The Samsung MU6500 is a decent entry-level 4k LED TV with good picture quality in a dark room. It features a curved design that is pretty rare to find nowadays, and it can produce uniform blacks without any major uniformity issues. Unfortunately, though, its picture quality deteriorates at an angle, and it could be a bit brighter.
The MU6500 looks good with a similar design to other 6 series Samsung TVs such as the MU6300 and KU6300 except for the additional curve. It has the iconic Samsung central stand which provides good support and can fit on most tables, but otherwise doesn't really stand out. The borders are an average thickness, and the inputs are easy to access if placed close to a wall.
The central V shaped stand supports the TV well but will wobble a bit if knocked. It looks very similar to the KU6500 from 2016.
Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 12.2" x 32.9"
The borders of the TV have an average thickness and are made of plastic.
The TV appears thicker when viewed from the side due to the curve.
The TV runs fairly cool, only getting a little warm to the touch in a few places on the back.
The build quality of the MU6500 is okay. All of the parts are plastic, but this is unlikely to present any issues during normal use.
The Samsung MU6500 curved LED TV has a better than average picture quality. Darkroom performance is great since it can reproduce deep blacks due to its excellent native contrast ratio and good black uniformity. When set in a brighter room with natural light or indoor lighting, the MU6500 performance could be better since it can't deal with reflection very good and it can't get bright enough to fight glare from a bright sunny window or a very bright indoor light. The gray uniformity is better than average and dirty screen effect is not too distracting, especially when watching sports content, where dirty screen effect is more apparent than other content. Unfortunately, viewing angle is bad and this narrow the optimal watching position to a small zone straight in front of the TV. Finally, when it comes to HDR, the MU6500 could be better, as the HDR peak brightness is ordinary and is missing a wide color gamut and a local dimming feature, both of which are essential to make HDR movies stand out when compared to regular movies or TV shows.
Great native contrast ratio for the MU6500. With over 5000:1, this Samsung TV can do deep blacks, which in turn makes for great dark scene performance when set in a dark home theater room. This is a very similar result as the Samsung MU6300, which is the flat counterpart.
There is no local dimming on the MU6500. The video is for reference only.
Mediocre HDR peak brightness. The brightness is fairly consistent, but the TV's lack of local dimming prevents it from making highlights very bright in dark scenes. Worse, its CE dimming actually dims highlights in very dark scenes, as shown by our 2% white window test. Overall the brightness is very similar to the MU6300, but less than the rival TCL P607.
The MU6500 has a decent overall gray uniformity. For a direct-lit TV, which are often more prone to have a worse gray uniformity, the MU6500 fair well. The center of the screen is fairly even and dirty screen effect is not really a problem. Most of the gray uniformity issues come from the sides and corners being a bit darker than the center.
Not much problem can be noticed when looking at the 5% gray uniformity test picture too, which is excellent news.
Bad viewing angle, but fairly typical for a VA TV. Blacks turn grey when the TV is viewed from even a small angle, while colors shift and brightness decreases at moderate angles. This TV isn't well suited for a room where people often view the TV from the side.
Great black uniformity on the MU6500. Looking at our test picture, some faint clouding can be noticed, but it is not enough to affect the whole evenness of the screen overall and this marginal clouding is not apparent when looking at some movie clips with dark scenes.
Out of the box, the MU6500 is pretty accurate and for most people, it could be use 'as is' without any need for calibration.
The white balance is a bit on the warm side, but only toward high IRE. Looking at the gamma curve, we can see that it does not follow hoe 2.2 target closely, and this may be because Samsung TV follow a different target, but overall, the difference is not that of a problem here.
The Color dE is not too high overall, and most colors are tracking, from not too far there targets. The higher value in the red, blue and magenta are a bit more problematic than the rest though, but not enough to cause a problem while watching normal video content.
As with other Samsung TV, the calibration process was done very fast and without too many issues. Overall, the 2 and 10 points were pretty accurate and responsive for the most part, leaving only a small issues in the lower IRE, which could not be corrected completely. But when compared to the pre-calibration, this is still a very good result. As you can see, the gamma curve looks much flatter than before and is now tracking our 2.2 target very closely.
As for the color dE, it was brought down to 1.68, which is great, but the problem in the higher value in the red, blue and magenta were still present and could not be corrected completely without causing more issues than needed. In the end, even with those little problems in the higher red, blue and magenta value, it did not cause any problem while watching normal TV content.
You can see our recommended settings for this Samsung TV here.
Upscaling of DVDs and other low quality content is good. Some minor haloing artifacts can be seen along straight edges.
720p content such as cable looks good. The image is slightly softened, but details are preserved well.
Standard color gamut, only good enough for SDR content. Green and red fall well short of their HDR targets, especially green. Though, on the bright side, the TV is fairly accurate at showing the colors it's able to, as with many Samsung TVs.
The TV's EOTF in the 'Movie' picture mode follows the HDR PQ curve fairly well until 40% stimulus grey, where it starts to roll off severely before arriving at its max brightness. When the TV's 'Gamma' setting is made +3 this roll off is far less severe, but the darker shades are made a bit too dark, shown here. The game mode EOTF is fairly similar to Movie mode, and 'Gamma' +3 has a similar effect, shown here. PC mode's EOTF most closely follows the PQ curve, especially with 'Gamma' +3, shown here. Users should adjust the 'Gamma' setting to suit the brightness of their room.
