Samsung MU6500 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
8.0
PC Monitor
This TV was replaced by the Samsung NU7300

Type : LED
Sub-Type
:
VA
Resolution : 4k

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.

Test Results
Design 8.5
Picture Quality 7.3
Motion 6.1
Inputs 8.8
Sound Quality 6.6
Smart Features 8.1
Pros
  • Low input lag
  • High contrast and uniform blacks
Cons
  • Picture quality deteriorates at an angle
  • Could be a bit brighter
  1. Update 3/12/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2. Learn more about our versioned test bench system here.
  2. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1. Learn more about our new versioned test bench system here.

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8.5

Design

Curved : Yes

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.

Stand

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"

Back
Wall Mount : VESA 400x400

The rear of the TV is made of corrugated plastic, similar to the KU6500 from 2016. It looks fine, and the inputs are easy to access from the side. Note that if attaching a VESA mount, the included spacers may be necessary, which can cause the TV to stick out a bit from the wall.

Borders
Borders : 0.67" (1.7 cm)

The borders of the TV have an average thickness and are made of plastic.

Thickness
Max Thickness : 3.46" (8.8 cm)

The TV appears thicker when viewed from the side due to the curve.

Temperature
Maximum Temperature
:
97 °F (36 °C)
Average Temperature
:
93 °F (34 °C)

The TV runs fairly cool, only getting a little warm to the touch in a few places on the back.

6.5 Build Quality

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.

7.3

Picture Quality

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.

8.8 Contrast
Native Contrast
:
5253 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
:
N/A

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.

0 Local Dimming
Local Dimming
:
No
Backlight
:
Direct

There is no local dimming on the MU6500. The video is for reference only.

7.6 SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
306 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
:
196 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
:
353 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
:
352 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
:
352 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
:
352 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
:
196 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
:
349 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
:
349 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
:
349 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
:
349 cd/m²
SDR ABL
:
0.039

Plot over time

Good SDR peak brightness. The TV's CE dimming dims very dark scenes, as shown by our 2% white window test, but otherwise the brightness remains very consistent. This brightness is nearly identical to the MU6300, but less than the rival TCL P607.

6.1 HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
:
310 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
:
189 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
:
348 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
:
347 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
:
347 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
:
347 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
:
189 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
:
344 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
:
344 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
:
344 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
:
344 cd/m²
HDR ABL
:
0.041

Plot over time

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.

7.2 Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
:
3.818 %
50% DSE
:
0.187 %
5% Std. Dev.
:
0.763 %
5% DSE
:
0.119 %

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.

4.2 Viewing Angle
Color Shift
:
21 °
Brightness
:
32 °
Black Level
:
13 °

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.

8.3 Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
:
0.808 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
:
N/A

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.

7.2 Reflections
Screen Finish
:
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
:
6.1 %
Indirect Reflections
:
0.8 %

The MU6500 is decent at handling reflections. It has a similar semi-gloss finish to the MU6300 and KU6500 and diffuses reflections across the screen, which reduces their intensity but isn't the best at fighting glare. It is fine for an average room but may be an issue in a bright room.

7.8 Pre Calibration
Picture Mode
:
Movie
White Balance dE
:
3.30
Color dE
:
2.36
Gamma
:
2.29
Color Temperature
:
6269 K

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.

9.4 Post Calibration
Picture Mode
:
Movie
White Balance dE
:
0.22
Color dE
:
1.68
Gamma
:
2.21
Color Temperature
:
6572 K

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.

8.0 480p Input

Upscaling of DVDs and other low quality content is good. Some minor haloing artifacts can be seen along straight edges.

8.0 720p Input

720p content such as cable looks good. The image is slightly softened, but details are preserved well.

9.0 1080p Input

Full HD content is upscaled well and the image remains clear.

10 4k Input

No issues can be seen with native 4k content.

6.7 Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
:
No
DCI P3 xy
:
74.30 %
DCI P3 uv
:
81.07 %
Rec 2020 xy
:
53.32 %
Rec 2020 uv
:
59.12 %

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.

5.7 Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
:
66.5 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
:
21.8 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
:
47.6 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
:
15.6 %

Disappointing color volume. The TV's color gamut narrows for very dark colors, and it can't make fully saturated colors very bright either.

7.6 Gradient
Color Depth
:
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
:
0.121 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
:
0.130 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
:
0.098 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
:
0.130 dE

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.

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 %

Like the flat MU6300, the MU6500 does not suffer from any image retention.

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
6.1

Motion

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.

7.6 Response Time
80% Response Time
:
7.5 ms
100% Response Time
:
19.1 ms

The response time of the MU6500 is good, resulting in a short trail following moving objects. This is good for most people when watching fast-moving content. This is not as good as some higher-end Samsung TVs like the MU8000, but it is very similar to the MU6300 from 2017 and the KU6300 from 2016.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

8.3 Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
:
22.6 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
:
0.0 ms

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.

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

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.

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 MU6500 doesn't support a variable refresh rate.

8.8

Inputs

The MU6500 can display most input signals, including HDR. It has excellent low input lag, which will please all but the most competitive gamers.

9.2 Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
:
19.9 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
:
19.9 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
:
88.8 ms
1080p @ 120Hz
:
N/A
4k @ 60Hz
:
19.8 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
:
20.5 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
:
21.3 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
:
21.0 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
:
90.4 ms
4k With Interpolation
:
89.9 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
:
N/A
4k with Variable Refresh Rate
:
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
:
N/A

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.

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 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.

Side Inputs
Rear Inputs

All of the inputs are located out of 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 them automatically depending on which the content supports.

6.6

Sound Quality

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.

6.6 Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
:
89.80 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
:
3.97 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
:
4.19 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
:
6.34 dB
Max
:
87.9 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
:
3.71 dB

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.

6.7 Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
:
0.231
Weighted THD @ Max
:
1.150
IMD @ 80
:
1.93 %
IMD @ Max
:
9.44 %

Decent distortion performance. THD levels are acceptable, and the MU6500 is free of aliasing.

8.1

Smart Features

Smart OS : Tizen
Version : 2017

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.

8.0 Interface
Ease of Use
:
Easy
Smoothness
:
Average
Time Taken to Select YouTube
:
5 s
Time Taken to Change Backlight
:
7 s
Advanced Options
:
Many
0 Ad-Free
Ads
:
Yes
Opt-out
:
No
Suggested Content in Home
:
Yes
Opt-out of Suggested Content
:
No

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.

8.5 Apps and Features
App Selection
:
Many
App Smoothness
:
Average
Cast Capable
:
Yes
USB Drive Playback
:
Yes
USB Drive HDR Playback
:
Yes
HDR in Netflix
:
Yes
HDR in Amazon Video
:
Yes
HDR in YouTube
:
Yes

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.

8.5 Remote
Size
:
Small
Voice Control
:
Many Features
CEC Menu Control
:
Yes
Other Smart Features
:
Yes

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.

7.0 Remote App
Acts as the Remote
:
Yes
Directly Launches Apps and Inputs
:
Apps Only
Inputs Text in YouTube
:
No
Inputs Text in Netflix
:
No
Streams Device Files
:
Yes
Controls TV Settings