Dark scenes display clear signs of LCD’s common grey clouding effect, and tend to look slightly hollow and detail-light. Nudging up the provided shadow detail tool does cleverly boost the brightness of the image’s darkest sections without pushing up the brightness of the image as a whole, but dark scenes still don’t totally satisfy.
As with the LE32C580’s motion, its black levels aren’t actually bad or anything. They’re OK. But OK still counts as a disappointment where Samsung LCD TVs are concerned.
There’s one more slight issue we have with the LE32C580’s pictures, which is that its colours don’t look as consistently natural as we would have expected. The colour range on show doesn’t look quite as extreme as we would have liked, for one thing, and occasionally a very slight yellowy tinge creeps into the colour presentation.
So far we’ve been rather critical of the LE32C580, so it’s high time we put our concerns in a more positive context. For the LE32C580 has plenty of things to commend it, too. Its pictures are extremely bright, for instance, which helps to hide some of the set’s contrast issues.
Colours are reasonably well saturated for this level of the market too, and the set’s standard definition upscaling does a good job of hiding source noise - even though this does mean that standard definition pictures at times look a touch soft.
Furthermore, as we’ve noted before, the weaknesses in the picture we’ve detailed aren’t massively destructive; they’re just slightly disappointing.
Finally, at long last, Samsung has started to address the audio weaknesses that have consistently plagued its recent flat TVs. It’s a small step, admittedly, but the LE32C580 produces a marginally more potent, aggressive and dynamic soundstage than we’d expected, with decently realistic vocals, plenty of treble information and even - shock, horror - a stab at producing some bass.
There’s still room for plenty of improvement where bass is concerned, mind you, and the set’s trebles can become too dominant and sibilant at times. But it’s nice to see Samsung finally heaving itself in the right sonic direction.
Looked at purely within the context of sub-£400 32in LCD TVs, the LE32C580 is a pretty good effort, with some decent multimedia features, fair-to-middling picture quality and tolerable sound. But it doesn’t stand out from the crowd as much as we’d hoped, making us suspect you might be well advised to save up longer for Samsung’s step up C650 series, which carry Internet@TV support, superior LCD panel design, and 200Hz processing - and which we will hopefully be reviewing soon.