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Samsung KU6500 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.0
Reviewed Nov 16, 2016 at 08:52 am
Samsung KU6500 Picture
7.4
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
6.8
Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
7.1
TV Shows
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
7.2
Sports
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
8.3
Video Games
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
7.1
HDR Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
7.9
HDR Gaming
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
6.9
PC Monitor
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
This TV was replaced by the Samsung MU6500
Type LED
Resolution 4k
Refresh Rate 60 Hz

The 4k UHD Samsung KU6500 offers good picture quality when viewed from directly in front, but this degrades when viewed at an angle. It is almost exactly the same as the Samsung KU6600, and the Samsung KU6300 (but with a curve). It performs best in a dark room due to the good native contrast ratio. Unfortunately it is average at handling fast motion and although it supports HDR10, it doesn't really benefit from the extra information.

Our Verdict

7.4 Mixed Usage

Good TV for mixed usage. Picture quality is good, and so is dark scene performance. No features such as local dimming to improve it further. Picture quality degrades when viewed at an angle. Motion handling is above average for fast paced content.

Pros
  • High native contrast results in good dark scene performance
  • Feels responsive
Cons
  • Image loses contrast at an angle
  • Some dirty screen effect
  • Doesn't deal with reflections well
6.8 Movies

Average for watching movies in a dark room. Picture quality is good, but degrades when viewed at an angle. High native contrast ratio but lacks local dimming feature to improve dark scene performance further. Those sensitive to judder will notice it when watching movies.

7.1 TV Shows

Slightly above average for watching TV in a bright room. Average at dealing with reflections. Whole screen can't get bright to fight glare. Picture quality is good, but degrades when viewed from an angle. Smart platform works well for watching media or files on a USB.

7.2 Sports

Above average for watching sports. Picture quality is good, but degrades when viewed at an angle. Motion blur is slightly better than average. Whole screen can't get bright to combat glare.

8.3 Video Games

Great for console gamers. Input lag is low across all sources, which is great. Picture quality is good. Motion blur is average, which should be ok for most people.

7.1 HDR Movies

Supports HDR10, but can't really benefit from it. Good picture quality but doesn't support a wide color gamut or high peak brightness to take advantage of HDR content. Lacks local dimming.

7.9 HDR Gaming

Supports HDR10 and can activate game mode for low input lag. Picture quality is good but doesn't benefit from the extra HDR information. Can't display a wider range of colors and can't get very bright highlights.

6.9 PC Monitor

Good PC monitor. Supports a wide range of resolutions with chroma subsampling for clear text. Feels responsive with low input lag. Picture quality is good and motion handling is average.

  • 7.4 Mixed Usage
  • 6.8 Movies
  • 7.1 TV Shows
  • 7.2 Sports
  • 8.3 Video Games
  • 7.1 HDR Movies
  • 7.9 HDR Gaming
  • 6.9 PC Monitor

Test Results

Design
8.5
Design
Style
Curved Yes

The KU6500 has the iconic Samsung design, with a central stand which supports the TV well. The stand has a fairly small footprint and is the only visible difference from the KU6600. The back of the TV has corrugations which look OK, but not as nice as some of the higher end models.

Design
Stand

The central stand supports the TV well and has a small footprint which is ideal for those with smaller tables. It looks the same as the KU6300.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 12.6" x 33.1"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 400x400

The back of the TV is textured with plastic corrugations. This doesn't look as good as higher end models but the inputs on the side are fairly easy to access, even if wall mounted. It is the same back as the KU6600.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.71" (1.8 cm)

The borders are an average thickness, and there is some space between the edge of the border and the start of the picture.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 3.46" (8.8 cm)

The curve of the TV makes it appear quite bulky from the side. It will stick out a bit if wall mounted.

Picture Quality
8.8
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
5015 : 1

The native contrast ratio is good on the KU6500. The blacks look deep and should provide a very good dark room viewing experience.

0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
No
Backlight
Direct

There is no local dimming feature on the KU6500. The 'UHD Dimming' which is advertised is a frame dimming feature, which can only be disabled by activating PC mode. It reduces the whole screen brightness when the scene is mostly dark.

7.5
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
380 cd/m2
SDR Peak 2% Window
188 cd/m2
SDR Peak 10% Window
333 cd/m2
SDR Peak 25% Window
394 cd/m2
SDR Peak 50% Window
394 cd/m2
SDR Peak 100% Window
394 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 2% Window
188 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 10% Window
333 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 25% Window
394 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 50% Window
394 cd/m2
SDR Sustained 100% Window
394 cd/m2

The SDR peak brightness is bellow average for the KU6500 and remains almost the same whether in SDR or HDR mode, which is a good thing, especially for watching normal TV content. At this level of peak brightness, this TV would be best if situated in a darker room.

