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We liked the LN40C630's design. It has a very clean look with sharp lines. When we've reviewed other Samsung TVs, the 'Touch of Color' aesthetic got mixed reviews. With this all-black design, however, the LN40C630 netting positive reviews from just about everyone in the office.

The front of the LN40C630 is quite shiny. The screen itself is reflective and the bezel is glossy black with a clear border. To the right of the Samsung logo are the TVs' touch controls, which are incredibly hard to see.

Front Tour Image

The back of the LN40C630 is also glossy. Towards its left side you'll find a cluster of ports.

Back Tour Image

The right side of the LN40C630 has a handful of ports.

Sides Tour Image

The stand is a classy-looking affair. The base has the 'clear on top of black' aesthetic, and attaches to the TV via a clear column.

Stand Photo

The stand is typically Samsung fare.

The on-set controls are touch sensitive and located on the front of the TV, in the bottom right corner. They're very hard to see. Whenever we were trying to get at the ports on the right side of the TV, we always accidentally hit one of them.

The remote control borrows the 'glossy black plastic' look from the TV's back. It has large buttons and equally large print. The remote itself is rather large as well.

Remote Control Photo

The remote is big, shiny, and will glow in the dark if you play your cards right.

The Samsung LN40C630 comes with the standard pack-ins: a remote, batteries, a USB manual, and a cleaning cloth.

Getting the HDTV set up isn't too difficult. Due to the size of the TV, however, you'll need two people to hoist it up and onto the stand. Even with a lifting buddy, the TV has a very awkward shape to it, with a thin outcrop around its edge and no real handholds on the back of the set. If you're grabbing it by the front edge, it'll be very, very back-heavy.

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We measured the Samsung LN32C630's black level at 0.07 candelas per square meter (cd/m2). This is a very deep black level, especially for an LCD. More on how we test black level.

Black Level Chart

According to our instruments, the LN32C630 is capable of outputting a maximum luminance of 369.15 cd/m2. This is bright enough to ensure your picture doesn't get washed out by external lights, and also a high enough ceiling to allow for subtle details in very bright scenes. More on how we test peak brightness.

Peak Brightness Chart

With a great black level and a high peak brightness, the LN32C630 has a very high contrast ratio. We measured the contrast at 5273:1, which is incredibly high—especially for an LCD, which typically have higher than average black levels. Our eyesight is based on contrast, so a high contrast ratio is essential for ensuring a high level of detail in your picture. More on how we test contrast.

Contrast Chart

It looks like the TV has an automatic dimming feature that kicks on when the over 90% of the screen is black, but otherwise the TV maintained a very consistent black level. More on how we test tunnel contrast.

Tunnel Contrast Chart

As mentioned above, when the majority of the screen is dark, the screen will dim. This has an effect on the peak brightness as well. While this feature is a bit annoying and can cause a loss of detail in bright areas, the TV has a very consistent brightness elsewhere. More on how we test white falloff.

White Falloff Chart

We only saw minor issues with the LN40C630's screen uniformity. On an all-black screen, you can clearly see some lighter blotches scattered around, and the corners and sides have some flashlighting. An all-white screen looked pristine. More on how we test white falloff.

The LN40C630's greyscale gamma is a bit too aggressive, meaning dark greys brighten too quickly. An aggressive greyscale gamma can result in fewer visible details. This is especially true for the dark end of the spectrum: that flat little tail at the bottom means dark colors will all be crushed into flat black. More on how we test greyscale gamma.

Greyscale Gamma Chart

On the graph below, anything outside of the faintly tinted box indicates a perceptible shift. As the Samsung LN40C630's greyscale gets darker, the curve pops above the perceptibility threshold, giving those shades a noticeable blue tint. More on how we test color temperature.

Color Temperature Chart

The LN40C630 did well on our color representation tests. Those little bumps indicate some very minor loss of details. This will probably only be noticeable when there's a smooth gradient onscreen, such as the glow of a moon on a foggy night; in such instances, the smooth transition between colors will be relplaced by a subtle series of rings, as one color jumps to the next. More on how we test RGB curves.

