Samsung UE46ES6800 LED Smart TV Review

Calibration

Note: Our review sample was calibrated using Calman Professional, the industry-leading video calibration software.

Greyscale

We put the UE46ES6800 into [Movie] mode which is the picture preset designed for critical viewing (or so we hope), and measured the TV’s greyscale with [Colour Tone] left at its default setting of “Warm2“:

Pre-calibration RGB Tracking
Pre-calibration RGB tracking and delta errors (dEs)

The linear deficiency in green channel gave rise to significant delta errors (dEs) across the entire luminance range. Fortunately, the Samsung ES6800 is blessed with 10-point white balance controls in addition to a 2-point system: we first used the latter to get the high and low ends in the ballpark of D65; then took advantage of the former to finetune each brightness interval. The result was nothing short of stellar:

Post-calibration RGB Tracking in [Movie] mode
Post-calibration RGB tracking and dEs in [Movie] mode

From 20% stimulus onwards, dEs were reduced to below 1, which is probably as good as it gets on a consumer-grade flat-screen television. This means that shades of grey (no relation whatsoever to the hit erotica series which has taken the world by storm) will remain neutral, preventing video images from taking on any untoward tint.

Gamma

There is only a single [Gamma] control on the UE46ES6800 which affects the gamma globally from 0% to 100% stimulus, but the aforementioned 10-point white balance controls can effectively be used to calibrate gamma at each corresponding luminance interval. Although this method is slightly convoluted (in that you’d have to increase or decrease the R/G/B values by an equal number of clicks), we had no trouble flattening gamma tracking to 2.4 throughout:

Post-calibration gamma Corresponding gamma tracking
Post-calibration gamma in [Movie] mode Corresponding gamma tracking

Colour

Three [Colour Space] options are offered on the Samsung UE46ES6800: “Auto“, “Native” and “Custom“. For those who do not intend to carry out advanced calibration on their TV set, “Auto” provides the most accurate colour gamut out of the box. “Native“, on the other hand, yielded a sickly, undersaturated green, and therefore should be avoided at all costs.

[Colour Space] Auto [Colour Space] Native
[Colour Space] “Auto” [Colour Space] “Native”

As pointed out in our PS60E6500 review, the “Custom” [Colour Space] – which is essentially Samsung’s CMS – exhibits a quirk that calibrators should be aware of: it seems to inherit the base gamut of whichever [Colour Space] option that has been last accessed. For example, if one scrolled downwards from “Auto” through “Native” before reaching “Custom“, the resultant green would be so undersaturated (since it’s inherited from “Native“) to the extent that there wouldn’t be enough [Green] headroom in the CMS to rectify it. The correct course of action would be to scroll upwards from “Auto” to “Custom” (hence bypassing “Native“), which resulted in a largely accurate green primary that only required gentle adjustments.

Post-calibration CIE chart in [Movie] mode
Post-calibration CIE chart with reference to HD Rec.709

Samsung’s colour management system may not be as intuitive as those found on rival TV brands (there’s no dedicated colour luminance control for example, so you’d have to adjust RGB in equal measure to affect brightness), but accurate chromaticities and decoding can be achieved nonetheless, as evidenced by the charts above and below:

Post-calibration Luminance levels in [Movie] mode
Post-calibration colour luminance (coloured bars = targets; black bars = measured values)

In terms of saturation tracking, the Samsung ES6800 displayed a similar pattern to the step-up ES7000 and ES8000 models we’d previously tested: red, green and yellow had the tendency to run a little “hot” at sub-100% saturation intervals, but these errors were nearly impossible to pick up in real-life viewing since the colours were generally linear hue-wise.

Colour saturation tracking
Post-calibration colour saturation tracking

3D Calibration

Two pairs of Samsung SSG-4100GB active-shutter 3D glasses are included with the UE46ES6800, but perhaps of more importance for the purpose of calibrating in the third dimension is the fact that each frame and lenses come disassembled from the hinges, making it so much easier to attach in front of our light-measuring instrument.

Out of the box, we found that for extra-dimensional content, engaging [Movie Mode] with [Colour Temperature] switched from the default “Warm 2” to “Warm 1” brought us closest to the D65 industry standard:

Pre-calibration RGB tracking in 3D mode
Pre-calibration RGB tracking and delta errors (dEs) in 3D mode

Even then, there were massive errors all over. In 3D mode, the 46ES6800 only offered 2-point white balance controls instead of the 10-point system available in 2D. Still, we made good use of it to calibrate greyscale as best as we could:

Post-calibration RGB Tracking in 3D mode
Post-calibration RGB tracking and dEs in 3D mode

The post-calibration RGB balance between 30% and 80% stimulus surpassed even our most optimistic expectations, but eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed the divergent red and blue channels beyond 80% stimulus. This was the result of a conscious decision undertaken by us to maximise peak luminance (even then it was only 40 cd/m2 as measured through the 3D eyewear) at the expense of greyscale accuracy.

Samsung’s [Colour Space] “Custom” CMS is fully functional in 3D mode, and can be saved independently of its 2D values over the same HDMI connection. Confined by the tint imparted upon by the active-shutter glasses, we didn’t manage to fully saturate blue primary, but at least tri-dimensional colour decoding and secondary colours were successfully brought to spec:

Post-calibration CIE chart in 3D mode
Post-calibration CIE chart with reference to HD Rec.709 in 3D mode
Post-calibration Luminance levels in 3D mode
Post-calibration 3D colour luminance (coloured bars=targets; black bars=measured values)

Benchmark Test Results

Dead pixels None
Screen uniformity Patches of clouding & backlight bleed, visible in dark room
Overscanning on HDMI 0% with “Screen Fit” selected
Blacker than black Passed
Calibrated black level (black screen) 0 cd/m2 (LEDs shut off)
Calibrated black level (ANSI checkerboard) 0.0546 cd/m2
Black level retention Auto-dimming with full black screen
Primary chromaticity Very good
Scaling Excellent, smooth
Video mode deinterlacing Very effective jaggies reduction
Film mode deinterlacing Passed 3:2 cadence over 480i & 1080i; and 2:2 over 576i
Viewing angle Blacks & colours desaturate off-angle (normal for SPVA panel)
Motion resolution 1080 with [Motion Plus] & [LED Motion Plus] engaged; 300 otherwise
Digital noise reduction Undefeatable noise reduction except in [Game Mode]
Sharpness Defeatable edge enhancement
1080p/24 capability Judder-free in 2D, mild judder in 3D
Input lag 33ms compared to lag-free CRT

Power Consumption

Default [Standard] mode (2D) 79 watts
Default [Standard] mode (3D) 112 watts
Calibrated [Movie] mode (2D) 65 watts
Calibrated [Movie] mode (3D) 112 watts
Standby <1 watt

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