Product Type: Samsung 3D LCD TV
Newest Review: ... full of colour. This TV does offer a contrast ratio of 50000:1 & that means the Samsung offers good levels of black colour to improv... more
My Rose-tinted Telly
Member Name: RunnyHunnyBee
Date: 11/01/10, updated on 11/01/10 (347 review reads)
Advantages: Stunning to look at. Even more stunning when it's switched on.
I had a browse around Comet and immediately ruled out those ridiculously huge TVs, reasoning that they probably don't look too bad in a converted barn, loft apartment, or those massive Beverly Hills mansions on MTV Cribs - but in a 3 bed semi? I decided to go for a 42 inch one, which I felt was still huge but not too OTT.
There were plenty to choose from, but I soon became confused as there didn't appear to be one that included all the best features. Obviously, when you are willing to part with nearly £1000 for a telly, you want the best picture quality, so I wanted the highest pixel resolution and the highest contrast ratio available in this price range, but another important factor for me was the sound quality. As I wasn't living in a detached, secluded mansion, I didn't really want to upset the neighbours with a full surround sound cinema system, so I wanted the internal speakers on the set to be perfectly capable of delivering a good quality sound when viewing films. For some reason I was convinced that this would lead me to another Sony model.
With my short list of criteria I narrowed it down to two options - one was indeed a Sony, but was unfortunately out of stock, and the other was the Samsung LE40A656. I hadn't even looked at it at first, but having reeled off my list of must-have features to the salesman, he immediately pointed to this one.
~~~ First impressions ~~~
This beautiful looking TV really did stand out among the others. I was told that this model had just been released, and that Samsung were calling it 'Rose-Black'. It has a black gloss finish with a subtle deep red tint, which may sound quite tacky, but actually looks extremely smart; the black fades into the red nicely with the curve of the frame. The front panel touch-buttons are hardly visible at the bottom right-hand corner, which I felt to be a nice touch, keeping the TV sleek looking. The stand is an elegant oval shape, with the same black gloss finish, which I feel is much nicer than a harsh rectangular stand. Being slightly smaller than the others at 40ins rather than 42, I felt that this was the perfect size.
I think the only reason I hadn't stopped to have a closer look earlier was because I had subconsciously ruled out anything that wasn't a Sony. The salesman explained that whilst he wouldn't describe the sound quality as 10/10 for this one, it is still extremely good, especially for my needs, and that it would certainly be just as good as the Sony.
The price tag was £899 at the time, and I managed to get a free black glass stand and a Samsung black glossy upscaling DVD player thrown in.
~~~ Performance ~~~
As far as I can remember, when I got it home it was simply a case of lifting it out of the box and plugging it in, as the stand was already attached. I can't comment on the process of storing digital TV channels - I just plugged the Sky box in and everything worked!
The slightly larger than usual remote is supplied complete with batteries, and has the same black gloss finish as the set itself. A nice little unnecessary touch that pleased me was the ability to illuminate all the buttons, but other than that I suppose the remote is fairly average.
This particular TV was one of only two in the price range with the (at that time) superior 100Hz processing, making fast-moving images much clearer and far more fluid than previously possible. The salesman showed me a comparison with 50Hz model, and I could definitely see the difference.
The 50,000:1 contrast ratio was also considered to be 'supremely high' at the time, which was another selling point for me. I was told that the higher the contrast ratio, the deeper the blacks and the more brilliant the whites, which leads to a more detailed picture during very dark or very light scenes. Indeed, I wasn't disappointed. This was actually the first thing I noticed when I switched the TV on at home; I had never seen such a true black on a TV screen before. The colours were so vibrant and rich. Of course, the 1920x1080 full HD resolution was also immediately apparent when using my PS3 for Blu-ray movies, having been used to 1366x768 with the Bravia.
The menu function is all very idiot-proof, with an abundance of both picture and audio settings that can be adjusted. I have never had any trouble finding my way around the menu options, even though there are so many.
A function I only discovered recently is the Picture In Picture (PIP) option, which allows you to display a sub picture within the main picture - fantastic for things like the Wii Fit. There are three sizes available for this sub picture, and if you choose the smallest one (less than 1/4 screen) you can choose to locate it in any of the four corners of the screen.
I also particularly like the 'Entertainment' mode, which gives the optimal picture and sound quality for sports, cinema or gaming. It works brilliantly for movies, meaning that you don't need to go fiddling with the settings - just press the 'E' button on the remote until the word 'Cinema' appears on the screen, and it's just right. I haven't tried it for sports or gaming though.
~~~ What's on the back? ~~~
Although it is in the corner of my room, the telly is capable of swivelling 20 degrees either way on its stand, so I am able to quite comfortably clean behind it, as well as tell you what's on the back.
It has 4x (v1.3) HDMI inputs, which in my opinion is more than adequate. I have three of them in constant use, with my DVD player, PS3, and SKY+HD box plugged in, which leaves one spare for temporary usage such as HD video cameras or any other gadgets that might happen to come my way in the future.
It has two scart sockets, a PC IN slot, and all the usual coloured audio sockets. On the side there is a common interface slot, and a Wiselink USB socket that can be used for memory sticks containing photos or audio files. The forth HDMI slot is located on the side panel also, making it more convenient for temporary use.
~~~ Overall opinion ~~~
I have had this telly for a year and a half now, and I still absolutely love it. People still comment on how smart it looks, even now, and I think the red tint has a lot to do with that. The black gloss finish perfectly matches the black glass stand it sits on, as well as the PS3 underneath. As for performance, I just couldn't fault it. Some reviewers have stated that the sound isn't great, but they soon point out that this is only in comparison to the excellent picture quality, and that the sound quality is actually by no means poor. Personally, I found it to be much better than I thought possible without the use of external speakers. 9/10 from me, with a point lost for the slight lack of bass (not that it bothers me in the slightest).
Picture quality continues to impress me, particularly since I have upgraded to SkyHD.
The spec may be a little outdated now, with many new TVs in a similar price bracket now boasting 100000:1 contrast ratio and 200Hz processing, but that's just greedy! I really can't imagine a sharper, more vibrant picture than that provided by my gorgeous Samsung LE40A656 - it's truly stunning!
** Also posted on ciao.co.uk under the same username**
Summary: Gorgeous rose-tinted telly!
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