If sales are the ultimate compliment to a product's designers then Samsung's LCD team can rest on its laurels. But while the public buy its TVs in spades, reviews have been more favourable for Samsung's competitors. Can this set change that?
Physically, the LE32R87BD matches its predecessors for good looks. But it comes from a brainy as well as good-looking family with three HDMIs starring alongside a full gamut of the rest: two Scarts, component video and PC connectivity as well as all the old analogue connections. A CI slot flags up a digital tuner while an optical audio output completes the digital aristocracy.
The HDMIs are compatible with the CEC industry standard, so you can use the TV's remote to control other CEC-compatible gear, whatever the manufacturer.
Good for screen cred
Its flatscreen credentials are impressive with a native resolution of 1366 x 768, a stunning-sounding claimed contrast ratio of 8000:1, largely due to an automatic backlight system and a phosphor/backlight design built to give a wider colour range.
Pictures are also fine-tuned with Samsung's Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) and Movie Plus. This new feature aims to create sharper and smoother motion by adding extra frames to the picture with a 3:2 progressive scan pulldown process.
The results of this are mixed. While it does some of the job of reducing resolution loss in the picture foreground, it also creates new artefacts around the flickering edges. This is one feature to experiment with and use sparingly when the moment is right.
But its work with colours has paid off. The raw bright hues of the African sky and landscape look natural, cinematic and enticingly accurate. Skin tones back this up. Clear improvements too have been made with black levels that reveal a depth and subtlety not viewed in its predecessors, or in this price range in general.
Picture sharpness is also impressive. The HD DVD detail on Blood Diamond was fine down to the wisps of smoke when the main characters are under fire, and even down to the ginger-brown hairs of Dicaprio's 'goatee'-style beard.
Motion issues can be glimpsed in the more demanding sequences, but the overall excellence of the pictures make this a churlish point to harp on about.