To a bargain HDTV shopper, the array of small-screened LCDs must seem inexhaustible and indistinguishable, but among recent models we've reviewed, the Samsung LNB360 stands out with the best picture quality. It's no reference-level display, mind you, but it managed to beat out the competition in the important arena of black-level performance, while remaining among the leaders in most other areas. It does cost a few more bucks than many of its competitors, and it lacks some noteworthy features (like side-panel inputs), but if you're looking for a small LCD that gives "good enough" picture for less, the LNB360 series certainly qualifies.
Simple and handsome, the external appearance of the Samsung LNB360 series has the same glossy black frame and general proportions as many other entry-level HDTVs, but a few classy touches set it apart. Chief is the subtle protrusion of clear plastic that runs along the curved bottom lip of the frame. That curve matches the sweep of the oval stand's base, and we liked that the stand swivels.
Samsung's remote and menu system are both smaller and simplified compared to its larger sets. The many-buttoned clicker presents nearly as many options as the one on Toshiba's AV502U series, for example, but does it in a much easier way. The keys are nicely differentiated by size and color, and all of the expected buttons are present. The remote can't directly command any other devices, however, and unlike the Sony and LG entry-level sets the Samsung lacks a control-over-HDMI option.
The Samsung LNB360 series has fewer connections than many TVs in its class, and the biggest omission as far as we're concerned is found on the side. The TV lacks side-panel inputs of any kind. The back panel includes an average selection of jacks, however, namely two HDMI, one component-video, one VGA-style PC (1,360x768-pixel maximum resolution), one AV input with only composite video, and one RF input, along with optical digital and analog stereo audio outputs.
As small-screened, entry-level LCDs go, the Samsung LNB360 series outdid the others we've seen by virtue of its slightly deeper black levels and solid all-around picture quality. To complain about some aspects of its color is barely worthwhile at this price range.