It's a rather surprising occasion when a manufacturer tells you it doesn't have a model to send in for review, but that's exactly what happened when we asked Samsung for this TV. Never ones to be dissuaded, we bought one ourselves and we imagine someone at Samsung is now rather embarrassed.
Turn the LE26A456 on and the plug-and-play system runs you through the installation quickly and efficiently, and although there are a fair few picture options to tinker with, overall calibration is fairly straightforward.
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We decide to stretch this set from the off, opting for Training Day on DVD, and the Samsung's performance is a clear step ahead of most other sets at this price. The 'A456 manages to produce images with excellent punch in whites and colours, while also offering deep, realistic blacks.
The cafe scene is a great example, with the Samsung happily contrasting the deep black of Denzel Washington's jacket with the early morning light streaming through the windows. The overall sharpness and detail that the 'A456 digs up is also impressive.
Vibrant, detailed colours
There's just a slight red tint to the colour performance, which – though it comes across as pleasant warmth with DVD – we thought might overcook the colours of a Blu-ray.
It turns out not to be the case though, with our copy of Spiderman 2 looking superbly vibrant and detailed. The 1080p/24fps image is nice and sharp, and although motion is a touch more smeary than some, it is free from judder.
Freeview pictures are also detailed, sharp and colourful, with very little noise or pixellation being introduced by the onboard scaler, and if you're going to be using the built-in speakers, you'll be pleased to hear they perform admirably.
And that's the all-round story of the Samsung – it offers a performance that's close to the premium models, but at a bargain basement price-point. And that's just the kind of combination we love.