With Samsung's latest LCD TVs selling well and all manner of cutting-edge goodies set to emerge from the company in the coming weeks and months, it would be easy to forget that the Korean brand also still makes plasma TVs. So we're delighted to have got our hands on a pretty substantial reminder of Samsung's plasma efforts, in the shape of the 50-inch PS50A556. It's available now for around £1,100.
The combination of a glossy black finish, angular design and a little translucent strip along the bottom edge ensure that, in keeping with most Samsung products right now, the PS50A556 looks pretty sweet.
It's also good to discover that the PS50A556 sports a 'Full HD' 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution -- despite its relatively low price -- as well as a decent bounty of connections that includes three v1.3 HDMIs, a PC port and a USB 2.0 jack for JPEG photo playback.
Promising to boost the PS50A556's picture quality, meanwhile, is Samsung's proprietary DNIE+ processing, with its focus on boosting colours, sharpness, contrast and motion. This is aided and abetted by a Movie Plus mode, which adds in new, carefully calculated frames of image data between the real ones in a bid to improve motion handling.
Other welcome findings on the PS50A556 are its Filterbright screen, designed to cut out the majority of onscreen reflections, and an 18-bit colour processor Samsung tells us can produce a whopping 262,144 shades of grey-level gradation.
Unfortunately, we don't have as much positivity to report on the PS50A556's picture quality as we might have expected.
If you compare its images with those of most LCD TVs, we guess you can feel impressed by its reasonably deep black levels and respectably crisp motion handling. Plus, unlike LCDs you can watch it from nearly right angles without its pictures deteriorating significantly.
While never less than watchable, however, the PS50A556's pictures are also plagued by a series of flaws, as we're about to discover...