RGB Curves Chart

Below you'll find the above graph plotted out as a gradient bar. We've also posted a few of the competing TVs in this size. Look for vertical bars that indicate a loss of detail, and the point at which the blacks bottom out.

Motion Smoothness (7.25)

The Samsung LN40C630's motion performance isn't great, but its 120Hz features definitely help. There are two settings available in the Custom mode: blur reduction and judder reduction. Blur reduction is generally what you'll want to fool around with if you notice blurring (judder reduction makes the image look like it's running at a higher framerate). Once you've bumped the blur reduction up a bit, you should only see some minor blurring. We noticed the blur was a bit more severe with 1080i content, as compared to 1080p, but neither were glaring issues.

Motion Artifacting (8.50)

The LN40C630 didn't have many artifacting issues. There was some slight false coloration in fine patterns, which gave said patterns a greenish hue. Moving images also were also subject to a stair-stepping effect, where the top-most parts started moving before the lower ones. Overall, though, nothing significant. More on how we test motion performance.

For 3:2 content, turn Film Mode to Auto 1. Once this is on, you won't see much artifacting at all. Some patterns did flash a bit, but it wasn't With this setting on, we saw only minimal artifacting on our test pattern. Some fine patterns flashed randomly, but infrequently.

The TV also supports 24p mode just fine, should you have applicable media. More on how we test 3:2 pulldown and 24fps.

Overall, the LN40C630 did well with non-native resolutions. It still had some issues with 720p and 1080i, but none of them were particularly debilitating. More on how we test resolution scaling.

480p

The TV barely had any issues with 480p playback. There was some very minor moire interference that created a slight plaid effect on top of whatever pattern the TV is supposed to be showing.

720p

The LN40C630 had some issues with 720p content. The plaid interference was back, and was more intense (though less consistently so) compared to what we saw with 480p content.

1080i

The moire interference reached an unfortunate denouement with 1080i content: the plaid effect created boxes in fine patterns. Though this was definitely noticeable, it was the only issue we saw.

The Samsung LN40C630 is a 1080p HDTV that supports 24p and 3:2 pulldown.

The LN40C630 had a decent viewing angle for an LCD. You'll only dip below 50% contrast ratio when you get about 33° away from center. A total viewing angle of 66° is nothing to sneeze at, although it pales in comparison to the near-180° most plasmas have.

Viewing Angle Chart

The Samsung LN40C630 had some issues with reflectance. When the screen is dark, external light will create vertical and horizontal streaks as well as minor diagonal streaks. Fortunately, this 8-point star effect is diminished significantly when a brighter image is on the screen. Even on an all white screen, however, the screen is highly reflective. We perform these tests with an array of LEDs, and we were able to clearly see each individual LED in the reflection.

The good news is the streaks aren't particularly bothersome if the light is shining in at an angle. You might catch a reflection on the bezel, but non-direct light won't be a gigantic issue. Just make sure there's no window near the LN40C630 and you'll be fine.

The LN40C630 has a handful of video processing options. For the most part they worked as advertised, although we keep failing to see any discernible differences in the Edge Enhancement feature, regardless of the TV's manufacturer.

To make sure we're testing our HDTVs at their peak performance levels, we calibrate them before running any tests. Our setup involves hardware and software. The hardware is a CS-200 ChromaMeter, which takes all the measurements. The software is a customized version of the DisplayMate calibration software.

Since your HDTV won't come fully calibrated out of the box, we've provided the chart below. Listed are the settings we used for our testing. You can either use these settings, or pay someone to come in and calibrate it for you. While our settings are close to perfect, they might not be ideal for your viewing environment.

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DisplayMate_Logo.jpg

All of our calibration is done in conjunction with the DisplayMate software.

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There are a handful of video modes on the LN40C630. We liked that the list keeps it to the basics, rather than including a separate mode for each sport and genre of movie. Cluttered lists are cumbersome to navigate and it's often confusing which mode is best suited for your content.

