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Samsung UNEH4000 review: Samsung UNEH4000

The Samsung UN32EH4000F is a fine example of a no-frills 32-inch television that gets the basics right.

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Ty Pendlebury
Ty_Pendlebury.jpg

Ty Pendlebury

Editor

Ty Pendlebury is a journalism graduate of RMIT Melbourne, and has worked at CNET since 2006. He lives in New York City where he writes about streaming and home audio.

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6 min read

Everyone likes shiny technology; from rumors about the newest iPhone to reviews of the hottest TVs, it's your passion for the latest gadgets and gizmos that keeps this site running. But aspirations and practicalities are rarely the same thing, and so while we may be waiting with bated breath for the first OLEDs to arrive, we know that not many people will actually buy them. In reality, most people will be buying 32-inch televisions -- it's still the most popular size in North America. But if you're researching 32-inch TVs, you still want to know what to get, right?

samsung-un32eh4000.JPG
7.2

Samsung UNEH4000

The Good

The <b>Samsung EH4000</b> is one of the better 32-inch televisions, with decent picture quality for the money. Black levels are deeper than the competition's, and shadow detail is class-leading. The TV comes with some advanced picture controls and includes a 60Hz dejudder mode. Styling is way above average for a TV at this level.

The Bad

The TV has very few features and won't connect to online services. The stand doesn't swivel, and the remote has too many buttons.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung EH4000 is one of the best TVs available at the size and price, with above-average picture quality and a svelte design.

The Samsung UN32EH4000F is a fine example of a no-frills television that gets the basics right. It has the best picture of the models we tested, and doesn't bother with frivolities like Smart TV. If you want online content, then stumping up for a $100 Apple TV is the best way to go. The EH4000 also bettered its rivals in terms of design -- it has a superslim bezel for a 32-inch TV -- and it comes with a backlit remote, which the others we compared it with didn't have.

If you want more features or better picture quality, you'll have to pay a lot more, which makes this Samsung the 32-incher I'd recommend.

Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the Samsung UN32EH4000F, 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.

Design
If you're looking to fill a space in your living room, you don't want a gaudy TV uglifying things up; and compared with its peers the EH4000 is actually attractive. It features a slim bezel all around in a tasteful piano black, and while it doesn't have a swivel stand, the set is so light that it's just as easy to physically move anyway.

The backlit remote control has a lot of buttons. Sarah Tew/CNET

The remote control is the most fully featured of its kind, but usability is an issue. The remote is basically the same as its more expensive brethren, but shrunken, so all of the gaps are removed. Ergonomically, this makes changing channels and menu options by feel quite hard. Thankfully, the remote is backlit so you can see what you're doing in the dark.

Models in series (details)
Samsung UN26EH4000 26 inches
Samsung UN32EH4000F (reviewed) 32 inches
Key TV features
Display technology LCD LED backlight Full-array
Screen finish Matte Remote Standard
Smart TV No Internet connection No
3D technology No 3D glasses included No
Refresh rate(s) 60Hz Dejudder (smooth) processing Yes
DLNA-compliant No USB Music/Photo/Video
Other: 1,366x768-pixel (720p) resolution; compatible with 1080i and 1080p sources

Features
As the Samusng EH4000 costs the same as buying a couple of peripherals for the company's flagship sets, you can't expect much in the way of features. Like the other 32-inchers we tested, the Samsung has a 720p (1,366x768-pixel) resolution, but it will accept a 1080p signal. At this screen size, you won't notice the lower resolution unless you practically touch your nose to the TV.

Also worth noting is the full-array LED backlight, as opposed to the fluorescent variety still found on most budget competitors. LED alone doesn't mean better picture quality, but it does help the EH4000 stay slim. There's has no dimming or other fancy tricks but it does include the company's Clear Motion Rate 60 processing for some smoothing.

While we don't usually mention this about more expensive TVs, as they usually include a wider range of streaming options, the Samsung does include some media playback functionality as we'll detail shortly.

Picture settings:
The Samsung offers some advanced controls for such an inexpensive TV, including a two-point grayscale. Despite its lack of a Color Management System, I was able to eke quite a good picture out of this television.

