Samsung KU6300 Review – 4k UHD Smart Flat LED TV Series (UN65KU6300, UN60KU6300, UN55KU6300, UN50KU6300, UN40KU6300)
Samsung first unveiled the successors to their great and popular 2015 SUHD TVs with the 2016 SUHD KS-Series (Series 8 and Series 9) HDR 4K TVs, and now they’ve done roughly the same thing for their 2015 JU-Series 4K UHD TVs through their own successors, the new KU-Series models.
Among the four new KU-Series 4K “HDR” Samsung smart TVs, the multi-range KU6300 occupies the bottom spot in terms of price but as far as its quality goes, this 4K TVs is essentially identical to the recently reviewed KU6500 4K TV we’ve also looked at. In fact, the one major difference between the two is the curved display on the KU6500 and its absence in the KU6300 is if anything actually a bonus, since it brings down the price of this TV in all its display sizes by a hefty margin and only because you “lose out” on what is in any case a design feature that’s 99% gimmick. Thus, overall, the KU6300 is pretty much the same for quality and core specs as the KU6500 and in comparison to its somewhat better built KU7000 and 7500 cousins , the KU6300 delivers nearly the same quality but at a considerably more reasonable price.
Thus, what you get with the KU6300 HDR 4K TV is is a robust and well-rounded level of picture quality, solid color, contrast and black performance, well-performing refresh rate and the same high quality smart OS and upscaling engine as those found in any other major Samsung 4K TV. On the other hand, what the KU6300 lacks for its lower retail cost is the higher caliber of HDR found in the 2016 SUHD TVs and the rather impressive quantum dot color enhancement technology we also lovein those pricier models. Along with these missing features there is the absence of a few other key display technologies that Samsung has reserved for its best TVs.
The main best features of the KU6300 are the same technologies that we have enjoyed in all of Samsung’s 4K UHD TVs to-date from 2015 to-date. These consist particularly o the excellent Tizen smart platform and its features, the company’s high quality display panels even in lower-end Samsung TVs outside the SUHD lines and on top of all these, Samsung’s fantastic upscaling engine for the SD and HD content which still makes up a majority of what most users view on their 4K TV and which is so important for this reason above all.
Starting off with Tizen, in the KU6300 and the other major 2016 4K TVs, it’s better than it has ever been, with further refinements for this year in the form of a simplified menu of options and controls, better overall usability and faster, more efficient functionality. Tizen now also features some great new extras like easier, simpler management of content streamed from external devices and mobile phones as well as an improved system of console-free gaming for the games apps you can download through the smart platform itself or through other smart interfaces from set-top boxes and so forth.
In 2015 we considered Tizen to be the second best 4K TV smart platform on the market, after LG’s even more streamlined and intuitive WebOS, and in 2016 our opinion of both smart OS systems remains the same. Tizen continues to outperform other rival smart platforms like Sony’s also excellent Android TV and Vizio’s now much more broadly revamped and improved SmartCast interface.
Moving on to display performance, the KU6300 delivers some great viewing quality even if it doesn’t fully match the kind of stunning quality we’ve seen in the SUHD TVs or some other competitor models. Nonetheless, this is a great model for solid contrast, deep nicely rich blacks with great uniformity and some very good color performance despite the lack of advanced HDR Wide Color Gamut specs or even Samsung’s own quantum dot color nano particle technology as it’s offered in the SUHD TVs from 2015 and 2016.
Furthermore, the KU6300 offers the slightly unique feature of direct-lit LED backlighting technology with LEDS’s across the back of the entire display space. And though there aren’t nearly as many LEDs arranged in this pattern as there are in 4K TVs TVs with Full-array LED backlighting, the KU6300’s somewhat limited array of such LEDs does create a slightly better level of brightness uniformity we do like. In addition to these positive aspects of the TV’s display, the KU6300 also comes with the same excellent upscaling engine we’ve seen in all other 2015 and 2016 Samsung TV models. The quality with which even well-mastered 480p SD content is upconverted to look sharper looks great for the most part and Full HD content sources such as Blu-ray in particular look superb when viewed on the KU6300’s screen. As for native 4K content and especially native 4K content with HDR technology, it looks just superb.
