What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Mon, 7 Jul 2008, 4:00pm

Samsung LE32A656

Tested at £580
80100
4

An eye-catching TV where the good looks are complemented by solid picture performance

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For

  • Stylish, colourful set
  • nice picture balance
  • good off-air picture

Against

  • Doesn'
  • t have quite the punch or clarity of the class leaders
Glossy black with a touch of red? Well, it's a bit different. Sets that sport this 'rose black' finish fall into Samsung's Series 6 Touch Of Colour (TOC) range. 
While not breathtaking, it's an attractive piece of styling, and certainly brings a luxurious air to the set's appearance. Even the remote control injects some glamour into proceedings, with its shiny finish and colourful array of buttons. 
Also welcome are the plethora of features that the Samsung has to offer. These include Full HD resolution, four HDMI inputs, component video, twin Scart sockets and a USB input.
The LE-32A656 uses Samsung's Ultra Clear Panel: it claims to make colours more vibrant and blacks even darker. They certainly appear deep, which is a fine achievement, considering the usual problems associated with LCD screens. 
The early scenes in There Will Be Blood, where Daniel Day-Lewis is drenched in oil, exhibit rich, powerful blacks. Our only criticism is that achieving this level of richness has meant a small sacrifice in low-light detail. 
Stable, detailed standard definition
When the Samsung is forced to handle an SD signal, the internal scaler is more than up to the task. It does a fine job of keeping things stable and keeps unwanted artefacts to a low level. 
Switch to a Blu-ray disc such as Be Kind Rewind, and the Samsung revels in the lighter scenes, displaying smooth, detailed pictures.
Take a look at the built-in Freeview tuner and, once again, you'll find plenty to admire. Detail levels are good, with only the slightest trace of smearing present.
The set's speakers sound small, but not particularly stressed and perfectly acceptable at normal levels. For movies, a dedicated cinema system would be the ideal solution.
Since we first tested it the price of the Samsung has dropped from £765 to a much more reasonable £580 (or less), making it better value, and there's enough style and substance on display to make the Samsung stand out.

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