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Samsung LE26C450 review

Best 26in TV, Awards 2010. The Samsung LE26C450 impresses with levels of detail and definition that add a sense of three-dimensionality Tested at £300

Our Verdict

Best 26in TV, Awards 2010. It's hard to find quality screens that don't seem over-priced for the inches on offer but this is a worthy Award-winner

For

  • Nice styling
  • easy operation
  • detailed, vibrant, pictures
  • very clean upscaling

Against

  • Can be beaten for motion and black insight
  • awkward headphone socket
  • no Freeview HD

Now we realise it might seem like we're in a very different corner of the TV market when it comes to dealing with 26in TVs compared with 42in sets.

But we're looking for the best options for as many people as possible – and, Mr-Look-At-The-Size-Of-My-Flatscreen, you may be surprised how many people are happy with a 26in set for the main TV room.

And if not the main room, how about in a kitchen or bedroom?

Small package, nicely formed
The LE26C450 is an Award-winning TV, and one that's impressed us in previous model guises in recent years, so there's plenty of pedigree.

While a direct comparison with much larger sets is tricky, assuming you're looking for something towards this end of the size spectrum, is £300 spent on this set decent value?

First, you must accept that for the bonus of affordability and a small package, you have to sacrifice technology. It's a 1366 x 768 HD Ready (remember that?) TV, so, while it can happily support Blu-ray and HD sources, it will be scaling them down in order to do so.

And don't expect to see a Freeview HD tuner on a screen this size – you'll need to add your own tuner box should you want to watch high-def broadcasts. There's also nothing by way of internet TV here.

Still with us? Good. In reality it shouldn't be a surprise to see some of these higher spec features missing on a smaller TV and you have to focus on the key positives: cost and size.

It's a nicely put together package with the addition of touchscreen buttons that do a decent job of convincing you that this is a premium product.

Watching TV on the Freeview tuner, pictures are impressive. Forget the noise you might see on larger screens, juddering motion or lack of definition, this Samsung is sharp, stable and detailed.

Colours are reproduced faithfully with bold bright hues sitting alongside clean whites and solid black levels, while the speakers are surprisingly competent, ensuring an even tonal balance, which is half the fight won.

Decent scaling, fine performance
Watching video over HDMI (there are three inputs) and again colours are bright and punchy, motion is handled smoothly and there are few signs of noise.

There's a competent scaler for DVD action, though you may well find you get better results upscaling from your source (DVD or Blu-ray player).

This is a very different proposition to something even just six inches bigger, but if this is what you have in mind, this TV remains a good choice.

Great performance and great value: there's even money to spare from a £500 budget for a Blu-ray player or HD tuner box.

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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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