Samsung PS50A556 review

Samsung's 5-series 50in plasma is offered at a bargain price, but can it deliver good enough big-screen performance for the money? Tested at £1350.00

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Our Verdict

Not quite the bargain blockbuster we hoped for but still a tempting TV on a budget

For

  • Rich, vibrant colours
  • good black levels
  • steal of a price

Against

  • Some blocking on tuner
  • not the subtlety of the best

Samsung is eager to tell us that the PS50A557, exclusive to Comet, and the PS50A558, sold by everyone else, are exactly the same TVs as this Currys' exclusive 556. Why this numberwang? Who knows, but we'll reiterate that our verdict applies only to the '556 until we see the others in the flesh.

This isn't the first 50in plasma TV from Samsung at a knockdown price – last year's Award winner was such a set, knocking the competition for six with a heady combination of high performance and low price tag.

And things start well. The set is a suave presence on its pedestal swivel stand. The remote control has had a redesign, given curves and a touch of colour in comparison with its predecessors, while the menus remain intuitive to use.

All specs are present and correct, with 1080p, Full HD resolution, three HDMI inputs – one on the side – and a digital Freeview tuner.

The TV picture is watchable enough, but, like most sets this size, it struggles to deliver detailed shots without hints of blocking and a touch of noise. The overall image has a decent level of insight and sharpness, though.

Sound is fair, but a little quiet
Sound is decent enough, though it could be clearer, and it's worth pointing out the speakers don't go that loud – we had the volume set fairly high.

On to 1080p HD video, courtesy of Ghost Rider, and that familiar Samsung plasma picture appears, with vivid, deep colours alongside solid, dark black levels.

Skin tones lack a little subtlety appearing a touch ruddy at times, but detail levels do their best to make up for it, not least in those impressive dark scenes.

The lack of subtlety with colours is more apparent with standard definition DVD content, and motion could be a little smoother, but the picture still has that colourful, luxurious feel and plenty of detail.

You may well be drawn to this set solely because of the tantalising price. Fortunately, while far from faultless, this plasma delivers in line with our performance-per-pound mantra.

Specifications

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General Information

Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Brand NameSamsung
Product Series556
Product TypePlasma TV
ManufacturerSamsung
Manufacturer Part NumberPS50A556S2FXXC
Product NameSamsung PS50A556
Product ModelPS50A556S2F

Physical Characteristics

Height with Stand83.1 cm
Depth with Stand32 cm
Width123 cm
Weight with Stand Approximate41.40 kg
Depth9.5 cm
Weight Approximate37.40 kg
Width with Stand123 cm
Height76.2 cm
ColourBlack
Dimensions76.2 cm (H): 123 cm (W): 9.5 cm (D)

Interfaces-Ports

HDMIYes
USBYes

Technical Information

FeaturesPicture in Picture, Sleep Timer, Teletext, Auto-off
Aspect Ratio16:9
Screen Size127 cm (50")

Energy and Performance

Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Standby Power Consumption1 W
Operating Power Consumption550 W

Audio

RMS Output Power20 W
Sound SystemSRS TruSurround XT

Video

Digital TunerDVB-T (MPEG4)
Standard Refresh Rate50 Hz
Video Signal StandardHDTV
Scan Format1080p
Analog TunerNTSC, PAL, SECAM