Samsung LND550 review: Samsung LND550

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MSRP: $649.99
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3 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

0.5 stars 1 user review

The Good The inexpensive Samsung LND550 series evinced good performance for an entry-level non-LED-TV, with deep black levels and ample shadow detail. Its screen was quite uniform, and the matte finish is a boon in bright rooms. Its styling is among the best in its class and its feature set includes media file support and excellent connectivity.

The Bad Color accuracy on the LND550 series was worse than most of its entry-level competition. Unlike some 60Hz LCDs we've tested, it didn't handle 1080p/24 cadence properly.

The Bottom Line The Samsung LND550's mix of features, style and picture quality stands tall among the tough entry-level LCD TV crowd.

6.2 Overall
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 6.0

To judge from the LND630 we checked out earlier and the LND550 reviewed here, Samsung's low-end LCDs are pretty dang good. These non-LED-based models managed deeper black levels than like-priced competitors, and largely avoid the uniformity problems associated with those razor-thin LED-based sets--while costing hundreds less. The LND550 falls short of the color accuracy of its step-up brother, and we still prefer the entry-level Sony BX420's picture by a nose, but the LND550's superior styling, media file support and input bay make it a compelling alternative in the budget TV space.

Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 40-inch Samsung LN40D550, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.

Models in series ( details )
Samsung LN32D550 32 inches
Samsung LN37D550 37 inches
Samsung LN40D550 (reviewed) 40 inches
Samsung LN46D550 46 inches

Design


A transparent edge helps even this entry-level Samsung stay classy.

Design highlights
Panel depth 3.2 inches Bezel width 2 inches
Single-plane face No Swivel stand Yes

Samsung lets its signature design touch, a transparent edge around the glossy black bezel, trickle down from more expensive models to the LND550. That, along with touch-sensitive controls, a swivel stand and a bezel that's the same width on all four sides, helps propel this TV to the front ranks of entry-level LCD design. The understated, low-profile Sony BX420 provides the D550's closest competition, but we still like the Samsung's look better.


The stand swivels and the glossy skin reflects.

Remote control and menus
Remote size (LxW) 9.5 x 2 inches QWERTY keyboardNo
Illuminated keys No IR device control No
Menu item explanations Yes Onscreen manual Yes

Unlike the step-up D630, the D550 has Samsung's older remote that feels dated in comparison. It's missing illumination and feels too long and cluttered, but we did appreciate the well-differentiated buttons.

Samsung's menu system is somewhat schizophrenic on this TV--the main menu page uses the old transparent design from the last two years, while the submenus that appear afterward use the 2011 opaque, rounded-edge design. We like both designs better than the alternatives from Sony, LG and Vizio, for what it's worth.


An onscreen manual is a nice perk at this price.

Features

Key TV features
Display technology LCD LED backlight N/A
3D technology N/A 3D glasses included N/A
Screen finish Matte Internet connection No
Refresh rate(s) 60Hz Dejudder (smooth) processing No
DLNA compliant Photo/Music/Video USB Photo/Music/Video

The big spec sheet difference between the LND630 and the LND550 is refresh rate; this set lacks 120Hz processing and the associated dejudder (smoothing) options.

Unlike other entry-level TVs, however, it does support streaming of media files from a home networked computer or other device via DLNA, as well as USB. Its Ethernet port can also download firmware updates if necessary.


There's a network connection for streaming files via DLNA.

Picture settings
Adjustable picture modes 4 Fine dejudder control N/A
Color temperature presets 4 Fine color temperature control No
Gamma presets 7 Color management system No

Unlike LG, Samsung decided to reserve its ultra-advanced picture tweaks--namely 10-point grayscale and color management--for step-up models like the LND630. The LND550's selection is still very good however, highlighted by a gamma control and 2-point grayscale.


A two-point grayscale marks the extent of the advanced settings.

Connectivity
HDMI inputs 1 back, 3 side Component video inputs 2 back (shared)
Composite video input(s) 2 back (shared) VGA-style PC input(s) 1
USB port 2 side Ethernet (LAN) port Yes

The LND550 is best-in-class connection-wise, with all the HD video connections you could want as well as plenty of ports (USB and Ethernet) for media streaming. The composite and component ports share jacks, however, so you'll have to choose one or the other.

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