Samsung ue32d5000

Sound

The UE32D5000's impossibly slim dimensions make you wonder how it manages to make a sound at all, but it does – and then some. The built-in 20W speakers produce an undeniably thin, boxed-in sound but it can go surprisingly loud, and does so without fatiguing the ears. It doesn't really get to the heart of movies, but it does a fine job with Freeview programmes that rely heavily on speech.

If you're not happy with the audio out of the box you can greatly improve its dynamism by having a play with the various sound modes on board, which include Music, Movie, Clear Voice and Amplify presets, as well as SRS TruSurround HD, SRS TruDialog and even an equaliser that lets you alter specific frequencies.

Value

The UE32D5000 may not be packed with smart features like Samsung's premium sets, but the surprisingly high quality of its pictures, coupled with some enticing tricks like DLNA networking and USB media playback, still make the UE32D5000 feel like exceptionally good value for around £400.

Its greatest crime however, is a lack of a Freeview HD tuner. With that, we could have had an even bigger bargain on our hands.

Ease of use

Your first port of call for most functions is the main menu, confusingly labelled as 'Hub' and 'Smart' on the relevant remote button. This is a snazzy, user-friendly screen, boasting gorgeous full colour icon graphics that dance around when highlighted alongside legible lists that float above them.

It's broken down into Watch TV (which is where you'll find the Freeview-related stuff like the EPG and Channel List), Source (input selection), and My Downloads (where you can access Videos, Photos or music from connected devices). This menu responds quickly to remote commands, keeping frustration at bay.

Hit the separate Menu key on the remote and up pops the setup screen. This is the classic Samsung setup menu, using a row of animated icons down the side and a list on the left that changes when you move from icon to icon, and what's also pleasing is that you get a brief explanation at the bottom of the screen when you highlight any option.

This covers all your key settings – super-simple network setup, sound and channel tuning – plus the Picture menu offers a surprisingly detailed list of adjustments besides the usual stuff like backlight, contrast, brightness, colour and so forth.

There's a group of noise reduction modes and colour tone settings, plus adjustments for Flesh Tone, White Balance, Colour Space, Gamma, Shadow Detail, Dynamic Contrast, Black Tone and LED Motion Plus. It's great to see that you don't have to compromise on picture flexibility just because you're on a tight budget.

Elsewhere, the Freeview EPG is a decent effort, managing to squeeze in all of the relevant info (including a live TV box) without seeming overly cluttered. The programme grid shows six channels at a time and you can make out the names of most programmes, plus the synopsis is always on show at the top of the screen, removing the need for another unnecessary button press.

Colour-coded options along the bottom let you skip days easily. The onscreen programme banner is equally impressive, going into a pleasing amount of detail and allowing you to look ahead in the schedules on any channel.

We also had little trouble using the DLNA functionality, once the set found the content stored on our laptop. The menus are laid out with an eye for simplicity and logic, using large letters and thumbnails. The only downer is the few seconds' delay when moving between each menu screen. We also streamed music to the UE32D5000 using Windows Play To, and it worked a treat. The only sign of insubordination was its refusal to play an AVCHD file over the network.

Another handy feature is the E-Manual, which adds to the general sense of user-friendliness. It explains all of the key features in detail, and will be a godsend for people whose homes are like a Bermuda Triangle for paper manuals.

Finally, a word about the remote. It is a breeze to operate aside from the misleading main menu button. What we like most is the size and feel of the buttons, which are big, chunky and rubbery – just like Panasonic's excellent zappers, which are clearly the inspiration for this design.