7.5
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
364 cd/m2
HDR Peak 2% Window
188 cd/m2
HDR Peak 10% Window
333 cd/m2
HDR Peak 25% Window
400 cd/m2
HDR Peak 50% Window
400 cd/m2
HDR Peak 100% Window
400 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 2% Window
188 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 10% Window
333 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 25% Window
400 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 50% Window
400 cd/m2
HDR Sustained 100% Window
400 cd/m2

The peak brightness of small windows is reduced by the 'UHD Dimming'. The effect of this is reduced in 'Movie' mode but the only way to completely disable it is to switch to a 'PC' icon. When in PC mode, the screen brightness is 400 and remains the same at all size windows

The peak brightness stays relatively the same whether HDR is active. This can be seen as a good thing since most of the TV content is in SDR.

6.8
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
3.748 %
50% DSE
0.205 %

The gray uniformity is average and the result is very similar to what we had on the KU6300. All borders are darker leaving the center a bit more warm than the rest of the screen. Some horizontal bands are visible, but overall the center of the screen is smooth. Dirty screen effect is visible, but should not be so distracting.

4.3
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
LCD Type
VA
Color Shift
26 °
Brightness
31 °
Black Level
20 °

When viewed at an angle, the contrast of the image is reduced and colors lose accuracy. This is a very similar result to other VA TVs, even the high end Samsung KS* Series. This is okay for fairly narrow seating, but may be distracting for those who regularly watch from an angle.

Update: We have changed the methodology of testing. Since this is an old TV which we don't have anymore, we extrapolated the results.

9.4
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
0.717 %

Black uniformity is very good and is comparable to what you get on the flat version, the KU6300. Some really faint clouding can be seen on our test picture, but nothing at all can be seen when watching movies or normal content.

9.0
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit

The KU6500 can display a 10 bit gradient smoothly, which is the same as the other Samsung TVs released this year. Some minor issues can be seen in the darker shades, mostly in the green, but this should not be visible while watching normal content.

7.7
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
4.87
Color dE
3.48
Gamma
2.16

Prior to calibration, the white balance is a bit off as the image is slightly too warm. The gamma tracks close to the desired 2.2 value, which is good. For most people a calibration is not necessary.

9.8
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.28
Color dE
0.46
Gamma
2.19

The TV adjusts quite well using the inbuilt 2 and 20 point white balance. All minor issues are resolved, and the colors appear very accurate. You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Low quality content such as DVDs or cable TV are upscaled well. Most of the details is preserved, and the image doesn't appear too soft.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content looks quite good. Some halo artifacts can be seen along edges, but the image isn't too over sharpened.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content such as Blu-rays look good. The image remains clear and sharp.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

No issues can be seen in the native 4k content.

6.8
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
No
DCI P3 xy
75.92 %
DCI P3 uv
82.29 %
Rec 2020 xy
54.47 %
Rec 2020 uv
60.01 %

Unlike the KU7500, this TV doesn't have a wide color gamut. The colors of this TV are suitable for SDR content, but cannot display more saturated images for HDR content.

5.4
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage
60.476 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage
31.774 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage
43.971 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage
23.673 %

Similar to the other Samsung 6 series TVs, the KU6500 can't produce a wide range of colors for HDR content.

10
Picture Quality
Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.000 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.000 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.000 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.000 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.000 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.000 %

7.0
Picture Quality
Reflections
Reflection
2.4 %
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss

The TV is average at dealing with reflections. It has a semi-gloss finish which diffuses reflections on the screen. This does make them appear larger, but reduces their intensity. The curve of the TV also distorts the reflections, which can be a good thing depending on where the ambient light is coming from. It is not a problem for a room with some glare but may be an issue in a bright room.

0
Picture Quality
3D
3D
No
3D Type
No
2D to 3D
No

The KU6500 doesn't support 3D.

Picture Quality
Pixels

Motion
7.4
Motion
Motion Blur
Response Time
20.4 ms
Overshoot
0 ms

The response time of the KU6500 results in below average motion blur following moving objects. This is better than most TVs and should be ok for most people, but may be an issue for fast paced content. It is also about the same result as the KU6600 and KU6300 TVs. The PWM flickering of the backlight can be seen in the duplications following our moving logo.

4.8
Motion
Image Flicker
PWM Dimming Frequency
120 Hz
BFI
Yes
BFI Frequency
60 Hz
BFI In Game Mode
No

The KU6500 uses PWM to dim the backlight. This can be seen in image duplications following the motion blur moving logo. It is possible to enable black frame insertion to clear up motion, but not when in game mode.

0
Motion
24p Playback
Judder-free 24p
No
Judder-free 24p via 60p
No
Judder-free 24p via 60i
No

Judder is experienced when watching movies from any source. This is generally not an issue, as most people aren't sensitive to the small 3:2 pulldown judder.