The LN40C630's remote is the same one the Samsung UN46B6000 uses. It has a glossy finish and a curved back. The buttons have good travel, but could use more tactile feedback. The remote is well balanced, with its weight distributed toward the back, where the majority of controls are located. The remote also has a backlight feature, which is always appreciated.

The LN40C630 has a good button layout overall. Holding the remote in the neutral position, the d-pad, menu button, volume toggle, and channel toggle are all within easy reach. Buttons are very clearly labeled and, as mentioned earlier, can be backlit with the press of a button.

The remote seems to activate the TV even when it's not pointing directly at it. We did notice that if anything is in front of the Samsung logo, however, the TV has a very hard time registering button presses.

While it can't be programmed to work universally, the LN40C630's remote can control devices connected to the TV via HDMI. This is not only a proprietary system, but it requires an HDMI connection. While some functionality is better than no functionality at all, we don't reward such features with many points.

Input Ports (6.25)

The TV has the following inputs:

  • 4 HDMI
  • 2 Component video
  • 1.5 Composite video (one of the component video ports is also composite)
  • VGA
  • 3 Analog audio
  • 1 3.5mm audio

Output Ports (2.0)

There are two output ports: analog audio and digital audio.

Other Connections (3.0)

In addition to the ports mentioned above, the LN40C630 has a LAN port and an EX-LINK port. The LAN will allow you to hook an ethernet cable up to the TV. An internet connection will allow you to access internet content via widgets or play back media on a networked computer. Although the content available pales in comparison to some higher-end Sony TVs, like the KDL-46Z5100, it's still good functionality to have.

Media (2.0)

The TV has two USB ports, which allow photo, music, and video playback.

Below we've listed some of the Samsung LN40C630's important connections alongside its competitors.

The LN40C630 has good port placement. The ports on the back are intelligently grouped and placed close to the edge of the TV. The side-facing ports are actually labeled on the back, which is a bit confusing.

The TV swivels on its stand, allowing easier access to all the TV's ports. When you also factor in the small size of the TV, you'd be hard-pressed to have an issue hooking up cables.

We thought the LN40C630's audio quality was about average. We thought the speakers sounded a bit muffled and were very lacking in the low end. If you're watching an action movie, turn on the surround sound mode. It doesn't actually create a surround sound experience, but the audio will sound much more vibrant. If you care about audio, you'll probably want to buy auxiliary speakers.

The audio menu contains five different modes: standard, music, movie, clear voice and custom. Custom mode opens up a small equalizer for toggling individual levels.

The LN40C630's menu system is the typical Samsung offering. Hitting the menu button will open up a tabbed interface. Tabs are listed in a column to the left, and their contents open in a window to the right. Highlighting an item will list its description at the bottom of the screen. The menu is also very consistent, using the same style for their sliders and multiple choice settings.

Menu Main Photo

The menu system is simple, but navigation is a bit cumbersome.

You scroll around the menu with the remote's d-pad. While the interface is intuitive, it's very laggy. We definitely weren't fans of inputting five arrow presses then waiting for the menu to catch up. Fortunately, the top of the menu wraps around to the bottom, so you typically won't need to navigate far.

Despite the few complaints we had, however, the Samsung LN40C630's menu remains very easy to use.

The LN32B360 comes with a printed manual that is adequate for what's needed. It's easy enough to read and cvovers the basics (such as how to plug the TV in, connect it up, etcetera), but it doesn't go into a lot of depth on the configuration of the manual or what some features do.

You can find the Samsung LN40C630's manual online here.

Samsung's online featureset is an ongoing project. Currently, many of their big names are up and running: Netflix, Blockbuster, Pandora, and YouTube. If you don't care about accessing scads of content and just want the basics on your TV, the Samsung should have you covered. If you want access to lots of content, pick up a Sony instead.

Photo Playback (6.0)

The LN40C630's photo viewer can either read media off a connected USB device or via a network-connected device. The photo viewer consists of a strip of thumbnails. You can zoom in on the photo or rotate it. There's a basic slideshow feature, which allows for background music (via USB or network streaming). Like the TV's other menus, the photo viewer is a bit laggy and slow to respond. Given this, it's functional and looks good when it isn't jerkily trying to keep up with your inputs.

