Samsung LE-32R74BDX review

  • £1200

This Samsung is as pretty as its pictures

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

If you don't have a separate audio system, you might have to think twice. But otherwise, with its glamorous body, scintillating pictures and aggressive price, it's seriously hard to resist

For

  • Fine colour blends

    Outstanding picture quality

    Excellent value for money

Against

  • Black levels could be even deeper

Almost every LCD TV these days looks good. But we've rarely seen a TV as attractive as the LE-32R74BDX. Every design trick Samsung has thrown at it works beautifully.

Connectivity is functional. You get HDMI and component options for HD purposes, a PC feed, two Scarts and a digital audio output (there for the day when Freeview starts Dolby Digital 5.1 broadcasts).

Interface the music

The digital tuner is supported by a common interface slot for adding subscription digital services, and the seven-day Electronic Programme Guide. Unfortunately, the maximum step you can advance through the EPG is two hours, which makes looking for something seven days away a right royal pain.

In terms of screen specification, the LE-32R74BDX's 1366 x 768 resolution is pretty standard, but the claimed contrast ratio of 5,000:1 is outstanding. The panel also uses Super Vertical Pattern Alignment technology to increase the angle from which you can watch the screen without colours or contrast dropping off.

Also on board is a 10-bit colour processing system which Samsung claims delivers up to 12.8 billion colours, plus Samsung's Digital Natural Image engine processing for improving sharpness, motion, colours and contrast.

The LE-32R74BDX is undoubtedly a contender for best picture performer we've seen recently. It handles dark scenes of our Layer Cake test DVD impressively, as well as reproducing more subtle greyscale gradations than most.

Talking of subtlety, the LE-32R74BDX also achieves some very fine colour blends which, together with a general richness of tone, mean that the picture looks solid and involving. This is especially evident with bright daytime scenes.

The LE-32R74BDX proves to be adaptable with different source qualities. Picture quality doesn't deteriorate at all when switching between HD (via Sky) and standard definition (DVD) Layer Cake transfers. Clarity with detailed HD Layer Cake shots is nothing short of scintillating.

Minor criticisms? Black levels could be even deeper in an ideal world. Skin tones can look a touch plasticky. HDMI feeds can appear noisy unless you keep the brightness low.

Ledging our bets

Unfortunately, the LE-32R74BDX's speakers - hidden under a ledge under the screen - lack the power to bring the film's soundtrack to life, sounding rather muted and flat.

If you don't have a separate audio system, then, you might have to think twice about the LE-32R74BDX. But otherwise, with its glamorous body, scintillating pictures and aggressive price, it's seriously hard to resist.