Samsung UE32EH5000 TV Review
For less than Â£300 Samsung's EH5000 proves it's worth seeking out a bargain
What is the Samsung UE32EH5000?The Samsung UE32EH5000 is hardly the most heralded of TVs from the Korean giant. It has no headline making features nor a snazzy design that will attract much attention. In fact, if Samsung made a ‘Value’ brand then it’s likely the EH5000 would be the poster boy for that. As far as non-smart TVs go, this is their top of the pile and, if previous experience is anything to go by, might just be a veritable steal since it's currently retailing online for closer to £250 than £300, which is in ‘no-name’ brand territory. Too good to be true? Let’s take a peek…
Design and ConnectionsThe EH5000 isn’t one of those achingly beautiful TVs so synonymous of Samsung’s line-up so you technophile fashionistas out there might not have their fancies tickled by its mundane black framed looks. It’s a basic looking set and one that is tubby by modern standards, measuring around 9cm at its bulkiest point but we don’t really mind and at least the bezel is fairly svelte at just under 2cm to the top and sides and just over at the bottom. Samsung has made it difficult to peer in through the vents at the rear of the UE32EH5000 so we can’t safely say what the added heft of the chassis brings to the table but we’re willing to bet that it’s just a decision intended to up-sell the higher-end models based on cosmetics. Call us cynical, if you like, but such are the harsh realities and demands of the consumer TV market. It’s not really a criticism and our only real moan is the lack of movement in the base stand – i.e. it doesn’t swivel – but being as it’s so light, picking it up and moving in to position won’t trouble most able-bodied people.
Connectivity is also quite basic with only two outward facing HDMI ports for digital HD connections, positioned to the rear. Also on the rear connections panel are stereo audio jacks, a LAN port, component and composite video inputs, a SCART socket, aerial terminal, a headphone jack and S/PDIF digital audio out. Sideways facing is a USB port and a CAM slot. The remote control is quite a dinky affair but seeing as the EH5000 doesn’t pack any Smart features of note, there’s no lack of buttons although they are a bit cramped for our taste. Still, it’s comfortable to handle with one-hand and sensibly designed so that most of the frequently used controls are around the centre.
MenusThe Menu system is split in to 6 sections - Picture, Sound, Channel, Network, System and Support and are informative, with a brief description of what the currently highlighted selection does (or is supposed to do) appearing to the right. The Picture Menu houses the Picture Mode options of Standard, Dynamic and Movie but if you’re looking for a Game mode, you’ll need to navigate to the System tab and then to the General sub-menu. All the standard Contrast, Brightness, Colour and Sharpness controls are found toward the top of the Picture Menu as well as a Tint (Hue) slider and Screen Adjustment option that should be set to ‘Screen Fit’ for high def sources.
Under the Advanced Settings, we have the Black Tone and Dynamic Contrast options that we left off. The Gamma control works on a global basis and has a +3/-3 range that affects the curve throughout. The advanced menu also gives access to an RGB only mode, useful for a quick colour luminance calibration without need for measuring equipment; choices for Auto or Native Colour Space and further options – Flesh Tone and Edge Enhancement that had no real perceivable beneficial effects on image quality. The UE32EH5000 comes with 2 point White Balance sliders but there’s no Colour Management System to play with, unlike the higher end ranges.
Contained in the Picture Options sub-menu we have the Film Mode that has Auto1, Auto2 and Off options which we’ll test in the Video Processing section. There are also a couple of noise filters (Digital Noise and MPEG) that didn’t really do anything with our test material but could be useful with particularly low quality content. With the (most accurate) Picture Mode of Movie selected the Colour Tone (read Colour Temperature) of Warm 2 is automatically selected, which usually provides pictures closest to industry standards. Finally, under the Picture Options, there’s a choice of settings for HDMI Black Level that should be at Normal for Video content and Low for PC levels.
Test ResultsWhat a transformation when we switched in to the Movie mode that is far more representative of the industry standards for TV and Film production. Pre-adjustment Delta Errors for greyscale were as high as 17 and when you consider it’s generally true that anything over 3 is noticeable to the eye, that’s some sizeable errors. Simply by virtue of having swapped modes were now presented with errors that only just went over that perceivable threshold, which is excellent for a preset. Gamma is still tracking a touch on the dark side and the fact the largest errors are mid-scale might mean that the two point White Balance controls won’t be enough for a really ruler-flat response but we’re already in very good shape. Colour performance is equally as excellent with only an over-saturated but under-bright blue and a green primary that errs toward being a touch blueish worthy of mention. There’s no CMS on board the EH5000 so what improvements can be made will be achieved by the greyscale calibration and global Colour slider.
The case for our asking manufacturers to implement multi-point white balance controls routinely in to displays wasn’t really furthered by the EH5000; the two point controls were more than capable of providing a supremely even greyscale, although gamma dips ever-so-slightly near black meaning, in theory, the panel would be revealing a little more details in the shadows than it really should. In practice this didn’t really prove to be the case however and the technical limitations of LCD pixels means it’s not a bad balance to strike. We have to keep reminding ourselves this is a sub £300 TV, by which virtue the results here are outstanding, if not surprising when we bear in mind what we’ve seen in the past. There wasn’t too much we could do with colour but a slight improvement to the secondary colours (cyan, magenta and blue) and an all-round improvement on the most important aspect – luminance – was pleasing.
