture had issues with clouding, where the LEDs bleed into what should be completely black parts of the picture. While this is only a problem in the corners, it can be distracting when you're watching in the dark.
That said, the UN50H6350 has one big advantage over much of the competition: a wide viewing angle. Except at very obtuse angles, the picture quality is preserved during off-angle viewing thanks to the TV's solid black levels.
Another area that could be improved is motion performance. Samsung includes the Auto Motion Plus setting—a software program that basically creates and interjects extra frames during a movie or show. While this setting is meant to reduce blurriness and motion artifacts, it's too aggressive, which produces an overly smooth, unnatural quality (i.e. the Soap Opera Effect).
Our advice? Just leave it off. The H6350 wields a 120Hz panel, so things look okay—not great—without any assistance.
Uniformity and motion performance are this TV's only real drawbacks, however.
If put to Movie mode, this TV looks great right out of the box, exhibiting strong performance in dynamic areas like brightness and contrast ratio. It also matches the international standard for HDTV color very closely.
To see the full test data, charts, and how the H6350 performs when calibrated, head over to the Science Page.
Live and Let Buy
If the UN50H6350 (MSRP $1,499.99) is any indication of Samsung's entire "Series 6" lineup, the LED LCD crowd is in for a banner year. While ultimately imperfect, there's plenty good here, too. For example, we tested solid black levels and a wide viewing angle, two categories that LED TVs usually struggle to perform in.
Videophiles may want to browse around, however. Watching the H6350 in the dark can be risky due to uniformity issues, and you'll definitely notice blurring during heavy motion sequences.
If you're looking for a bright room TV, however, and you like the Smart Hub's bells and whistles, the UN50H6350 brings a lot to the table for its $999 sale price. We can't outright recommend it based on the performance issues we tested, but the UN50H6350 is still an above-average buy.
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