You get what you pay for, runs the old adage – but someone needs to tell Samsung. The LE32R87 looks every bit as sexy as sets costing far more, is built every bit as well, and is largely as well specified, but it’s priced to compete more with entry-level models than range flagships. As your first foray into ‘proper’ TV ownership, it’s hard to see where you could go wrong.
What, you want more detail? Here goes: this is a digitally equipped HD-Ready 32in set with a decent spec. It’ll handle most forms of HD content, it’s got three HDMI ins and a PC input, and it complies with the HDMI CEC control bus, so you can operate the set and other suitable Samsung kit off one remote handset.
Downsides? The set’s HDMI inputs are ‘only’ HDMI 1.2 sockets, not latest-spec 1.3, so it won’t accept 1080p video, never mind 1080p/24fps. At this screen size, that’s not necessarily reason to get terminal, but it’s worth knowing nonetheless.
Value is hard to argue with
Picture quality? Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: other 32in sets (all, admittedly, more expensive) have better contrast and black depth. But don’t let that put you off, because what the Samsung does, it does very well – and it’s also way cheaper than most size rivals we’d recommend.
For example, this set has a decent TV tuner, so off-air broadcasts look involving and natural. It keeps the image adequately stable, and despite not being a 100Hz design, it manages an involving, natural feel with Freeview content, although it could cope better with fast motion.
The Samsung also has a really winning way with bright, colourful DVD and HD footage, such as a Pixar animation or a lively superhero flick like Spiderman 3. It manages to blend natural hues – skin, for instance, looks as human as it ought – with plenty of verve, lending Spidey’s trademark suit all the electric red and blue energy it needs to snap from the screen.
No 1080p support is a blow, but feel the value
Only one really nagging doubt bothers us: that lack of 1080p/24fps support. For a 2007 model-year set not to be able to accept the latest, best quality of disc-based video is a bit of an oversight: we’d bet next year’s Samsung puts that one right quick smart. The added smoothness and realism it will bring to motion panning should be well worth the manufacturer’s effort.
In the meantime, should you buy this set? We’d say yes, so long as you know what you’re getting into. It’s great value, it’s a fine day-to-day TV and it looks superb: if you can cope with that, and don’t plan a solid diet of HD video from your PS3 or whatever, it’s well worth a punt.