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Samsung UE46ES6800 review

Value-laden mid-range Edge LED telly with Smart Hub

Samsung UE46ES6800
Great Value

For a seriously affordable (relative to Samsung's flagship TVs) effort, the UE46ES6800 is smart in more ways than one.

Its 46.9mm panel depth is hardly the slimmest around, but these days chasing ultimate slimness is surely a fool's game.

Besides, the UE46ES6800 comes with a premium design indeed, one that Samsung calls its 'One Design' concept. No, that doesn't make much sense, though it's certainly attractive.

Sat on a spider-style desktop stand, the UE46ES6800 has an aluminum bezel that measures 12mm, and an inner screen surround that rings the actual panel, and which measures a further 17mm.

Samsung UE46ES6800 Review

Other hardware is provided around the back, with an ins-and-outs panel that's strangely situated on the exact opposite side to most TVs; the bottom right-hand corner as you view the TV.

Samsung UE46ES6800 Review

On the lower rung is a set of component video ins, composite video, a wired Ethernet LAN slot, some analogue audio ins, and hook-ups for both free-to-air platforms in the UK – Freesat HD via satellite, and Freeview HD via an antennae.

Samsung UE46ES6800 review

That makes the UE46ES6800 one of relatively few tellies in the UK to build in Freesat HD.

Recording to a USB HDD or memory stick is also supported, as are timer recordings.

Basic one-channel stuff, but useful in emergencies.

The side-panel is where the slots are housed.

Comprising three HDMI inputs, a proprietary adaptor for attaching a Scart, a headphones slot, three USB slots and a digital optical audio output, our only concern is that a fourth HDMI slot would have been handy, though what could get really annoying is that the optical slot is near the top of the TV.

Samsung UE46ES6800 Review

More attractive than mere looks and inputs is the UE46ES6800's Smart Hub.

Judged purely on content, the Wi-Fi-powered UE46ES6800's Smart Hub only gets better.

New for 2012 is Netflix, while Samsung's own Family Story, Fitness and Kids apps now form a central pillar of what's attempting to be a cutesy family-friendly platform.

Samsung UE46ES6800 Review

Nothing wrong with that, though we do find it hard to get enthusiastic about any of them; Family Story is basically a photo sharing service, Fitness a Wii Fit substitute that tracks an exercise regime, while Kids Zone is bereft of truly must-watch content for the little ones.

Samsung UE46ES6800 Review

The BBC iPlayer is hardly quaking in its boots, though we're getting increasingly frustrated by the lack of top movies on both LoveFilm and Netflix, both of which are included on Smart Hub, though that could change quickly.

Other apps include Skype, the all-new BBC Sport, Twitter, Facebook, AccuWeather, Picasa, YouTube and Rightmove.

Samsung UE46ES6800 Review

Samsung UE46ES6800 Review

Samsung Apps, an online store of free software, has had a few useful new apps added, including Smart LED (make your own screensaver), Guitar Chords (nice idea), Social TV (an amalgamation of Twitter, Facebook and Google Talk), Yoga Helper and the bizarre Couple Stretching ('strengthen your body with love' … though it really is just face-to-face exercises poses!).

Samsung UE46ES6800 Review

However, it's slow to scroll through them, which is disappointing given the dual-core processor.

A web browser app makes an appearance.

Several tabs can open at once, but despite the dual-core processor it's still slow, and the remote-controlled cursor isn't exactly swift to move around the pages, either.

The answer to web browsing on a TV is via smartphone apps, not using voice commands or touch pads.

There's an Explore 3D app, though on our inspection the highlights were merely movie trailers for the likes of Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Megamind 3 and Kung-Fu Panda, full-length kids stuff such as Canimals, a documentary on Stonehenge, and some Britney Spears videos. Britney who?

Samsung UE46ES6800 Review

Talking of 3D, two pairs of 3D specs seems reasonable, though despite it costing barely £15 to add more pairs, we're not entirely happy with the SSG-4100GB specs.

Samsung UE46ES6800 Review

Super-slim they may be, but the lightweight 100g design has gone too far in this regard; the 'fit-over' shape might mean they're technically suitable for those that already wear glasses, but there's a constant reflection of ambient light and they do feel rather unsubstantial and prone to breaking (they arrive in bits and the arms must actually be snapped into the lenses section).

What we do like about them is that they run a CR2025 wristwatch battery rather than needing a messy USB cable (at 150 hours they should last at least a decade, such is the paltry choice of 3D Blu-rays).

They also worked with another active shutter 3D TV in our possession at the time of this review – Panasonic's TX-L47WT50B (thanks, Full HD 3D Glasses Initiative), and thankfully use Bluetooth to link to the TV, so line-of-sight isn't necessary.

The latter makes a huge difference.

Incidentally, we also got a pair of Panasonic TY-ER3D4ME 3D specs to work with this Samsung.

All good progress, though neither the Samsung nor Panasonic 3D specs pair worked with a Sony KDL-40HX753 also in the test rooms. Oh, Sony.

Streaming is also on offer, with Samsung's AllShare Play software able to stream digital files from a networked PC or Mac and, theoretically, smartphones and tablets – though only those armed with Wi-Fi-Direct.

Samsung UE46ES6800 Review

Picture-tech wise, the UE46ES6800's key traits compromise Clear Motion Rate 400Hz and Micro Dimming, the latter of which promises local dimming and, therefore, greater contrast.

Both should take the edge off LCD panel's native problems with blur and contrast, though there's nothing here to seriously test the UE46ES6800's dual-core brains.