CNET First Look
Samsung PN50B850With picture quality that matches its less expensive brother but not the best of the stiff competition, the main appeal of the Samsung PNB850/860 series is based on its sleek, ultrathin panel.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:03 >> David Katzmaier: Hi I'm David Katzmaier and I'm sitting with one of the members of the Samsung PNB 850 series; there's 2 sizes in that series and 2 sizes in the sister 860 series. They share very similar picture quality so this review will apply to all 4 models in the series. The big thing about these sets is the really thin profile. When you look at them on the side they're really only about 1.2 inches thick. For a plasma that's really thin, most plasma is around 3 to 4 inches thick of course it's debatable how valuable that extra real estate on the side is but you know if you really want that wow factor when you walk into the room and see it from the side and it almost disappears, this is your TV. We really do like the styling on this series, the stand has a stainless steel finish and there's a transparent stock to support that really thin panel. The panel itself has really slick styling as well along the edge its just kind of got this transparent edge and the finish is nice and glossy. So all total its one of the better looking plasmas out there. Feature wise there's a lot to talk about. This TV has a lot of different adjustments. You can go into the picture menu and play around with the color temperature, gamma color points and pretty much everything in between. It also has Yahoo widgets which are Samsungs interactive kind of functionality. The widgets allow the TV to display updates for weather, you can actually check out a Twitter widget and a brand new one is YouTube. So new widgets supposedly coming out very soon, although we didn't really like the systems implementation so far it's relatively sluggish. But if you like that interactive functionality this Samsung does offer with Yahoo widgets. Around back as you can see here the input bay is not your standard issue. It actually has the side facing inputs and that's because the panel itself is really slim so Samsung had to kind of build them in here on the side. The input selection is relatively sparse however you do get 4 HDMI inputs which is great but there's only 1 component video input which also doubles as a composite input and that's it. So if you have a lot of analog sources that connect to this TV you're probably gonna want to hook them up to a switch or something like that. The picture quality on the Samsung was very good. We really were impressed by its color accuracy. Again with all those adjustments we were able to get the color very close to perfect. On the flip side it does have very deep black levels but not quite as deep as some of the best plasmas on the market. So when you have dark seams the blacks are just a little bit greyer than we like to see and all things considered it's not quite as dark as even Samsungs less expensive 650 series but again still the blacks are pretty darn good. It's also solid video processing on this TV. It has 1080 P24 capability which kicks in automatically on the 850 series. On the 860 you have to manually engage the cinema smooth option but either way it works relatively well. [ Background music ] >> That's a quick look at the Samsung PNB 850-860 series and I'm David Katzmaier.