The LND630 delivered very good picture quality, on par with Samsung's own UND6400 LED-based model--one of our favorite LED TVs of the year. The D630's strengths include deep black levels and accurate color, augmented by the ability to handle 1080p/24 sources, solid screen uniformity for an LCD TV and that elusive (at least for Samsung) matte screen finish. Our quibbles--some loss of shadow detail and bluish tinge in black areas--were minor in the scheme of things.
As usual with Samsung, the Movie preset came closest to our ideal dark-room picture settings, although in this case (also as usual) it measured a bit too blue, with darker gamma and somewhat higher light output than we'd like to see. All of those picture controls allowed an accurate calibration, especially with Samsung's excellent color management system. The grayscale and gamma weren't quite as accurate as we'd expect from a 10-point system--there was a lot of grayscale fluctuation from measurement to measurement in the middle of the scale (40-50 percent) and too-coarse controls toward the bottom--but still great for a TV in this price range.
For our comparison and image quality tests we employed the lineup below and watched "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 1" on Blu-ray.
|Comparison models (details)|
|Samsung LN46C630 (2010)||46-inch LCD|
|Samsung LN40D550||40-inch LCD|
|Sony KDL-40BX420||40-inch LCD|
|Vizio E3D420VX||42-inch LCD|
|Insignia NS-42E859A11||42-inch LED-based LCD|
|Samsung UN46D6400||46-inch LED-based LCD|
|Panasonic TC-P50ST30||50-inch plasma|
Black level: The LND630 acquitted itself well in this category. In dark scenes like the meeting of the bad guys at Voldemort's in Chapter 2, its black letterbox bars shadows and the clothing of the participants, for example, all appeared darker and more realistic than on the Vizio, the LG or the Insignia. The depth of black was very close among the others, from the cheaper Samsung LN550 up to the higher-end UND6400 and Panasonic plasma. The plasma still held the edge in perceived contrast since its bright areas looked brighter and punchier than the others, but the LND630 basically tied the UND6400 and the LNC630 in this regard.
Shadow detail was good--we saw more detail in Snape's cape and black hair than on the LNC630, and the Insignia, while the washed-out blacks of the Sony and Vizio made shadows much less realistic--but still not up to the standards of the UND6400 or the plasma. Again the less expensive LND5500 basically tied the LND630.
Color accuracy: Again the LND630 fared very well against the comparison models, an advantage due mainly to its excellent adjustment options. Skin tones, like the faces of the good guys as they gather in Chapter 3, looked well-saturated and natural. In fact the LND630 was among the best in the lineup in this area, matching and at times outclassing the UND6400. Each of the other sets fared a bit worse, from the less saturated Panasonic, Insignia and Vizio to the overly blue Sony and Samsung LND550.
The Samsung LND630 also maintained a more accurate color of black and near-black two of than the cheaper sets, avoiding the bluish tinge of the Sony and the red of the Insignia. The LND630 was still a bit worse off overall compared to the others, thanks to its own bluish blacks, but the effect wasn't egregious.
Video processing: The LND630 series has most of the same processing options found on higher-end Samsungs, and when it comes to dejudder it offers more adjustability than the competition. Its three dejudder presets--Clear, Standard and Smooth--join a Custom setting under the Auto Motion Plus (AMP) menu. Engaging any of the three presets introduces the characteristic smoothing effect, as well as some artifacts, so we preferred the freedom of Custom. That mode, which includes both a Blur Reduction and a Judder Reduction setting, lets you tweak both parameters to your liking. We prefer minimal dejudder, but having the option to dial in as much or as little as you like is very welcome, and works much better than we saw on LG's custom system, for example.
In the AMP menu at Custom with Judder Reduction at 0 and Blur reduction at 10, the LND630 offers the best of both worlds. It turned in its full-motion resolution and handled 1080p/24 properly. With AMP set to Clear or Off, the set seemed to be treating the image with 2:3 pulldown, showing the slightly stuttering cadence seen on 60Hz models (Clear looked smoother than Off, however). The other AMP settings introduced more smoothing/dejudder.
As with some previous Samsungs the LND630 needs to be in Auto 1 film mode to pass the 1080i video deinterlacing test, for what it's worth.
Uniformity: The LND630's standard CCFL backlight beat the edge-lit LED backlights of in our comparison at maintaining an even image across the screen. In dark scenes we saw no indications of the without the brighter corners and/or edges we saw on the edge-lit UND6400 and Insignia, or the Sony BX420 CCFL TV for that matter. It wasn't up to plasma standards when we looked closely at test patterns, of course, but obvious flaws in screen uniformity--the kind that show up in program material--were absent.
When viewing from off-angle the screen of the LND630 washed out black and dark areas to about the same extent as most of the CCFL models. The Vizio and the LEDs were worse in this regard however, while, as expected. The plasma trounced them all.
Bright lighting: Unlike higher-end Samsung TVs the LND630 has a matte screen, which serves it well in bright rooms where lights, windows and bright objects cause reflections. Such objects appeared dimmer and much less distinct, and thus less distracting, then they did on the UND6400 and the Panasonic plasma, for example. The rest of the sets in the lineup also have matte screens, and in general they all performed equally well in this category.
Power consumption: After calibration the LND630 used almost exactly as much power as the LED-based UN46D6400. While we'd expect the LED to be more efficient, most other like-sized LEDs we've tested, such as the LG on the comparison chart below, are thriftier with their power use.
|Black luminance (0%)||0.0052||Good|
|Near-black x/y (5%)||0.2751/0.2721||Poor|
|Dark gray x/y (20%)||0.3173/0.3313||Average|
|Bright gray x/y (70%)||0.3127/0.3293||Good|
|Before avg. color temp.||6624||Average|
|After avg. color temp.||6476||Good|
|Red lum. error (de94_L)||0.8553||Good|
|Green lum. error (de94_L)||0.6607||Good|
|Blue lum. error (de94_L)||0.1158||Good|
|Cyan hue x/y||0.2235/0.3346||Good|
|Magenta hue x/y||0.324/0.1482||Good|
|Yellow hue x/y||0.4151/0.498||Good|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Pass||Good|
|1080i De-interlacing (film)||Pass||Good|
|Motion resolution (max)||600||Average|
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)||600||Average|
|PC input resolution (VGA)||1,920x1,080||Good|
|Samsung LN46D630||Picture settings|
|Picture on (watts)||81.608||81.586||81.595|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.09||0.09||0.09|
|Cost per year||$17.94||$17.94||$17.94|
|Score (considering size)||Good|