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Samsung LE32B650 32in LCD TV review

John Archer



  • Recommended by TR
Samsung LE32B650 32in LCD TV


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With Samsung's big LED screens scooping all the headlines right now, I can't help but wonder if I'm going to be left feeling a little 'meh' - to probably misuse one of today's trendy phrases - by the LE32B650, one of the smallest members of Samsung's 'standard backlight' LCD TV range.

It's just as well, then, that the LE32B650 starts its charm offensive right away, with its sumptuous design. The application of a transparent 'crystal' sheet over the black bezel gives it a touch of genuine class, especially as that crystal sheet extends beyond the black bezel by a centimetre or so, and curves seductively around a sort of 'wave' effect along the TV's bottom edge. Even the desktop stand looks distinctive, thanks to its see-through neck.

The 32B650's side and rear are as attractive as its front if you're a fan of connections. Particular boat-floaters are four HDMIs, an Ethernet port for accessing either Samsung's Medi@2.0 online service or a networked PC, and not one but two USB ports, both able to play a variety of photo, music and video file formats. One of the USBs can even accept a full-blown USB HDD device or you can get hold of an optional dongle that enables you to access Samsung's online functionality wirelessly.

If you've managed to miss our recent reviews of other new Samsung TVs, the online functionality we're talking about comprises a controlled environment of content - as opposed to full Internet access - specially designed to be operated via a normal TV remote and interface.

This ring-fenced approach may disappoint die-hard surfers, but it probably makes sense for most TV users - even though Philips did a surprisingly good job of integrating full Internet access into its recent 32PFL9604.

Current Medi@2.0 content includes access to YouTube, the Flickr photo storage website, Yahoo News and Finance links, and Samsung still enjoys an exclusive tie-up with Yahoo's popular Widgets platform.

I have to say that for some reason I experienced persistent connection difficulties with the Yahoo services during my test period with the 32B650, even using a wired link to my router. All I can think is that the Yahoo servers must have been having a bad couple of days.

If the online features aren't sufficient for you, then maybe the 32B650's built-in Content Library will sort you out. This contains, on flash memory, a gallery of screen saver photos and artworks, recipes, games, children's songs and animated stories, and various audio tracks to aid meditation and relaxation (!). You can add a little content of your own to this 'library' too, if you so desire.

Personally, I have to say I didn't feel inclined to revisit anything in the Content Library after my initial exploration of it, but I guess there's always scope for more interesting stuff to be added in future incarnations of the system.

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June 15, 2009, 8:32 am

When did TVs become restricted web platforms? I would really just like to keep it as a simple display that I control what's plugged in and out, rather then some novelty entertainment feature that gets dated quickly and then soon forgotten by the manufacturer, as the user did just a few minutes after trying it.

Any reflections from a TV tend to be distracting to me, so I wouldn't touch this TV, with its reflective screen and bezel.

Unfortunately I find the curves that Samsung seems to be putting on all its screens just make them look 'flabby', like a beer gut of something.

Also I think the transparent 'neck' is tacky, mainly because it looks like it is trying to imitate glass. I would be concerned about it just cracking...


June 15, 2009, 9:11 am

"...I'm not sure the 32in screen size is really big enough to make the benefits of Full HD apparent..."

I am full_sure for this, 40+ TVs should have better resolution than Full_HD. It's so annoying.

20-22'=HD Ready, 32'=Full HD, 40+'=let's pray.


June 15, 2009, 3:07 pm

Blyndy wrote:

> I wouldn't touch this TV, with its reflective screen

Did you actually bother to read the review - on page 2 the thorough reviewer mentions that the TV incorporates...

"a proprietary polarising sheet in the screen design to reduce reflections by 30 per cent and pretty much remove the usual surface 'haze' caused by ambient light in your room. This stops ambient light from reducing the image's contrast. "

With regard to the stand... almost every TV set you can buy today comes with a plastic stand of some kind - why would this one be any more prone to cracking, just because it's transparent, rather than coloured?


June 15, 2009, 3:09 pm

Great review TR.

