Samsung’s assault on the LCD TV marketplace has been as successful as it has been brutal. By a simple but effective system of renewing its LCD ranges faster than most, manufacturing unprecedented numbers of screens and always being at the vanguard of cost-cutting rounds, Samsung has helped push Korea ahead of Japan as the World’s premier flat-panel nation. In fact, as perhaps the ultimate sign of just how successful it has been, no less an electronics giant that Sony has found itself having to source its core LCD panels from Samsung rather than building them itself.
All of which means we’ve got some pretty high hopes for Samsung’s LE26R41. Especially as its first impressions make such a winning impact. For instance, before we even get to the TV there’s its price tag to consider. At just £600 it’s quite simply outrageously cheap for a 26in LCD TV from such an established brand.
Then there’s its design. Few brands deliver serious TV eye-candy as regularly as Samsung, but even by Samsung’s standards the LE26R41 is outstandingly attractive. Part of the appeal is down to the sheer glamour of the highly glossed black screen surround, with the rest down to its clean lines and the genius decision to build the set’s speakers into a silver triangle section pointing down from the screen’s bottom edge.
The LE26R41 delivers more connectivity than you’ve any right to expect for £600 too, including HDMI and component video options for HD sources, a PC input, and the usual lower quality AV fallbacks. We might normally spend a moment here ruing the fact that the LE26R41 only has one HDMI and two SCARTs, but in light of the £600 price tag for once we’re happy to let this slide.
Especially since the LE26R41 delivers a feature count that would shame many LCDs costing twice as much. For starters, as with all our pre-World Cup TVs the LE26R41 is HD Ready, with a native resolution of 1,366 x 768.