Introduction and features
What are curved TVs for, exactly? They might be ‘curved like your eyes’, but lend a bend to a flat-panel TV and a more immersive image isn’t the result.
In fact, it actually makes very little difference.
After a couple of years wondering if adding a curve to a TV was actually just a sly way of making all-new Ultra HD TVs irresistible though, along comes the tiny Full HD Samsung UE32J6300 to refute that argument.
Is anyone buying 32-inch TVs anymore? We’re not so sure, but Samsung is hoping that by curving this Series 6 LED TV it becomes a no-brainer of a buy for anyone after something small.
I’m not convinced by the UE32J6300’s high price at £349 – relatively speaking – and rather plasticky build quality, though there’s no doubting its feature-packed spec.
Although it stops short of having the Ultra HD resolution that most of Samsung’s curved TVs wear, the UE32J6300’s Full HD LED panel is about what I expected at this small size.
The rear includes plenty of ins and outs, with an impressive four HDMI inputs alongside three USB inputs, wired Ethernet (though the UE32J6300 also boasts WiFi), a headphones jack and a digital optical audio output.
You’ll not see a more comprehensive roster of connections on a telly ten times the price, though I do wonder if anyone is going to make the UE32J6300 the entertainment hub it’s clearly capable of being.
Bucking the trend for TV manufacturers to fit their smaller TVs with bare bones smart stuff, the UE32J6300 includes the very latest version of Samsung’s Smart Hub (complete with Netflix and Amazon Instant Video apps), as well as a Freeview HD tuner.
But what about 3D? If the UE32J6300 really is meant to be a mini version of Samsung’s latest and greatest TVs, 3D compatibility should come as standard.
What it does have is a detailed colour management system that allows tweaks a-plenty, even down to the level of 10-point white balance controls; yet more proof of the UE32J6300’s high-end heritage.
The UE32J6300 might have possession of the slick Smart Hub, but it doesn’t have the grunt to use it despite it being fitted with a Quad Core processor.
The way that apps and services are dynamically strung along a pop-up menu along the bottom of the screen is great, but there is a small, though irritating delay between issuing a command on the remote and the UE32J6300 responding.
Having said that, kudos to Samsung for providing the same large remote control it includes with its higher-end TVs; most small TVs get poor, palm-sized remotes.
When it comes to picture quality, the UE32J6300 hugely impresses.
Its curved screen is supposed to produce higher contrast, but does it? No, not particularly, but the panel boasts excellent black levels in any case.
During my test disc Gravity on Blu-ray the inky blackness of space juxtaposed with the brightness and lush colours of Earth was handled well by the UE32J6300 when in Movie mode and with few tweaks.
With the anti-blur Motion Plus mode engaged, the detail was high in both still and moving images, but while the UE32J6300 handles mixed brightness well, it doesn’t slide between resolutions as effectively. A blast of Horizon on BBC4 appeared soft and blocky, suggesting that the UE32J6300 should probably be fed a hi-def only diet.
The UE32J6300 is also available as the 40-inch UE40J6300, 48-inch UE48J6300 and 55-inch UE55J6300, and throughout the range it does a neat impression of those bigger and more capable curved TVs.
But at 32-inches where is Samsung expecting this TV to sit? Realistically most folk are looking to up the screen size with a new purchase, so it would make sense for this smaller Samsung to be used as a second screen, maybe in the bedroom or kitchen.
And with that curve it could make for an excellent little gaming screen for your Xbox One or PlayStation 4. With a single user always sitting in that
Forget the curve though; the UE32J6300 is all about picture quality. Even better, it works well out of the box with Movie mode offering a combination of Full HD precision, eye-popping colour, smooth action sequences and excellent black levels.
Surprisingly the UE32J6300 delivers good audio, with its small underslung speakers giving good range as well as decent stereo separation in a small room. It’s treble-heavy and lacks much bass, but those 2x 10W speakers are precise, clean, and go to high volumes without distortion.
It’s also great to see a headphones slot on a bedroom TV.
Connectivity is excellent for video, too, not only with the plethora of HDMI and USB slots, but with their clever placing; all bar one (rear-facing) HDMI are side-mounted though recessed, making cables easy to attach and simple to hide. In a small room, that’s crucial.
Meanwhile, Smart Hub brings an excellent roster of apps including Netflix, Amazon Instant, the BBC iPlayer (and other BBC apps), ITV Player and YouTube. What more does any bedroom need?
Does the curved UE32J6300 look an absolute treat?
Er, no, not really; its metallic look is just that, while the bulky design doesn’t sit particularly well with the sleekness that the curve is obviously supposed to add. A rather plasticky build quality also gives it a lightweight feel.
So too standard definition images, which look soft and strewn with picture artefacts.
I also remain unconvinced that many people,will want to pay this much for such a small TV, however well-endowed and image-capable it is.
Other concerns include the UE32J6300’s average performance with standard definition fare as well as its slightly under-powered processor.
Samsung has created the finest 32-inch TV at a canter, but this isn’t the must-have small TV it could have been.
Does a curve even make sense on a small TV? Stylistically this feature-packed 32-incher just about gets away with it, but a plasticky build quality detracts from an otherwise thoroughly polished performance.
Smart Hub is slightly underpowered, though even its presence on such a small TV is a boon. Add awesome Full HD pictures and unexpectedly excellent audio though and the UE32J6300 is quite a package for a bedroom or second room.
A good alternative to Samsung’s UE32J6300 is the Panasonic TX-32CS510, which sells for considerably less. You will have to forgo Full HD for a HD-ready panel, but as well as Panasonic’s myHomeScreen smart TV app platform there’s Freetime (for UK viewers) and its fabulous ‘roll-back’ TV that covers on-demand TV from the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD and Demand 5.
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