What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Wed, 18 Jun 2008, 3:00pm

Samsung LE40A558

Tested at £1000
80100
4

This Samsung doesn’t quite stick out from the crowd, but it’s an undeniably good TV

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For

  • Detailed, sharp pictures
  • impressive black levels and insight
  • judder-free 24fps motion

Against

  • Could do with punchier whites and more vibrant colours
  • a little noise to poor Freeview broadcasts

For a long time now, Samsung has been well known for producing very decent sets at very aggressive prices.In recent times though, the company has found itself competing directly with more luxury brands. But as this TV attests it can more than hold its own in upper-class company.

Once again, there are few surprises with style. Samsung has always been a big proponent of the gloss-black finish, which makes an appearance here;  the result is a set that looks a little plain, though not unattractive.

The sharp image is immediately impressive
Of course, the picture is where it's at, and the Samsung will win many fans here. Kick off with 3:10 to Yuma on Blu-ray, and the detailed, sharp image is immediately impressive. Christian Bale and Russell Crowe look especially craggy, while the glorious scenery looks textured and true-to-life, even when it's whizzing passed in smooth 24fps style.

The campfire scene demonstrates a good black performance, too, though in order to achieve that the backlight needs to be turned to a fairly low setting, which does adversely affect punch. The result is daylight scenes that can look a little overcast.

Switching to Penelope on DVD confirms that this is a very accomplished performer. Detail levels are amongst the best in class, and the deep, insightful blacks continue to impress. There is a little bit of white punch missing, and colours are a touch less vibrant than we would prefer, but all-in-all this is extremely pleasing.

Pictures from the Freeview tuner are also generally impressive. BBC channels are very clean and detailed, though the Samsung doesn't do quite as well with a poor broadcast like Channel 4 Racing.

Decent, balanced sonic performance

Any source is accompanied by a decent, balanced sonic performance. It can be beaten for detail, but by current standards there's little to complain about.

And that's really the story of the Samsung LE40A558: it's a very solid buy from a very solid company.

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