Samsung ‘Smart’ TV Review

Awhile ago, I wrote that our Smart TV wasn’t that smart. We have a Samsung UN40H6350AFXZA, and I’m glad we got a good deal on it, because I’ve finally given up on its smart features. When we bought it, the reviews said Samsung had the best browser and it could connect with an iOS device using the SwipeIt app. By the time I got ours and started to experiment with that app, it wasn’t working and was soon discontinued. Another app that promised iOS integration also disappeared and never worked for me (do you sense a trend here?). The Smart TV’s web browser was touted as the best available. It’s either gotten worse or never was very good. Yes, you can browse the web, but don’t try watching video. PBS programs that used to play, now crash after the first commercial. ABC and NBC programs won’t play at all, nor will ESPN. There’s quite a bit of free content out there on the web, but good luck accessing it with this TV.

Recently, I spent considerable time trying to get the Samsung “Movies & TV” app to work. It needed a credit card number, but for awhile there was no way to add that. I contacted support and got a couple of answers, neither of which actually matched what I saw when I tried to update my account, either at the website using my computer or on the TV. Then suddenly there was a new update and the option to add a card returned (but not in the place that either support article had told me). When I was finally able to “Watch Now” again, I could see why they needed my credit card. The only options were to watch through paid subscriptions.

That’s all Samsung seems to care about are. If you’re interested in Hulu or Vudu, or if you already have cable (and why do you need a Smart TV, then? — all you need is a DVR), then this TV might work for you. But if you’re interested in a Smart TV so you can watch free streaming video from the networks for shows you’ve missed or can’t watch at the scheduled time, then you won’t get very far with this TV. The web browser is extremely buggy and slow. It crashes anytime I try to play video. Yet there are constant SmartHub and firmware updates that ought to update the Flash capabilities so it can play more video. But those never help; instead, they seem to make things worse. Samsung also won’t let me delete their apps that I don’t want (like the Kids or Fitness apps that I have no use for, or HBO Go that is useless because I don’t have HBO or the many paid subscription apps I don’t want to subscribe to), so I can’t free up memory (nor can I add memory), which is one cause of the crashes.

I will say that the Netflix and YouTube apps do work. So if that’s all you need, then you might like this TV. However, you will find that they are slow, especially when you are required to update the software before you can run the app (something that seems to happen once a week or so). But the performance of these apps is decent. And the picture quality of the TV is really quite good. So I’m glad we got a good deal on it, and I don’t feel too bad that I’ve decided to ignore its smart features and buy an AppleTV to replace the features this TV promised but couldn’t deliver.

I don’t know what that says about all the latest hype about Samsung smart TVs and product integration. Maybe if you have a Samsung phone and a Samsung TV they work better together, but after my experience with this model, I’m suspicious. Our TV is about six months old and is already outdated. Yes, the model debuted in 2012, so the technology is a little more out of date, but I’m pretty sure our AppleTV will still be functional in two years, and won’t be limping along with as many problems as this Samsung. I also be that the user experience with a Samsung TV won’t be quite a cool as it is in the commercials if you have to wait for your app to update when you want to switch your video from your phone to your TV. It’s funny how in the commercials you never see the spinning circle that is a constant feature on our TV every time we start an app. And on the commercials, nothing ever crashes, yet in real life it’s a common occurrence.

Published by Kendall Dunkelberg

I am a poet, translator, and professor of literature and creative writing at Mississippi University for Women, where I direct the Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing, the undergraduate concentration in creative writing, and the Eudora Welty Writers' Symposium. I have published three books of poetry, Barrier Island Suite, Time Capsules, and Landscapes and Architectures, as well as a collection of translations of the Belgian poet Paul Snoek, Hercules, Richelieu, and Nostradamus. I live in Columbus with my wife, Kim Whitehead; son, Aidan; and dog, Aleida.

7 thoughts on “Samsung ‘Smart’ TV Review

  1. Great article Kendall. For those who live outside US like me, you can access Netflix, Hulu and similar media stations on your Smart TV by using UnoTelly or similar tools.

  2. anyway to view an activex using device (like an IP cam) with this TV/internet browser and/or some other app/browser ?

  3. WOW!!!!!! You, my friend hit the center of the target with this article. This so called “Smart TV” is our 3rd Samsung, 1st Smart TV. The picture quality is one of the better ones on the market, reason why we continue to purchase from this company. HOWEVER after purchasing the UN65H6350 recently (because of the Smart feature) I can honestly say we will be “shopping around” on our next TV. The app/browser simply does not work!!!! I feel I’ve been sent back to the dial up age when using these features. We’ve invested a lot of time/money in having the best internet with up/down speeds 50/50, a great router all which should be sufficient and is for our laptop/smart phones, etc…Samsung SMART TV is NOT worth all the hype!!! Sorry Samsung but I’m tired of companies saying they are something when their not! I just wish I read this article first, and I hope my reply helps someone makes a more informed decision from a real customer, like they are! Good luck—-TRY BEFORE YOU BUY!!!!!!!

  4. Way to go Kendall… all this time I thought that this is just the way it is.. Then one day it just didn’t turn on. Turns out Samsung LCD’s are plagued with inferior capacitors or something like that. But Samsung won’t fix this TV just will pay for the parts and I have to go to a service center. Rip Off I’m done with Samsung Bye Bye..

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