Additionally, we should mention that we really like the HDR technology in this TV. It’s not the premium caliber of HDR that you’ll find in Samsung’s SUHD TVs or Vizio’s excellent P-Series models but it still delivers a superior viewing experience that is notably better than what you’ll see in any normal SDR 4K TV on the market. Peak brightness and black level are both rich enough to deliver the sort of dynamic range that stands out with its quality to the naked eye and Samsung additions like Ultra Clear Panel, which works to reduce glare in the KU6300’s screen further augment the quality of this TVs somewhat limited HDR capabilities.
We should also note that as far as its physical design goes, the KU6300 simply looks beautiful. Samsung has always been a master at creating what we consider to be elegant looking 4K TVs that can be proudly put on display in any home and the 2016 SUHD and KU-Series models are no exception to this at all. This model and its cousins take Samsung stylishness to a new level even.
Finally and crucially, the KU6300 delivers better value for its price than its cousin the KU6500. Samsung has created two 4K TVs with essentially identical specs and display quality but has made the curved version considerably more expensive (roughly $300 more) and this leap up in price is almost entirely due to the 6500’s curved display panel design. Since curvature does nothing to really improve the quality of viewing experience in a normal-sized 4K TV, the price jump is unjustified. Thus, with the KU6300 you get a much better value for your money without pointless gimmicks thrown in at a premium price margin.
4.2 - 24 Reviews
While we consider the KU6300 to be the better choice over the KU6500 4K TV in terms of the value it delivers for its price, as we explained above, it’s also not without a few flaws of its own.
First of all, there is the lack of full high dynamic range technology in the entire KU-Series TV range. Like the KU7500, KU7000 and KU6500, the KU6300 comes with HDR but in a much more loosely defined sense of the technology. None of these TVs offer high dynamic range that matches the quality defined either by HDR10 standards from the UHD Alliance or by Dolby’s Dolby Vision rubric. Furthermore, none of these 4K TVs offer Wide Color Gamut technology and as a result, their overall value is reduced slightly. In the case of the KU6300, this is mitigated by the fact that this is a really affordable 4K TV in all of its size ranges but it would have been nice to see a more robust caliber of HDR installed in 2016 4K TVs like these.
Next, the number of HDMI and USB ports in the KU6300 is lower than it is in comparable 2015 JU-Series 4K TV models. Last year, all of Samsung’s 4K UHD televisions offered up 4 HDMI ports and 3 USB ports, at least but in 2016, every single one of the KU-Series TVs including the KU6300 only come with 3 HDMI ports and 2 USB ports. We don’t know why Samsung decided to scale these specs down slightly but it’s a disappointing move in a market where the majority of 4K TVs across all brands come with at least 4 HDMI ports.
Next, we need to mention that the functionality of the smart remote that comes with the KU6300 is a bit iffy at best. From what we’ve heard, Samsung originally planned on releasing the KU6300 with a traditional button remote control and replaced it with their smart remote only at the last minute, leaving in place TV programming that wasn’t geared to the more advanced control device. As a result the TV (at least as of this writing) doesn’t actually work well with its own smart remote control, with only limited functionality being responsive between control and TV smart interface and hardware. We assume Samsung will be sorting this out sooner or later via firmware updates.
Finally, the viewing angles on all of Samsung’s 2016 4K TVs, from the SUHD models on down to the KU6300 are not the best we’ve seen. Due to the company’s use of Vertical Alignment technology in the screen of the KU6300, viewing angles to either side from dead center are limited to only about 20 degrees or so, with sharp drop-offs in color accuracy and contrast quality beyond that. On the other hand, the VA panel is partly responsible for the excellent contrast of this 4K TV.
Our final opinion of the KU6300 is that it deserves a full thumbs up. This 4K TV isn’t without its flaws but its many display quality and other benefits outweigh them all and the size options for this series are great. Furthermore, all of the different models sell for what we consider to be very affordable prices.
