The really good news, though, is that the 32B650 rewards your setup efforts with some excellent picture quality. The 100Hz processing, for instance, reduces judder during camera pans, and makes moving objects look marginally less blurred. And it does so without throwing up distracting flickering or shimmering artefacts, so long as you stick with the ‘Clear’ 100Hz setting. It should be added, mind you, that the screen doesn’t smear with motion at all badly even with the 100Hz engine turned off.
The 32B650’s colours benefit from the extra gamut afforded to Samsung’s Series 6 models too, combining exceptional intensity and vibrancy with natural and subtle tones, so that the picture looks as convincing with ”EastEnders” as it does with ”Shrek”.
There’s no obvious sign of striping in the screen’s colour blends either, and skin tones are subtle enough in their shading to avoid the plasticky appearance found with many smallish LCD TVs.
Less easy to determine with certainty is the benefit of having a Full HD rather than HD Ready screen on the 32B650. Not because its HD images don’t look very sharp and clean; they do. But I’ve seen some of Samsung’s non-Full HD 32in TVs deliver very crisp HD pictures too, and I’m not sure the 32in screen size is really big enough to make the benefits of Full HD apparent.
For me, the ace in the 32B650’s hand is its black level response. Somehow, Samsung has managed to produce some of the deepest, richest black tones on the 32B650 that I’ve seen on any small LCD TV without – and this is key – having to drastically reduce the image’s brightness. In other words, the set can give you blacks free of almost all of LCD’s usual grey mist effect within the same frame as bright whites and rich, vibrant colours. Outstanding.
Aside from the aforementioned dodgy presets and the care you need to take to keep 100Hz processing artefacts at bay, there’s only a couple of negative things I can say about the 32B650’s pictures. First, those lovely black levels drop off if you watch from an angle (but this is true of almost every other small LCD TV too) and second, standard definition pictures look a touch noisy. With the latter, the relative smallness of the screen actually helps because the noise is by no means as distracting as it can be on Samsung’s much larger TVs.
With Samsung continuing to set superb standards with its LCD pictures, it really is time they put a similar effort into their TVs’ audio. For as with so many other Samsung TVs, the 32B650’s speakers don’t have the power and range to sound truly convincing with any sort of action movie soundtrack.
To be fair, the set’s smallness means there isn’t such a pronounced discrepancy between the size of the visuals and the ‘size’ of the soundstage, but things still sound harsh and thin too often for comfort.
Although I can’t help but wish that Samsung would take a leaf out of, say, Philips’ book when it comes to the sound quality of its flat TVs, the LE32B650 is nonetheless a hugely desirable 32in TV. It looks beautiful, its pictures are outstanding, and its feature count is remarkably expansive – especially when you consider that you can get one for just over £600.
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