The H6203 didn't dazzle us in our testing lab, but it didn't outright fall on its proverbial face during any testing, either.
Sitting somewhere between the bargain bin, entry-level TV class and the heavy hitters you'll find the middleweights. Neither a long-term investment or a cheap, fill-in, these TVs should get the job done admirably, but only until something better comes along.

The Samsung UN40H6203 (MSRP $549.99, online for $437.98) isn't the best TV. In fact, we'd be hard-pressed to call it a great TV. But it fills a very important niche in the market. If you're looking for a decent TV to tide you over until 4K truly takes off, you could do a lot worse than the H6203.

It's worth noting, however, that there is a tantalizing alternative in the Sony KDL-40W600B. Available on Amazon for a few bucks more than the H6203's online price, the W600B fared much better in our lab tests and also packs a smart platform comparable to Samsung's.
Most consumers lack the equipment and know-how to carry out a proper calibration, so we score TVs based on their out-of-the-box performance. That said, we test our TVs after calibration as well, and then compare those findings with the initial test results.

The calibration process is only as extensive as the TV allows it to be. Lower-end TVs tend to lack the customization options we use in calibration, but mid- to high-end TVs have more settings packed into the software.

The H6203 comes equipped with both 2- and 10-point white balance controls and a gamma slider, but lacks a proper color management system. I began by switching the picture over to "Movie" mode and setting the color temperature to "Warm2." From there, I dropped the backlight from 20 to 11, lowered the gamma to -1, and made finer adjustments to the TV's white balance controls.

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The H6203 comes equipped with 2- and 10-point white balance controls.

The H6203's 40-inch panel is thicker than most TV's of its ilk, but thankfully, the bezel surrounding the screen is relatively narrow. Although panels of this thickness aren't exactly out of the ordinary for mid-range TVs, Vizio's E-series offers similarly-priced TVs around this size that do offer razor-thin panels.

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Credit: Reviewed.com / Michael Desjardin

The H6203's panel is quite thick, which might be a deal-breaker for folks looking for a slim TV.

This Samsung's panel sits atop a square-shaped stand comprised entirely of glossy black plastic. The H6203 isn't going to win any beauty pageants compared to the razor-thin screens that dominate much of the LCD market these days, but the look is unobtrusive enough that it could sit anywhere and not disrupt the flow of the room.

The H6203's look is minimal enough that it could sit anywhere and not disrupt the flow of the room.

On the back of the panel you'll find a square cutout housing the H6203's numerous ports: combination component/composite inputs, two HDMI ports, a LAN ethernet port, analog and digital audio outputs, RS-232C, a coaxial jack for antennas, and two USB ports.

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Credit: Reviewed.com / Michael Desjardin

If I had to sum up the H6203's look and feel in one word, it would be "plastics."

The remote control included with the H6203 isn't particularly innovative, but it handles nicely and the buttons are sturdy. In the center of the remote is a button that accesses Smart Hub, Samsung's smart platform.

The Smart Hub is a relatively straightforward take on a smart platform, though its overly simplified interface makes personalizing the experience rather difficult.

Pushing the Smart Hub button opens a menu bar that does at least change depending on which apps you use the most. Also provided is a shortcut to the Smart Hub's main menu, which arranges all of your apps in an easy-to-scan grid.

The platform isn't as flashy and exciting as, say, LG's webOS; the navigation is sluggish and the aesthetic is rather drab, but compared to other TVs in this part of the market it's more than fine. If you want something a little slicker you could always hook up a streaming box such as a Roku TV or Apple TV, though you'll generally give up an HDMI port to do so.
Every color on your TV is the collective effort of red, green, and blue sub-pixels. Since neutral tones like black, white, and gray represent all three of those sub-pixels working in harmony, we measure a TV's grayscale in order to determine how evenly the TV balances its sub-pixels. The amount of error present is represented in DeltaE, with an out-of-the-box DeltaE of 3 or less being the ideal.

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While not perfect, the H6203's out-of-the-box DeltaE is respectable.

The H6203 sports an initial DeltaE of 4.56—a decidedly average result. After an informed calibration, I was able to knock this down to a minuscule 0.047 by way of the TV's 2- and 10-point white balance controls.

Further examination of the TV's RGB balance sheds light on the H6203's pre-calibration woes: There's a distinct over-emphasis of the blue sub-pixel across the grayscale (specifically from 70 IRE to its peak white) as well as a corresponding under-emphasis of red.

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It's amazing what a little calibration can do.

To my eyes, the H6203's biggest shortcoming is its shallow black level. I've expanded on this point more on the Science page, but essentially, the TV's inability to produce rich, inky black tones leaves the darker areas of the picture looking murky and flat-looking.

