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9/10

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Samsung LE32B650 32in LCD TV - Samsung LE32B650

Turning to slightly more prosaic but no less important features of the 32B650, it's got a Full HD resolution, Samsung's ever-present DNIe video processing, and a 100Hz engine to boost motion reproduction.

As with all B650s, the 32B650 uses Samsung's Ultra Clear Panel II technology, which uses 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.

Samsung's 6 series models additionally use a so-called Wide Color Enhancement 3 system to deliver 92 per cent of the HD colour standard, versus 85 per cent with lower-spec Samsung models.
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The 32B650's attractive onscreen menus have plenty of tweaks to keep tinkerers busy, too. Among the highlights here is a new (to Samsung's 2009 LCD range) Natural video preset, which adds a unique adaptive contrast enhancer element to the processing in a bid to boost detailing, definition and depth, especially during dark scenes.

I was also rather pleased to find that Samsung's 100Hz engine isn't just left to do its thing automatically. For as well as being able to switch it on or off as you wish, you can select a couple of different presets for it, affecting how heavily it's applied to the picture. For instance, there's a processing-heavy Smooth mode that works harder to make the image look more fluid at the cost of more processing side effects, or else there's a Clear mode that reins the processing in to deliver a less pronounced smoothing effect with motion, but no processing side effects.
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There's also a Standard mode that sits somewhere between the other two modes, and best of all, you can even adjust - via sliding bars - the extent of both the blur and judder reduction elements in any of the 100Hz modes.

From my own playing, I generally preferred the Clear setting, with the judder element slightly increased and the Blur element slightly reduced from the factory presets. But feel free to experiment yourself. The main point is that the flexibility is there for people brave enough to use it.

Actually, I think you should be brave enough to venture into the 32B650's onscreen menus for a while when you first get the TV. For as noted in previous Samsung reviews, the set's presets don't seem especially well thought through - even the new Natural mode.

With this in mind, it's a pity the 32B650's onscreen menus aren't very logical. Particularly weird is the provision of separate Advanced Settings and Picture Options sub-menus, when they both seem to carry useful tricks that surely could have been lumped together in a single menu.

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