Review Price free/subscription
Samsung LE40B651 40in LCD TV
Given that Samsung has now become the UK's number one TV brand without sacrificing a hard-won reputation for innovation, it's fair to say that the arrival on our test benches of the first TV from a new Samsung range feels like some sort of 'event'.
So it momentarily feels a bit disappointing to discover that the first set we've been sent from Samsung's latest telly range is actually only a mid-range model, rather than something 'statementy' and flagship-waving.
But then given the state of all our finances right now, it's distinctly possible that the £1,100 LE40B651 will prove Samsung's mass market proposition; certainly last year's roughly equivalent mid-level 6-series proved to be the range that most captured the public's attention. So let's stop bitching about a few missing high-end bits and pieces and set about (hopefully) embracing what's actually popular!
The LE40B651's design is impressive and a tiny bit disappointing all at the same time. Impressive because the 'Crystal' design's subtly triangular shape and semi-translucent 'honeycomb' feature both look stunning; disappointing because it just doesn't look quite as distinctive as last year's red-tinged Touch of Colour design.
Still, while I personally loved the stronger Touch of Colour effect, I accept that it seemed to attract as many haters as lovers, so I can't blame Samsung for thinking more subtly this time round.
The LE40B651's connectivity is very good. Three rear HDMIs and one mounted on the side get things off to a rollicking start, but I was also seriously chuffed to spot among the rest of the connections not one, but two USB ports, and a DLNA-certified LAN port.
The USB ports serve two purposes: as a means for playing directly JPEG, MP3 and movie files stored on USB sticks or even USB HDDs; and as a means of connecting an optional wireless connectivity USB dongle.
Similarly, the DLNA port can be used to play back multimedia files from a connected PC or DLNA-enabled mobile phone, or for a hard-wired connection to the Internet.
Although my mentions of Internet connectivity may have sounded rather matter of fact back there, the reality is, of course, that Internet connectivity is looking set to be one of the 'hot potatoes' of the TV world this year - and few if any TVs have more of a statement to make in this area than the LE40B651.