Samsung UE40H5500 – Sound Quality
The UE40H5500’s audio isn’t as satisfying as its pictures. Its down-firing speakers sound a little muffled when pressed hard, creating a sound that feels almost like it’s firing back behind the image rather than being projected out at you. This leads to a shortage of clarity under duress, as well as a rather harsh timbre when the soundtrack is particularly dense. At such times voices can sound a bit thick and ‘hummy’, too.
On the upside, normal TV soundtracks are handled just fine, the soundstage can get louder than that of many ultra-cheap TVs, and the cabinet doesn’t succumb to rattling, even when the sound has started to become muffled. There’s a slightly more rounded sense of bass than you often hear with budget TVs, too. So while the UE40H5500 is hardly a sonic superstar, it’s passable for the price.
Other Things to Consider
You don’t get one of Samsung’s Smart remotes with the 40H5500, but the standard remote you do get is pretty decent, with one of the better layouts around and a bright, easy-to-find Smart button at its heart.
A set with the screen size and price tag of the UE40H5500 obviously has great potential as a gaming monitor. So our trigger fingers are elated to report that using the set’s Game preset – which is weirdly tucked away in the General sub-menu of the TV’s System menu – and turning off all residual picture processing, including the dynamic contrast system, delivered an input lag measurement of barely 10ms. This is one of the lowest figures we’ve ever recorded, and means that the time the TV takes to produce its images shouldn’t have any significant effect on your gaming abilities.
Should I buy a Samsung UE40H5500?
Budget TVs that are actually enjoyable to watch have been few and far between this year, so the UE40H5500 stands out like a diamond in the rough. Especially when you consider just how incredibly cheap it is for a big-brand TV.
There are only two significant rivals for the UE40H5500. The Sony 40W605 is weaker on Smart features but delivers an impressive picture, while if you can find £50 more, the Panasonic 42AS600 isn’t quite as assured with motion handling but pushes Samsung’s sets close with contrast and carries the excellent Freetime system to make using catch-up TV easier.
In the UE40H5500 we finally have a worthy challenger to Sony’s 40W605 at the budget end of 2014’s TV market.
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Score in detail
Smart TV 8
Image Quality 8
Sound Quality 7
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