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Samsung LE32R41BDX - My impressions (56k warning!)

Munkey Boy

Distinguished Member
It’s a funny thing writing a review like this when the reason I’ve bought it for isn’t out yet (the Xbox 360), so in some ways this may be an overly critical review. I’ve had it for 5 days now, and I’ve tried to test a number of different feeds to find its weakpoints. And it does have some weakpoints, so not everyone will be happy with a display like this.

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Sorry for the quality of the pics through this review, but I’m not naturally handy with a camera (and I’ve got terrible wallpaper still! ;) I know!), but I tried. It’s worth remembering that some images really just do not come close to doing justice to the quality of the screen, you really should see it first hand to judge conclusively.

I should first off point out I’ve got a 43” plasma screen as well (Pioneer 434-HDE), and this is downstairs and used almost exclusively to watch TV from Sky+. However, I have used my soft-modded Xbox set to display HiDef and so I know what a good quality plasma can offer.

I upgraded to the Samsung from a 36” Panasonic CRT, and so the first reaction on set-up (though I knew it was coming) was thinking how much smaller the screen is. But its all a case of getting used to it, but it certainly makes my room seem bigger now I’ve got rid of the beast! The connectivity on the Samsung is superb really: 1xRGB scart, another scart, component, HDMI, VGA and s-video mean you really cover all your bases and are future-proofed.

So the first thing I did was get the Freeview going (I got the Freeview version, though you can save a couple of quid if you go for the analogue version, which doesn’t have the DX suffix). When you switch on, the TV tuned analogue automatically, but you have to set the digital going manually. It picked up all the stations that I had going on my previous Freeview box. Its unfair to expect it to get them all as I haven’t got a good reception in the room I’ve got the Samsung in, not much TV watching done here.

I was actually a bit miffed when I saw the image quality of Freeview, but maybe I was expecting too much. It’s well documented how current tech LCDs and plasmas show up artifacting on present day digital sources, so I guess I wasn’t too surprised here. I would be wary if you were looking to buy this set purely as a set to watch TV on, as IMHO CRTs handle the signal better. The menu system is excellent though; very intuitive and full of image control options.

Enough of that, lets get to the important bit – games. First off I tried my RGB scart Xbox and put on Halo 2. Now this is more like it – real depth to the colours, but woah! Where did those jaggies come from? Very noticeable. So I tried my HD Xbox (same resolution but in progressive) and it just gets better. The image is colourful (remember this is Halo 2 we’re talking here – fluorescent all the rage) and it just strikes you in a way the CRT never did. I hope it doesn’t sound too stupid to say, but there really is a new level of immersion here, realism cranked up so you don’t think you’re looking at a screen so much. I had a bit of a go on Forza too...

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There’s a definite advantage to the clarity too – you can really pick out enemies at a distance better and add a touch of accuracy. Still you get the jaggies though; it really is noticeable that this is current gen technology. So lets put on a HiDef title – the only one I own is Amped 2. Now I’ve played this before on the plasma, and while it was good, it didn’t impress me like the Samsung did. I really noticed the depth-of-field and lack of jaggies was really quite impressive in 720p. Now we’re talking!

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The last source I tried was my PC. It’s a pretty good PC, so I thought I’d try playing some games in the (near-enough) native 1360x768 through VGA. I was not prepared. It really is stunning (in fact I’m writing this on the screen now!) and when you play the HiDef 360 trailers, or some of the HD showcase content, it really is pin-sharp to my eye. Real quality. The hairs on my neck stood up when I watched the HiDef trailer of Call of Duty 2 and saw the quality of the in-game textures I’ll be seeing real-time come December 2nd. It is truly excellent.

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I’ve read reams and reams of stuff about tearing, but I really haven’t noticed it at all yet, though I should point out I’ve probably only played about half an hour at 720p 60Hz. I believe the problem can be fixed now in any case with a firmware update provided by Samsung, so I’ll do that if it ever crops up.

So did I make a good purchase? Undoubtedly – for my purposes. This set does not do it all. In fact, I’d go as far to say that Samsung have not really paid attention to current technologies (PAL analogue and Freeview or scart sources). If you just want current PAL TV output, through analogue or digital, I'd argue you should stick to CRT. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad by any means, but LCD and plasma tech is just not suited to displaying poor quality inputs.

Another inherent problem with back-lit technologies like LCD is that you're never going to get proper blacks. I must admit it doesn't spoil my experience, but I could well imagine it becoming noticeable when playing an intentionally dark game though. It's all about compromise however, and I'd counter the argument by saying that the Samsung displays colours with a vibrancy like I've not seen before.

