Samsung LE-32R87BD review

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Our Verdict

This stunning-looking TV strikes a winning balance between low price and improved high-def picture performance

For

  • Great price

    Impressive connections

    Decent picture performance

Against

  • Some motion-handling flaws

Samsung's R7 LCD TVs sold like hot cakes thanks to their sumptuous looks, solid performance and aggressive pricing. So, we're eager to see if these models' successors - as represented today by the 32in LE-32R87 - can continue the success story.

There are certainly no problems in the design department. The refined arc that now runs along its bottom edge makes the LE-32R87 even more attractive than its predecessor.

Three's a crowd

Connectivity is outstanding too, chiefly for the provision of not one, not two, but three HDMI inputs - great stuff. All the other key bases are also covered, plus there's an optical audio output for passing on to an AV receiver multi-channel digital audio streams received via the HDMIs.

The HDMIs are compatible with the new 'CEC' standard too, meaning they allow quite extensive control via the TV's own remote of other CEC-compatible equipment they're connected to. Their only limitation is that they won't take 1080p inputs.

The LE-32R87 certainly isn't short of features for such an affordable model. Highlights include a Movie Plus setting that adds extra image frames to make motion smoother and clearer, a Wide Colour setting that expands the colour palette, a black level booster, gamma adjustment, and manual backlight adjustment.

There's also Samsung's Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) for improving colours, black levels, motion handling and detailing.

Our Superman Returns HD DVD quickly reveals notable picture improvements over the Samsung R7 range. Black levels, for starters, look much more natural, with less greyness over the shots of Superman flying Lois around Metropolis, and more subtle background detail in dark scenes to give them greater scale and depth.

Colours look terrific, too. The night sequences look wonderfully rich and vibrant, thanks to the exemplary portrayal of the wide palette of hues.

The set also does a fair job of delivering the crispness of our HD DVD movie transfer - the ripples on the sea around Metropolis look clean and sharp.

Hard to handle

The only serious picture niggle, given the LE-32R87's price tag, is its motion handling. The Movie Plus system is great at making motion smoother and sharper, but it can generate a noticeable shimmering artefact around the edges of some moving objects. Yet, if you deactivate the feature, motion looks much less sharp and clean.

The LE-32R87's other little niggles are a slightly limited viewing angle, and audio that becomes rather swallowed and underpowered during the movie's action scenes.

Still, we don't think this Samsung's weaknesses are remotely unbearable in light of all the good stuff it's got going for it for only £700.