Samsung UE42F5000 review

This low-priced 42-inch TV is let down by poor performance

Samsung UE42F5000

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

With LED backlighting, a traditional gloss black design, a Freeview HD tuner and more, Samsung's start-up UE42F5000 appears to be a bargain on paper, but it's sadly flawed.

We liked

Digital file support is good, and in the case of music, excellent; virtually all lossless music we threw at the UE42F5000 was played, let alone basic MP3 files. There's also an excellent Freeview HD interface, complete with a live TV thumbnail in the schedule grid.

We disliked

Build quality is relatively poor – the UE42F5000 weighs very little indeed – though there are bigger issues. Poor contrast and soft images rule, with motion resolution worsening problems. With just two HDMI slots and a single USB slot, there's isn't much flexibility on offer.

Final verdict

Samsung TVs of all prices are usually very reliable, but the UE42F5000 is an exception; endemic motion blur, poor contrast and LED light leakage make this a great argument for spending more – or buying an entry-level plasma.

That most plasmas of this low price sport HD-ready panels isn't really an issue, since the UE42F5000 wastes its Full HD detail time and again by showing us soft images that lose a lot of detail during any kind of motion.

An excellent Freeview HD user interface and great handling of digital files from a USB stick are the highlights, though the provision of just two HDMI slots and a single USB convince us that the UE42F5000 isn't the great-value cheap TV it could – and should – have been.

Also consider

Though close competitors in the LED TV market come from the Sony KDL-42W653A, Panasonic's TX-L42E6B and Toshiba 39L4353 (we've reviewed the 50-inch here), which goes for the same price as this Samsung. However, the quality of the Sony and Panasonic efforts far outweigh the Toshiba. It could also be worth hunting out the Finlux 40S8070-T online, though the really good value bargains at this level of the market are plasma TVs from Panasonic, LG and Samsung.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and He also edits two of his own websites, and that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),