Our Verdict 
The fact that it significantly undercuts every other comparative TV is impressive enough – the fact that it’s also better than most of them is astounding
For 
Deep, insightful blacks
pure whites
vibrant but natural colours
brilliant detail and definition
clean SD images
Against 
At this price, nothing
Reviewed on

For more than a year now we've been hearing about inevitable price rises in the flatscreen market. We can only assume Samsung never got the memo.

A 40in screen for £550 is astonishing, and makes the LE40B550 the cheapest set on test by quite some margin.

It's not as if the spec's rubbish, either. True, it does without fancy motion processing and an internet connection, but the 'B550 is still Full HD, has four HDMIs, and even a USB socket for playing MP3 music and JPG photos.

What's more, its performance is way above and beyond what you'd expect for this money, too.

More than a match for pricier sets Kicking off with Inglourious Basterds on Blu-ray, it's immediately apparent this is the best sub-£1000 performer in these parts. It digs up tonnes of Perrier LaPadite's perspiration as he's interrogated in the opening scene.

More after the break

It has the deepest blacks of the most affordable sets in its genre too, but there's still enough insight in them to reveal the detail in the dimly lit corners of the house.

The light shining through the windows is also brighter and punchier than that produced by price-comparable rivals.

Although it's obviously not as punchy as some other large-screen sets, whites are still pure, while colours are lush and vibrant, but never overblown.

No judder eitherAs mentioned, this Samsung does without motion processing, but there's no significant judder to slow pans and very little discernible smear.

Spin The Hangover on DVD and the Samsung matches the detail offered by more expensive sets, but once again adds extra vibrancy and black depth.

The images are impressively stable and solid here, as they are with Freeview broadcasts, which are enjoyably colourful without being overly garish – even when pushed by insane children's programmes like In the Night Garden.

Samsung continues to make a fuss of its down-firing speakers, which are supposed to make the 'B550 sound ‘deeper and clearer'.

While they're far from brilliant, they're no worse than other designs we've seen, and do the job just as well.

Add an initial, automatic ‘home' calibration (that requires very little tweaking) and smart menus, and the £550 Samsung LE40B550 turns out to be a genuinely fantastic all-rounder – as well as a quite extraordinary bargain.

See all our TV Best Buys