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Samsung SP-A800B review: Samsung SP-A800B

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The Good Impressive detailing; pitch-perfect colours; exceptionally quiet runner; good price.

The Bad Visible DLP rainbow effect; lack of depth in black levels; slightly blurred motion.

The Bottom Line It's clear that Samsung has nurtured the A800B into being with plenty of love and devotion, even going so far as to call in a renowned picture quality expert to help them 'tune' its colour performance for movies. But although the A800B certainly sparkles in some ways, it feels just off today's fast-moving projection pace

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7.5 Overall

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With the projection market getting ever more cut-throat, it's perhaps rather surprising that Samsung should decide now to hit the UK with the £2,600 SP-A800B. If any brand has the muscle and know-how to make an impact, though, it's got to be Samsung. Right?

Strengths
As we'd expect, Samsung has made its projector look rather lovely, thanks to the application to its surprisingly large bodywork of curves and a shiny, semi-translucent finish.

The A800B is also pretty well specified. It's a 1,920x1,080-pixel model with a strikingly high claimed contrast of 10,000:1. Plus, it's had its colour settings fine-tuned by none other than Joe Kane, the man responsible for the popular Video Essentials DVD used by countless AV-loving households to optimise their video gear setups.

The inclusion of two HDMI sockets among the A800B's connections keeps the smile on our faces, too. That smile widens as we watch it in action. Bringing Joe Kane on board for image tuning appears to have been a masterstroke, as the A800B produces the most outstandingly authentic colour tones we've seen on such an affordable projector. Subtle skin tones are immaculate under all lighting conditions; rich reds and blues glow with health but never look over the top; and the shading subtleties are pitch perfect, with not even a hint of a colour striping.

The A800B is also outstanding at reproducing the sort of low-level shadow details that give dark scenes life, depth and authenticity. Actually, the projector is terrific at reproducing detailing of all types, with good quality high-definition pictures looking absolutely pin-sharp -- all without any obvious processing noise or grain to spoil their clarity.

The A800B's final plus point is its quietness; affordable projectors that emit so little running noise are rare.

Weaknesses
Oddly, the A800B provides neither horizontal image shifting nor digital keystone correction, meaning you could find it impossible to get the edges of the image looking nice and straight rather than diagonal. We also failed during set up to find a 12V trigger jack for firing up an attached motorised screen.

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