Despite Samsung's reputation for heavily-discounted, yet fabulous-looking, screens this 46-incher only just squeezes into the price bracket of its peers. Its plasma screens may go for a song, but when it comes to LCD TVs, the manufacturer concentrates on premium sets only.
The LE46F86BD 46in LCD TV is no different. Costing around £1,500, this Full HD TV is easy on the eye if not the wallet. It has all the features you'd expect for the cash and top of the class is 100Hz Motion Plus processing, a high-end feature that doesn't come cheap.
Put simply, the 100Hz engine should double the frame rate and makes the picture smoother – with less blur over fast-moving images with an altogether more cinematic picture the result.
Samsung has named its take on 100Hz technology Motion Plus, but we've seen it flounder on Samsung's smaller LCD TVs, so it'll be interesting to see how it copes here.
This 46-incher's vital statistics are hard to ignore: 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution; 1:1 pixel mapping of 1080i/1080p hi-def sources; whopping claimed contrast of 25,000:1; and brightness of 500cd/m2. It all makes impressive reading.
Connections are led by a trio of HDMI inputs – all able to accept 1080p/24 feeds. Component video also allows the LE46F86BD to pin an HD Ready badge on its frame, while these two sets of HD-friendly connections are joined by twin Scarts (one RGB-enabled), a PC input and CI slot (flagging up the built-in digital tuner).
Befitting a bigscreen with a big price, the LE46F86BD's feature count is strong. Joining 100Hz Motion Plus is Samsung's DNIe system, which is responsible for boosting sharpness, contrast, motion handling and colour. An Edge Enhancer adds definition to contours and stops the dreaded jagged edges.
If tweaking an HDTV within an inch of its life is your bag, there's also a black level booster, gamma control, and white balance adjustment options.
Rises to King Kong's challenge
Unleashing the TV on our HD DVD of King Kong, it takes mere moments to discover that the LE46F86BD is going to rise to the challenge. Firstly, 100Hz Motion Plus earns its keep, despite our reservations. More smoothness and crispness of images is introduced by this processing routine and pictures are gloriously clean overall.
Next stop is black level nirvana. Night sequences look a treat, revelling in their realism and cinematic overtones. Add some superb levels of detail, rich colours and natural skin tones to the equation, and you've one hell of a high definition performer on your hands.
Our criticisms of the LE46F86BD are only minor and are mainly levelled at 100Hz's door. Although the smoother movement of objects across the screen isn't in question, 100Hz doesn't resolve all the background judder during camera pans. You also have to be careful with picture settings, and there are elements of softness to be seen in lower quality digital programmes.
But if you're shelling out for a Full HD TV of this size, you'll want to gorge the beast on as much HD goodness as you can give it – and this is where the LE46F86BD excels.
It puts in a stellar hi-def performance, and this performance puts it in the running for crowning glory.