All-in-all, everything I’ve seen so far suggests Samsung have provided the ultimate in future tech here. I would be really shocked if this set produces anything less than a stunning Xbox 360 experience at 720p, and I for one, cannot wait. :smashin: For Sky HiDef, Xbox 360, PS3 and so on, you can't go far wrong with this set.

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For info, I purchased from Homecinematv for £844 delivered and wouldn't fault their service at all. Mortgage the cat!
 

zAndy1

Distinguished Member
Thanks for that informative review, looking forward to getting one of these myself!
 

chrislad

Prominent Member
I really, really wish I could afford one of those. I just got an alright Digix 20inch LCD. It's fairly low end (but then again, so was the price) without Component or anything. It does the job for my bedroom but I definitely will invest in a major TV once I finish college.
 

Kopite4Ever

Established Member
thanks for taking the time out for this review lawrence :thumbsup: its out of this or the new sony LCD range for me. its weird why im getting one of these LCD panels as it will not be my main display for either film/tv or gaming, my projector gets that job as i like it large :D i just want rid of my CRT which dominates the corner of my room & i want to wall mount a display for the odd bit of use and free up space. when i look at it £800 for something i will hardly use seems alot :( but i could end up using it more if/when i purchase a display.

again thanks for doing this at least i know its a great display and dont discount your camera skill as a) you aint seen mine and b) the HL2 & far cry image's look good :smashin:

:oops: nearly forgot the Q i wanted to ask. what are the black levels like ???
 

Cowden_harley

Prominent Member
mint review mate I have just got one of these two days ago and i'll be damned if i couldn't have put it better myself. quality set roll on the 360.
 

captaineyecatch

Established Member
Thanks for the review sounds like just the Job for me as most of the time i use my Tv for gaming and dvds so Poor quality Freeview/sky wouldnt bother me. Think I'll wait till the Jan sales though before i pick one up - hopefully by then they will all have the updated firmware.
Also i thought it had component imput ?? does it only have VGA imput for xbox 360 then??
 

lozzadude

Established Member
Will you be getting a HDMI to DVI convertor? Do you know if this will work? I'm thinking about getting this TV to replace my 36" Philips but I would want a TV that can connect via DVI as it gives better image quality.
 

Munkey Boy

Distinguished Member
captaineyecatch said:
Also i thought it had component imput ?? does it only have VGA imput for xbox 360 then??
Ah :censored: , knew I'd forget something! Yeah - sure does have component. Review updated. Cheers!

lozzadude said:
Will you be getting a HDMI to DVI convertor? Do you know if this will work? I'm thinking about getting this TV to replace my 36" Philips but I would want a TV that can connect via DVI as it gives better image quality.
DVI to HDMI cables are freely available, so that wouldn't be a problem. Even VGA isn't too shabby though (and that's an understatement!).
 

Colgate7110

Established Member
Cheers for the review Lawrence - although I still can't decide whether to get one or not :rolleyes: Your comments about the Freeview source are putting me off because it's the same thing the "professional reviewers" say in the magazines although given how much they also say about other things (such as the Panasonic PD30 being perfect), I'll put more faith in your comments as an end user than the magazine reviews. Our main function for the TV in terms of hours will be Freeview unfortunately. Ah well, time to wait another year for another round of TVs....... :(

BTW, I'm utterly blown away by the photos of Far Cry - it looks stunning in photographs let alone how much it actually look on your screen!
 

Tetlee

Distinguished Member
Wow, great review Lorenzini, almost as good as a homecinema mag review, infact better as they don't say too much about running games on the screens ;) , Farcry looks stunning!

Will have to give this thing alot more thought though as we were planning on using this for a main tv aswell as for games. Mainly tv & an alternative for gaming whilst saving on lamp use of the PJ (damn those lamps are costy :rolleyes: ).

We need a slim screen by next Jan(moving away then) so we'll have to see what else comes up by that time.
 

-TYN-

Established Member
Lorenzini firstly thanks for the honest review,

I will be using this tv as you are (just for pc and xbox 360) in "atleast 720p" so i just wanted to know if there is any image blur on driving games and first person shooters etc.
This is the only thing holding me back at the moment, I was going for a Sony until i saw them side by side running the same hi-def feed and the Sony showed way more blocking and other artifacts so a Samsung is the best i have seen and what a price :) .

