The Samsung PNE6500 series delivers plasma screen televisions in both 51 and 60 inch sizes. Both sizes provide good value for the price, but the 51 inch screen offers a bit more bang for the buck. Overall, the series delivers excellent black levels but comes up a bit short on color reproduction when compared to higher end plasmas from Samsung and other manufacturers. For more information about the series, read my full Samsung PNE6500 review.
Three basic picture modes are offered and each is customizable via advanced settings options. The Movie setting is probably the best for most uses, although some adjustment is needed to get rid of the blue-tones of the Samsung picture. When dealing with high definition pictures, the optimal advanced setting is Cinema Smooth. Once the television is properly calibrated, it delivers a stunning picture for the price range. The PNE6500 competes well with most of the televisions released in 2012 and probably provides the best plasma picture quality in this price range. The PNE6500 also performs well at 24p and 1080i in the Cinema Smooth setting, though viewers may see a bit of stuttering when viewing lower quality film.
The Samsung PNE6500 delivers excellent black levels that surpass expectations for a low priced plasma television. The detail blows away the comparable Sony models, although limited light output does keep the PNE6500 from meeting expectations set by some Panasonic models. Some common problems with past Samsung plasmas in black level generation, especially when dark sections experienced a sudden increase in brightness, are not seen in the PNE6500.
A common issue with past generations of Samsung plasmas is a tendency to display colors with a blue tone or bluish cast, but that was either barely visible or not present in numerous screening tests conducted with the PNE6500. Experts and industry magazines conducted side by side testing with comparable Panasonic and LG plasma televisions and did note that the other televisions presented a very slight improvement in color saturation. The improvement was so slight, and at times only noticeable through testing equipment, that most reviewers considered the televisions to be equal at overall color reproduction.
Samsung has introduced technology called Real Black Pro that will make users rethink a bias against plasma screens in a brightly lit room. Although plasmas are not going to keep up with top of the line LCD screens, the Samsung PNE6500 series provides televisions that rival many LCD models. This is most true for the 51 inch model, as the larger screen size will contribute to difficulty in bright performance. High end LCDs are still going to out-perform the PNE6500 for bright viewing, as well, because even with new technology, plasma screens simply cannot get as bright as an LCD.
This may be the weakest area for the PNE6500. Reviews indicate that the set produces a fairly large amount of crosstalk when displaying popular 3D movies. The Samsung PNE6500 is probably not the best choice for someone who watches a lot of 3D movies, although it will perform well enough for a family that rarely ventures into 3D content.
Samsung keeps it simple in the PNE6500 series. Instead of reaching for flashy or innovative design, Samsung holds onto its previous understated approach, providing the PNE6500 with a simple and sleek black bevelled edge and a four-pronged black stand. Overall, the look is nice for integrating into living spaces and offers an integrated style that will not take away from the picture. The remote control matches the television in simplicity but does not give up functionality. The remote features numerous buttons and operation choices in a well-organized and tasteful format.
Samsung provides plenty of connectivity with the PNE6500 series. Three HDMI ports, two USB and standard analogue/component connections exist on the side and back. The back ports include the analogue hookups, LAN and one of the HDMI ports, making wall mounting a possible problem in some situations.
Samsung keeps mostly the same Smart TV Hub as was seen in 2011 models, although there are a few in-house applications that are more obvious in this set up. Although the interface is a bit cluttered, it is easy to use and can be customized for individual preferences. Functionality includes a web browser and most of the most popular video, audio and social networking apps.
Samsung PNE6500 Review Summary
The Samsung PNE6500 provide serious value, especially since it can compete with many of the more expensive LCD models on the market. Prices for the 51 inch model start around $1,200.