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Samsung PS-50Q7HD review

Samsung drop the price but up the performance

Colours appear natural and clear

Our Verdict

Samsung has made hefty improvements to the previous version and reaps the rewards


  • Not very expensive

    Natural looking colours


  • Disappointing connections

At just £2,200, Samsung's PS-50Q7HD might not quite be the cheapest 50in TV but it's close - close enough, in fact, to become our bargain screen of choice if it manages to deliver a decent performance.

Its price isn't the only immediately attractive thing about it, either, for it's also probably the single most attractive 50in TV we've ever seen - a vision in its uber-glossy, pitch black bezel and strikingly angular lines.

Its connections disappoint, though, as they include just one HDMI input. There are only two Scarts too - though you do at least get a D-Sub PC input, component video inputs, plus the CI slot and digital audio output associated with an integrated digital tuner.

Aside from the digital tuner, probably the PS-50Q7HD's most important feature is its Digital Natural Image engine processing - a proprietary Samsung system aimed at boosting colour tones, colour vibrancy, black levels, motion handling and fine detailing. This is assisted, too, by a new Smooth Motion Driver that adds up to ten extra image frames per second to make onscreen motion appear clearer and smoother.

Samsung's previous plasma generation failed to float our boat on the picture quality front. So it's a relief to find the PS-50Q7HD delivering a real improvement.

The PS-50Q7HD boasts a really satisfying combination of rich, vibrant colours and deep, believable black levels. This creates both dynamism and authenticity during high-contrast scenes like those around the Vegas strip. And it does no harm that there's lots of subtle greyscale information on hand to give depth and scale to frequent dingy interior shots of our test movie of Con Air.

The movie's skin tones and lighting levels are unusually diverse - yet the PS-50Q7HD (for the most part) handles them with aplomb. As it does most types of noise - including plasma's common fizziness with horizontal motion, something that plagued Samsung's previous plasmas.

The PS-50Q7HD falls short for three reasons. Firstly, it doesn't make our Con Air HD source look particularly sharp. Secondly, for no reason we could fathom, the generally impressive colour toning occasionally lapses so that Poe and his motley crew of cons suddenly seem to 'glow' a touch.

Finally, the set employs 'hidden' speakers that actually sound rather feeble, with nowhere near enough power or bass to do justice to the soundtrack's audio pyrotechnics.

Still, while performance perfectionists might rue some or all of these complaints, bargain hunters might well feel that they're pretty easy to live with, given its impressively low price tag.