Samsung PN60F5300 Review (PN60F5300AFXZA)
60 Inch 1080p Plasma TV
By Robert Wiley
The PN60F5300 is one of the top value plasmas for 2013/2014. It skips all extra features for picture quality, internet connectivity, and 3D functionality that the F5500 series and F8500 series plasmas employ. What you get is a large screen with the always good picture quality of a plasma TV at an affordable price point. The 60 inch size sits in the middle of the F5300 series and is enough screen for medium to large sized rooms. It's got a 1080p display with the strong refresh rates of plasma technology.
Picture Quality Rating: 8.8/10
The Samsung PN60F5300 is a value plasma TV with excellent picture quality for the price. Samsung plasma TVs have one of my favorite picture renditions among all TVs today. I like the color space even more than Panasonic plasmas once calibrated. It's important to note that this one has a few picture quality differences than the top tier F8500 plasma. Screen reflections and picture brightness are the two downsides in picture quality on the F5300. There is not as much light flow-through as the top models on the market. The screen also doesn't get as bright, which is a typical problem with plasma displays. Those two things combined make it a tough sell for a bright room. In a controlled lighting environment, the F5300's full HD picture quality is excellent.
Plasma TVs are known for their fantastic color rendition. That stands true for the F5300, even if it is a budget plasma. Contrast and picture depth are also displayed with gusto in this image
Black Levels and Contrast
Contrast is another strong point on Samsung's bottom of the line plasma. For a budget priced model the contrast performance on the F5300 is very impressive.
The PN60F5300's colors look extremely realistic and fresh thanks to the plasma display. The going trend seen in many LCD/LEDs as of late is to bump the color saturation to high levels. That's not the case here. The high points are in warm colors and flesh tones. Samsung's plasma televisions deliver colors that are accurate and true to life and the F5300 carries through on this positive strength. It is important to calibrate the settings correctly to get the optimum picture performance out of this TV. A Warm1 Color Tone setting really helps to balance colors as Standard is too cool and Warm2 introduces a great deal of green coloration.
Eco Sensor – Dims the Picture too Much- Important to turn off
The Eco Sensor is a effort to control the energy usage of the F5300. What it really does is control the Cell Light setting in order to keep the brightness down depending on the room light. The result is a picture far too dim to really enjoy. If the picture ever dims unexpectedly, this should be the first setting to turn off in order to address the problem. It can be found here in the menus: System > General > Eco Solution > Eco Sensor
Plasma TVs are usually recommended as gaming TVs, but Samsung's plasmas has a hard time with input lag. Even with the Game Mode enabled, our tests showed input lag at anywhere between 70 and 100ms on the PN60F5300. That measurement wasn't much better than with the Game Mode off. It didn't make playing Okami HD on the Playstation 3 unbearable, but I definitely notice the lag. Gamers who mainly play First Person Shooters will notice it even more, and will probably want to look elsewhere for a gaming set. The Game Mode can be found here in the menus: System > General > Game Mode.
Features Rating: 7.7/10
Design and Appearance
You can see there is nothing flashy about this budget plasma from Samsung. The quadra pod plastic glossy stand is a nice touch and the frame don't add a lot to the presence of the TV, but that leaves the focus directed toward picture quality
Everything, except the coloration, is the same as the F5500 plasma in the appearance department. There's nothing standout about the looks of the TV and design is certainly not going to be the selling point. The PN60F5300 receives a deep brown color for the frame and stand. It is very subtle, but provides a switch from the standard black that most TVs receive. It's decorated with the familiar Samsung quadra-pod stand that is seen on most of their mid-level TVs. It's not as flashy as the chrome of the F5500 and nowhere near the futuristic design of the F8500, but it's modest design works well. The TV has a thin profile of 2.2 inches in depth.
Inputs – Weak
The F5300 is a little lacking in this department with only 2 HDMI ports and 1 USB port. Two HDMI ports may lead to constantly switching which devices are plugged into the TV. That can be really hard to do if the TV is wall mounted.
Samsung's plasma TVs this year have been hurting when it comes to sound quality. Volume certainly isn't an issue, as the TVs are plenty loud and can fill a room with sound. The two 10 watt speakers end up sounding hollow and empty and voice gets overwhelmed by background noise and music. The 60F5300 will really benefit from a home theater setup or a sound bar. We give the sound quality a 6 out of 10.
Lately, we have heard reports that some of the C-series and D-series (circa 2010, 2011) Samsung plasma TVs have had widespread problems with coloration (esp. pink or purple) against a white background. Since the longevity rating on these plasmas is 60,000 to 100,000 hours to half life, problems after 2 years would make those life span claims irrelevant.
No 3D, No Smart TV
Value Rating: 9.2/10
The Samsung PN60F5300 sells for around $1,050. That's quite a lot of screen space for the money. The lack of extra features really places this plasma in the value category. Direct competition comes from LG's 60PN6500. The feature set is very similar, but it is offered for less money. The Panasonic TC-P60S60 provides some close competition, but it includes some light smart TV movie features that bump up the price a bit.
Overall Rating: 8.3/10