I too wish Samsung would beef up their audio in LCD products... I guess they're anticipating that most sets will be connected to a sound system of some kind.

My feeling is that even with the best sound system in the world, there are times when it's inappropriate to run it (or times when your away and the wife can't work out HOW to run it) - so having reasonable sound on-board does still have a place... at least in my home!


June 15, 2009, 4:51 pm

Stranded wrote:

> 40+ TVs should have better resolution than Full_HD. It's so annoying.

But wouldn't you then be compromising with upscaled images from HD video sources.

Generally, video looks its very best displayed at it's native size - things are always an approximation when upscaled/downscaled. Even the best upscalers introduce softening, through having to invent pixels that don't exist in the source image stream - which is then generally filtered to remove the jaggies that invariably result.

Crucially... if you really can make out individual pixels on a 40" screen - I reckon you must be sitting just a little bit too close!

Higher resolution would be great on PC displays though - at least those extra pixels will be put to good use there - giving more desktop real-estate for all those apps our multi-processor systems can now run with buttery smoothness (Excepting anything from CryTek).

Andy Wilson

June 15, 2009, 5:38 pm

I have the 37" version of this TV and can confirm that despite the glossy screen, the polarising filter does a great job in avoiding distracting reflections. So, we have the best of both worlds - nice deep blacks and no annoying reflections.

As for the bundled content features (recipes, children's stories, image galleries), some of it is of high quality, and can be added to. But it's true the novelty wears off. However I do return to the recipes occasionally (great if you like curry) and the images can form a great background. The internet features are slow to load, but it's handy to see the weather forecast and play with Twitter!

High definition broadcast images (1080i) are noticeably clearer and more impressive than SD on my 37" though the Samsung also makes a good fist of Freesat SD (better than the latest Sonys imho). But yes, sound is the weak point of this machine, though it's not horrible. Maybe Samsung want everyone to buy their new "cheapish" 2.1 soundbar/subwoofer combo.

As for the looks - I think it's classy, and no more prone to damage than others in the same price range. A great TV.


June 15, 2009, 9:04 pm

Yes, yes, i know, billions of arguments. Anyway, i am not a TV fan, i watch only for 1hr/month in a 20' set. But i get annoyed when i watch my friends 32' HD ready ones. A TV is made only for distant watching? Is 2009 or 1969?


June 15, 2009, 9:58 pm

why not 10 out of 10 for design thats easily the best looking 32'' tv I've seen. Get the audio sorted and samsung can get a whole lot closer to being a true high quality, high features, low price manufacture that I don't think we really have in this market


June 15, 2009, 11:39 pm

Is it possible to connect this set on a PC outputting 1920x1080 60p using HDMI ?


June 16, 2009, 3:07 am

Cant really see why anyone would want to upgrade their existing lcd for another lcd. LED is surely the only way to go now.

Howdy Doody

June 16, 2009, 8:24 am

Great review>

I dunno .. this looks like the LN32B650 we have in North America. It certainly seems great next to any other TV at the retail outlets. I agree that my mind remains unsettled re glossy screen-- but on the other hand the picture has a different feel to it re color, etc, etc. Very, very different than my "matte finish" LCD monitor.

As for the "connectivity" check out the user guide on your Samsung UK site -- it should give you a parade of PC settings. It certainly has HDMI. I am especially interested in the USB/Ethernet/wi-fi connectivity as I intend to keep the TV room, clear of PC and show my downloaded movies (lots of formats supported) on this TV. My video card has PC/HDMI/DVI outputs too.

The viewing angle is narrow -- much, much narrower than the Pannasonic 32's et al.

Great review. Many thanks.


February 23, 2010, 9:12 pm

I think you might find "Meh" was a trendy phrase quite some time ago like say the 90's.... "jeez" "like get with the program".. (see wot i did there "eh!")

"anyhoo" Great Review TR, I think the B650 is the best budget LCD currently out there n who cares how far away you watch it from the main thing is its a fantastic picture for the "Bucks"

Zuze out

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