The Good Superb black-level performance; highly accurate color; improved 120Hz de-judder video processing; fine standard-definition processing; broad selection of picture setup options; can display weather, news, and stock info onscreen; energy-efficient compared with most like-size LCDs.
The Bad Relatively expensive; red-colored frame isn't for everyone; shiny screen reflects ambient room lighting; some artifacts when de-judder modes are engaged; awkward click wheel remote.
The Bottom Line If you don't mind its red frame, the Samsung LN52A650 LCD TV will reward you with a massive feature set and excellent picture quality.
Editors' note: The rating on this review has been lowered and its Editors' Choice award removed because of changes in the competitive marketplace.
Samsung's LN52A650 dares to be different. In a world of me-too, glossy black flat-panel HDTVs, no few of which may bear the company's own logo, this 52-inch LCD is dressed in red. Like many radical design choices, you'll either love it or hate it, and we didn't love it. But before you write off this red TV, we recommend you check it out in person--the product shots here and elsewhere on the Web just don't capture the red tint of the frame properly. Aside from design, we found plenty to like about the higher-end LN52A650, and it produces arguably the best picture of any LCD TV we've tested so far, although it doesn't quite beat the quality of the best plasma.
Samsung's LNA650 series incorporates the company's Touch of Color design scheme. Instead of the standard glossy black frame, the LN52A650 sports dark-red accents that suffuse the entire frame, but are most prominent along the top and bottom edge and either side. Other eye-catching elements include a layer of transparent plastic, which is visible along the extreme edges on all sides, and Samsung's trademark shiny screen (more on that below). The Touch definitely creates a unique look, but call us traditionalists: we didn't really like it. The photos above just can't capture how red the Touch makes the frame appear, especially in bright rooms, and if red isn't your favorite color, you're out of luck--no other colors have been confirmed for this year, despite the company touting a veritable rainbow at CES. In its favor, the red frame didn't really detract from the color fidelity of the picture.
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