Samsung UE40D5520 review

Samsung leaves premium aspirations aside to deliver a superb budget 40-inch TV

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Samsung ue40d5520

Aside from its extremely attractive 'crystal' design and eye-catching price, the Samsung UE40D5520's most immediate attractions are its carriage of both a Freeview HD tuner and Smart TV functionality.

So far as the Freeview HD tuner is concerned, things are pretty clear cut. As in, if you can receive HD Freeview broadcasts in your area, you'll be able to watch them on this Samsung TV.

But there are a couple of complications to explore where the Smart TV functionality is concerned.

The thing is that while the Samsung UE40D5520's Smart TV offering does run to Samsung's App Store, Smart Hub interface (more on this later) and premium video streaming services, it doesn't provide the Skype support or open web browser found on models higher up Samsung's LCD TV range.

Splitting up its Smart TV features in this way seems a bit of a risky move from Samsung when you're dealing with such a new technology, but at least if you're reading this review you now know the score!

Don't let the lack of a web browser and Skype have you thinking that the Samsung UE40D5520's online services are seriously impoverished, though. In fact, in some ways Samsung's Smart TV package is the most all-round accomplished and content-heavy system going right now.

The video streaming services are unquestionably the most interesting ones on the TV, with highlights being LoveFilm, BBC iPlayer, AceTrax for movie rental/purchase, muzu TV and a BBC News feed.

Samsung ue40d5520

The lesser 'infotainment' apps on Samsung's Smart TV platform are plentiful – up to around 70 on our latest count. But many of them aren't particularly interesting or useful. Samsung may be better off focusing on a qualitative rather than quantitative approach to its secondary apps.

The Samsung UE40D5520's screen, meanwhile, enjoys a full HD resolution, and as you would expect from the slenderness of the TV's bodywork, an edge-LED engine illuminates it. The screen also enjoys 100Hz processing for reducing motion blur and judder – a very pleasant surprise at this TV's price point, so long as the processing engine performs well, of course.

Heading into the Samsung UE40D5520's on-screen menus in a search for more features uncovers a variety of smaller processing 'tools', including an edge enhancer, a black level booster, a cluster of noise reduction tools and various 'colour boosters'.

There's also colour management to the extent that you can manipulate the red, green and blue elements of the TV set's white balance, although unfortunately the set doesn't go further down this road. While we doubt buyers of affordable TVs would want to go so far as to have their TV professionally calibrated, there are plenty of AV enthusiasts out there who appreciate having as many tools at their disposal as possible when it comes to optimising pictures to suit their tastes or room environment.

Looking at the Samsung UE40D5520's connections, there's nothing to complain about. The four HDMIs should be more than enough to satisfy the vast majority of UK living rooms, while a LAN port is on hand to provide wired connection to Samsung's Smart TV service or, if you prefer, a DLNA-enabled PC.

There are two USB inputs, which can be used for playing back a wide variety of photo, music and video files from USB flash drives or for making the TV Wi-Fi ready via an optional USB dongle.