Samsung has made considerable improvements to the audio quality of its 2011 TVs. The desperately underpowered, thin sound of previous generations has given way to a much more open and powerful mid-range, which immediately makes sound appear more well rounded and natural.
This is true even with relatively straightforward TV fare, with voices (especially male ones) sounding less nasal. Of course, where the extra power and range really scores is when watching action sequences, which now actually sound credible and involving rather than thin, harsh and distracting.
There's still room for improvement when it comes to both the portrayal of really fine treble detail and deep bass levels; in other words, a bit more dynamic range would be nice. But overall the PS51D6900's sound is powerful enough to produce a soundstage able to do the large pictures justice.
It's in the value department that the PS51D6900 makes its most persuasive case. Panasonic's brilliant rival, the P50GT30, costs more than £1,700 on the high street, whereas the PS51D6900's is more like £1,300 and (unlike its rival) comes with a free pair of glasses.
Extra pairs of Samsung's glasses are cheaper, too, which means that the PS51D6900 is able to entertain a family of four for at least £600 less than the Panasonic, which will make the Korean-made screen's marginally inferior 3D performance seem like a perfectly acceptable trade-off to many.
Ease of use
The PS51D6900 is phenomenally easy to use, considering how many features and content sources it supports.
The Smart Hub is clearly the most important element of this, thanks to the way it handles huge amounts of information remarkably easy thanks to its graphics and intuitive layout. But the separate set-up menu is also mostly great, thanks to its clean text, attractive layout and brief onscreen explanations of what each feature is for when you highlight it.
The remote control doesn't look particularly special, but it has an intuitive layout and fits comfortably in your hand.
The onscreen menus aren't perfect, though. For instance, there seems a totally unnecessary division of features between separate Advanced Settings and Picture Options sub-menus when one sub-menu would have been much more sensible. Also – bizarrely – the TV's Game preset is hidden away in a 'General' sub-menu of the main System menu option rather than being included with the rest of the picture presets.
Overall, though, many rival brands could learn a few things from Samsung's new operating system.