Latest!

Samsung NU6100 43-inch Smart TV Review: The Empire Strikes Back

The meteoric rise of Xiaomi has wreaked havoc on Samsung’s longstanding reign in India. After losing the pole position in the smartphone market, Samsung couldn’t stand its ground against Xiaomi’s Mi TV blitzkrieg. Last year, Xiaomi emerged as the frontrunner in the country’s flourishing smart television space. 

But Samsung is already gearing up for retaliation. It’s putting its foot down this year with new products designed to handle the surge in competition. One of these is the company’s latest Super 6 NU6100 series of smart 4K televisions. They start at about Rs 39,999 – much lesser than what Samsung’s 4K televisions usually cost – and feature the majority of trappings you would expect. 

We spent more than a week with the entry-level 43-inch model. Here’s whether it manages to accomplish what Samsung hopes it would i.e. convince you to pick it up over Xiaomi’s Mi TV.  

Display and Design

The Samsung NU6100’s most striking attribute is its 43-inch screen which goes nearly edge-to-edge. The bezels especially disappear when you’re watching a dark-themed piece of content such as Stranger Things on Netflix. Built largely out of plastic, the television has an arched rear that’s thin enough to not stick out if you mount it on a wall. While it’s not as slim or bezel-less as Samsung’s more expensive devices or even Xiaomi’s highest-end Mi TV 4 Pro, it is undoubtedly on par with its closest competitors like the Mi TV 4X Pro

These complaints, however, almost vanish when you switch on the television’s stunning 4K display. Despite the price, Samsung has bundled a VA LED panel which, in layman’s terms, translates into accurate contrast levels and top-of-the-line image depth. Therefore, when you watch high-definition content, you will be treated to deep blacks and a quality oomph that is normally only found on premium televisions. In comparison, the majority of other televisions in the price range will display a greyish tint when the video is set at night or any other dim scenario. 

In addition, the screen is sharp and lit uniformly throughout all the corners. Unlike the Mi TV 4X Pro, colors are more punchy in Samsung’s case and you can tone them down from the settings. Xiaomi’s offering also lacks Samsung’s well-balanced output which looks impressive irrespective of the type of content you’re playing. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the Samsung NU6100 is the television to buy if your foremost priority is the display quality. 

Plus, the Samsung NU6100 supports HDR 10 content whether you’re loading a movie off of an external drive or streaming on Netflix. Thanks to the 60Hz refresh rate, you won’t come across any motion blurs in regular clips or video games. 

Speakers

The smart television’s 20W built-in speakers are excellent too. They’re loud, crisp, and can emit ample levels of treble as well as bass even at high volume levels. The curved back further allows the TV to pump out sound equally in the room. Unless you’re not an audiophile, you won’t have to shed extra for a soundbar. Dolby Digital Plus compatibility is present and you can take advantage of it on a bunch of platforms such as Prime Video and Netflix. 

Software

The Samsung NU6100’s other highlight lies in its software. Unlike most TVs you’ll find in the market, Samsung’s televisions run the brand’s in-house operating system, Tizen. It takes zero cues from Android and hence, doesn’t have a Play Store housing hundreds of apps. 

But the majority of users won’t feel the need for that, since Samsung has managed to create one of the most diverse catalogs of third-party apps. You have access to just about every streaming service there is, including Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Hotstar, JioCinema, Gaana and Apple TV. It’s worth mentioning that all of these are available as native apps. Hence, you won’t have to compromise with a web-based client. 

Samsung’s smart interface, which is always a home-button away, is one of the most responsive TV UIs, and lets you instantly jump between services. I didn’t encounter any lags whether I was playing 4K movies on Netflix, or constantly switching between DTH and an OTT platform. 

But going the in-house route does have its downsides, and the Samsung NU6100 is no exception. For starters, Google Cast is absent. So you cannot mirror your computer’s or phone’s screen with a click of a button. 

Since it’s DLNA-certified, you can install third-party apps to cast pictures or videos, but that isn’t always a reliable experience. App-to-app broadcasts work too. Therefore, say you’re watching a Netflix movie on your phone, you can send it to your TV without any hassles. Unfortunately, even that isn’t widely available. You can do it on YouTube, for example, but not on Hotstar. 

If you have a Samsung phone, on the other hand, you can easily cast your screen with the companion app. The bottom line is that despite the fact Tizen can stream content from every platform, it can feel a tad slapdash at times. 

To cut costs, Samsung also skipped on Bluetooth and voice input. You cannot, like on Xiaomi’s latest TVs, control the interface through your voice. On top of that, the bundled remote is a standard one which isn’t quite designed for smart appliances. That means the buttons are stiff and aren’t suited for typing or navigating around the interface. 

Luckily, you can operate the TV using the SmartThings app. But here too, Samsung’s software turned out to be wonky more often than not. I regularly ran into connection and authentication errors. Samsung has, though, retained the previous generation SmartThings app which works perfectly fine – albeit without a couple of features like a virtual touchpad. 

On Samsung televisions, there’s also no integration of cable and smart services. Xiaomi, on the contrary, offers a universal search which lets you look up everything from a single location. The other nice touches Xiaomi includes are missing as well. For instance, when you watch a cricket match on Hotstar on a Mi TV, you can press a button to pull up the scorecard. That’s yet to make its way to the Samsung NU6100. 

Specifications

As for the specifications, Samsung hasn’t exactly revealed them. But from the TV’s Amazon page, we’re able to learn it’s powered by a Mali-G51 GPU, quad-core processor and 1.5GB RAM. We’ve reached out to Samsung for comments on the specifications and will update the review when we have a response. 

What still hangs in the balance is the storage. Interestingly, inside the app store, we noticed a usage metric which said we’ve consumed 600MB of space and only 200MB remains. That’s obviously a little worrying, but since you don’t have a file manager, you won’t be transferring any files locally on the TV. And I had 200MB left despite installing all the major apps, so it should suffice in that regard. Still, it is indeed unacceptable given what you get on other smart televisions. 

What’s more, the Samsung NU6100 falls short in the ports selection. It has two HDMI, one USB-A and an Ethernet input. The Mi TV 4X Pro, on the contrary, has two USB and three HDMI ports. 

Conclusion

The Samsung NU6100 is a compelling smart television for the price. The screen’s quality is unprecedented in the range, it can stream 4K as well as HDR, supports all the leading platforms, and the interface is one of the smoothest in the market. 

But on the whole, the Mi TV 4X Pro still comes off as a better deal for most people. At the same price, it offers a bigger 55-inch display, Android-based operating system that is catered to the Indian user, more RAM and storage. The bottom line is if you value the display output above everything else, pick Samsung. Else, you should go with Xiaomi or even Vu if you aren’t particularly interested in Patchwall’s features. 

Pricebaba’s rating: 7.5 / 10

What works:

  • Best in class display
  • Great pair of speakers 
  • Responsive UI 
  • Supports all the major streaming services 

What doesn’t:

  • Voice input is absent 
  • Standard, old-school remote 
  • No proper Google Cast alternative 
  • No India-specific features like Patchwall 
Comments
Tags:
Shubham Agarwal

The author is a freelance technology journalist from Ahmedabad. He tweets from @phonesoldier.