Product Type: Samsung 3D LCD TV
Newest Review: ... the display is really clear, especially when watching an HD channel or a Blueray DVD. If you have an Xbox or a similar game console, I ... more
A skinny super model which has the smarts
Member Name: kevin121
Date: 13/02/12, updated on 10/11/12 (223 review reads)
Advantages: Excellent picture quality, very reasonably priced, has lots of features
Disadvantages: The sound isn't as good as I am used to, the remote could be simplified
If you don't know who Joey is, perhaps it's because you don't own a television yourself, or perhaps you've never watched the TV series Friends.
Either way, our furniture is now all pointed towards a large new television made by Samsung. With a screen size of 40 inches our furniture finally has something decent to be pointed towards.
~ I've finally got the smarts ~
While my old standard definition (if anyone ever called it that) CRT television may be considered old tech, it was still watchable. The only trouble was it looked outdated, took up lots of space, and didn't offer the same clarity of pictures as it's newer HD cousins. It was also far less environmentally friendly in that it used up to four times as much electricity as this model.
While the very latest televisions being introduced now are 3D ones they didn't appeal to us. Given that they still seem unrealistically priced who really wants to have to wear those expensive and silly 3D glasses every evening? The good news for people like me is that the price of 2D lcd televisions have fallen through the floor as a result.
A 40 inch screen might seem excessive, greedy even, but strangely for something so big it's actually not too big. The reason being that Samsung have used a bevel edging that's only 3 centimetres wide. That might sound trivial but when we were comparing televisions this one really wasn't that much larger overall than some 37 inch ones we saw. The difference being there is more screen and less edging with this one, which can only be a good thing in my opinion.
The deal clincher for us was a combination of a very good price, an impressive spec list and the fact that this is an LED television and not LCD. As I understand it, LED is much newer technology with the main benefit being a better picture quality yet in an even slimmer casing. The depth of this television is only 3 centimetres, which I still marvel at. To put it into perspective, our bedroom television which is only a few years old is three times as deep at 10 centimetres, yet that, when we bought it seemed amazingly slim.
And as far as appearances go if any television can look gorgeous, then this does. The edging is in a glossy black finish with a transparent tip and the pedestal stand is also a combination of glossy black and perspex, with the column also being made of perspex. It looks more solid and so much nicer than the majority of televisions we looked at which had flimsy plastic stands. The front isn't let down by any obtrusive buttons either, because there aren't any buttons as such. The usual power, volume and channel options are built into the bezel surround in the bottom right corner and are touch sensitive. Nice touch Samsung. They're also virtually invisible unless you're positioned about a foot away from the screen. Overall it looks far classier than it should for this price bracket.
~ Its features ~
A big plus for me is that this has HD Freeview rather than being simply HD ready. It might not be important to those of you with satellite or cable television installed, but for us it was the reason we opted for this television over another Samsung which was slightly cheaper but couldn't access HD channels.
Like most new televisions, you can play music, video footage or show off show your latest holiday snaps courtesy of a USB port at the back. I have to say, even though our cameras are pretty ordinary point and shoot compacts, the picture quality looks really good when they're displayed on this screen.
Probably one of the main attractions for anyone buying this though would be that's it's Smart. Not in the Stephen Hawking sense, but what it can do is still fairly impressive. Mostly via the apps which are already installed.
This has four HDMI ports (more than we currently need but who knows what the future holds) as well as a Scart socket, a VGA port and a set of component inputs. There are also two USB ports and an Ethernet port for accessing the television's Web features. These are all tucked away at the back and unobtrusive, yet fairly easy to get to especially as the television can tilt. For anyone wanting to use this for gaming, they could connect to the internet via a Wi-Fi dongle and still leave their Xbox connected too, instead of fiddling around pulling out wires. Potentially very handy but not something we'll be doing.
