Samsung LE32B550 32in LCD TV - Samsung LE32B550

John Archer

By John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Samsung LE32B550 32in LCD TV


Our Score:


For what it's worth, we'd love to tell you here some absurdly high quoted contrast ratio figure for the TV as well. But in a rather odd move, Samsung has recently started just saying its TVs have 'ultra' or, in the LE32B550's case, 'High' contrast. Honestly - it's enough to make you think Samsung is starting to have about as much respect for contrast ratios as we do!

A set of really attractive, excellently legible onscreen menus, meanwhile, provide you with all manner of handy tweaks to help you calibrate images to suit your tastes and environment.

Among the best of the options available are a Black Tone adjustment, a multi-level dynamic contrast system, a multi-level black level booster, a colour space adjustment, a flesh tone tweaker, an edge enhancement circuit, and the facility to adjust the black level 'starting point' of the HDMI sockets. This latter feature has come in surprisingly handy on one or two recent TVs, enhancing greatly the black levels of some console games we've played, which otherwise looked rather flat and grey.

I'm duty-bound to report before going any further a couple of key features found higher up Samsung's range that the LE32B550 doesn't have. So: there's no Ethernet port for extracting files from a PC or accessing Samsung's Media 2.0 online service. And there's no 100Hz system - all you've got picture processing-wise is Samsung's general-purpose DNIe video engine.

While the absence of 100Hz and Ethernet connectivity certainly provide you with genuine reasons to consider stepping up to Samsung's LE32B650 TV, their absence on the LE32B550 is entirely commensurate with its lowly price.

Switching the LE32B550 on reveals almost immediately that its pictures are every bit as striking as those we saw on the LE40B550. And when we say striking, that's exactly what we mean.

For the dynamism on show is remarkable for any 32in TV, never mind such a cheap one. At one end of the spectrum, colours are extremely dynamic, rich, and fulsomely saturated, while peak whites are bright and crisp. Even more impressive, though, is the TV's black level response. Dark scenes actually contain what looks like black - or at least, something as close to black as I've ever seen on a 32in LCD TV.

Even better, dark parts of otherwise bright pictures also look remarkably black, revealing an ability to render simultaneously bright and dark picture elements that almost defies science, given that this is a 'normal' LCD TV with a single CCFL backlight, rather than an LED model.

As you would expect, this sort of deep black level/rich colour combination works wonders on HD movies. But I was also startled by how much impact it had with simple Freeview tuner fare.


September 15, 2009, 11:50 am

And to repeat a comment I left in your LE40B550 review:

A further plus in favour of this set is the fact that it can be tweaked to play MKVs and movies via USB just like its bigger brother, the B650 series.

(I have the B650 and a Popcorn Hour Media player, which I haven't switched on in months - just attach a 500GB NTFS-formatted portable USB hard drive directly to the telly and play MKVs from that!)


September 16, 2009, 12:05 am

So when you say "The only unfortunate thing about the set aesthetically is the distance to which its rear end sticks out" it would be beneficial to reveal exactly how far this is.


September 16, 2009, 12:41 am

"The only unfortunate thing about the set aesthetically is the distance to which its rear end sticks out"

Sounds like my other half.

Specs are on the Samsung web site, james1000 -

kwg uk

September 16, 2009, 2:42 am

cracking review....if only it had a Freeview HD tuner.


September 16, 2009, 6:48 pm

I'll never buy a Samsung TV after mine (40inch M86) has died in under 2 years. Samsung refuse to fix it for free even though the fault is due to cheap and shoddy power components they use in their TV's. It's a very common problem. Buyer beware! It's been going on for years...


John 38

September 21, 2009, 6:37 pm

I consider the Toshiba 32RV635 to more more of a bargain than this or the 32AV635


September 25, 2009, 8:31 pm

The MKV part sounds very interesting. I want to buy one, but only Dixons have a LE32B551. Anyone can tell me this is the same as the LE32B550?

The Miner

October 7, 2009, 5:44 pm

Yes it's the same telly - different number as it's the Pixmania version apparently


October 26, 2009, 2:15 pm

I've just been flicking between this and the LE32B650 that you also reviewed and noticed that the LE32B550 doesn't come with stereo output whereas the LE32B650 does. I'm assuming then that this would limit the quality of sound you'd be able to get out of hooking the TV up to an external sound system? Or can you get the same level of sound out of a headphone to stereo splitter cable?


December 5, 2009, 6:24 pm

Hi, I'm thinking about buying my first LDC tv, however I'm on a budget... can anyone advise on whether I'd be ok with the LE32450, which is the HD ready - and therefore cheaper - version of this set. It's on amazon for £309 inc free delivery, and the reviews generally seem to be very good. Additionally I'm told that with a sets of 32" and under having full HD is not quite as important, unless you're a seasoned connoisseur! So, is the LE32450 ok - or should I shell out an additional £90 and go for the LE32550? Thanks!

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