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Samsung LE40B651 40in LCD TV - Samsung LE40B651
So far, it's fair to say that the LE40B651 has already delivered more features than most mid-range TVs. But a trawl through the extremely elegant if fractionally sluggish onscreen menus reveals plenty more going on, too.
For a start, the set has 100Hz Motion Plus processing - with knobs on. For unlike most 100Hz systems, the one on this Samsung allows you to subtly adjust its machinations, with a gentle 'Clear' option, slightly stronger 'standard' option, strong (processing heavy) Smooth option, and best of all a Custom mode that lets you tweak the system's blur and judder reduction elements to suit your tastes using two separate sliding scales.
Although this level of flexibility doesn't wholly solve all of the TV's processing/motion issues, it's still a great touch that gives a genuine sense of control sorely missing from many other processing-heavy TVs.
The set also lets you adjust black and flesh tones, noise reduction levels, the white balance, the gamma levels, and the colour space, as well as providing the option to turn off the set's dynamic contrast system. Impressive.
So far, the LE40B651 hasn't really put a foot wrong for a TV costing £1,100. And in many ways that continues with its picture performance. Particularly startling is the set's black level response. Samsung's Ultra Clear panel design, featuring a polariser that reflects room light to enable the reproduction of deeper blacks, appears to have been improved considerably, enabling the set to resolve even the darkest of film scenes with a credibility that rivals many good plasma screens.
There's hardly a trace of the dreaded grey misting effect, but plenty of the shadow detailing information that helps to give dark scenes depth and life. Only LED-based LCD screens can deliver deeper black levels still. What's more, the set's black levels hold up better than they do on most LCD TVs when viewed from an angle.
What makes the black levels all the more remarkable is the fact that the relatively inky black levels are maintained even if you turn the set's dynamic contrast feature off, so that you don't have to worry about the picture's brightness levels 'jumping' in response to changing light levels in your source images.
Black levels as intense as those of the LE40B651 generally sit side by side with rich, vibrant colours. And so it proves here, as the lush animated colourscape of Wall-E on Blu-ray simply explodes off the screen.
Of course, though, even pretty dodgy TVs can look good with lovely animated fare like Wall-E. But the LE40B651 also delivers a rich but credible palette with standard HD video like the demanding casino-based scenes in Casino Royale. Skin tones look subtle and credible, without diminishing the stylised lighting effects or the rich colours of the cards.