One thing I hadn't given any thought to when we bought this is that to access the internet content we would need to buy a separate dongle. The Samsung guide suggests that theirs are the only ones that will work with this television, whether that's right or not I don't know, but I was rather hesitant to splurge out around £50 on one if the picture quality turns out to be dire. So we connected it via the wired LAN using cables we already had. Mainly I was interested in accessing the BBC iPlayer on this. When we did manage it, the picture quality proved to be excellent, and it was far nicer watching Sherlock downstairs on the sofa than on our small computer screen. That said, I did notice that the picture froze occasionally while we were watching one episode. I can only assume that was down to our internet connection or speed rather than a problem with the television though because it hasn't happened otherwise. Overall, I'm not using the iPlayer facility more now than I used to on my PC but then I don't want to. This is mainly due to the internet usage limits set by my ISP. It would be all too easy to let an evening run away watching iPlayer programmes but I'd sooner use our allowance surfing the internet properly. A possible drawback for some is that this doesn't have what I think of as a proper web browser. It isn't a problem for us with the amount of time we use it, but if you think it's a deal breaker then you'd have to invest in one of Samsung's pricier televisions.
~ Fuzz free viewing ~
Why bother buying a HD television you may think, if most channels are still broadcast in standard definition? Because somewhere inside this 3 cm deep casing is a little upscaling wizard that makes even the standard-definition pictures seem noticeably sharper than they were on our old television. But that isn't where this television really shines. For television, it's at it's best when tuned in to the various HD channels on Freeview. So far there are two BBC ones together with a Channel 4 and ITV one. Recently I couldn't help flicking between BBC1 and BBC1HD to compare the picture when Brain Cox was explaining the wonders of the solar system and there really is a noticeable difference. Watching blu ray discs is just as good, and my initial doubts that the extra cost of buying a blu ray disc over an ordinary dvd are unwarranted. I've got no hesitation in stumping up the extra few quid knowing that the picture quality be will so good.
Also worth noting is that with most LCD tellies the best picture is gained when you're sitting directly in front of the screen. Having an LCD television in the bedroom, I know first hand how annoying it is to watch a late night thriller only to have the darker scenes appear blurry if I lie down. The worries I had with this television proved unfounded. The quality of the picture produced by this television is almost perfect, whether I'm sitting in front of it, or to either side. On that note, the screen can be tilted to either side so unless there are lots of viewers which is unlikely with us, there's no reason why it can't be moved to face you.
~ The sound quality ~
Unfortunately where the picture is far better, I can't say the same aurally. I found the difference between this and my old set quite disappointing initially, although I don't think this is any worse than other led televisions. Speech is clear and well defined as are the higher notes which manage not to sound too tinny. The most disappointing tend to be deeper bass notes. Anyone who watches lots of action films with explosions and shoot em up scenes may find the sound underwelming.
We've fiddled about with the five different audio options, and settled for the one which provides the richest tone which is Movie. That was the best for most of our viewing habits but should I start watching a concert or musical, no doubt it would need changing to get the best sound. Overall, I don't think the sound quality is any worse than other LED televisions, and if the only way it could be improved on is by going back to cathode ray technology then I'll pass thanks.
~ The Remote Control ~
If there's one thing that could be improved on, it would have to be the remote. It's both longer and wider than my previous crt remote and didn't feel totally comfortable to hold at first, although I've got used to it now. Samsung have deemed it necessary to have 47 different buttons on here, although I'm sure they could have downsized. There is both an EPG (electronic programme guide) which is first rate, yet also a channel list button which provides much the same function. I get the sense that Samsung want to blind buyers with science, but sometimes less is more. That said, the remote is easy to use and the buttons are responsive when I've used it.
~ Overall ~
Aside from the remote control, the only downside we have had with this television was in putting it all together. You'd think it would be straightforward with only four pieces and eight screws to put together but not for us. The instruction leaflet had a few vague pictures, and even with all the right bits and pieces included it still took some head scratching before we realised how it should be assembled. After that it was plain sailing. The television switched on and had found all the available Freeview channels within a few minutes.
Even though I probably won't have much need for some of the features and potential this television has, I still think this is a wonderful television and I'm glad we chose this one.
We paid £479, which for a television of this size deems it an entry level model although at the same time it's an absolute steal.
Our only problem is, clean lines call for clean tables. Now where to put all that clutter that had been hiding behind the CRT?
Summary: A good quality entry level model which is packed with features
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