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Samsung LE46F86 review

The top dog in Samsung’s excellent range of LCDs, this fine set has everything you could wish for – including excellent image quality

The LE46F86 is more-or-less Samsung’s statement set, and it shows. First and foremost, it looks superb. While Samsung’s glossy black finish has been aped by many rivals in the last few years, this set still has an elegant, sculptural form that belies its considerable bulk, aided in no small measure by the addition of transparent ‘wings’ to each side of the screen.

Bursting with features

There’s substance to match the style, too. The LE46F86 isn’t so much ‘well-specified’ as ‘loaded for bear’: we can’t think of a rival TV that offers more features for your cash.

This 46in full HD set includes 100Hz picture processing to help deliver smoother motion and less visible flicker with off-air TV, and its three HDMI 1.3 inputs (one usefully mounted on the side for gamers) all accept 24fps video from Blu-ray or HD DVD.

You also get a dedicated ‘game’ mode to deliver better performance with games consoles, a USB 2.0 input for easy connection to a digital camera, some trick lighting effects designed to make your set look even sexier when it’s turned on and, ooh, lots more besides.

Performance matches the promise

Of course, that wouldn’t count for much if the Samsung’s picture and sound quality wasn’t up to snuff, but it is – and then some.

This is superlative kit from the moment you first fire it up: even with the digitised crud of Freeview TV, it manages to look consistently lush and invitingly stable, and it handles rapid motion with aplomb.

Switch to 1080p content from Blu-ray or HD DVD, and the Samsung’s high resolution and exceptional sharpness serve it well: it positively gleams with animation, such as Ice Age 2, and looks almost as crisp with transfers like Casino Royale or Blood Diamond.

Where it comes slightly unstuck, as with most LCDs, is in very dark scenes: it can struggle to peer into the murk of night-time movie sequences.

Stunning sound quality

However, that aside, almost every aspect of the Samsung’s performance impresses, including even its sound quality: unlike many flat TVs, it has genuine heft to its presentation, coupled to respectable control at high volumes.

Couple all this ability to the set’s many other strengths –from set-up menus that are as flexible or as simple as you want them to be, through to optional extras like a sophisticated motorised wall bracket that can swivel the set out to your desired viewing angle – and you’ve an obvious star performer.

And of course, this being a Samsung, the suggested selling price should be easy to beat once you start to shop.

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Stuff Says…

Score: 5/5