Since Samsung itself widely introduced edge-lit LED TVs in 2009, the phrase "LED TV" has meant "thinner" to the majority of TV shoppers. This year Samsung and other TV makers are marketing LED TVs that are just as chunky as the non-LED-based LCD TVs of yore, and cheaper than their edge-lit counterparts -- which Samsung is now calling "Slim LED TV."
Confused customers will probably be scratching their heads at the 3.7-inch-thick profile of the EH6000 series, wondering how it deserves to be called an LED TV. The salesman will explain that it uses LEDs arranged in a full array behind the screen, as opposed to crammed along the edge. That's true. At that point he might even try to tell the customer that since it's LED, it has a better picture than a standard LCD TV. That's not necessarily true, and never was.
The Samsung EH6000 does have a thinner frame around the picture than any non-LED TV, lending it a nice minimalist look, but its picture quality is just decent -- no better than the company's non-LED TVs from last year, and worse in some areas. It is a lot cheaper than its edge-lit Samsung brethren, however, so it might appeal to value-conscious buyers, especially in smaller screen sizes where plasma and better LED TVs like the Sharp LC-LE640U series don't compete.
Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the 46-inch Samsung UN46EH6000, 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.
|Models in series (details)|
|Samsung UN40EH6000||40 inches|
|Samsung UN46EH6000 (reviewed)||46 inches|
|Samsung UN50EH6000||50 inches|
|Samsung UN55EH6000||55 inches|
|Samsung UN60EH6000||60 inches|
|Samsung UN65EH6000||65 inches|
Seen from the front, the UNEH6000 looks much like any newer LED TV: a very thin frame around the image and everything in glossy black. Extra adornments are almost nonexistent and I like it that way. Too bad the stand doesn't swivel.
Seen from the side, however, the set's "full-array" heritage is obvious. Its panel measures 3.7 inches deep -- compared with 1.9 inches for the edge-lit UNES6500, for example. I say, "Who cares," although some TV buyers do value thinness, apparently.
The EH6000 gets the older, transparent Samsung menu, which I actually prefer to the newer rounded, blue, opaque version. It's easy enough to navigate and I appreciated the explanations accompanying menu terms. The onscreen user manual and help section found on higher-end Samsungs goes missing, although there is a basic "HD Connection Guide."
The pipsqueak remote tries to pack too many similarly sized and shaped keys onto its truncated surface, but at least there's full backlighting. I'd trade it in for decent spacing between the buttons, however.
|Key TV features|
|Display technology||LCD||LED backlight||Full-array|
|Smart TV||No||Internet connection||N/A|
|3D technology||N/A||3D glasses included||N/A|
|Refresh rate(s)||120Hz||Dejudder (smooth) processing||Yes|
Samsung's full-array backlight system uses fewer LEDs than full-array systems on higher-end local-dimming TVs, and fewer even than edge-lit models. The paucity of actual LEDs allows Samsung and other makers of new full-array sets like the EH6000 to charge less than for other kinds of LED TVs. Check out my primer on LED backlights for more and Samsung's full 2012 TV lineup to see which model uses which technology.
The UNEH6000's biggest step-up feature over the UNEH5000 series is a 120Hz refresh rate, which joins backlight scanning to earn the company's "Clear Motion Rate" of 240. Don't be misled, though: this is a 120Hz panel, not 240Hz. As a 120Hz set, the EH600 also gets Samsung's dejudder processing.
This otherwise basic set skips extras like Smart TV and 3D. There's no Ethernet connection for DLNA access to files on a network, although the TV will play back photo, video, and music files via its USB port.
Picture settings: The UNEH6000 offers ample control for a midlevel TV, getting a two-point grayscale system, five gamma choices, and the ability to adjust dejudder. I didn't really miss having a 10-point grayscale adjustment since the two-pointer worked very well, but I would have liked it to have Samsung's great color management system.
Connectivity: Samsung really cut corners here, giving the EH6000 a mere two HDMI inputs. That covers a cable box and a game console, for example -- if you want to connect more stuff like a Roku or a PC via HDMI, you may have to buy an external switch.
In picture quality, the EH6000 falls short of many LED and a few non-LED TVs we've tested, displaying a lighter shade of black and poor off-angle viewing. However its color is quite accurate, video processing is solid, and it showed better uniformity across the screen than many of its edge-lit counterparts. I also appreciated its matte screen finish in brighter rooms.