With each passing year, Samsung updates and releases new iterations for many of its products, which is most notable in its range of smartphones. While a lot of the focus does revolve around this market, Samsung has also delivered updates to its television ranges. A short while back, FoS received the updated Series 6 unit, which was released at the end of Q1 this year. The unit we received was the Samsung 40″ Series 6 Smart LED TV. If you’re looking for something more specific, the Samsung 46″ H6200 Series 6 Smart 3D LED TV with model number UA40H6200AK.
Build and UI
In terms of the build and design of the 2014 model 6200, there is very little difference between the previous model and the new. That being said, Samsung has streamlined the ‘Wavy Deco’ design just a tad, most of which can be observed by means of the thinner framing around the 40” panel. The internals have also been tweaked, which will be discussed in more detail later, to produce a much lighter end product. The unit weighs just 9.1KG including the stand, and 8KG without. The 2012 and 2013 models weighed between 12 and 15Kg with the stand.
With the minimal changes in design, we’re move swiftly onto the User Interface, which has received a little more of an update than the previous software. Using the remote and selecting the Smart Hub key (assuming you’ve already gone through the setup process) brings up a list of options, which are displayed as icons arrayed across the bottom of the screen. In previous years, the Smart Hub would open a separate menu page, from which you’re able to access your previously downloaded apps, as well as the app store itself. The arrayed menu displays the most recent and commonly used apps, channels, and even your favourite source (HDMI, AV, etc.). The Smart Hub menu still exists, which can be accessed by means of the 3-icon button above the list. The 3-icon button is indicative of the three menus under the Smart Hub screen, which includes a News Hub, the Smart Hub of old, and a Multimedia Hub. The News Hub is pretty self-explanatory, whereas the Multimedia Hub provides users access to the different input options. These include Wi-Fi streaming, connecting to a smartphone using the Samsung Smart View application, USB flash drive, cloud storage, to name just a few. The Multimedia Hub integrates some social aspects along with your multimedia options under one menu. Recently viewed videos, such as those watched on YouTube and images from Flickr, etc. present themselves as large shortcut icons.
While the menu may appear to be more user friendly than before, it can still be a daunting task getting to grips with all its intricacies when using options away from the standard plug and play. Navigational menus are much simpler traverse, while users are also able to filter content based on media type for easier browsing.
Performance and Features
There are number of features on the unit that aren’t enabled, such as the motion control, as well as a few regional restrictions like the On TV and On Demand services. Theoretically, these can be bypassed by means of installing the associated app and streaming your video content, but users will not be able to use Samsung’s native interface for this feature. I would have liked to test the motion control capabilities over that of previous years, which was extremely tedious to use, but it was not to be. From the remote control you’ll notice there is a dedicated button for Football Mode. This feature was added for the, then, upcoming FIFA World Cup 2014. While the button does enhance the image and motion aspects of any football game, it isn’t limited to just football, but makes a significant different for any sport. In addition to picture enhancements, Samsung has also added a feature that monitors the crowd noise levels, which then triggers an automated match highlight in case you needed one. The highlight will be recorded to your connected USB device. There is also an option to highlight a single player, although I wasn’t really able to test this feature at all.
While many of the review revolves around many of the additional features on the 2014 6200 Series 6, there is little matter of the Quad-core processing fitted to the unit. This alone makes negotiating the menus a breeze, while enhancing video processing at the same time. In previous years, using the remote to scroll through menus always seemed to be more painful than what it was worth, and although it isn’t quite as crisp as your PC and smartphone response times, it does reduce the annoyance factor when navigating, especially when having to delve into folder on your storage devices.
Having previously reviewed a few Samsung Smart TVs in previous years, there was no need to revert to the added quick-start guide. The only significant part of the setup process is having to connect the stand portion to the TV itself, by means of a few screws. Once users have passed this stage, simply connect the power cable, and the different input sources you have available. There is a small matter of setting up the picture colour and sharpness, which, at first, appears slightly off. I had to set the sharpness down a tad, as the picture was extremely harsh, especially viewing live action footage.
Input interfaces include x4 HDMI ports, x3 USB ports (camera, HDD, 5V), Wi-Fi, Ethernet, component (Y/Pb/Pr), and antenna in. Output include digital audio out and 3.5mm auxiliary out. One would have assumed that there may have been a few more tie-ins with the Samsung smartphones, but apart from normal Wi-Fi streaming, Smart View and DLNA options, there isn’t any native MHL or USB support, even for the likes of the Galaxy S5.
Without too much complications, the Samsung 40″ Series 6 Smart LED TV is not as big of a step as in previous years, and, like many others have quoted, it isn’t a revolution, but rather an evolution. One aspect we didn’t touch on is Samsung’s Evolution Kit. If you own any of the previous years’ more premium models, you should be able to purchase the Kit and swap it out with your current model. This, essentially, will upgrade the unit, which gives it the capability to use all the features on the updated UI. Back in 2012, the Series 6 Smart LED TV could have set you back in the region of R12,000 to R15,000 depending on the model. This specific 2014 model is available for less than R10,000, with some stores posting offerings at around the R8,000 mark. If you’re in the market for a new Smart TV before the end of the year, this unit has enough features to make it a worthwhile purchase. Keep in mind, though, that there are slightly higher-end versions available for the same model, which have some of the excluded features listed previously. Truth be told, you wouldn’t really need many of them.