Samsung's UND6400 occupies an upper-middle-class station in the company's extensive LED-based LCD lineup for 2011. It's the least expensive model to deliver 3D, gets the full Smart TV suite of Internet options--except for the browser and QWERTY remote--and flaunts a fetchingly thin bezel and minimal design aesthetic second only to its significantly more expensive linemates such as the UND7000. Meanwhile, if you don't mind a thicker bezel and want to boycott 3D and save $100 in the process, the UND6300 series is one alternative. The D6400, for its part, is still pretty expensive, but justifies its high sticker price with solid picture quality, beating out most edge-lit LED models, including the equivalent Samsung from last year. It certainly has its flaws, but it occupies a sweet spot for LED and Internet TV shoppers who don't want to take out a second mortgage to pay for a flagship model.
Editors' note, July 27, 2011: Samsung ran a promotion earlier this year that guaranteed a free pair of 3D glasses with this TV. In July the company canceled that promotion, so we have modified this review to remove references to the free glasses. Individual retailers may offer similar promotions, however. Click here for more details.
Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 46-inch Samsung UN46D6400, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality. We also expect the company to announce the 32-inch UN32D6400, but at press time it hadn't yet, so we're not including it below.
|Models in series (details)|
|Samsung UN40D6400||40 inches|
|Samsung UN46D6400 (reviewed)||46 inches|
|Samsung UN55D6400||55 inches|
|Samsung UN60D6400||60 inches|
|Panel depth||1.2 inches||Bezel width||0.5 inches|
|Single-plane face||No||Swivel stand||Yes|
Samsung has taken compact design to another level with its 2011 TVs, and in addition to its thin panel depth the UND6400 delivers one of the skinniest bezels we've seen. The company's literature claims it's 0.5 inch thick, but that number applies only to the black strip immediately adjacent to the screen, and includes neither the transparent outer edge nor the thin line of inactive black screen; we measured 0.94 inch from the edge of the active picture to the edge of our 46-inch review sample's panel. Still, that's pretty impressive, and lends the UND6400 a high-tech, nearly all-picture look when powered up.
In addition to the thin panel this TV gets a rectangular stand base, which we actually prefer to the weird spider stand found on step-up Samsung LEDs. All told the UND6400 is one of the coolest-looking TVs we've ever seen in person.
|Remote control and menus|
|Remote size (LxW)||8.4x2 inches||QWERTY keyboard||No|
|Illuminated keys||42||IR device control||No|
|Menu item explanations||Yes||Onscreen manual||Yes|
Samsung's 2011 TV menus have been refreshed and feel a bit snappier than before. The main column of adjustments, formerly transparent, is now bright opaque blue on the D6400, with rounded edges and good-sized text. Each major menu item gets a text explanation and many are accompanied by helpful little illustrations.
We also like the company's remote, which hasn't changed much from last year. Dedicated keys launch an indexed onscreen manual, search, and the Smart TV/Hub/Apps home, and there's even a key marked Social TV that brings up Facebook, Twitter, and Google Talk interfaces. We still like the layout and the extensive illumination, although we'd still prefer some differentiation in button shape to augment the grid of rectangles.
|Key TV features|
|Display technology||LCD||LED backlight||Edge-lit|
|3D technology||Active||3D glasses included||No|
|Screen finish||Glossy||Internet connection||Wired|
|Refresh rate(s)||120Hz||Dejudder (smooth) processing||Yes|
|Other: Optional 3D glasses include SSG-3100GB (nonrechargeable, $50), SSG-3300CR (compact, rechargeable, $130), SSG-3300GR (rechargeable, $130), SSG-3700CR (rechargeable, ultralight, $150); optional Skype camera/speakerphone (STC1100, $170); supports USB hard drives|
As we mentioned above, Samsung no longer offers free 3D glasses with this TV. Retailers may offer promotions at their discretion, but since Samsung doesn't pack the glasses in with the TV, you'll have to check with the retailer first.
The UND6400 series is incompatible with 2010 glasses models. Bluetooth does make the new glasses easier to use, and they keep sync much better than the old infrared versions.
We'd like to see wireless Internet on a TV at this level but you'll need to buy Samsung's proprietary dongle if you want to access the Internet via Wi-Fi. Unlike midrange edge-lit models from companies like Sony and LG, the UND6400 doesn't have local dimming; that extra is reserved for the high-end UND8000 series.
|Streaming and apps|
|Amazon Instant||No||Hulu Plus||Yes|
|Other: Blockbuster, CinemaNow, Vimeo, MLB TV, ESPN ScoreCenter, Napster, Picasa, Google Maps, Google Talk, numerous games, children's books, exercise guides, more|
For 2011 Samsung has integrated all of its applications and streaming services into the Smart Hub interface, ditching Yahoo widgets (we approve) and also losing a few apps, the most important by far being Amazon Instant. Otherwise the streaming selection is top-notch, although we could nitpick about the absence of Rhapsody since Napster gets a spot.
The app store is well-designed, breaking down offerings into categories like video and games, and the sheer number of apps available outstrips competitors like Vizio and LG. Google Talk and Maps are notable inclusions, and we liked ESPN ScoreCenter--a simple app that runs alongside the main image and lets you check scores from a variety of sports.
The new Smart Hub is the home page for all apps and provides shortcuts to local streaming sources (music, photos, and videos via DLNA and USB), inputs, and even a schedule manager. It delivers a wealth of options, albeit on a crowded screen that's intimidating at first. There's some ability to customize the Hub but we were disappointed that we couldn't remove icons for AllShare, Channel, and others we didn't want. The Hub also offers video search but it's next to useless for the moment because it doesn't hit Netflix, CinemaNow, or Hulu Plus, and can't search your local cable or satellite TV listings (Google TV can) or DVR. The Hub's search can find videos on Vudu, YouTube, and Facebook pages based on keywords, however.
The Your Video recommendation engine and information database is sort of an IMDB Lite. Most shows and movies we tried were in the database, but it's far from complete. If a program is available on a service that the search does index, you'll get a Watch option (allowing a rental via Vudu, for example) in addition to database info. In our experience Watch options were rare, and again the absence of Netflix and Amazon Instant hurt. There is also a search history, but confusingly there are two different history lists--one for the main search and one for the Your Video search.
We liked the idea of Samsung's Social TV, which creates a sidebar next to the main image showing your Facebook status updates, Twitter feed, and Google Talk chats. Unlike higher-end Samsungs, the UND6400 doesn't get a Web browser.
For more, check out our review of Smart Hub on 2011 Blu-ray players, which is mostly identical to the TV version.