Samsung UE46ES6800 full review

Samsung, like many TV manufacturers, has a bewildering range of models. Even if you've already decided to discount a plasma set, there are still scores of LED TVs to choose between. See all TV reviews.

The ES6800 is part of the Series 6 range, and is an active 3D HDTV with built-in Wi-Fi. It also benefits from Samsung's Smart Hub, which means you can install plenty of apps including iPlayer, Netflix and other on-demand services.

We tested the 46in version, but it's also available in 55in, 40in and 32in. Features are identical, all that differs is the screen size.

Samsung ES6800: Design and inputs

Although its bezel isn't quite as slim as the range-topping ES8000, the ES6800's is still impressively thin. We like the four-prong stand and the chrome-like finish is attractive.

The screen swivels on the stand, which could be a useful feature to some, and it's easily wall mounted if you prefer. At just 47mm thick, it's one of the thinner TVs around.

Connections are recessed to aid wall mounting, and include 3 HDMI, 3 USB, Ethernet (if you don't want to use Wi-Fi), component and Scart. The latter requires the included adaptor to be installed, as does the CI slot, which clips onto the back panel and increases the depth by a few millimetres.
Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners are built-in.

Samsung ES6800: setup

Easy-to-understand menus mean it's fairly quick to install the ES6800, scanning for channels and connecting to your Wi-Fi network. The remote has membrane buttons which work better than we expected, and make it easy to clean.

ES6800 side

The only niggle is that the playback controls are right at the bottom. It's hard to use these one-handed without dropping the remote.

The screen has a semi-gloss finish. It reflects a distorted version of what's in front of it, and you'll notice reflections only if you're watching dark scenes or if there's a bright light source behind you, such as a door or window.

Samsung ES6800: sound and picture quality

As with the ES8000, image quality is excellent. HD images are super-sharp, particularly when watching Blu-ray movies. The Freeview HD channels look great too, but standard definition Freeview shows plenty of compression artefacts and the 46in screen simply magnifies these.

Colours are bright and realistic, contrast is good and the backlight was mostly even on our test sample. There was a very minor amount of backlight bleed when dark images are viewed, but nothing that will have you returning the ES6800 to the shop.

Motion resolution is very good, but don't overdo the motion smoothing as everything begins to look very unnatural.

Two pairs of lightweight 3D glasses are included. Watching our test footage, 3D scene were deep and immersive. There's the inevitable flicker if any windows or lights are in view, but that's a problem with all active shutter 3D TVs. We didn't see much evidence of crosstalk - images were sharp.

The down-firing speakers pump out decent volume and quality, although there's little in the way of bass. If you want to connect a separate speaker system, there's an optical S/PDIF output.

Samsung ES6800: Smart Hub

So-called 'smart' features vary widely between different TVs, but Samsung's is one of the better offerings. It's frustrating to begin with as inevitable updates take a while to install, and you have to choose and install some apps before you can use them.

The selection is good, though, and includes BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, Netflix, Lovefilm, Vimeo and Skype. A plethora of other apps are in the Samsung Apps list, and more are sure to be added soon.

Samsung ES6800: Media playback

The ES6800 can handle a surprisingly wide range of formats, including MKV, AVI, Xvid and MP4. We also had no trouble playing 1080p AVCHD from a camcorder and .TS files from a PVR. It will play the same formats over the network from a NAS as well as a local USB hard disk or flash drive.

The media player, which Samsung calls AllShare Play, has a handy 'recently played' section so you can continue watching something without navigating through folders to find it again.

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Samsung UE46ES6800: Specs

  • Screen size/resolution: 46 inches, 1920 x 1080
  • Contrast ratio: Not stated
  • Brightness: Not stated
  • Speakers: 20w (2 x 10w)
  • Built-in tuner(s): Freeview HD, DVB-S2 EPG: 7 day
  • Inputs: 3x HDMI, component, composite, Scart
  • Outputs: Digital optical audio, headphone
  • Networking: Ethernet, integrated Wi-Fi
  • Ports & Slots: 3 x USB, CI slot
  • Dimensions (w/h/d): 1070 x 636 (702 with stand) x 47 (277 with stand)
  • Weight: 15.5kg
  • Warranty: 1 year