Thanks in advance for your help :thumbsup:
 

Pooon

Distinguished Member
AAAAgggggh my eyes, the wallpaper noooooooo, must, get, image, out, of, head, need, whisky. :D

very nice review mate. Whats the market value for a kidney these days?
 

Tetlee

Distinguished Member
PooonTang said:
AAAAgggggh my eyes, the wallpaper noooooooo, must, get, image, out, of, head, need, whisky. :D

very nice review mate. Whats the market value for a kidney these days?

I thought the wallpaper complemented the screen perfectly :rotfl:
 

Munkey Boy

Distinguished Member
-TYN- said:
I will be using this tv as you are (just for pc and xbox 360) in "atleast 720p" so i just wanted to know if there is any image blur on driving games and first person shooters etc.
This is the only thing holding me back at the moment, I was going for a Sony until i saw them side by side running the same hi-def feed and the Sony showed way more blocking and other artifacts so a Samsung is the best i have seen and what a price :)
Are you referring to refresh rate? I believe the screen has a refresh rate of 12ms, which is actually better than my computer monitor! In other words, no problems atall and can deal just fine with fast moving images, especially from progressive sources. Obviously it's impossible for me to carry out a side-by-side comparison, but I have no trouble at all with fast moving images, and I've been playing Burnout:Revenge all weekend - they don't come much quicker than that!

I'm worried I've put people off Freeview too much now - it's not unwatchable by any means. It just felt like a step backwards from my CRT image. The Samsung handles other sources so much better though, it balances out.
 

-TYN-

Established Member
Thanks for the quick reply,

Your right they don,t come much quicker than Burnout revenge so i am sure it will be fine.

I'm sold :D
 

Kopite4Ever

Established Member
your bound to get a worse freeview recpeption on most LCD's to a CRT due to the fact of resolution. with these new LCD being as good as they are they will show off HD feeds to an unbeliveable level of detail but on the other hand they will show up any deficiencies in a poor standard def signal. put it this way you wont be buying this panel to watch freeview IMO this panel is bought for HD gaming, HD movies and upcoming HD Sky, so you may have to put up with some bad freeview channels for the time being, just think of the day you unleash the 360 on it :D IIRC channel 5 IMO gives the best freeview pic and is more than watchable on my 720p display were as ITV2 is not watchable
 

Colgate7110

Established Member
Two quick questions Lawrence:

1. Is the screen glass or plastic fronted?

2. Probably depending on the answer to 1, how is it for reflections and image brightness under harsh lighting conditions?

Cheers,

Colin
 

mjw123

Established Member
Hey guys i own one of these and it's superb. Please don't see the freeview issue as a negative as it will be the same on all LCD's they're not designed for [email protected] quality feeds.

For still scenes on freeview it blows CRT away but once things start moving like footy you do notice a bit of pixelation. However i've gone from a 28" CRT to this 32" LCD so i've effectively stretched the pixels further apart anyway !
 

Munkey Boy

Distinguished Member
Colgate7110 said:
Two quick questions Lawrence:

1. Is the screen glass or plastic fronted?

2. Probably depending on the answer to 1, how is it for reflections and image brightness under harsh lighting conditions?

Cheers,

Colin
1. Plastic, similar to a TFT computer monitor.
2. Pretty good actually - it has an automatic light sensor that adjusts brightness depending on how much ambient light is present.

One other thing I should've mentioned is that the picture quality degrades the more of an angle you view the screen at. I can virtually see a perfect image on the plasma up to 90 degrees, but anything above 45 degrees from straight in front on the Samsung and the image is 'washed out'. Not a problem unless you have to view the TV from an awkward angle.
 

Kopite4Ever

Established Member
enough of the questions lets all go round his house and just view it :D while were there we can decorate the room as well :devil:

seriously cheers for answering the Q's im sold on this now. eek its going to be expensive few months for me and bloody xmas and mums birthday as well :mad:

ahaha forgot again i know your using the logitech speakers but what is the sound like out of the standard attached speakers ? id assume like most displays of this kind quite naff ?
 

Cowden_harley

Prominent Member
quite good actually I don't mind them for normal viewing. 5.1 for gaming all the way though
 

Munkey Boy

Distinguished Member
Kopite4Ever said:
ahaha forgot again i know your using the logitech speakers but what is the sound like out of the standard attached speakers ? id assume like most displays of this kind quite naff ?
I muted the TV almost immediately so couldn't really say... I wouldn't expect it to do anything but a basic job though...
 

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