The Samsung MU6290 is an entry-level 4K smart LCD TV. It's quite versatile thanks in part to its high contrast which gives it decent picture quality in a dark room. Its input lag is also quite low, making it a good choice for gaming. Unfortunately, its picture quality is greatly reduced when viewed at an angle, and it lacks support for modern features like a wide color gamut and local dimming.
The V-shaped stand of the Samsung MU6290 has quite a small footprint but still supports the TV well. The plastic connection between the stand and the rear of the TV has some flex, so the TV will wobble a bit if knocked. It appears identical to the MU6300.
Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 12.1" x 33.2"
The rear of the TV has a textured plastic finish which looks quite good. All of the inputs are directed out the side of the TV, which is good as they are still easy to access if placed close to a wall.
The borders of this Samsung TV have an average thickness. They are quite simple and made of plastic.
When viewed from the side, the TV has an average thickness. The TV does stick out a bit if placed close to a wall, however, with the stand removed this isn't an issue and the TV sits flush.
The TV stays fairly cool under prolonged use, though it does get warm to the touch in a few places along the back. The bottom of the TV is lined with vents to help keep it cool, and there are vents in several places on the back.
The Samsung MU6290 LED TV has a better than average picture quality. The great contrast ratio paired with the impressive black uniformity makes for a very good choice for people with a dark home theater room. For people who watch TV more during the day or at least with some light on most of the time, the MU6290 still does a great job, as it can get bright enough to fight glare and can do a decent job at dealing with reflections. The gray uniformity of the MU6290 could be better, as some dirty screen effect is visible, especially when watching sports like hockey and football. Viewing angle is poor and therefore, the best picture quality is reserved for directly in front of the TV. Therefore, the MU6290 is not the best option for people with a big living room with many seating positions that are off center. Finally, HDR could be better, as the MU6290 does not feature a wide color gamut nor local dimming, both which are important to make HDR content really shine in comparison to normal SDR content.
The Samsung MU6290 has a great contrast ratio. when set in a dark room, it can display really deep black, which in turn are especially good for dark scenes in movies. This is a stark contrast to what you see on IPS TV with lower contrast ratio, as they can't reproduce deep blacks and dark scenes look more washed out.
The Samsung MU6290 does not have a local dimming feature. The video is for reference only.
Good SDR peak brightness, good enough for a fairly bright room. The brightness remains very consistent except when showing very dark scenes (demonstrated by our 2% window test); that's when the TV's CE dimming takes effect and dims the whole screen, including the bright highlights. Overall, the brightness is nearly the same as the MU6300, a little better than the rival Vizio M Series 2017, but not as bright as the TCL P607.
Mediocre HDR peak brightness. Even though the TV's HDR and SDR brightnesses are very similar, HDR highlights demand higher brightness because they're mastered to reach 1000-4000 cd/m², far brighter than most TVs are capable of. The 2% window test also shows that the TV's CE dimming makes dark scenes even darker, including their bright highlights, which isn't good. Overall, this HDR brightness is similar to the sister MU6300, but much less than the rival TCL P607 and Vizio M Series 2017.
The Samsung MU6290 gray uniformity could be better. when looking at our 50% gray test uniformity picture, we can see that the four corners are a bit darker than the center of the screen, and we can also notice some horizontal band that seems also bit darker and brighter than the rest of the screen. Unfortunately, those bands are creating some dirty screen effect, which is a bit distracting when watching some content with long panning shot. This is particularly noticeable when watching sports.
Looking at our 5% test picture, the uniformity looks much better even though it is not perfect. The edges of the screen are a bit brighter than the rest and there is a darker patch in the center of the screen. But luckily, both of those are not noticeable when looking at normal video content, even some very dark scene in movies, which is good.
Poor viewing angle, but fairly typical for a TV with a VA panel. When viewed at a small angle the TV's colors degrade and its blacks turn grey, making the picture quality noticeably worse. This isn't a concern when viewing the TV from directly in front, but the bad viewing angle does make the TV less than ideal for a room where people often sit to the side of the TV and view it at an angle; an IPS TV like the Sony X720E or X800E would be better suited for that task.
