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Samsung UE32EH5000 review
The Samsung UE32EH5000 is extremely good value

As you might have guessed from our Introduction page, the Samsung 32EH5000's picture quality is its single biggest strength, for numerous reasons.

The biggest surprise given the TV's cheapness is the authority with which it reproduces dark scenes. Favourite dark movie moments such as Chapter 12 on the Blu-ray of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2 appear on the Samsung 32EH5000 with black tones that look much richer than is customary at the budget end of the TV market.

There's clearly less disruption from the sort of grey overtones we would normally see with budget TVs.

What's particularly good about this is the fact that the strong black level performance seems to owe more to the innate design of the panel at the Samsung 32EH5000's heart than it does to any over-aggressive dynamic backlight control system. The proof for this assertion can be seen in the better-than-expected levels of shadow detail information the Samsung 32EH5000 reproduces in dark parts of the picture.

Samsung UE32EH5000 review

It's a great relief, too, to find that dark scenes are only marginally troubled by that bugbear of so many edge LED TVs, backlight clouding. There's a faint patch of extra brightness in one corner while watching very dark material, but it's not in your face enough to count as a severe distraction.

And if you're watching with any amount of ambient light in your room, then even this gentle inconsistency will likely fade out of view.

It's not unusual for relatively small budget TVs such as the Samsung 32EH5000 to be pretty limited in brightness. But while Samsung's television isn't as aggressive with its colours and brightness as sets further up the brand's range, it's still punchy enough to grab your attention even if the TV is placed in a particularly bright environment.

The Samsung 32EH5000's contrast strengths relative to the vast majority of the similarly cheap opposition knock on into its colour performance, where the realistic black colours on show provide the perfect platform for Samsung's TV to deliver a colour palette as natural as it can be punchy, even when showing relatively dark material.

Samsung UE32EH5000 review

Colour handling benefits, too, from some reasonably subtle banding-free colour blends by budget TV standards.

Feeding the Samsung 32EH5000 a selection of action sequences shows it to be a much better handler of motion than your average budget TV too. It's only a 50Hz set with minimal motion processing to its name, but nonetheless it manages to keep moving objects looking reasonably well detailed, and doesn't slide into the horrible laggy, smeary look you get on some budget LCD TVs.

This helps HD pictures attain a generally decently detailed, crisp look that fully justifies the inclusion of the Freeview HD tuner, and makes the TV a potentially decent option for gamers too.

Potential that's enhanced by the 30ms of input lag we measured on the Samsung 32EH5000's HDMI inputs. This figure is one of the lowest we've measured recently, and shouldn't be high enough to significantly damage your gaming skills, even when playing twitch-speed games such as Call of Duty online.

Samsung UE32EH5000 review

While we would, of course, always recommend that you stick with HD on the Samsung 32EH5000 wherever possible, on those rare occasions when you simply have to turn to standard definition, it's reassuring to know that again Samsung's budget maestro has got your back.

It manages to add at least a bit of sharpness to standard definition material without adding substantially to or exaggerating any noise that might be present in the source.

There are reasons to spend more money on a different TV if you care to look for them. Colours shift to a slightly more muted and basic palette in standard def mode, for instance. Also you can certainly get deeper black levels, even clearer motion, wider viewing angles (before contrast and colour dramatically reduce) and generally sharper HD images from the best TVs around.

But this situation is no more than you'd expect. After all, if the affordable Samsung 32EH5000 was as good as all the more expensive TVs out there, then the rest of the TV industry might as well just shut up shop and go home.

Samsung UE32EH5000 review