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SAMSUNG LE40B530 40

Rating: ★★★★☆

With HD rapidly becoming the standard for home viewing, getting the right screen into your lounge can be a daunting prospect. As LCD TV’s are now widely available and dominating the market, finding a high performance bargain is easier than you might think.

Samsung is a name synonymous with quality in the world of LCD television, currently leading the charge with new technologies like LED and 3D TV.

The Samsung LE40B530 40″ LCD TV has recently become available from Comet for sub £500 and at that price it really is a very impressive piece of kit.
Set in a trim gloss black frame it looks fantastic and is very easy to install. The screen sits nicely on a discreet but sturdy stand that pivots for adaptable viewing angles. Upon switching on for the first time, the set quickly and cleverly ran through an auto setup program that had me easily connected to the built in Freeview, Sky HD, Xbox 360 and Blu-Ray (PS3) inputs in minutes.

I’m no tech expert but I do have an eye for detail in picture quality, and having struggled to find a review online before I bought, I was relieved to find the TV provides excellent pictures from any source.

The default display settings aren’t bad, but I spent a while tweaking them to my preference, paying particular attention to the Backlight, Contrast and Brightness scales. Advanced options are extensive, from Dynamic Contrast to Edge Enhancement, with all making a noteable difference to the picture. These options can all be set to taste, or if you’re unsure there are guides for optimum viewing from various tech forums online.

Once in action, I found the picure from Freeview and standard Sky is very good, much better than my 3 year old LG 32″ that I paid £600 for. However this TV really shines when running HD, with Sky HD looking truly incredible! I haven’t seen a sharper, more vibrant and colourful picture on any TV anywhere, so all credit to the high contrast ratio and Wide Colour Enhancer Engine. The Enhancer serves to strengthen the core red, green and blues in the picture, producing a dynamic but natural image.

Just as important as shining colours in LCD TVs, is the ability to display blacks, and these are really impressive too, looking inky and solid particularly with the Black Tone option set to Darkest.

LCD TV’s often suffer from ghosting or motion blur while viewing panning shots and sports, but the Samsung remains stable in these conditions due to the effective progressive scan technology.

I’m an avid gamer so my Xbox 360 image was particularly important. The “Game Mode” seems rather inappropriate in my opinion, as it renders the picture too dark, so I’ve experimented at length using both component cables and HDMI in 1080i and 1080p. Finally I settled on high quality component cables and 1080i, as even though the TV is capable of displaying full 1080p inputs, the picure seemed slightly blurred when set to 1080p output on my 360.

Now up and running there are no signs whatsoever of visual lag, jaggies or screen tearing even on fast paced games.

The 1080p capability can be fully and gloriously utilised when playing a Blu-Ray disc, with Avatar looking absolutely stunning. With such a bold, detailed and sharp picture it almost appears 3D! For a TV in this price bracket the quality here is superb, a real wow factor for the viewer.

If I had to pick a negative aspect about this TV there really is only one to chose from, and that is the sound. The ergonomics of the built in speakers keep everything looking pretty, but it seriously lacks punch. Even with the EQ set to maximum bass and low range levels, although crystal clear the sound is still very tinny. Thankfully this can easily be resolved by hooking up the audio output to a home cinema or basic woofer/speaker system. Once this is done everything sounds fantastic, and the Surround Sound function provides a great extra dimension and width to the audio.

Smaller but oh so important details such as the easy to navigate on-screen menus, 3 HDMI inputs, and Eco Friendly certification also serve to reassure you that this is a classy TV.
Some people would swear that you still have to spend £1000+ to get a decent 40″ these days, but unless you’re an audio & visual expert, the Samsung LE40B530 will more than satisfy for half the price.

A great buy!

Pros

  • User friendly
  • Excellent HD capabilities
  • Stylish

Cons

  • Underpowered speakers
  • Doesn't make you dinner
  • That's it

Verdict

A wonderful mid-range HD TV at a now bargain price. My most satisfying tech buy ever!


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