It's impossible to get the very best from a 4k TV, so what's the point in buying one? Besides, most people I talk to know a lot more about the reflection-hungry curved TVs than 4k. However, at £1,500 (US$1,300), the UN55JU6400 (the model name in the UK), or UN55JU6400 (the US name), is eventually destined to be one of the lowest-priced, truly big-screen, big-brand 4k TVs of 2015.
And with cheap 4k TVs on the rise, the price will have to – and almost certainly will – come down.
The monster-sized screen has a metallic trim all around, though viewed head-on, it's an all-black affair. The bezel looks super-slim, though it's a perspective thing – it's actually 13mm on all four sides, which isn't ground-breaking.
Another illusion is an L-shaped desktop stand, which attaches on the back of the TV, then curves underneath it. It works well, though there's a tiny gap between the undercarriage of the UE55JU6400 and the stand itself, which rather wastes what could be a convincing floating look.
The desktop stand is hollowed out – there's actually not much to it – but because of that lack of a gap, it's mostly wasted sculpture that's invisible unless you're hovering over the UE55JU6400.
That desktop stand is also rather long, stretching 76cm along the bottom (the screen itself is only 124cm). Having said all of that, it's a polished-looking TV for the money, and surprisingly lightweight. Though the screen is hardly svelte, measuring 52mm deep, the stand increases that to 270mm.
What, no 3D?! It's got a Freeview HD tuner, but the UE55JU6400 is all about 3840x2160 resolution, and in strictly two dimensions. If you want 4k and smart TV, but aren't interested in the fineries offered by Samsung's ultra-expensive SUHD-branded TVs (chiefly the emerging, though strictly non-essential Quantum Dot technology) and the ability to watch as-yet non-existent HDR footage, the JU6400 Series is ideally spec'd.
Arguably just as crucial as anything else is its 4k upscaler, that takes HD, and even SD, footage and attempts to expand it convincingly for the massive 4k pixel grid.
What the UE55JU6400 does have that the SUHD – and most other top-end Samsung TVs, even without 4k, include – is an all-new for 2015 Smart Hub and a quad-core processor.
Considering how successful Samsung's Smart Hub has been over the past few years, to refresh it completely is a brave move. It's now based on the Tizen OS, a Samsung creation that it could soon use for its smartphones and tablets, though the choice of apps remains very good.
And, of course, the UE55JU6400 comes with features such as WiFi, and compatibility with all kinds of digital media, phones and tablets, NAS drives and networked computers.
Though the platform has changed – it's centred around a pop-up menu along the bottom of the screen, rather than on dedicated graphical pages – Smart Hub has stacks of must-have apps.
The likes of YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Instant are all included by default (their limited 4k content will be crucial if you want to get the best out of the UE55JU6400). Though you have to search for and download the rest, the usual utterly non-essential suspects are all here; from Dailymotion, Vimeo and MUBI to YuppTV, Viewster and iConcerts.
Oh, and RightMove is here, too, just in case you need a new home for the UE55JU6400. Our UK-based review sample was able to access terrestrial TV catch-up apps, including BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport and BBC News, though missing (temporarily) were ITV Player, 4OD and Demand Five.
Perhaps just as important as third-party apps is Samsung's own Smart View 2.0, which when downloaded to phones and tablets allows live TV porting from the Freeview HD tuner, as well as video and photo pushing to the UE55JU6400.
Ins and outs
Happily, there's no pop-out camera to spy on you, though you can add an accessory for Skype video calls by using one of the UE55JU6400's three USB slots. They're all stored on a side-mounted panel on the UE55JU6400's right-hand side as you look at it, as are four HDMI 2.0 inputs and an RF input to power the UE55JU6400's Freeview HD tuner.
On the back of the TV itself is a set of component video inputs, left and right phonos, a digital optical output, a headphones jack and a wired Ethernet LAN – all bases covered.
Trying to convince us all that 4k is already cost-effective is this entry-level, though still expensive, 55-inch LED TV from Samsung. Don't confuse the UE55JU6400 with one of Samsung's SUHD range-topping TVs; it's neither curved nor compatible with future HDR video.
Elsewhere in Samsung's Series 6 are the 40-inch UE40JU6400, 48-inch UE48JU6400, 65-inch UE65JU6400 and 75-inch UE75JU6400.