Televisions aren’t necessarily the cheapest piece of electronics out there. A good 32 or 42-inch will set you back by more than Rs. 40,000. Of course, everyone has different budgets and that decides how much they’re willing to spend on a television. So for those looking for TVs closer to the Rs. 35,000 mark, there are a few options from top tier brands. Samsung has a somewhat older model called the 32D550, which is still in the market.
USB ports on the side
The Samsung 32D550is clearly thicker than most of the latest LED-backlit displays out there. It’s pretty thick but isn’t too shabby when it comes to style though. Most of the TV is made of plastic and there are no solid metal panels on this particular TV. Even the stand has a thick layer of plastic on top of it. The black bezel has a border of clear plastic along the edges that gives the TV a nice look, but also makes it look a little larger than it is. The stand could be sturdy as some amount of movement of the base means that the TV wobbles and keeps wobbling.
The remote control although light-weight, is large and well laid out. The controls become obvious just a few minutes into using it. Key controls are marked clearly with large, coloured buttons. The remote itself has a tapered design with it being really thick at the base end and slim at the top. This design means that it fits in really well in your hand and is better than most of the television remotes we’ve seen that use a simple sharp-corner cube-like design. The remote is light and tends to feel cheap. It’s also long, so you often have to shift your thumb up and down to go between the channel and volume switching buttons to the directional buttons and other functions.
A large but well laid out remote control
There are dedicated buttons to quickly switch to different audio and video modes. Video aspect ratio modes can also be switched in a second.
The Samsung 32D550 is a full HD (1920 x 1080) display but isn't’ powered by an LED-backlighting system. There are plenty of connectivity options that you can use to connect to a number of devices. There are four HDMI ports – sufficient for connecting a PC, multiple consoles and even your HD DTH service set top box to. Apart from that, there are two component and two composite inputs as well. There’s the traditional D-Sub connector for older PCs and notebooks, a 3.5mm analogue audio input jack and even an Ethernet port. All the connectors are lined up along with one row of inputs for HDMI and USB ports on the side.
LAN connectivity for DLNA and network media streaming
The TV has a rather nice user interface. The Ethernet connectivity doesn’t bring in smart TV features but it does let you use Samsung’s All Share media streaming feature and also has the ability to play media from other network-connected devices. DLNA is supported as well and we tried streaming media from a Galaxy Nexus phone to the TV without any issues. The USB media playback feature also uses the same interface. It’s not like the latest Samsung smart TV user interfaces, so it’s not the most attractive one. It’s, however, very fast and you’re rarely left waiting for media to load and menus to switch.
Media playback is done by first selecting from videos, photos or music, after which the user gets a list of the media with preview thumbnails. Generation of thumbnails doesn’t take too long.
The screen looks too shabby without any calibration. The sharpness level set by default makes text unreadable. Apart from that, few changes are required. We ran Displaymate to test how good the TV would handle basic patterns and colours. The first thing you notice in the gradient test, with blocks arranged in order of intensity, is that there’s some colouration. There’s a visible green tint seen in the image. The glossy screen helps with the contrast of the display though.
When it comes to complex patterns, the pixel tracking test showed visible flickering across the screen. Text colours against most backgrounds is fine, but there’s some amount of edge enhancement that tends to take place. This happens even after we turned off the sharpness levels of the screen. Backlighting isn’t even either. The screen showed up darker patches in the left bottom corner of the screen in our review sample. However, these issues are not visible on images and movies, especially with the lights turned on.
Plenty of features and connectivity options
There are some other issues though, such as screen flickering when the screen goes from a really dark image to a really bright one. In the basic colour gradient tests, we noticed that the brighter shades of red, blue, pink and green appeared to be blended together as one block.
As far as video playback is concerned, using the internal media playback feature, the TV couldn’t load our 1080p 60fps TS video clip. We tried the 1080p sample clip and faced no such issues.
MKV files at 1280 x 720 resolution played without any problems. Quality was decent. When it comes to audio formats, the only problem area was with FLAC files, which are basically lossless media formats used by audio enthusiasts using PCs. Skipping, fast-forwarding and switching between files doesn’t take too long either. The user interface lets the user jump from one position to another.
Not exactly the slimmest TV out there
Image playback is smooth and with large images spanning several megabytes, the image loading takes a second or two. It happens from top to bottom. Audio quality of the TV is decent – speakers are positioned pointing downwards but are fairly loud. They sound better than some of the ultraslim LED-backlit TVs.
Video quality is great overall and there’s no clear sign of any odd tints and shades on the screen. Videos appear detailed as well. Text looks fine as long as you turn off the sharpness on the TV. Input lag is minimal, so the TV would be ideal even for gaming using a PC or a gaming console
Verdict and price in India
A solid overall performer
The Samsung LA32D550 has a ton of features, including the ability to stream content over the network. When it comes to performance, apart from a few issues in video quality, it’s actually a very solid performer. It’s slightly old and it’s slightly bulky, but if you’re willing to ignore those issues, this is a TV worth considering for a price tag of Rs. 35,000.
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Oct 27, 2016
Oct 27, 2016