|DESIGN||SPECIFICATIONS||PICTURE QUALITY||SOUND QUALITY||SMART FEATURES|
The Samsung UN55MU6290 Picture Quality is an entry-level 4K smart LCD TV. It’s quite versatile thanks in part to its high contrast which gives it decent picture quality in a dark room. Its input lag is also quite low, making it a good choice for gaming.
The Samsung MU6290 LED TV has a better than average picture quality. The great contrast ratio paired with the impressive black uniformity makes for a very good choice for people with a dark home theater room. For people who watch TV more during the day or at least with some light on most of the time, the MU6290 still does a great job, as it can get bright enough to fight glare and can do a decent job at dealing with reflections.
The gray uniformity of the MU6290 could be better, as some dirty screen effect is visible, especially when watching sports like hockey and football. Therefore, the MU6290 is not the best option for people with a big living room with many seating positions that are off center.
Finally, HDR could be better, as the MU6290 does not feature a wide color gamut nor local dimming, both which are important to make HDR content really shine in comparison to normal SDR content.
The Samsung MU6290 has a great contrast ratio. when set in a dark room, it can display really deep black, which in turn are especially good for dark scenes in movies. This is a stark contrast to what you see on IPS TV with lower contrast ratio, as they can’t reproduce deep blacks and dark scenes look more washed out.
The Samsung MU6290 does not have a local dimming feature. The video is for reference only.
SDR Peak Brightness
Good SDR peak brightness, good enough for a fairly bright room. The brightness remains very consistent except when showing very dark scenes (demonstrated by our 2% window test); that’s when the TV’s CE dimming takes effect and dims the whole screen, including the bright highlights. Overall, the brightness is nearly the same as the MU6300, a little better than the rival Vizio M Series 2017, but not as bright as the TCL P607.
HDR Peak Brightness
Mediocre HDR peak brightness. Even though the TV’s HDR and SDR brightnesses are very similar, HDR highlights demand higher brightness because they’re mastered to reach 1000-4000 cd/m², far brighter than most TVs are capable of. The 2% window test also shows that the TV’s CE dimming makes dark scenes even darker, including their bright highlights, which isn’t good. Overall, this HDR brightness is similar to the sister MU6300, but much less than the rival TCL P607 and Vizio M Series 2017.
The Samsung MU6290 gray uniformity could be better. when looking at our 50% gray test uniformity picture, we can see that the four corners are a bit darker than the center of the screen, and we can also notice some horizontal band that seems also bit darker and brighter than the rest of the screen. Unfortunately, those bands are creating some dirty screen effect, which is a bit distracting when watching some content with long panning shot. This is particularly noticeable when watching sports.
Looking at our 5% test picture, the uniformity looks much better even though it is not perfect. The edges of the screen are a bit brighter than the rest and there is a darker patch in the center of the screen. But luckily, both of those are not noticeable when looking at normal video content, even some very dark scene in movies, which is good.
Poor viewing angle, but fairly typical for a TV with a VA panel. When viewed at a small angle the TV’s colors degrade and its blacks turn grey, making the picture quality noticeably worse. This isn’t a concern when viewing the TV from directly in front, but the bad viewing angle does make the TV less than ideal for a room where people often sit to the side of the TV and view it at an angle; an IPS TV like the Sony X720E or X800E would be better suited for that task.
The black uniformity of the Samsung MU6290 is great and is almost as good as its sibling, the MU6300. On the test picture, some clouding spots are visible near both bottom corner and the top left one, with an extra one near the middle white cross (top right of it), but those are really faint and did not show up when watching a really dark scene from a movie. Overall, this is a very good black uniformity.
The reflection handling of the MU6290 is decent. The semi-gloss finish diffuses reflection across the screen, which reduces their intensity but also produces a light haze. This is the same as the MU6300 and MU6500. For an average room this is fine, but in a bright room, reflections may be distracting.
Out of the box, the Samsung MU6290 has a decent accuracy. To obtain the best accuracy on this set, we used the ‘Movie’ picture mode in combination with the ‘Warm1’ color temperature. On Samsung TV we usually go for the ‘Warm2’ color temperature, but in this case, we found that the ‘Warm1’ color temperature was a bit more accurate.
Looking more in detail, the white balance and color dE are over 3.0, at which point an avid enthusiast could notice some inaccuracies, but for most people, this is still reasonable, especially if coming from an older television. As for the gamma, at 2.29 it is a bit high, but here the curve is where the MU6290 is showing a bit more inaccuracy, as there is a bit bump in the lower IRE (dark) and this can cause some loss of detail in the shadow (black crush).
After calibration, the Samsung MU6290 accuracy is much better. Much of the inaccuracies were fixed, except maybe the color dE, which is still a bit high, but the provided color space management system could not really help to bring down the color dE, even though it was corrected a bit. The white balance was corrected though, and with a dE of 0.27, this is mostly a perfect result here. The only note here is that the whole process of correcting the white balance was long and tedious, unfortunately.
Upscaling of 480p content such as DVDs is good. Details are preserved well, but the image is a bit softer than most other TVs.
Cable and other 720p content looks good. Common upscaling artifacts such as haloing around edges are hardly visible, the the image is softened a bit.
Upscaling of full-HD content is also good. All areas of the image remain clear and detailed.
No issues can be seen with native 4k sources.
Standard color gamut, only good enough for SDR content (Rec 709 color space). The color accuracy is also quite poor at the very bright 75% stimulus we use to test, probably because the TV is sacrificing color accuracy to make colors brighter. At a more reasonable 50% stimulus (shown here for P3 and 2020) the color accuracy is much better.
The EOTF in the ‘HDR Movies’ picture mode follows the target PQ curve fairly closely, up until it rolls off then clips at the TV’s peak brightness. If users want to make HDR content brighter in other modes, increasing the TV’s ‘Gamma’ slider or enabling ‘Contrast Enhancer’ will raise the EOTF and brighten HDR scenes.
Disappointing color volume, but this is mostly due to the TV’s standard color gamut. One other flaw though is how the DCI P3 color gamut narrows when the TV is showing extremely bright colors; this means that colored bright highlights in HDR content will have less saturated colors than they should.
The Samsung MU6290 has a very good performance displaying our gradient test image. This is a similar result as seen much of the latest Samsung reviewed and luckily, it does not affect too much normal content, as banding is not much more prevalent as seen on other TVs (as seen on this particular scene that we often use to compare banding)
Temporary Image Retention
A perfect result on our image retention test, as no image retention could be noticed at all. This is in line with the result of the Samsung MU6300.