5.0
Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
No

The KU6500 has a 60Hz panel which is able to interpolate lower refresh rate content. Those who enjoy the soap opera effect can enable it for a 30 fps input.

Inputs
8.3
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
19.8 ms
1080p With Interpolation
116.8 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
116.8 ms
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
36.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz
19.7 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
37.8 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
20.1 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
36.5 ms

The input lag is low across all sources when using the 'Game' picture mode, which is good. Changing the input icon to 'PC' to enable chroma subsampling increases the input lag, but this is still quite a good result. This is similar to other Samsung TVs such as the KU6300.

8.0
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
No
4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes

To accept a high bandwidth signal such as 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4, it is necessary to enable 'HDMI UHD Color'. This is only possible on HDMI1. Change the input label to 'PC' to accurately display chroma subsampling for PC use.

Inputs
Side Inputs

Inputs
Rear Inputs

All inputs are located on the side of the TV.

Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI 3
USB 2
Digital Optical Audio Out 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 0
Analog Audio Out RCA 0
Component In 1 (incl. adapter, shared)
Composite In 1 (incl. adapter, shared)
Tuner (Cable/Ant) 1
Ethernet 1
DisplayPort 0
IR In 0
SD/SDHC 0

Inputs
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Yes
Dolby Vision
No
5.1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
Yes
5.1 Passthrough ARC DTS
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical DTS
Yes
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth Yes (HDMI 1)
ARC Yes (HDMI 3)
USB 3 No
HDCP 2.2 Yes (HDMI 1,2,3)
CEC Yes
MHL No
Variable Analog Audio Out No

For 5.1 passthrough it is necessary to select the correct format in the sound options (DTS or Dolby Digital). It does not change automatically.

Sound Quality
6.0
Sound Quality
Frequency Response
Std. Dev. @ 70
4.93 dB SPL
Std. Dev. @ 80
5.13 dB SPL
Std. Dev. @ Max
6.75 dB SPL
Max
89.6 dB SPL
Low-end Cutoff
135 Hz

Average performance. Frequency response is decent, although at higher volumes pumping and compression will be present. Low-end cutoff is rather poor, even for a TV, but it does get loud enough for most situations.

6.1
Sound Quality
Total Harmonic Distortion
Distortion @ 70
0.025
Distortion @ 80
0.031
Distortion @ Max
0.117

Average harmonic distortion performance. The amount of harmonic distortion produced at lower volumes is decent, however, at higher volumes there is a notifiable increase in distortion, mostly in the mid-range.

Smart Features
Smart Features
Apps

The Samsung app store provides access to the most popular content such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Video and Vudu. In general they work well and are stable.

8.5
Smart Features
Interface
Smart OS Tizen (2016)

The KU6500 has the newest version of the Tizen operating system. It is one of the most stable smart platforms, which works well for general use. It is more limited in app availability but all the major apps are present and should satisfy most people out there. When connecting a new device via HDMI, the smart interface will set it up automatically, rendering the use pretty easy. Content like pictures and movies store on USB drive can easily be accessed via the USB port.

When a new device is detected (such as when a computer is woken from sleep while plugged into an HDMI port) the TV automatically switches to this device. This may be an annoyance if you are watching other content at the time.

0
Smart Features
Ads
Ad-free
No
Opt-out
No

Smart Features
TV Controls

The controls are located behind the right hand side of the TV. They are a little bit in from the edge of the TV and so may be a bit difficult to access if the TV is wall mounted.

Smart Features
Remote
Remote Smart

The remote is identical to other TVs in the Samsung KU6* series, such as the K6250, KU6300 and KU6600. It works well and is easy to use.

Smart Features
In The Box

  • Manual
  • Batteries
  • Remote
  • Wall mount spacers
  • Composite in adapter
  • Component in adapter

Smart Features
Misc
Power Consumption 50 W
Power Consumption (Max) 170 W
Firmware 1142

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the 55" (UN55KU6500), version FA01. For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the other sizes. 

If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their Samsung KU6500 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.

Size Model
49" UN49KU6500
55" UN55KU6500
65" UN65KU6500

Compared To Other TVs

Comparison picture

Top left: Samsung KU6300 (UN55KU6300). Bottom left: Samsung KU7500 (UN55KU7500). Middle: Samsung KU6500 (UN55KU6500). Top right: Vizio M Series 2016 (M70-D3). Bottom right: Sony X700D (XBR55X700D).  Unlike our other photographs, this picture wasn't taken under a controlled environment, so do not draw conclusions from it.

The Samsung KU6500 provides good picture quality, especially in a dark room, but unfortunately it is priced well above the competition. As a result it is up against some higher end TVs, with additional features to improve the picture quality. Keep this in mind when viewing our recommendations below.

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