Connectivity:
The Samsung lacks Internet connectivity but does offer movie, music and photo playback through the single USB port. Other connections include two HDMI ports (one each of component and composite) and a digital audio-out for external audio from the onboard tuner. Interestingly for a small TV it lacks an analog PC input, which perhaps excludes it from use as a monitor for some people, though there is always the option of using an HDMI port.

Two HDMI ports and a component/composite input. Sarah Tew/CNET

Picture quality
Samsung has a reputation for producing high-quality LCD televisions, and while high-end models like the ES8000 tend to lean on this a bit too heavily with little payback, the EH4000 is the kind of high-value TV you'd expect for the money.

Black levels are the best of its type, and shadow details are easily discerned while still retaining cinematic punch. Color fidelity is also a highlight, with tones akin to last year's LCD favorite, the Samsung LND630, if lacking that last tick of accuracy.

Comparison models (details)
TCL L40FHDF12TA 40-inch LCD
Samsung LN46D630 46-inch LCD
Sony KDL-32BX330 32-inch edge-lit LED
LG 32CS460 32-inch LCD
Panasonic TC-P65VT50 (reference) 65-inch plasma

Click the image at the right to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV's picture controls worked during calibration.

Black level:
The Samsung was the best in our lineup of 32-inch TVs in terms of absolute black, and only the 46-inch D630 had a deeper black level. If you want reference-level blacks, you're obviously in the wrong place, but for a bedroom TV, the blacks were perfectly acceptable.

Where the EH4000 really excelled was in shadow detail. From challenging scenes in the final "Harry Potter" movie to the complex night scene at the 12:24 mark in "Watchmen," the Samsung was able to fill in the details that TVs like the LG and TCL simply weren't capable of, giving images much-needed depth.

Color accuracy:
While the TV lacks advanced color controls, the color I was able to get out of it was the best of our small, 32-inch group. Colors were natural-looking and well-saturated, and skin tones were as true as you could expect from a $300 TV. Even in the monocolor palettes of "Star Trek," the strong blues and greens look as true to the source (by way of the accurate Samsung D630) as you could expect for this amount of money.

Video processing:
The TV lacks a dedicated 24p mode, and so Blu-ray playback isn't as silky-smooth as you'll see on some TVs. The playback was actually the jerkiest on our test fly-by of the USS Intrepid in "I Am Legend" and therefore earns a fail.

If you activate the 60Hz mode (LED Motion Plus), you can get some additional smoothness, and based on my observations it wasn't as obnoxious as some of the smoothing modes I've seen. However, even with this mode enabled the TV wasn't able to divine much more in the way of motion resolution out of our synthetic test, with only 350 lines visible (typical for a 60Hz TV).

The EH4000 was able to handle interlaced content well, with a pass in our 1080i deinterlacing test. This is especially fortunate given the TV's inability to display 1080 content natively due to its 1,366x768-pixel resolution.

Uniformity:
Due to the combination of a small size and a direct backlight, I didn't notice any problems with backlight leakage or spotlighting in the corners.

Bright lighting:
Though the Samsung had the glossiest screen of the TVs we tested, it was still comparatively matte. When I watched the TV in a lit room there weren't any distracting reflections exhibited. When viewed under these conditions it also boasted the greatest level of contrast of any of the sets and so is a good choice for rooms with low- to midlevel brightness.

Geek Box: Test Result Score
Black luminance (0%) 0.0207 Poor
Avg. gamma 2.2445 Good
Near-black x/y (5%) 0.2649/0.2616 Poor
Dark gray x/y (20%) 0.3125/0.3327 Average
Bright gray x/y (70%) 0.3129/0.3264 Good
Before avg. color temp. 9853.352 Poor
After avg. color temp. 6475.9488 Good
Red lum. error (de94_L) 1.6264 Average
Green lum. error (de94_L) 1.698 Average
Blue lum. error (de94_L) 4.0588 Poor
Cyan hue x/y 0.2167/0.3233 Average
Magenta hue x/y 0.326/0.1546 Good
Yellow hue x/y 0.4251/0.5116 Average
1080p/24 Cadence (IAL) Fail Poor
1080i Deinterlacing (film) Pass Good
Motion resolution (max) 350 Poor
Motion resolution (dejudder off) 310 Poor
PC input resolution (VGA) 0 Poor

Samsung UN32EH4000

samsung-un32eh4000.JPG
7.2

Samsung UNEH4000

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 5Performance 6Value 9
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