It's not often 50in plasmas surprise you in a good way when it comes to price. Usually firmly in 'wish-list' territory, Samsung has bucked the trend and brought this rather stylish HD-ready set within spitting distance of the proletariat's wallet. But does cutting cost mean cutting corners?
Fifty inches of hi-def
Steering clear of the model-number bingo so prevalent elsewhere in the company's range, it's pretty clear what you're getting here – a 50in plasma screen with HD-ready capability. It's not a bad looking one at that, with dark, simple styling befitting of a far more expensive set.
The resolution is a decent 1366x768 and there's also a digital tuner so you won't have to add a Freeview box to the shopping list. Socket wizardry comes in the form of HDMI (only one, mind, so you might need to budget for a switchbox or switching receiver), component and twin Scart inputs.
There's also a fair number of picture adjustments to tweak, with facilities including Low Noise Amplifier for boosting a weak off-air signal, and Digital Noise Reduction, which does exactly what is says on the tin.
Tuner keeps it clean
Watching TV via the built-in digital tuner gives a clean picture complete with a solid colour balance. There's no sign of noise either, the picture remaining commendably sharp at all times.
Load up a DVD and the same attributes are very much in evidence, with plenty of opportunities for Samsung to show off its ability with bright colours and fast motion. The former are given plenty of punch and vitality, without ever becoming lurid, and while there's some evidence of smearing via component, this is all-but eradicated using HDMI.
Blacks are impressively deep and dark, though there are times when we feel we're missing out on a smidgeon of extra detail. Feed the screen high definition, though, and it really shines, looking rich and refined.
The icing on the cake has to be this set's price – it's a whopping £800 cheaper than some of its rivals, and a little hunting online reveals prices as low as £1000.
There are better 50in plasmas out there, but few offer such a clean, detailed, colourful picture for this price. In the usual Samsung style, it truly brings massive television screens to the masses.