Music & Video Playback (3.0)

Like photo playback, music and video playback is supported via network streaming or a connected USB device. For the most part, the interface is similar to the photo playback feature. You browse thumbnails in a strip and there are several options for sorting.

The video playback feature supports a good amount of file types, including MP4, AVI, 3GPP, MKV, and ASF. It can also play back ripped DVDs saved as PS or TS files. The music playback feature only supports MP3 files, unfortunately. While the video support list is impressive, we were surprised to see no WMV or MOV video files, especially given the less common types that are supported.

The Samsung LN40C630 doesn't have a built-in DVR, Blu-ray player, or any other additional media sources.

The Samsung LN40C630 doesn't cost a whole lot to maintain each year. Worst-case scenario is a little over $26 per year with backlight fully blazing. If you'd like, you can reduce that cost to just under $19.00 by turning the backlight down to a moderate 200 candelas per square meter (cd/m2—the backlight level necessary for viewing in a darkened room).

Below is a chart comparing the LN40C630's power consumption to some competitors.

Power Consumption Chart

The Sony makes the Samsung look downright underpriced. The main difference between the two is the line-up of online content, where Sony has a significant advantage. The Samsung has a much deeper black level and therefore has a much higher contrast ratio. If you care about the online content, consider springing for the Sony, if not, stick with the Samsung.

The Sony's black level is terrible; the Samsung LN40C630 wins this one by a mile.

Contrast Chart

The Sony has a much more even kiel to its color temperature, while the Samsung tends to get a bit cool towards black. Both have more or less the same RGB performance.

The Samsung's processing is better than the Sony's, offering reduced blur and artifacting.

The Sony has a much more narrow viewing angle; neither TV compares well to a plasma.

The main difference between the Sony and the Samsung is the breadth of online content available: the Sony has significantly more content providers than Samsung does. This being said, if all you're looking for are the basics, like Netflix, Blockbuster, and YouTube, Samsung has you covered.

There isn't a lot to convince us the Panasonic is a better buy than the Samsung. The Samsung has online content and better overall picture quality.

The Panasonic had a deeper black level, but the display just couldn't muster much in the way of brightness.

Contrast Chart

Although the Panasonic had a rock solid color temperature, it had poor color accuracy.

The Panasonic has many more issues with artifacting than the Samsung; both are about the same in terms of motion blur.

The Panasonic, a plasma, has a much wider viewing angle than the Samsung, an LCD. This is the nature of things.

The Panasonic has one fewer HDMI port and does not feature online connectivity.

The older Samsung actually still retails for more than the new one. Pick up the new one.

The older Samsung didn't have the deep black that the new model has.

Contrast Chart

The older Samsung had a better overall color temperature and marginally better overall color performance.

It looks like Samsung's motion processing has improved since the older model. We saw significantly fewer artifacting issues in the new Samsung.

The newer Samsung has a slightly wider viewing angle.

The newer Samsung has an ethernet port, which opens up an array of streaming content providers.

The Samsung LN40C630 is a 40-inch 1080p HDTV with some nice media features, online capabilities, and above average test results. All in all, the LN40C630 is a good mid-range set, especially for the asking price of $900.

The LN40C630 didn't have the most consistent color temperature, but it did perform well on our RGB test and relatively well on our color gamut test. It had an impressively deep black level, which led to a high overall contrast ratio. On top of these solid performance results, it has online connectivity, which allows users to connect to a few high-end content providers, like Netflix.

While it definitely has faults, the LN40C630 is a great TV for its price.

The C630 series is an entry-level group of LCDs with online connectivity and 120Hz modes.

Meet the tester

Mark Brezinski

Mark Brezinski

Senior Writer

@markbrezinski

Mark Brezinski is a senior writer with seven years of experience reviewing consumer tech and home appliances.

See all of Mark Brezinski's reviews

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