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9/10

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Samsung LE40A656 40in LCD TV - Samsung LE40A656

Samsung also exceeds all of its previous LCD efforts by a comfortable margin when it comes to rescaling standard definition sources to fit the full HD screen. There are far less noise and colour tone issues than we've experienced before, to the extent that now, the LE40A656 can fairly claim to be one of the best standard def performers in the big-screen full HD world.
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So is there anything negative left to say about its pictures at all? Well, we've already mentioned the very slight artefacting under extreme conditions caused by the 100Hz Motion system, especially if you're foolish enough to set the feature to its ‘high' level. But also we have to urge you to avoid the ridiculously OTT Dynamic picture preset the TV ships with, for this can seriously mess up noise and colour tones. And finally, although the standard definition processing is vastly improved, skin tones can just occasionally still look a bit waxy. But that's all we can come up with, and believe us when we say it doesn't amount to very much.

After the glories of its pictures, though, I'm rather underwhelmed by the LE40A656's audio. There's an impressive amount of detail in the mix, and a very wide soundstage is delivered even without engaging the SRS TruSurround audio mode. But the set sadly can't escape the familiar flat TV problem of a distinct lack of bass, which leaves explosions sounding thin and ‘poppy'.

Verdict

The first set from Samsung's new LCD range marks a stunning leap forward for the Korean brand in both design and picture performance - and that's saying something when you think about how good the brand's previous sets were. Now is it just me, or can you also hear the sound of many Japanese brands quaking in their boots?

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