Samsung LE32B650 32in LCD TV - Samsung LE32B650

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Samsung LE32B650 32in LCD TV

Summary

Our Score:

9

The really good news, though, is that the 32B650 rewards your setup efforts with some excellent picture quality. The 100Hz processing, for instance, reduces judder during camera pans, and makes moving objects look marginally less blurred. And it does so without throwing up distracting flickering or shimmering artefacts, so long as you stick with the 'Clear' 100Hz setting. It should be added, mind you, that the screen doesn't smear with motion at all badly even with the 100Hz engine turned off.

The 32B650's colours benefit from the extra gamut afforded to Samsung's Series 6 models too, combining exceptional intensity and vibrancy with natural and subtle tones, so that the picture looks as convincing with EastEnders as it does with Shrek.

There's no obvious sign of striping in the screen's colour blends either, and skin tones are subtle enough in their shading to avoid the plasticky appearance found with many smallish LCD TVs.

Less easy to determine with certainty is the benefit of having a Full HD rather than HD Ready screen on the 32B650. Not because its HD images don't look very sharp and clean; they do. But I've seen some of Samsung's non-Full HD 32in TVs deliver very crisp HD pictures too, and I'm not sure the 32in screen size is really big enough to make the benefits of Full HD apparent.

For me, the ace in the 32B650's hand is its black level response. Somehow, Samsung has managed to produce some of the deepest, richest black tones on the 32B650 that I've seen on any small LCD TV without - and this is key - having to drastically reduce the image's brightness. In other words, the set can give you blacks free of almost all of LCD's usual grey mist effect within the same frame as bright whites and rich, vibrant colours. Outstanding.

Aside from the aforementioned dodgy presets and the care you need to take to keep 100Hz processing artefacts at bay, there's only a couple of negative things I can say about the 32B650's pictures. First, those lovely black levels drop off if you watch from an angle (but this is true of almost every other small LCD TV too) and second, standard definition pictures look a touch noisy. With the latter, the relative smallness of the screen actually helps because the noise is by no means as distracting as it can be on Samsung's much larger TVs.

With Samsung continuing to set superb standards with its LCD pictures, it really is time they put a similar effort into their TVs' audio. For as with so many other Samsung TVs, the 32B650's speakers don't have the power and range to sound truly convincing with any sort of action movie soundtrack.

To be fair, the set's smallness means there isn't such a pronounced discrepancy between the size of the visuals and the 'size' of the soundstage, but things still sound harsh and thin too often for comfort.

Verdict

Although I can't help but wish that Samsung would take a leaf out of, say, Philips' book when it comes to the sound quality of its flat TVs, the LE32B650 is nonetheless a hugely desirable 32in TV. It looks beautiful, its pictures are outstanding, and its feature count is remarkably expansive - especially when you consider that you can get one for just over £600.

blyndy

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...

stranded

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.

Coffee_With_Bailey's

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?



Coffee_With_Bailey's

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!



Coffee_With_Bailey's

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.

stranded

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?

Andy0d2

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

steph

June 15, 2009, 11:39 pm

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

james1000

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.

HeyZuZe

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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