The black uniformity of the Samsung MU6290 is great and is almost as good as its sibling, the MU6300. On the test picture, some clouding spots are visible near both bottom corner and the top left one, with an extra one near the middle white cross (top right of it), but those are really faint and did not show up when watching a really dark scene from a movie. Overall, this is a very good black uniformity.
The reflection handling of the MU6290 is decent. The semi-gloss finish diffuses reflection across the screen, which reduces their intensity but also produces a light haze. This is the same as the MU6300 and MU6500. For an average room this is fine, but in a bright room, reflections may be distracting.
Out of the box, the Samsung MU6290 has a decent accuracy. To obtain the best accuracy on this set, we used the 'Movie' picture mode in combination with the 'Warm1' color temperature. On Samsung TV we usually go for the 'Warm2' color temperature, but in this case, we found that the 'Warm1' color temperature was a bit more accurate.
Looking more in detail, the white balance and color dE are over 3.0, at which point an avid enthusiast could notice some inaccuracies, but for most people, this is still reasonable, especially if coming from an older television. As for the gamma, at 2.29 it is a bit high, but here the curve is where the MU6290 is showing a bit more inaccuracy, as there is a bit bump in the lower IRE (dark) and this can cause some loss of detail in the shadow (black crush).Warm1
After calibration, the Samsung MU6290 accuracy is much better. Much of the inaccuracies were fixed, except maybe the color dE, which is still a bit high, but the provided color space management system could not really help to bring down the color dE, even though it was corrected a bit. The white balance was corrected though, and with a dE of 0.27, this is mostly a perfect result here. The only note here is that the whole process of correcting the white balance was long and tedious, unfortunately.
Finally for the gamma, the gamma curve was mostly flattened (besides nears the IRE 10), which corrected the bump in the lower IRE and the risk of black crush and the value is now much closer to our desired 2.2 target.
You can see our recommended settings for this Samsung MU6290 TV here.
Upscaling of 480p content such as DVDs is good. Details are preserved well, but the image is a bit softer than most other TVs.
Cable and other 720p content looks good. Common upscaling artifacts such as haloing around edges are hardly visible, the the image is softened a bit.
Upscaling of full-HD content is also good. All areas of the image remain clear and detailed.
Standard color gamut, only good enough for SDR content (Rec 709 color space). This means that although most colors in HDR content will be shown fairly well, extreme saturated colors will be shown less saturated than intended. The color accuracy is also quite poor at the very bright 75% stimulus we use to test, probably because the TV is sacrificing color accuracy to make colors brighter. At a more reasonable 50% stimulus (shown here for P3 and 2020) the color accuracy is much better.
The EOTF in the 'HDR Movies' picture mode follows the target PQ curve fairly closely, up until it rolls off then clips at the TV's peak brightness. The EOTF in 'Game mode' is nearly identical, but in 'PC mode' the EOTF is brighter than the PQ curve, so HDR content will be shown a bit brighter than intended. If users want to make HDR content brighter in other modes, increasing the TV's 'Gamma' slider or enabling 'Contrast Enhancer' will raise the EOTF and brighten HDR scenes.
Disappointing color volume, but this is mostly due to the TV's standard color gamut. One other flaw though is how the DCI P3 color gamut narrows when the TV is showing extremely bright colors; this means that colored bright highlights in HDR content will have less saturated colors than they should.
The Samsung MU6290 has a very good performance displaying our gradient test image. Looking at our test picture of the gradient, no 8-bit banding can be seen, but some color shade issues can be noticed in the darker colors. This is a similar result as seen much of the latest Samsung reviewed and luckily, it does not affect too much normal content, as banding is not much more prevalent as seen on other TVs (as seen on this particular scene that we often use to compare banding)
A perfect result on our image retention test, as no image retention could be noticed at all. This is in line with the result of the Samsung MU6300.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
Motion looks mediocre on the Samsung MU6290. Although it has decent pixel response time and can interpolate low frame rate content to 60 Hz, it has 120 Hz flicker at most brightness settings which causes double image artifacts in motion, and the TV can't remove 24p judder from movies no matter the source although this isn't noticeable to most people.
