Unlike a certain other Korean brand, Samsung doesn’t seem shy this year about letting us check out its cheap TV models as well as its high-end efforts. The Samsung UE32EH5000 is a case in point, as its stripped-down feature list, relatively small 32in size and remarkably low £299 price tag instantly reveal it to be very much one of Samsung’s most mass-market - maybe even second-room - propositions.
But while this might mean we don’t have to spend long stretches of this review delving into such premium tricks as online features, alternative control systems and 3D picture quality, the 32EH5000 could still potentially be a good TV. Basically, if it delivers good pictures and sound for its money, that will be more than enough itself to put a smile on the faces of not only us, but potentially a very large group of cash-strapped TV punters.
The use of the letters ‘EH’ rather than ‘ES’ in the 32EH5000’s name reveals that it’s not one of Samsung’s ‘super slim’ models. However, from the front, at least, it still looks fairly trim, thanks to a bezel that’s only a couple of centimetres across. The bezel’s glossy black finish is attractive enough too, and there’s a gentle arc effect on the bottom edge that’s also easy on the eye.
The Samsung 32EH5000's rear does admittedly stick out a bit - OK, a lot - further than Samsung’s higher-end TVs. But as we so often point out, unless you’re a bit odd you’ll spend considerably more time looking at the front of your TV than its rear, or even its side.
The 32EH5000’s back does disappoint in one way, though, and that’s with its connections. For starters, they include only two HDMIs when we’d like even a fairly cheap TV now to have three. There’s also only one USB for playing back photo, video and music files, and no built-in Wi-Fi. Nor is there a D-Sub PC port for analogue connection of a computer. You can’t record to the USB from the built-in tuners either.
In one bit of good news, though, one of the tuners is a Freeview HD affair, backed up by the required LAN port. It’s just a pity this LAN port does not permit you to either go online for any of Samsung’s ‘Smart TV’ services, or to access content on networked PCs. But then what did you expect of a £300 32in TV? A built-in PC and butler?!
Searching through the 32EH5000’s onscreen menus in search of features, we were pleased to find a Backlight adjustment as well as brightness and contrast tweaks, while an advanced settings submenu includes such surprisingly subtle controls as different settings for the TV’s dynamic contrast system; a black tone booster; a flesh tone adjustment that treats skin tones in isolation; a white balance adjustment that lets you adjust the offset and gain of the RGB elements; and a small amount of gamma flexibility.