Whilst the 32EH5000 wasn’t quite so impressive as the EH53000 with its colour tracking at lower saturation points it was, nevertheless, very impressive with overall errors almost unnoticeable at lower stimuli. To the eye, the biggest weakness was with greens that were just a bit too dark when compared to a panel that conforms better but you really need that optical comparator, side by side to see it.Even before taking the Klein K-10 to the screen to take the best black level readings reasonably possible, it was already easy to see the EH5000 was performing very well here. On/Off and, the more illuminating, ANSI Contrast figures are close to identical with the mixed frame ANSI contrast scoring an impressive ratio of around 2750:1 with an averaged black level of 0.038 cd/m2.Did someone say budget TV? Well the video processing certainly doesn’t fit in with the status as the Samsung UE-32EH5000 performed largely with excellence during our usual tests. Standard definition scaling was of an excellent standard with all details of the SMPTE 133 test displayed without ringing. Moving on to our cadence detection tests and the Samsung EH5000 locked on to both the most common film cadences when sent through an interlaced signal; movies are typically shot at 24 frames per second progressively (or 25 for PAL territories) and displays without effective cadence detection will perform unnecessary deinterlacing and thus throw away resolution and create unwanted artefacting but the UE32EH5000 will show your DVD’s in full splendour. Blu-ray discs that more often than not output at 24p, natively, are also handled perfectly with no induced judder or indeed any other issues. We’ve certainly seen inferior picture processing on TVs attracting much higher premiums so we’ve absolutely no complaints with the EH5000 here.
The lower end Samsung’s have a happy habit of being amongst the most responsive on the market for gamers and the EH5300 didn’t kick it. With a latency to controller input of under 29 milliseconds it’s right up there with the best and the good news is that the figure doesn’t go up when using movie mode so there’s no need to go fumbling round the menus to find the Game mode and nor are there any urgent picture adjustments required to give a palatable picture. The hawk-eyed might spot a touch of ghosting with light on dark content but we’d fully expect most will be oblivious to it.
- Standby: 0.0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Standard Mode: 45.2W
- Calibrated – Movie Mode: 39.1W
Samsung UE32EH5000 Picture QualityThe Samsung UE32EH5000 isn’t ‘blessed’ with a load of fancy processing features; there’s no motion interpolation or local dimming wizardry but, you know, it had no detrimental effects on the quality of pictures it produced when looking up at the ranges that do. Samsung wont thank us for saying so but it’s often the case we find some of their processing over-reaches and causes hiccups and issues elsewhere.
Sure, motion resolution could be better and there’s a definite blur on fast motion content but on a screen of this size, you’d be hard pressed to notice in all honesty. The EH5000’s excellent video processing also ensures that both high and standard definition content look their best (or at least close to) and were more than happy to catch up on a couple of episodes ofBoardwalk Empire on Blu-ray whilst the other half subjected the living room TV to its Saturday night primetime onslaught, largely thanks to its very strong contrast performance and accuracy of colours.
Considering its undeniable budget status, the EH5000 performs almost absurdly well in most of the metrics used to assess a TVs picture. If we’re being picky – and we are – there’s weakness with viewing angles and detail in dark scenes could be improved but the former can be remedied by appropriate placement in the room and the latter is far from unusual for an LED/LCD TV, even when you pay a lot more.
Audio and FeaturesWe were pleasantly surprised by the two down-firing speakers housed at the rear of the EH5000. Sure, they’re not going to rock your world with crystal clear audio but at least they have some bass presence and the ability to be pushed to fairly high levels before buckling under the strain. Perhaps the fact that there’s added width to the chassis is of some benefit here.
Samsung’s suite of features is so extensive that we felt compelled to give them their own dedicated review but the EH5000 isn’t really part of the Smart Club and only has a USB media player which probably wouldn’t get it past the bouncers on the door. Still, it’s quite a good media player and, as usual with a Samsung, it coped well with most videos thrown at it with only 720p MKV’s proving difficult from the test files we used. And save for the Anynet feature, which is Samsung’s name for HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) - allowing for control of other similarly equipped devices through the Samsung TV remote, that’s pretty much it.
- Impressive black levels
- Great dynamic range
- Colour accuracy
- Strong video processing
- Low latency for gamers
- It's cheap
- Almost perfect screen uniformity
- Viewing angles are restricted
- A little blur with rapid motion
- Maybe too fat for some
- Non-swivel base stand
Samsung UE32EH5000 TV Review
What can we say of the EH5000’s looks? Well, they’re hardly likely to set the pulse racing and some might prefer a slimmer model but we don’t really mind the simple approach and, unless you’re wall-mounting, chassis depth shouldn’t really be a consideration. A side benefit of having more room inside the body comes in a fairly effective pair of speakers that out-perform those found in some of the far more costly – and therefore slimmer - TVs that we see. Connectivity options are also similarly basic, with only 2 HDMI inputs, and the remote follows the same theme whilst throwing compactness into the mix but it gets the job done with the minimum of fuss whilst slotting comfortably in hand. We could be accused of labouring a point here but Smart features are also rudimentary, by recent standards, so there’s really only a USB media player to mention although that goes about its business very nicely.
It’s picture quality that really counts of course. After all, one could buy an additional standalone smart box, Blu-ray player or PVR that would supplement the paucity of diversionary options on offer and still have change from £400 and the Samsung EH5000 delivers on the images front in a truly budget-defying manner. Contrast and black levels are enormously impressive for a TV of this rank and out-of-box accuracy in the Movie mode was also striking. Naturally things improved further after calibration and the UE32EH5000 really did deliver some lovely pictures, bolstered also by excellent video processing that did the rest of the package proper justice. This isn’t just a TV for movie and TV lovers either, gaming response is also remarkable and we think that the EH5000’s input latency so low that only the superhuman would notice.
We could probably have saved ourselves a bit of time in the summary by just saying this: If you’re on a budget and smart features, 3D and slim-line design are of no importance to you, then we can think of no better TV to cater for your needs on the market right now - all of which makes the Samsung UE32EH5000 a stonewall AVForums Best Buy.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £429.00
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
Ease Of Use7
Value for Money9
Our Review Ethos
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