Decent pixel response time, good enough for most content but may lead to some blur when showing very fast motion. Most of the blur in the photo is due to backlight flicker; the response time ghosting trail following the moving logo is faint but extends longer than that of some other TVs like the TCL P607. Overall, the response time is good enough for most usages, but some other TVs like the TCL P607 and the Vizio M Series 2017 will have less motion blur.
The TV dims without much flicker from 'Backlight' setting '20-13', then uses PWM flicker to dim from 'Backlight 12-0'. This means that from '20-13' there will not be any noticeable flicker and motion will be smooth, but from '12-0' the flicker will get worse and worse the lower the brightness. On a still image this 120 Hz flicker won't be noticeable to most people but may bother those sensitive to flicker; however during motion this flicker will cause double image artifacts, as seen in the photo in the Motion Blur box.
For those that don't mind the screen looking a little flickery, flicker that matches the content framerate is actually beneficial to motion, as seen in the BFI photo above. The TV's 'LED Clear Motion' setting activates this BFI flicker at 60 Hz to improve motion, but this 60 Hz flicker may be bothersome to some people.
The TV can use motion interpolation ('soap opera effect') to interpolate low frame rate content up to the TV's native 60 Hz but is unable to interpolate 60 fps content any further because it does not have a 120 Hz panel. Motion interpolation is activated by setting 'Auto Motion Plus' to 'Custom' and increasing the 'Judder Reduction' slider.
The Samsung MU6290 is great at displaying content without stutter. Even for low frame rate content such as movies very little stutter is seen, as the response time helps to smooth the transition between frames.
Similarly to the Samsung MU6300, the MU6290 can't remove judder from 24p movies, and this no matter the frame rate of the sources (24p, 60p, or 60i). Like we mentioned before, only a few people are sensitive to judder, and if you have watched a movie on a mobile device before and did not notice any judder, you should be okay with the MU6290.
Like other 2017 TVs, the MU6290 doesn't support a variable refresh rate.
The Samsung MU6290 can properly display nearly any content, including HDR. It also has outstanding low input lag, good enough for all but the most competitive gamers.
Outstanding input lag, good enough for all but the most competitive gamers. Both 'Game mode' and 'PC mode' have the same low input lag, but 4:4:4 color is only shown properly in PC mode (see the Supported Resolutions box). This input lag is very similar to all 2017 Samsung TVs, better than most Sony TVs like the X800E, but is a little worse than many TCL TVs like the P607, and LG TVs like the UJ6300.
Most common resolutions are supported, except 120 Hz input which isn't relevant because the TV only has a 60 Hz panel. 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 color is only supported when 'HDMI UHD Color' is enabled for the port being used. 4:4:4 color is only shown properly when the input's label is set to 'PC' (aka 'PC mode'). Unfortunately, PC mode cannot be activated for some input refresh rates such as 24 Hz; the input's icon will still change to PC, but the settings that are normally disabled in PC mode are not disabled, and 4:4:4 color isn't shown properly.
Only one of Dolby Digital or DTS can be enabled at a time, the TV will not switch between the two automatically.
The Samsung MU6290 produces an acceptable sound, but it isn't particularly enjoyable. It will do fine for watching the news, but replacing its integrated system with dedicated speakers or even a soundbar should offer a significant upgrade.
Average frequency response. The Samsung MU6290 does a decent job of following our target response. Unfortunately, it doesn't get particularly loud, and it does use some compression at higher volumes. Its low-frequency extension, while not terrible, is also not particularly good.
Average distortion performance. The MU6290. just like its very similar sibling the MU6300, produces fairly low amounts of distortion. Like most TVs, both THD and IMD rise almost exponentially with volume, but it doesn't reach a point where very distracting artifacts are audible.
The Samsung MU6290 runs Samsung's 2017 Tizen smart platform, also called Smart Hub. The interface is easy to use and the Samsung app store has more apps than many other smart platforms, but there are sometimes ads in the home menu, and the MU6290 can only use the basic Samsung remote without voice control.
Update 01/04/2018: Bluetooth can be enabled in the TV's service menu, allowing the use of the Samsung smart remote (not included) and its voice control, as well as Bluetooth headphones. For more details see the