Disappointing color volume. The TV's color gamut narrows for very dark colors, and it can't make fully saturated colors very bright either.
The MU6500 does a great job displaying our gradient test image. No 8-bit banding can be seen and overall, besides some little issues in the dark green and blue, this TV does a similar job to the rest of the Samsung line of TVs.
Like the flat MU6300, the MU6500 does not suffer from any image retention.
We don't expect VA panels to experience permanent image retention, as the VA panel in our long-term test appears immune.
The motion handling of the MU6500 is below average. The response time is good, resulting in a short trail of blur following fast moving objects. The TV flickers at 120 Hz to dim, so motion isn't as smooth as some other TVs but most people won't notice it. This TV is unable to play movies at 24p from any source without judder. The MU6500 has a 60 Hz panel which can interpolate lower frame rate content.
The MU6500 uses PWM at 120Hz to dim the backlight, starting at 12/20 backlight setting. Lowering the setting from 12/20 shortens the duty cycle, while amplitude remains constant. Backlight that uses PWM results in duplications following moving objects while helping to clear up motion slightly.
It is possible to reduce the flicker frequency to 60 Hz by setting 'Auto Motion Plus' to 'Custom' and activating 'LED Clear Motion'. If you don't mind the visible flicker produced by this option, it helps to clear up fast moving content.
The MU6500 has a 60 Hz panel which can interpolate lower frame rate content. To add the soap opera effect, set 'Auto Motion Plus' to 'Custom' and increase the 'Judder Reduction' slider. Note that any motion interpolation will introduce artifacts, so use a small value unless you really like the soap opera effect.
This TV is great at showing content without stutter. Even for low frame rate content such as 24p movies with a long frame time there is only ~22ms of static image each frame, which makes the image appear smooth even for slow panning shots.
This TV can't remove judder from 24p movies, and this independently from any type of sources, that be 24p, 60p and 60i. This is the same result as seen on the MU6300, MU7600 and even the 2016 KU6300. For most people, this is not really an issue though, as judder in movies is not often noticed, but if it is the case, a 120Hz TV like the MU8000 may be a better choice for you.
Like other 2017 TVs, the MU6500 doesn't support a variable refresh rate.
The MU6500 can display most input signals, including HDR. It has excellent low input lag, which will please all but the most competitive gamers.
Excellent low input lag, which should please all but the most competitive gamers. Game mode and PC mode both have the same low input lag, though only PC mode can properly show 4:4:4 color. This input lag is very similar to all 2017 Samsung TVs, though not quite as good as the TCL P607.
Most resolutions are supported. 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 color is only supported when 'HDMI UHD color' is enabled for the input used. 4:4:4 color is only displayed properly when the input's icon is set to PC (aka 'PC mode'). PC mode doesn't work for some refresh rates, such as 24 Hz. The icon will still change to PC, but the settings that are usually disabled in PC mode are not, and 4:4:4 color is not shown properly.
Only one of Dolby Digital or DTS can be enabled at a time, the TV will not switch between them automatically depending on which the content supports.
The sound reproduction capabilities of the Samsung MU6500 are about average for a TV. They aren't particularly bad, but the viewing experience will see a great improvement from adding a sound bar or other external sound system.
Passable frequency response. The MU6500 lacks a room correction feature that would help reduce the impacts of room modes which can cause an overemphasis in the lower frequencies.
Decent distortion performance. THD levels are acceptable, and the MU6500 is free of aliasing.
The MU6500 runs Samsung's 2017 Tizen platform, also called Smart Hub. It has an easy to use layout and a great voice command feature, but the remote has few buttons. The center of the interface is the Smart Hub itself, which contains all the features of the smart OS in one easy to navigate menu. Unfortunately the lack of 'inputs' and 'settings' buttons on the remote mean a trip through the Smart Hub is required to change almost anything manually. This is alleviated by the TV's excellent voice command feature, which can directly perform many actions on the TV like changing between apps and inputs, searching for content and changing settings.
The TV did not show ads during our testing, but the appearance of ads is often inconsistent. The TV can be assumed to have ads because all Samsung TVs since 2015 have had ads, and many 2017 Samsung TVs like the MU7000 showed ads during testing. If anyone notices ads on their MU6500 please email us a picture of the ad, we'll update the review.
The TV comes pre-installed with many popular apps such as Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Video. Many more apps can be downloaded from the Apps menu. Apps run smoothly with little lag or frame drops.
The remote has few buttons but some great smart features. Its lack of buttons such as 'inputs' and 'settings' mean a trip through the Smart Hub is needed to change most things. Fortunately, its great voice command feature often allows skipping the Smart Hub entirely, by allowing commands like 'HDMI 1' or 'The Avengers' to directly change between inputs and apps, search for content, and change settings. The remote can also act as a universal remote for other devices, even if they don't support HDMI CEC, using Samsung's OneRemote feature.