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Reviewed on Dec 25, 2017

Samsung MU6290 TV REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
7.3
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
6.6
Movies
7.4
TV Shows
7.1
Sports
8.1
Video Games
6.7
HDR Movies
7.6
HDR Gaming
7.8
PC Monitor
Type : LED
Sub-Type
:
VA
Resolution : 4k

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.

Test Results
Design 8.5
Picture Quality 7.3
Motion 6.0
Inputs 8.9
Sound Quality 6.3
Smart Features 7.7
Pros
  • Good contrast for dark room viewing
  • Low input lag for gaming
Cons
  • Image quality deteriorates at an angle
  • Limited HDR capabilities
  1. Update 3/12/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Learn more about our versioned test bench system here.
  2. Update 1/5/2018: 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.

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8.5

Design

Curved : No

The design of the Samsung MU6290 is good. From the front, it looks the same as the MU6300 and very similar to the MU6500 but without the curve. The stand has a relatively small footprint but still supports the TV well and feels stable. The inputs are all easy to access from the side, which is good.

Stand

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"

Back
Wall Mount : VESA 400x400

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.

Borders
Borders : 0.67" (1.7 cm)

The borders of this Samsung TV have an average thickness. They are quite simple and made of plastic.

Thickness
Max Thickness : 2.56" (6.5 cm)

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.

Temperature
Maximum Temperature
:
97 °F (36 °C)
Average Temperature
:
91 °F (33 °C)

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.

6.5 Build Quality

The build quality of the TV is decent. All of the parts are made of plastic, but the textured finish is a nice touch. The stand does feel a bit cheap, similar to the MU6300 and KU6300.

7.3

Picture Quality

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.

8.7 Contrast
Native Contrast
:
4819 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
:
N/A

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.

0 Local Dimming
Local Dimming
:
No
Backlight
:
Direct

The Samsung MU6290 does not have a local dimming feature. The video is for reference only.

7.7 SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
321 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
:
193 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
:
352 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
:
350 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
:
350 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
:
349 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
:
192 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
:
348 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
:
347 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
:
346 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
:
345 cd/m²
SDR ABL
:
0.040

Plot over time

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.

6.1 HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
307 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
:
190 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
:
342 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
:
337 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
:
335 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
:
334 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
:
189 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
:
334 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
:
333 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
:
332 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
:
330 cd/m²
HDR ABL
:
0.038

Plot over time

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.

6.8 Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
:
3.839 %
50% DSE
:
0.220 %
5% Std. Dev.
:
0.912 %
5% DSE
:
0.116 %

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.

4.7 Viewing Angle
Color Shift
:
20 °
Brightness
:
39 °
Black Level
:
20 °

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.

8.8 Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
:
0.680 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
:
N/A

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.

7.1 Reflections
Screen Finish
:
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
:
5.9 %
Indirect Reflections
:
1.1 %

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.

7.0 Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
:
Movie
White Balance dE
:
3.57
Color dE
:
3.23
Gamma
:
2.29
Color Temperature
:
5915 K

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

9.2 Post Calibration
Picture Mode
:
Movie
White Balance dE
:
0.27
Color dE
:
2.13
Gamma
:
2.21
Color Temperature
:
6539 K

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.

8.0 480p Input

Upscaling of 480p content such as DVDs is good. Details are preserved well, but the image is a bit softer than most other TVs.

8.0 720p Input

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.

9.0 1080p Input

Upscaling of full-HD content is also good. All areas of the image remain clear and detailed.

10 4k Input

No issues can be seen with native 4k sources.

6.8 Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
:
No
DCI P3 xy
:
77.23 %
DCI P3 uv
:
84.20 %
Rec 2020 xy
:
54.21 %
Rec 2020 uv
:
58.32 %

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.

5.6 Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
:
65.4 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
:
21.7 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
:
47.0 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
:
15.5 %

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.

7.3 Gradient
Color Depth
:
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
:
0.126 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
:
0.160 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
:
0.101 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
:
0.139 dE

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)

10 Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
:
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
:
0.00 %

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.

10 Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
:
No

We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.

Pixels
6.0

Motion

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.

7.3 Response Time
80% Response Time
:
9.1 ms
100% Response Time
:
21.4 ms

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.

4.0 Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
:
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
:
120 Hz

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.

8.6 Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
:
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
:
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
:
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
:
N/A
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
:
120 Hz

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.

7.0 Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
:
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
:
No

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.

8.5 Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
:
20.3 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
:
0.0 ms

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.

0 24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
:
No
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
:
No
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
:
No
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
:
No

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.

0 Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
:
60 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
:
No
4k VRR Maximum
:
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
:
N/A
1080p VRR Maximum
:
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
:
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors
:
N/A

Like other 2017 TVs, the MU6290 doesn't support a variable refresh rate.

8.9

Inputs

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.

9.2 Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
:
19.8 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
:
19.8 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
:
84.6 ms
1080p @ 120Hz
:
N/A
4k @ 60Hz
:
19.9 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
:
20.5 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
19.6 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
:
19.5 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
:
84.5 ms
4k With Interpolation
:
84.6 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
:
N/A
4k with Variable Refresh Rate
:
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
:
N/A

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.

6.7 Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
:
No
1440p @ 60Hz
:
No
4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
:
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
Yes
4k @ 120Hz
:
No

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.

Side Inputs
Rear Inputs

All of the inputs are directed out the side of the TV.

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 Specifications
HDR10
:
Yes
Dolby Vision
:
No
HLG
:
Yes
3D
:
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 1,2,3)
HDMI 2.1 Full Bandwidth
:
No
ARC
:
Yes (HDMI 3)
USB 3.0
:
No
HDCP 2.2 : Yes (HDMI 1,2,3)
CEC : Yes
MHL : No
Variable Analog Audio Out : No
Wi-Fi Support : Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)

Only one of Dolby Digital or DTS can be enabled at a time, the TV will not switch between the two automatically.

6.3

Sound Quality

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.

6.3 Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
:
95.14 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
:
3.84 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
:
4.07 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
:
6.63 dB
Max
:
86.3 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
:
4.05 dB

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.

6.2 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.324
Weighted THD @ Max
:
1.630
IMD @ 80
:
4.11 %
IMD @ Max
:
22.56 %

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.

7.7

Smart Features

Smart OS : Tizen
Version : 2017

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