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Samsung LE40C650 review

Samsung's budget televisions are for the most part absolute belters, and this LCD is no exception Tested at £640.00

Our Verdict

Another year, another budget belter from Samsung

For

  • Great pictures and a fully-loaded spec for a very reasonable price
  • decent sound by prevailing flatscreen standards

Against

  • Close rivals offer even better motion handling and colour

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Another year, another budget belter from Samsung

Pros

  • + Great pictures and a fully-loaded spec for a very reasonable price
  • + decent sound by prevailing flatscreen standards

Cons

  • - Close rivals offer even better motion handling and colour

Samsung has a tendency to heavily push its most high-end and advanced TVs, but leave its more affordable models to one side.

There's plenty of sense in that approach, of course, but over the past few years we've often been blown away by its budget and mid-range options, which is why we've gone out of our way to source one.

As a 6-series telly, the LE40C650 isn't the cheapest 40incher of Samsung's 2010 range (there's a 4-series plasma TV and a 5-series LCD set), but at £640 it's undeniably affordable.

Online services abound
Not that that's overly evident in the design or features, mind: it's not particularly thin, but the ‘C650 looks pretty smart with its glossy, red-tinted finish, and it also boasts a spec that includes 100Hz motion processing and a very comprehensive suite of online services.

Select the Home mode when you first install the TV, and very little additional picture calibration is needed.

A couple of notches down on the backlight to get rid of a faint blotch on the bottom-right of our review sample was pretty much all that was necessary before we popped-in the Up in the Air Blu-ray.

And the picture? For the money, absolutely brilliant. The rather awkward disco scene proves the Samsung has plenty of contrast, as it produces realistically-deep blacks at the same time as bright, flashing lights.

It also has all the insight necessary to reveal the rather geeky debauchery that takes place as the convention attendees get more inebriated.

Generally impressive detail
Detail levels are generally impressive, and while the Sony ‘EX503 still pips it for motion handling, the Samsung is close behind, delivering slow pans and fast action with impressive stability and solidity.

It's an enticingly vibrant performer, too, although compared to the best it can let a smidge too much red into skin tones.

Switch down to a standard-definition DVD and the results are similar, although it's worth turning off the Motion Plus feature to avoid any unnaturalness.

You'll have to make do with a touch of smear if you do, but that's the better compromise in our book, and the overall contrast and crispness are very good.

Copes well with broadcast TV
The overall vibrancy of the picture also works well with Freeview, especially when it comes to the bright images of BBC HD, but it can be pushed a touch too far by something particularly garish, like bonkers kids' show ZingZillas.

Of course, if discs and Freeview tuners are just too last-decade for you, you can always switch to BBC iPlayer or LoveFilm on Internet@TV, both of which offer on-demand content.

The quality is only standard-definition, but the Samsung does a good job of upscaling it fairly cleanly.

Finally, there's the sound, which, although thin, is rhythmic and clear for the class and rounds out a performance that easily outclasses the asking price.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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