Samsung UE40H5500 (H5500) TV Review
Too good to be true? Apparently not
What is the Samsung 40H5500?We expect that an awful lot of 40-inch Samsung H5500s will be sold over the Christmas 2014 period. It ticks a lot of boxes, as far as the public is concerned, by virtue of the fact it’s a 1080p TV boasting an incredible suite of Smart TV features, at a price most would consider reasonable. At the time of publishing (November 2014), you could get yourself a UE40H5500 for around the £350 mark and if it performs anything like the UE48H5500 previously tested, then it will prove to be stunning value.
Design & ConnectionsPlain and simple would be the watchwords here. The H5500 features an all-black, ultra-narrow bezel design that sits on a simple rectangular base stand. If you’re eschewing the stand and wall-mounting instead, be warned that the maximum depth is over 6.5cm, so it won’t be the flushest install obtainable. The reason for that slightly portly chassis is direct LED backlighting, however, so we certainly don’t mind it.
The H5500 has a strong set of connections for a mid to lower tier TV. You get 3 HDMI – two to the side, one outward facing – all the expected legacy video inputs (Scart, Component and Composite) and two USB ports. Audio wise, there’s a headphone jack and a S/PDIF digital audio out for connection to a soundbar or other external sound solution. Finally, there are both wired and wireless LAN connections available.
Remote ControlIt’s not until higher up in the Samsung food chain that you’re rewarded with the new Smart Touch control, which is a small shame but then costs have to be considered. Instead, you get a handset you’ll be instantly familiar with, featuring buttons that are bold, large and sensibly positioned.
Not particularly smart, but functional
Samsung Smart TV AppsIt may be lacking a smart controller, but the UE40H500 is definitely not short of Smart TV features. The Samsung TVs are in very select company in featuring all the big-hitting UK catch-up TV services, namely BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, 40D and the ITV Player and they’re also have a wider selection of paid-for streaming services to boot. In addition to the almost omnipresent Netflix, there’s also Wuaki TV and Amazon and of course there’s a YouTube app in there as well. There’s also a web browser, direct streaming from tablets and smartphones and a content suggestion service which analyses your viewing habits for that personal touch. Whilst the H5500 isn’t blessed with the same processing power as the higher-end TVs, it’s more than capable so this is one incredibly impressive budget Smart TV.
Samsung UE40H5500 Picture SettingsHaving checked on the alternatives, which were awash with excess blue energy, it was easy to see that the Movie mode offers the best out of box choice, for the picture mode. It’s not what a professional calibration would get you but it’s close enough, with budget considered. You can get even more out of it by following our Picture Perfect guides, or if you happen to own one yourself, you could give our review settings a go.
Movie mode is a must for picture quality
As seems to be the norm with Samsung TVs, the Movie mode, whilst the most accurate aboard the H5500, does have a surfeit of green energy running through the greyscale. In this case, it wasn’t so bad as to be distracting but whites definitely did have a slight greenish tinge. Looking at the pre-calibrated results below, we can see that the greyscale is out quite uniformly so it shouldn’t be too difficult to get those delta Errors down to tolerable levels. The colour accuracy was great for a pre-set mode and since there’s no colour management system in the 5 Series, that’s a definite plus!
You don’t get 10 point White Balance controls in the five series, either, but the greyscale results here almost make it look as though there are. By reducing the green energy near white and increasing the red and blue by proportionally about the same amount, greyscale tracking became near perfect and a few tweaks at the lower end helped even more. As said above, there is no CMS but since delta Errors at full saturation levels are all under three, we won’t lose any sleep over its ‘omission’.
It's a good one for gamers too!
Input LagThe less a Samsung TV costs, the lower the input lag, it would seem. This is great news for avid gamers as it means they can partake in some responsive big screen gaming, safe in the knowledge that picture quality is very good. We measured input lag between 25.7 and 28.7 milliseconds, which puts it among the best in 2014. To achieve these figures you will need to activate the Game Mode from the General area of the System Menu.
Samsung UE40H5500 Picture QualityThe H5500 has pretty much all the ingredients you would want for a great picture. The panels Samsung uses means it can produce deep and satisfying black levels – we got an average of 0.045 cd/m2, which is excellent – and the direct LED backlighting has certainly helped with screen uniformity. Scenes with lots of dark content were refreshingly blemish free, meaning none of the dynamic range was lost to clouding, and for a budget LED/LCD TV, that’s pretty unusual in itself.
We can see from the calibration results that the 40H5500 had great colour accuracy too, resulting in pictures that looked very authentic and detailed. As always, the essential video processing of this Samsung were spot on. The H5500 has no problems locking on to 1080p24 content, meaning movies on Blu-ray disc retain that filmic quality and its equally capable with standard definition films, so any old DVDs you may be harbouring will be equally well handled.
If you can find better, at this price, we would really love to see it.
The 40-inch screen is also quite forgiving of broadcast standard definition material, helped along by an excellent scaling engine that cleanly squeezes every last detail out. In fact, we’ve barely a bad word to say about this TV; viewing angles could be a little wider and there was just the odd time when the panel structure became apparent on panning shots but these are fairly insignificant criticisms in the grand scheme of things.
- Great Pictures
- Fabulous Smart TV features
- Incredible value
- Minor panel banding
- Viewing angles are narrow
Samsung UE40H5500 (H5500) TV Review
Should I buy the Samsung UE40H5500?Despite its rather run of the mill appearance, the Samsung UE40H5500 produces beautiful pictures and holds within a set of smart features that are the envy of many a flagship television. This is a TV which outperforms both its rank and current price-point, and is therefore the epitome of an AVForums Best Buy. We have some very minor criticisms on the lack of viewing angles and the occasional glimpse of panel banding but this is one impressive package meriting your attention.
What else could I consider?There are very few TVs out there that can match the value the 40H5500 provides; in fact we’ve definitely not seen one that does in 2014. The 40-inch Panasonic AS640 is presently (November 2014) in the same neck of the woods, price-wise, and offers comparable picture performance but not the same quality of Smart TV features. There’s also the Toshiba L6453, which is priced more or less identically but it doesn’t really quite match up to the H5500 in any other department. And if you’re still looking for inspiration, take a look at all our Buyers Guides, in order you can make the most informed decision.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £529.99
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box7
Picture Quality Calibrated9
Ease Of Use8
Value for Money9
Our Review Ethos
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