One of the most common requests we hear at CNET is for a TV that has good picture quality "without all that extra crap" (or words to that effect). Said extras included on many TVs these days include Internet connectivity and 3D, as well as an LED backlight for LCD models. Samsung's LND630 series comes pretty close to that no-frills ideal, delivering picture quality that's a match for many of the best LED TVs we've tested this year at a price that reflects its relative lack of extra features.
Yes, the LND630 does have a 120Hz refresh rate, but you can customize its processing to get the benefits of 1080p/24, film-based Blu-rays without smoothing (yay!). More importantly, the step-down 60Hz LND550 lacks this model's color accuracy. Slightly more-expensive sets like the LED-based Sony KDL-EX523 series offer built-in Internet streaming, but for the price difference you could add a network streaming box to this Samsung. The LND630 doesn't provide quite the bang-for-the-buck of Panasonic's ST30 series plasma, but among LCDs we've tested, LED or otherwise, it's the value champ.
The LND630 looks the part of Samsung's nicest non-LED TV, with a sleek transparent edge that makes the bezel around the screen seem slimmer than it is. The bottom edge of the frame gets a bronze-colored strip to offset the black.
Samsung's standard midrange remote is included on the LND630, complete with backlighting behind nearly every key--a rarity in this class. We don't like the grid layout as much as the better-differentiated keys on some other remotes, but it's still perfectly functional once you figure out the logical groupings.
Nothing major goes missing here, and four HDMI is plenty for just about anybody. It's worth noting that the second component input doubles as the one back composite, so you can't use both simultaneously.
Samsung didn't change its basic TV control menus on this model, and that's a good thing. The transparent, blue-highlighted graphics are easy to read and navigate, and response is snappy. Text explanations are present for just about every function.
The LND630 delivered very good picture quality, on par with Samsung's own UND6400 LED-based model--one of our favorite LED TVs of the year. The D630's strengths include deep black levels and accurate color, augmented by the ability to handle 1080p/24 sources, solid screen uniformity for an LCD TV and that elusive (at least for Samsung) matte screen finish. Our quibbles--some loss of shadow detail and bluish tinge in black areas--were minor in the scheme of things.