• Screen size: 49.5 diagonal inches - UN50KU6300, 54.5 diagonal inches - UN55KU6300, 60 diagonal inches - UN60KU6300 , 64.5 diagonal inches - UN65KU6300
• Smart TV: Tizen OS, Smart Hub, Smart TV with Apps and Full Web Browser
• HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
• VP9 Included. Yes
• HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
• HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
• Refresh Rate: 60Hz native refresh rate (Motion Rate 120Hz)
• Screen Lighting: Direct-lit LED backlighting
• Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
• Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
• Remotes: Samsung smart button remote
• Connectivity: 3 HDMI 2.0a ports, 2 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 Component, 1 composite, 1 Audio Out, 1 Digital Audio Out
• Sound: 40W (20W x 2, ) Down Firing Down Firing w/Tweeter (2CH) speakers with Dolby Digital Plus
• Contrast Ratio: 3,600:1
• Other Display Features: Curved display, Auto Depth Enhancer and Ultra Clear Panel technology
• Processor: Quad-core
• Weight: 35.3 lb (55 inch model, with stand)
• Dimensions: 48.9" x 28.3" x 2.5" (55 inch model, with stand)
HDR Premium: Once again, the KU6300 doesn’t offer the same full range of 4K high dynamic technology as its 2016 SUHD cousins with their compatibility to HDR10 standards. This means that the TV doesn’t deliver the peak luminance of 1100 nits or more and same Wide Color Gamut as those top-shelf 4K HDR TV models do. Furthermore, its color coverage doesn’t offer quite the same realistic richness we’ve seen in models like the KS9500 2016 HDR television. However, the KU6300, like the KU6500, does come with HDR Premium capacity and this does offer up a level of dynamic range that’s at least comparable to high dynamic range as we’ve seen it in some 2015 4K TV models with this technology. It’s not the best in HDR that you’ll find in the KU6300 but the TV still delivers a range of contrast that’s better than what you’ll find in the vast majority of SDR 4K TVs.
Tizen and Smart Hub: Tizen in the 2016 4K TVs of all types from Samsung is even better than it was in 2015. Last year we called this the second best smart TV platform on the market and we stand by that view in 2016. The new additions in Tizen and Smart Hub for this year definitely work to the platforms favor, with console-free gaming, the ability to access games from a cloud server and simplified access to streaming media from external mobile devices and content sources in the TV itself. The Tizen user interface is also wonderfully clean and user-friendly.
UHD Upscaling: Samsung’s UHD upscaling technology, which is called, you guessed it, UHD upscaling, deserves mention of its own as a highlight of the KU6300. Samsung seems to program the same caliber of non-4K content upscaling in all of its ultra HD TVs because from what we’ve seen to-date, both the premium SUHD TVs of this year and a lower-tier model like the KU6300 perform about the same in this regard. When it comes to upscaling Full HD TV or media device content, the KU6300 does a superb job (particularly for Blu-ray HD media) and for upscaling of 720p and 480p SD content sources like some cable TV content or DVD movies, the upscaling engine in this TV performs almost as admirably. A well formatted DVD movie can look downright superb in the KU6300 and will certainly look better than it would if viewed in most HD TVs we’ve seen, with a minimum of haziness to boot.
4.2 - 24 Reviews
The KU6300 doesn’t quite come close to matching the truly impressive visuals we’ve seen in this year’s SUHD TVs but among the non-SUHD TVs, it’s pretty close to being on par with the rest of the KU-Series lineup. The display specs of this particular model are just slightly inferior to those of the KU7000 and KU7500 “top-shelf” KU-Series 4K TVs but in comparison to the considerably pricier KU6500, the display quality of the KU6300 is identical as far as we could tell across the board. In fact, the only real notable difference between the two TVs is the fact that the KU6300 offers no curved display and as far as we’re concerned, this is a good thing, since the absence of curvature knocks about $300 off this model’s price tag with no real loss of display quality.
Furthermore, while the KU6300 also doesn’t match the great to very impressive visuals we’ve also seen in the HDR 4K TVs of some other major brands for 2016, such as the 2016 Vizio P-Series or Sony’s also very robust X850D and X900D 4K TVs of 2016, it still holds up well as an HDR 4K TV.
