As with the welter of apps on LG’s latest Smart TV platform, many, nay most of the apps on the Samsung UE40D5520 will be of minimal or zero interest to most normal folk. But we guess the main point is that the app system works, and works well, so all that needs to be accomplished now is a refinement/improvement in the quality and usefulness of the apps on offer.
Access to all the online content, and all the TV’s sources, actually, comes courtesy of Samsung’s class-leading Smart Hub screen, which handles a truly remarkable amount of content without looking cluttered, untidy or confusing.
The only issue with the UE40D5520’s Smart TV implementation is that unlike models higher up Samsung’s range, it doesn’t include either an open Web browser or Skype functionality.
Signs of the UE40D5520’s lowly price creep into its set up features too. For instance, there’s no proper colour management system – though you can adjust the red, green and blue elements of the white balance. You do get a plethora of little processing ‘side dishes’, such as noise reduction options, a black level booster, an edge enhancer and so on, but for the most part many of our readers will probably prefer to leave these features set to off.
A possible exception is the MotionPlus system, which can reduce the slight blurring over motion the UE40D5520 tends to suffer with. That said, even sticking with MotionPlus’s lowest setting, the slight boost in motion clarity it delivers is accompanied by some artefacting, such as flickering edges and occasional ‘haloing’ around moving objects.
We personally tended to leave the motion processing off – especially as the screen’s native motion blur/response time issues aren’t severe at all once the TV has warmed up from cold for a few minutes.
Delving into other aspects of the UE40D5520’s performance, it’s really remarkable how accomplished its pictures look for such an affordable set. Particularly exciting is its black level response, which is comfortably the best we’ve seen from any of the recent glut of affordable 40-42in TVs that have come our way.
For a start, blacks just look blacker than they do on rival budget sets, with less of the greyness that’s all too common still with LCD technology. Even better, there’s only the most minor trouble with the sort of backlight clouding/inconsistency that can damage viewing of dark scenes on edge LED TVs. With the UE40D5520, while you can’t completely get rid of backlight inconsistencies, they’re certainly controllable enough with careful adjustment of the backlight, contrast and brightness levels not to represent, in our opinion, a real distraction, even during the darkest of movie moments.