Our first reaction on taking the Samsung UE46EH5300 out of its box was that we must have got the wrong TV. The thing is, Samsung TVs are traditionally glamorous, right? Slim, trim, beautifully finished trendsetters? Yet the UE46EH5300 is about as far from all those things as it’s possible to get.
The depth of its rear end is particularly startling, sticking out a cool 94.3mm without the stand. This makes it the deepest TV we can remember seeing since the old - and extremely cheap - Cello C42T71DVB back in September 2011.
Plastic not so fantastic
Its bezel is reasonably normal in its width too - certainly it's much wider than the ‘barely there’ frames wrapped impossibly around Samsung’s ES7000 and ES8000 TVs. And finally its finish is, not to put too fine a point on it, pretty darned cheap. The set is far lighter than such a large telly ought to be, and so feels like there’s absolutely nothing in its construction that isn’t fairly low-grade plastic.
Not surprisingly such a chunky TV is not something you would sensibly consider hanging on the wall. As if to underline this, Samsung has positioned most of the set’s connections so that they face directly out of the TV’s rear rather than being accessible from the edge.
The connections are at least passably plentiful, including as they do three HDMIs, two USBs, a LAN port and Wi-Fi via an optional extra USB dongle. The LAN/Wi-Fi and USBs are also more flexible than might have been expected given that the Samsung UE46EH5300 appears up to this point to designed with price rather than features in mind. The USBs play photo, music and video files from USB storage devices, while the LAN/Wi-Fi options can handle files streamed from DLNA computers or even let you go online with Samsung’s latest Smart TV platform.
This turns out to be a full version of Smart TV, complete with the same extremely pretty onscreen menus, a web browser, and the same huge raft of content apps ranging from video streaming services to games, infotainment and social networking (including Skype if you get an optional extra camera).
We’ve covered Samsung’s 2012 Smart TV service in some depth in previous reviews, so here we’ll just list the highlights. Which are: a new Family Zone that lets you set up a private network with friends and family for sharing messages and photos; a Fitness Zone featuring lots of fitness videos and a profile for charting your progress; LoveFilm; Acetrax; Netflix; the BBC iPlayer; and BBC Sport.
No innovative controls here
Please note that the UE46EH5300’s Smart TV service does not benefit from any of the interface innovations found on Samsung’s top-end sets. There’s no gesture control, voice control, or touchpad remote handset. But the ordinary remote isn’t a bad design anyway, and we suspect some people won’t feel bothered at all by not having the option to talk or wave at their TV...