A few weeks back we looked at Samsung’s 32in LE32C580 and found ourselves feeling slightly disappointed. The set just didn’t seem to have advanced from last year’s equivalent Samsung models, and maybe even seemed to have slipped back a touch.
We wrapped that review up by wondering if the new step-up C650 series would suffer the same fate. And today we’re able to find out, courtesy of the 40in LE40C650.
As with the C580 model, the LE40C650 is attractive without being quite as aggressively inventive and stylish as some previous Samsung efforts. The best bits are the application of a transparent outer trim around the glossy, almost glass-like black bezel; the transparent neck to the desktop stand; and the infusion of a touch of red, especially into the little arc that drops down from the centre section of the TV’s bottom edge.
It’s impossible, though, not to feel slightly disappointed by the chunky rear end sported by the CCFL LCD LE40C650 when considered against the impossibly svelte profiles of Samsung’s edge LED models. That said, the extra bulk becomes much easier to swallow when you fix in your mind the fact that the LE40C650 costs under £630 - a fraction of the price of the edge LED models.
The LE40C650’s connectivity is impressive. Four HDMIs are on hand for your HD sources, for instance, plus there’s extensive multimedia support from two USB ports, a D-Sub PC input, and an Ethernet jack.
The Ethernet jack’s first call of duty is as a necessary accessory to the LE40C650’s built-in Freeview HD tuner. But happily it goes much further than that, adding both DLNA PC access and - in a significant improvement over the C580 model - a means of getting Samsung’s Internet@TV platform.
This platform scored highly in our recent article comparing the current online TV systems, and its content continues to impress. Particularly outstanding is its provision of the BBC iPlayer, which remains a rarity among ringfenced online TV systems (though Sony also launched the service this very week). Other main providers of note are LoveFilm.com, Facebook, Twitter, Picasa and YouTube, plus there’s a striking number of small Widget Apps and games.
The interface for the growing amount of online content is starting to look and feel rather cumbersome and dated, it has to be said, but it’s functional.
It’s worth adding here that you don’t have to use the Ethernet to access Internet@TV, for you can also cough up for an optional extra Wi-Fi dongle that slots into one of the USB ports. These ports can also be used for playing back a good variety of photo, music and video file formats, including DivX, XviD and .WMVs.