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Samsung UE40D5520 - Picture Quality Continued

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Samsung UE40D5520

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

The single best thing about the UE40D5520's handling of dark scenes, though, is how much shadow detail it manages to produce while delivering its deep black colours. Most other highly affordable edge LED TVs tend to have to take so much brightness out of the image to produce convincing black colours that really dark parts of the picture look hollow and devoid of detail. But with the UE40D5520 dark scenes tend to look almost as deep, layered and detailed as bright ones. Samsung has even provided a dedicated adjustment to help you refine the balance between black level depth and shadow detail to suit your tastes.

Turning to the UE40D5520's colour response, initially a curious hint of orange infused the colour palette when using the TV's presets. But happily, despite only having a white balance adjustment and basic colour saturation/tint controls to play with, we managed to rein this problem in to our satisfaction, leaving us able to appreciate instead the impressive punchiness, dynamism and, indeed, accuracy of the vast majority of the expansive colour palette on offer.

Samsung UE40D5520The UE40D5520's pictures look effortlessly crisp and detailed with HD sources, except for when there’s minor blurring caused by lots of motion in the picture. Even the set's standard definition pictures look great - clean, detailed, and natural. In fact, along with its black level performance, the UE40D5520's standard definition efforts are arguably what most sets it apart from rival budget models.

For much of the time, the UE40D5520's audio is OK. Certainly normal, day to day TV viewing sounds just fine. However, things go a bit awry if you feed the speakers anything approaching a thumping action movie scene, with male vocals starting to sound slightly distorted, and the speakers getting overloaded to the point where the soundstage suddenly seems to dip rather than increase in volume when the going really gets tough!

Screens like the UE40D5520 are increasingly being used as gaming monitors. So it's good to find that placed in its game mode (bizarrely accessed via a System menu rather than the picture preset menus), this Samsung set delivers a respectably low input lag of just 34ms.

Verdict

While there are plenty of other perfectly decent affordable 40in TVs out there this year, the UE40D5520 is clearly the best of the bunch we’ve seen to date - despite being also one of the most affordable.

Overall Score

9

Scores In Detail

  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Image Quality 9
  • Sound Quality 7
  • Value 10

Don Kanonjii

July 29, 2011, 6:11 pm

Hooray! you tested input lag! thank you TR!

simon jackson

July 29, 2011, 7:56 pm

Frustrating that everywhere seems to be selling it above the £522 price quoted in the review - sometimes substantially above :(

Keithe6e

July 30, 2011, 3:43 am

@simon: everywhere seems to be selling it above the £522

My mother bought the UE46D8000 from RicherSounds, they also do a 5 year warranty's at a good rate. They have the this one for £519.95 -> http://www.richersounds.com/product/lcd-tv/samsung/ue40d5520/sams-ue40d5520

james1000

July 30, 2011, 3:48 pm

Im confused why this model has an input lag of 34ms and yet the more expensive Samsung UE40D6530 you reviewed has between 40ms and a potentially performance-affecting 70ms as per your review (which is the only reason I did not purchase it). Surely in game mode it should at least be as good if not better?

RonRoyce

July 30, 2011, 6:27 pm

How do they make it so cheap? Its called a loss leader. Its common practise. And you're right, nobody makes money out of TV's any more because everybody wants it as cheap as possible and to hell with the long term consequences. That's why there are no TV factories in England, that last one (Toshiba) closed late in 2009. That's why they are closing all over Europe and moving to China and other super low wage economies. 8 years ago a 32" LCD cost £3000+. Now its £3-400. While it is fair to say that prices naturally reduce over time because of economies of scale, improved manufacturing techniques and large scale integration (most LCD TV's only have a couple of PCB's in them now), a 90% price erosion in just 8 years is not sustainable and something has to give. They will be quality (more cosmetic or other defects will be accepted in the factory, example the clouding issue that blights so many LED side lit TV's), long term reliability (use of cheaper, poorer grade components) and, as we have discovered over the last 20 or so years here, people's jobs. That is the reality of the electronics world today, especially audio visual and I fully expect that over the next few years a lot of companies who have had long associations with the TV business will drop out.

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