Samsung UE48H5500 review

A basic but big smart TV that punches above its weight

Samsung UE48H5500 review

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The UE48H5500 may be all about value, but at its core there's a capable LED panel that's not the last word in AV quality, but is hugely versatile. Add the best smart TV shenanigans in the business and this 48-incher is a lesson in how Edge LED TVs are coming on in quality.

We liked

The colours are natural, and both HD and standard definition footage handled extremely well. The Freeview HD software is first class, as is the choice of apps and the general navigation screens. However, the UE48H5500 is all about value, with its super-low price making it one of the bargain bigscreens of 2014.

We disliked

Though just about quick enough at navigation, the goalposts have shifted and with so much to deal with a quad core is now the de facto minimum required. In short, Samsung's beefed-up quad core+ TVs do handle app loading and menu navigation a tad quicker than the UE48H5500.

The three HDMI ins and two USB slots are a little disappointing, as is the UE48H5500's glossy black plastic look, though of most concern are its tight viewing angles and a trace of judder and motion blur. Still, those latter two issues are minimal and won't bother most people.

As for voice interaction, it doesn't work very well even when there's a microphone-mounted Smart Touch remote control in the mix, as found on Samsung's high-end TVs; being bereft of that means the UE48H5500 is not a good listener. It's no loss. Likewise, the lack of 3D probably won't harm the UE48H5500's chances.

Final verdict

One of the few TVs around that manages to be both great value and feel like a real treat, the UE48H5500 is perhaps the best 48-inch TV for the price-conscious living room. Its pictures do have tiny flaws if you look for them, but it impresses with both HD and standard definition, delivers great colour and good contrast, and – perhaps most importantly – brings the entire suite of on-demand TV apps to a living room.

Meanwhile its simple gloss black styling won't appeal to all, but it's a design that's easy to live with. Low points include a trace of motion blur, thin sound and a paltry three HDMI inputs; it's not perfect, but at this price, who cares?

Also consider

If you want a slice of Samsung's best picture quality, head for its 48-inch UE48H6700, which adds micro dimming and a 3D mode. Smart TV takes a back seat, but those not after apps should take a look at the great value Philips 48PFT5509, which is both cheaper and better looking than this Samsung. If you don't mind extending the screen size by two-inches in the diagonal. Sony's 50-inch KDL-50W829 boasts superb motion handling and a powerful content discovery engine.

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),