The HDR in this model may not be of the same caliber as that we’ve seen in the other TVs linked to above but it still delivers superb contrast at over 3,200:1, fairly decent peak brightness at 480 nits and black levels that go below the 0.05 nits stipulated for HDR10 compliance. Furthermore, the overall black uniformity of the display is great, with no blooming we could see and little in the way of light bleed for an LCD TV, though activating local dimming in the KU6300 does sharply reduce black level depth in darker parts of the screen. Colors also look very good even if they don’t come with the twin augmentations of Quantum Dot color and Wide color Gamut for HDR standards that we’ve seen in the SUHD TVs.
To explain a little better on these color differences, 10-bit Wide Color Gamut for high dynamic range is what’s necessary for full HDR10 certification for the “Ultra HD Premium” label from the UHD Alliance, and the inclusion of this color means over 1 billion color values and 1024 Red, Green, Blue (RGB) color variations. This essentially means that the KU6300 can’t produce the deeply smooth and varied color gradients or 90%+ Digital cinema level DCI-93 color space coverage we saw in other full HDR TVs like the 2016 Vizio P-Series models, Sony’s X930D and other 2016 XBR-D 4K HDR TVs or Samsung’s own 2016 SUHD TVs.
Thus, while the KU6300 doesn’t come close to the 10-bit color vibrancy and 1400 nit+ peak brightness levels of 2016 SUHD TVs like the KS8000 from the same brand , it delivers decent HDR contrast range and definitely beats most SDR 4K TVs we’ve seen on sale to-date in overall display quality.
Additionally, Samsung’s motion control technologies and motion interpolation quality in the KU6300 all work very well. While judder control could be better, and especially for 24p content sources, the Motion Rate 120 specs of the KU6300 do definitely deliver a smooth viewing experience even for fast-paced native 4K content sources, despite the TV’s actual native 60Hz refresh rate. As for the upscaling engine, as we’ve already detailed extensively in other sections above, it’s as superb as we’ve ever seen it in any Samsung 4K TV.
As we’d already mentioned, the connectivity options of the KU6300 are oddly limited from what we saw in 2015’s non-SUHD 4K TVs from Samsung. 3 HDMI 2.0 ports and 2 USB ports isn’t a bad level of key connectivity specs but it’s also not up to par with the average in 4K TVs today. That Samsung should have changed this downwards from what they offered in last year’s models is disappointing and unusual.
On the other hand, the KU6300 does come with full internet browsing capacity through Tizen and access to all the major 4K streaming apps along with many others. Additionally, you can always also hook up a 4K set-top box like the excellent Roku 4 to this model via one of its HDMI ports if you want an even more connected and apps-rich content smart platform operating in the KU6500 on top of its native Tizen OS.
Also, as a 4K TVwith the complete Tizen smart TV package with apps and full web browsing, This KU-Series 4K TV obviously delivers Ethernet connectivity, full built-in WiFi for content streaming from external devices like mobile phones and its HDMI ports are fully compatible with HDCP 2.2 content copy protection and both the H.265 and VP9 4K video compression codecs.
Samsung’s KU6300 4K TV comes in several different size ranges with each selling for its own price. The currently available models come in the following price and size ranges:
• UN40KU6300 40 inch model: $597.99
• UN50KU6300 50 inch model: $797.99
• UN55KU6300 55 inch model: $997.99
• UN60KU6300 60 inch model: $1,121.30
• UN65KU6300 65 inch model: $1,499.99
4.2 - 24 Reviews
To summarize briefly on the negative aspects of the KU6300 4K UHD HDR TV from Samsung, This TV lacks wide viewing angles, doesn’t include the full scope of HDR technology as it has been standardized in 2016 and could definitely use more connectivity ports. Furthermore, its judder control could use some more improvement, particularly for 24p content.
• Tizen smart OS is superb
• Great brightness in display
• Excellent upscaling
• Solid contrast
• Lovely design
• Reasonable price range
• Lacks full HDR
• smart remote functionality glitches
• Few USB, HDMI ports
• Peak brightness could improve
• 60Hz native refresh