No longer is Samsung cowering in the shadow of Sony and Panasonic when it comes to tellys. It’s grown up, sprouted hair in funny places and hammered out a 50in set that goes pretty much head to head on price with its rivals.
As with most screens of this size, it boasts the full complement of pixels required for Full HD 1080p video, while offering three HDMI connections. It looks smart in a glossy black finish, and comes complete with a swivel stand.
A festival of fancy picture-processing tech includes Ultra FilterBright, which aims to deliver a solid picture in any lighting conditions, and the Digital Natural Image engine.
Crisp and stable
It all seems to be pulling in the right direction as you watch the Freeview TV tuner (there’s an analogue receiver, too). The picture is clean and crisp, while Sky Sports News’s rolling tickertape shows motion is smooth and stable. Only the deepest black suit jacket on one of the presenters gives you the feeling you’re missing a hint of detail. Jeff Stelling’s ties, however, make up for this.
Switch to video content, and whether watching the brutal Blood Diamond on DVD or the rather less disturbing Die Hard 4.0 on Blu-ray, pictures are smoothly handled and full of deep, stirring colours. Not for Samsung wishy-washy reds or indeed the brightest white. Instead, you get full-bodied, vibrant images that are packed with detail. A smidgeon of noise is apparent if you look hard enough, but it rarely detracts from your enjoyment.
Black levels, while accurate, lack the ability to peer in to the gloomiest corner, but contrast levels and the depth and dynamism are arresting. The speakers impress too, delivering a clear, balanced sound with plenty of breadth.
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Things get even better with broadcast TV HD content. We watched some fast-moving sporting action, complete with plenty of wide panning shots – which can cause lesser big-screens all kind of judder problems – but the Samsung was consistently good. You’re so drawn into the action, you find noting picture problems ends up taking a definite second place. Blu-ray movies are equally good, if not better.
So, we’ve got another impressive Samsung on our hands, and one that can happily lay claim to a five-star verdict. Not only does it perform very well in its own right, it also saves you a couple of hundred quid compared to the Sonys and Panasonics of this world.