Samsung UN32F5000 Review
By Chris Heinonen on
Samsung is the top-selling manufacturer of TVs in the USA now, and their cheapest 1080p model is the F5000. With no apps, a 60 Hz LCD panel, and only a pair of HDMI inputs the UN32F5000 is a very basic TV. What you don’t see listed in the specs is that the image that the F5000 produces is incredibly accurate right out of the box. The Samsung UN32F5000 produces the best image in a 32” LCD for the money of any display that I’ve used so far.
Design and Specs
|Display Type:||LED LCD|
|Inputs:||2x HDMI, USB 2.0, 1x Component, 1x Composite, 1x Antenna|
|Outputs:||1x Optical, 1x 3.5mm Audio|
|Display Size:||29.1″ x 19.9″ x 7.5″|
|Display Weight:||12.3 lbs.|
|Review Date:||November 20, 2013|
|Price:||[amazon_link asins=’B0071O4ETQ’ template=’PriceLink’ store=’refehomethea-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’0dfe87b3-db75-11e6-a8f0-b33dc518d6e4′]|
Samsung does a nice job with their remotes, keeping them simple and clean. They would be well served to improve it by making the Play/Pause/Skip buttons at the bottom more like a Blu-ray remote. Having them all the same size, and a different layout, makes them hard to find by feel. The remote also has the same transparent keys as their more expensive models but no backlight. Volume, Channel and Power have Braille labels (v, c, and p respectively), a nice touch.
Setting It Up
Samsung has a clean, easy to navigate menu system. It is virtually identical across all their displays making it easy to use. Dynamic, Standard and Movie presets are available and the Movie preset is the most accurate. There is a Game mode to reduce lag, but that’s hidden away in the Setup menu section. Under the Advanced settings of the Picture settings you can find Gamma and White Balance adjustments. The Picture Options menu offers Color Tone, LED Clear Motion and a few more settings.
Out of the box I set it to the Movie preset, with Warm2 for color and a gamma of -2. That brings the Samsung UN32F5000 almost perfectly in line with the HDTV picture standards. You can set the Gamma to 0 if you have a brighter room. If you set the basic picture controls (Brightness, Contrast, Sharpness, Color and Tint) using a test disc with these settings you’re going to like what you see.
Superb Picture Quality
Watching the snowboarders from Art of Flight there was no tract of color tint to the snow. There was no clipping of the bright whites when the sun hits the mountain and shadow details are there as well. Switching over to The Dark Knight, the shadow details are all present. I experimented with the Dynamic Contrast setting here but enabling it causes a black suit to turn into a black blob. Keep it disabled and you can make out the lapels and textures of dark suits that vanish with it turned on.
Since this is a 60 Hz panel a bit of the 3:2 cadence inherent in film content is there. Watching Pixar’s Up the bright colorful balloons really pop off the screen. There is a slight bit of corner shading that you can notice against a bright background. Looking at this image below from a Blu-ray disc and you can see that the corners are a bit darker. You don’t notice as much in use since you don’t often stare at the corners but it is there.
The scene of monks sorting sand in Samsara looks very good. This 70mm transfer oozes with detail and in this scene the Samsung UN23F5000 shows it all off. Skin tones are natural without a hint of redness to them and green forests are lush without being fluorescent. Moving over to watching the NFL, TV broadcasts look great but show off all the extra compression in the signal. Watching sports I find the LED Clear Motion feature quite useful.
Samsung says this creates an effective 120Hz display by having the backlight scan instead of being steady. In the past I’ve found this makes no different, like on the Toshiba 32L2300U, or makes the picture too dim on the Sony KDL-32W650A. On the Samsung it strikes a much better balance by providing a visible benefit but having a strong enough backlight to still be bright. You will need to set the backlight to maximum with it on so it won’t work with direct sun, but I left it enabled. Using the MPEG Noise Filter can help remove some artifacts with TV broadcasts but I’d leave it off with Blu-ray movies.
Watching the Samsung compared to a 32” 720p set the difference in resolution isn’t always apparent. During scenes in Skyfall it would appear that the 720p set is slightly soft in focus while the 1080p Samsung is totally sharp. Move more than 5-6’ away and you are unable to tell. Far more visible is the difference in color accuracy. Everything looks right on the Samsung UN32F5000 while the less accurate colors have fires that are too red, faces that are sunburnt, or white fields of snow with a color tint to them. If you want an accurate image, the Samsung UN32F500 better than any small TV I’ve measured.
A Great 32” Display
At $350 the Samsung UN32F5000 costs more than many people want to spend on a 32” display. You can get a decent 720p set for only $250 or even a 720p Vizio with apps for just $288. However neither of these offer the accurate image that the Samsung does. Outside of the most expensive displays you can buy, I’ve not seen any display offer the accurate image before calibration that the Samsung UN32F5000 does.
In that way the Samsung UN32F5000 represents a tremendous value. A 32” display can be calibrated but who spends $250+ to do that? The Vizio M-series is reasonably well calibrated out of the box and includes Apps for $378. With the Samsung you could add a Roku LT for $50, or upgrade to the Samsung UN32F5500 that adds SmartTV and costs $398. If you don’t need apps, or have a Blu-ray player that already does that, then the Samsung UN32F5000 produces a fantastic picture that anyone will be happy with.
|Pros:||Amazingly accurate image, good interface, relatively slim|
|Cons:||Only 2 HDMI inputs, black levels can be better|
|Summary:||Possibly the most accurate display I’ve ever seen out-of-the-box, the Samsung UN32F5000 produces an incredible image for its price.|