Samsung LE37R87BD review: Samsung LE37R87BD

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Great design; very good black level performance; three HDMIs; plenty of features; really vibrant colours; remarkably cheap.

The Bad Standard definition pictures look soft; movement not handled particularly well.

The Bottom Line Samsung's LE37R87BD isn't truly outstanding in any one, single crucial department. But it's pretty good in almost all of them. And so what makes it a definite success in our book is the perfect balance it manages to strike between the key elements of price, design, features and performance

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Samsung's 37-inch LE37R87BD resides on one of the lowest rungs of the Korean brand's current TV ladder.

But that hasn't stopped it serving up a prodigious feature count for its measly asking price of around £600, including a variety of picture processing measures that raise hopes that this is one affordable LCD TV which really will be able to punch above its price weight.

Strengths
Samsung TVs usually dress to impress, and the 37R87 is no different. Its opulently glossy black chassis complete with a clever mix of gentle curves and aggressive straight lines really does enhance any living room. And needless to say, this bodywork gives absolutely no clue as to the TV's cheap price point.

The same is true of its connections, which actually have a rather 'premium' feel about them thanks to the inclusion of three HDMIs -- one more than the vast majority of rivals offer.

The TV also sports a PC input and digital tuner, alongside the usual TV connection basics, while its pictures, as we said in our introduction, should hopefully benefit from a remarkably extensive set of processing enhancements.

These kick off with Samsung's Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe), which claims improvements to colour saturations and tones, black level response, motion handling and fine detailing.

Plus there's a Wide Colour Enhancer which, as its name suggests, makes colours look more dynamic, and a Movie Plus mode that interpolates extra frames of image data in a bid to reduce LCD's problems with resolution loss over moving objects.

An active backlight system is on hand to improve black levels, too, by reducing the image's brightness when dark scenes are detected. And boy, this certainly works. For when fed the phenomenally dark scene in Superman Returns, where Superman spies on Lois at home, the 37R87 suffers far less with the greying-over effect and loss of detailing that troubles most LCD TVs. Black parts of the picture actually look black.

The 37R87 also grabs our attention with its colours, which are blisteringly bright and vivid, but also portray more natural tones, such as people's skin, more authentically than any previous Samsung range.

HD footage, meanwhile, enjoys exceptional sharpness on the 37R87 -- so much so that you can even make out the weave in Superman's fancy suit.

Weaknesses
While the 37R87 is at times excellent and always good for its price, it does have a couple of areas where it falls short of some of the (more expensive) competition. First, standard definition playback isn't particularly great, thanks to a rather soft overall impression that looks even further removed from the pristine joys of high definition than we'd usually expect it to.

The other issue we have with the 37R87 concerns its motion handling. For without the set's Movie Plus mode activated, objects do definitely blur as they make their way across screen. Yet if you activate Movie Plus, although the blur is reduced, edges of moving objects seem to shimmer and flicker. So basically we never managed to get motion looking quite right.

Conclusion
The 37R87 isn't perfect. But then it was never going to be given its mass market price of around £600. What it most certainly is, though, is a TV which shows an almost uncanny awareness of what it takes to not only appeal to the mass market buyer on a shop shelf, but also completely satisfy that buyer once they get it home.

Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Jon Squire

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Samsung LE37R87BD

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