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Credit: Reviewed.com / Michael Desjardin

The H6203 does a marvelous job producing rich, accurate colors.

The good news is that the H6203's color production is marvelous, particularly for such a modest television. In fact, I didn't notice much of a difference between the H6203's color and that of our reference TV (a plasma). It does have slight troubles with neutral tones like white and gray, which can appear a little blue out of the box—though this is fixable with some tweaking in the menu.

The H6203 does a remarkably good job handling motion, even with the TV's native motion smoothing software.

Want more good news? The H6203 does a remarkably good job handling motion, even with the TV's native motion smoothing software. I'd even go so far as to recommend turning it off entirely. That will make this a good option if you watch a lot of sports, or simply like moving scenes that are neither jittery nor unnaturally smooth.

For sports, video games, and miscellaneous cable TV, the H6203 really begins to open up from a value standpoint. Though cinephiles with completely dark home theaters will want something better, this is actually a fine option if your living room tends to be well-lit or has lots of windows.
Although the Samsung UN40H6203 is not a hefty investment, it's certainly not cheap enough that you'd just purchase it on a whim. So, who should consider the H6203? Moderate-to-medium-level film enthusiasts will appreciate the TV's accurate color production and respectable motion performance, but don't need or want a flagship-level TV. Gamers will find that the H6203's 1080p, full HD resolution complements the PS4 and Xbox One well, avoiding any nasty input lag from 4K upscaling. It's not an MVP-caliber performer, but the H6203 bats .260 and gets on base at a decent clip.

It's not a stellar performer, but the H6203 bats .260 and gets on base at a decent clip.

The most defining characteristic of the H6203, however, is its smart platform. There are plenty of mid-sized, full HD TVs on the market that don't come equipped with smart features, so remember that a good amount of the cost associated with the H6203 can be attributed to these features.

Simply put, if streaming content without an external device is not a priority for you, consider some cheaper alternatives. For instance, the LG 39LB5600 is more or less the same TV from a performance standpoint, and due to a lack of smart features, is available online for $369. Pair that with a $35 Chromecast and you've got a similar feature set for less money.

Simply put, if streaming content without an external device is not a priority for you, consider some cheaper alternatives.

It's worth reiterating that, if you're a stickler for performance, the Sony KDL-40W600B has a slight edge over the H6203 due to its slightly better contrast ratio and better handling of neutral tones like white and gray. You can find that one listed on Amazon for around the same price.

A TV's reference white (100 IRE) divided by its black level (0 IRE) is known as a contrast ratio. A significantly high contrast ratio is critical in the production of a detailed picture.

The Samsung UN40H6203 features a middling contrast ratio of 2500:1. Although it sports an impressive peak brightness of 210 cd/m2 , its black level tops out at 0.084 cd/m2 , which hampers its overall performance in this category.

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The H6203 produces a middling contrast ratio of 2500:1 thanks to an average black level.

If you're planning on showcasing your new TV for friends and family, its maximum viewing angle is critical information. Typically, a TV's picture worsens the further you move away from a direct, head-on angle. Our viewing angle test measures the degree to witch you can do this before the contrast dips below 50% of its initial value.

The H6203 performs adequately in this area, but the results are not much better than average. I measured a total viewing angle of 42°, or ±21°.

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Although the H6203 doesn't provide a wide viewing angle, its peers don't fare much better in this area.

The criteria for accurate color production is precise, with set values for primary and secondary colors. After measuring these colors, we plot the points on a color gamut in order to visualize the results easily.

Other than some slight oversaturation of blue and green, the H6203 performs quite well in this area. Unfortunately, Samsung has not included a color management system in the H6203's menu software, so making adjustments to these color points is not an option. That said, there's no pressing need to make adjustments to begin with.

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Color production is one of the H6203's greatest strengths.


Gamma describes the amount of luminance a TV allocates for each level of brightness from black to peak white. If there are any severe leaps from one level to the next, the amount of detail present might suffer.

We calibrate our TVs for a gamma of 2.4, which is the recommended gamma for darkened home theater-style rooms. If you're living room has more than a little ambient light, I'd recommend calibrating your set for a gamma of 2.2.

After lowering the gamma to -1 via Samsung's picture customization menu, the H6203 hit its mark perfectly. The graph below is truly a beautiful thing to behold.

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After adjusting the gamma for a darkened room, the H6203 hit its mark perfectly.

Meet the testers

Michael Desjardin

Michael Desjardin

Senior Staff Writer

@Reviewed

Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.

See all of Michael Desjardin's reviews
Michael Desjardin

Michael Desjardin

Senior Staff Writer

@Reviewed

Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.

See all of Michael Desjardin's reviews

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