Design and Connections
The remote that comes with the D5520 is Samsung’s budget version but all that means when compared to the handset that ships with the higher ranges is that it lacks a backlight, so no great shakes really. We’re not the biggest fans of the build quality that goes in to the Samsung remote controls but we’ve no major quibbles over button placement or ease of use. It’s a case of function over form but we’ve no problems with that.
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 ‘Screen Fit’ for high def sources.
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 Picture 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, a Colour Tone (read Colour Temperature) of Warm 2 proved 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.
Other than some slightly soft scaling of 576i sources, as we’d witnessed with the 5 series plasma, the D5520 lived up to Samsung’s usual high standard of video processing. Video deinterlacing was excellent, with only a slight hint of jaggedness apparent on our tests patterns. Provided ‘Screen Fit’ is selected as the screen size all resolution tests were passed and filtering performance was very good too.
The D5520 pretty much flew through all our cadence detection tests and as well as comfortably locking on to the most common - 2:2 and 2:3 – cadences, it could identify a few more obscure ones too. Ironically, as the manufacturers’ processing engines get better and better at this task, the need for it is diminishing but it’s still good to see. We can only recall seeing one display that struggled to handle 1080p24 Blu-ray material, in the last year or so, and the D5520 didn’t join it on the naughty step. For a mid to low range TV, the Samsung UE-40D5520 displays excellent all-round video processing abilities but, then, that’s we’ve come to expect from the Korean’s.
Once switched to Game mode the D5520 was up to the job, for our needs as non-competitive gamers, showing a latency of between 30-32 milliseconds to controller input. In console gaming terms, that’s usually a delay of around 2 frames. Fancy PC gamers with their high powered gaming rigs may sniff at these numbers but it’s good enough for us. That’s a jealous dig, by the way!
In out of box Standard Mode, the Samsung UE40D5520 averaged a 51W draw. Once calibrated in the Movie mode, the average was reduced to just under 44W.
Of course it wasn’t all a bed of roses as the D5520 couldn’t throw off the shackles of its LED heritage and there were some uniformity problems. Foremost of these was some noticeable light pooling in various patches of the screen. To be fair, they weren’t overly apparent in general viewing unless the scenes were of a very low lit nature but as we seem to find ourselves watching material with lots of shadowy content, it did intrude somewhat on the experience. The other typical weaknesses of LCD/LED, in blurry fast movement and restrictive viewing angles, were also present but we’d prefer a touch of blur against the, frankly awful, undefeatable motion processing employed in the 7 and 8 series; and with careful placement, the contrast drop off from around 30 degrees off-centre can be negated.
- Deep blacks
- Calibrated greyscale is reference level
- Mostly excellent video processing
- Out-of-the-box colour reproduction is impressive
- Lots of Smart TV features
- Freeview HD tuner
- Some noticeable light pooling uniformity issues
- Off-axis viewing diminishes contrast performance
- Soft scaling of interlaced standard def signals
- Motion blur with fast paced action
- Lame speakers
Samsung D5520 (UE-40D5520) LED LCD Smart TV Review
Simply put, for the current asking price that the Samsung UE-40D5520 commands, just shy of £450, you can treat yourself to a television capable of producing very accurate, contrast rich images with a host of features not usually available for this sort of money. If you can put up with some light pooling and the fact that fast paced action will exhibit some blurriness, then the D5520 is a sure fire steal. Throw in some mostly excellent video processing and we have a very solid recipient of an AVForums Recommended badge.
The D5520’s styling can now probably be deemed as classic and we’re about to see a clutch of manufacturers emulate the crystal strip that surrounds the gloss black bezel in their upcoming ranges; no doubt in the hope they can match Samsung’s sales numbers. There’s not that much surprising about the D552 and as well as the familiar styling, the boxed remote control is of the Korean’s typical stock - we’re not the biggest fans but it gets the job done with no fuss. The menu design and structure is also what we’ve become accustomed to in the manufacturer's lower end ranges and are reasonably comfortable to navigate, even if there are a lot of options on offer. The scale of Samsung’s Smart Hub offering is slightly cut back in the 5 series but the crucial video on demand services are all present and there’s generous streaming and recording options too.
We were reasonably impressed by the out of box accuracy of the greyscale and following calibration the D5520 achieved a reference result here. Fortunately the colour reproduction was of a very high standard without our intervention as there’s no CMS to play with in the menus. Samsung TVs usually come with excellent on-board video processing and the D5520 was no real exception, save for some soft standard definition scaling with certain sources.
If you’re in need of a 40inch television that won’t break the bank, whilst offering both very good picture quality and an extremely generous feature set, you could do much worse than check out the Samsung D5520.
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Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
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