Review Price free/subscription
Samsung LE32A656 32in LCD TV - Samsung LE32A656
In action the 32A656 is mostly very good indeed, with one tiny area of disappointment.
Contributing to the ‘very good' part of the equation is the rather excellent Motion Plus engine Samsung has employed on the 32A656. During a run-through of Casino Royale on Blu-ray this effectively delivers the dream combination of notably crisper motion handling for action sequences like the opening freerunning sequence, but few if any processing artefacts such as edge flicker or lag. Superb.
The picture is also breathtakingly sharp. You can thus, for instance, make out pores and stubble on Le Chiffre's face as he speaks from his cellphone in Uganda, even though the shot is by no means an extreme close up. This exceptional sharpness is partly down to the Motion Plus processing, partly down to what I take to be some genuine improvements in the DNIe system, and partly down to the screen having a full HD resolution and knowing how to use it!
The LE32A6556's picture is also striking during, for instance, the sun-drenched scenes in the Bahamas, thanks to both the sheer brightness of its pictures and the impressive vibrancy of its colours. What's more, as with all the best LCD TVs this impressive colour saturation doesn't come at the expense of tonal accuracy, as everything from the tricky skin tones on show in the various casino sequences to the rich blues of the Bahamian skies and stunning red of Vesper Lynd's dress looks entirely credible rather than overcooked or ‘PC-like'.
Yet more good news concerns the LE32A656's handling of standard definition, with Samsung's latest processing engines doing a much better job of converting standard def stuff to the screen's full HD resolution than we saw on its previous LCD range.
The black level response on show during dark scenes like Casino Royale's infamous ‘nutcracker' torture sequence, meanwhile, is a cut above that offered by most rival 32in screens. Yet at the same time I did feel there was a touch more greyness in really dark corners than I felt aware of with the 40in 40A656, and a little less shadow detail.
Aside from this really quite minor issue, though, the only other complaints I have about the 32A656's pictures are mere matters of settings; for instance, choose the Dynamic preset and pictures can suddenly look garish and noisy. Or set any of the black level boosters too high and pictures soon look forced and unnatural.
Be careful with such settings, though, and your reward is a prime contender for the title of best 32in LCD picture we've seen to date.
These are exciting times in the LCD world, with designs and picture quality improving at breakneck speed across the board. But on the evidence of the 32A656, for now at least - until the arrival of Philips' imminent new range, perhaps? - Samsung's A656 range remains very much the one everyone else needs to beat.