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June 14, 2012
- Low cost & attractive design
- Very deep black-levels
- Improved app suite
- Very good 2D image
- Brightness could be better
- Poor 3D image
The Samsung PN51E6500 is a 51-inch plasma 3D HDTV that offers excellent black levels, a intuitive Smart TV Internet apps interface and an exceptional value. While it has good black levels, it does lack in brightness and quality of the 3D picture but the design of the TV itself is one that will fit into almost any living area with ease.
There are many HDTVs on the market now and with their prices drastically lower than just a year ago, now is the time to buy if you're in the market for a new TV. There is still much to consider, however, such as plasma vs. LCD vs. LED and 3D vs. non-3D. For help with this, consider reading our HDTV buying guide which covers anything you need to know before buying your new HDTV.
For this review, we will compare the PN51E6500 model to the Samsung PN51D8000 model that we reviewed in February of this year. We found that TV to also have an attractive design, very deep black-levels but it also had 3D capabilities, which this TV both has and still has issues with.
The design of the Samsung PN51E6500 is very eye-pleasing in multiple ways. First, the stand is an X shape instead of the typical block foot design, which makes it more minimal and little more edgy (if you like that sort of thing). The screen is surrounded by about an inch of brushed-black plastic bezel, which is a little wider than today's LED HDTVs, but this is mostly because of the plasma TV technology. The set measures 12.2 x 47.0 x 31.7-inches (dwh) with the stand and weighs about 50-pounds. The screen also has a glossy finish, so reflections pose a problem.
Samsung's included remote control is quite loaded with buttons, so perhaps a more minimalist approach would have suited it better. However, the buttons are large and placed quite well, so it isn't too difficult to use once you've gotten used to it. Right in the middle is the Smart Hub button that brings up the Internet application hub.
The Smart Hub that Samsung designed looked much improved upon compared to last year or even the PN51D8000 model we reviewed earlier this year. While it may seem a tad cluttered, things are organized well and relatively easy to find. The Smart Hub includes all but one of the necessary applications: Amazon Instant, so Amazon Prime members take note.
This TV has three HDMI inputs, which is one less than other similar TVs offer. It also has component, composite, digital audio out, DVI audio in, and two USB ports. There is also an Ethernet port in addition to built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. You also get two pairs of active shutter 3D glasses included in the box.
Subjective image testing found the Samsung PN51E6500 to provide excellent quality images and very deep black-levels, perhaps the best we've seen. It also seemed to represent colors well and they looked fairly vivid. The brightness of the display could be better and as a result, some contrast seemed to be lost. It's nothing huge, but if you compare it with other HDTVs, it becomes noticeable.
The 3D image quality was a different story and still suffers from the same issues that the PN51D8000 model suffered from. Cross-talk was very noticeable and lots of ghosting also could be seen. If you're into a lot of 3D viewing, look elsewhere.