Samsung UE46ES6540 review
46in, Freeview HD, Freesat HD, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: yes, 3x HDMI
For this review we tested the 46in model in the ES6540 range, but it's also available in 32in (UE32ES6540) and 55in (UE55ES6540) screen sizes. All models have identical specifications except for their dimensions and power usage. We're confident that image quality will be practically identical across the range.
Samsung's high-end TVs might have jaw-dropping looks and stunning image quality, but they also have the prices to match. Thankfully, the more mainstream 6-series range retains the same Full HD panel, along with 3D support, Smart TV functions and lots of connectivity at a much lower price.
It's clear to see where the UE46ES6540 gets its looks - the design is almost identical to the more expensive 7- and 8-series models, although look a little closer and you can spot a few cost-saving differences. The bezel is a little thicker and is made from plastic rather than brushed metal. The TV's stand is matte silver plastic rather than chromed metal, but it's still a gorgeous-looking set that will stand out in any room.
In case the message that greets you every time you turn on the set wasn't a clue, the UE46ES6540 is a smart TV, with access to Samsung's Smart Hub online portal. It has a comprehensive suite of apps, including catch-up TV from BBC iPlayer, on-demand films from Netflix and LoveFilm, a web browser, Twitter and Facebook social networking apps and Samsung's own Family, Fitness and Kids apps, which give access to on-demand fitness videos, games and photo-sharing services.
Thanks to built-in Wi-Fi, there's no need to run a network cable from your router to the TV to get online, although that is of course still an option. Once connected, you can also stream content from any DLNA-compatible media server, such as a NAS device or PC, using the AllShare Play function. This scans each of the three USB ports for digital cameras and flash drives, so you can play local files if you haven't got any networked equipment. File format support was excellent, letting us play all our test videos including DivX, MOV and MKV files.
If you have a spare flash drive or external hard disk, you can use it to turn the TV into a basic PVR. You’ll have to format your disk, but once set up you can start recording with a single button press - you can only record the channel you're currently watching, as the TV only has a single tuner. The TV comes with a single remote control - unlike Samsung's more expensive sets, which have two remotes as well as voice and motion control. However, we aren't fans of these gimmicky systems anyway, so the more traditional control system suits us just fine.
There are plenty of connectivity options on the back of the set to let you connect set-top boxes, games consoles and other devices. The three HDMI inputs are all version 1.4 compliant, and so compatible with 3D sources. Component and composite video inputs are on hand for older devices, as is a single pair of stereo phono audio inputs, plus 3.5mm audio jacks for auxiliary in and headphone out. There's no VGA input, unfortunately. The single digital optical audio output is handy for older amplifiers that lack HDMI connections.