To judge from the LND630 we checked out earlier and the LND550 reviewed here, Samsung's low-end LCDs are pretty dang good. These non-LED-based models managed deeper black levels than like-priced competitors, and largely avoid the uniformity problems associated with those razor-thin LED-based sets--while costing hundreds less. The LND550 falls short of the color accuracy of its step-up brother, and we still prefer the entry-level Sony BX420's picture by a nose, but the LND550's superior styling, media file support and input bay make it a compelling alternative in the budget TV space.
Series information: We performed a hands-on evaluation of the 40-inch Samsung LN40D550, 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.
|Models in series (details)|
|Samsung LN32D550||32 inches|
|Samsung LN37D550||37 inches|
|Samsung LN40D550 (reviewed)||40 inches|
|Samsung LN46D550||46 inches|
|Panel depth||3.2 inches||Bezel width||2 inches|
|Single-plane face||No||Swivel stand||Yes|
Samsung lets its signature design touch, a transparent edge around the glossy black bezel, trickle down from more expensive models to the LND550. That, along with touch-sensitive controls, a swivel stand and a bezel that's the same width on all four sides, helps propel this TV to the front ranks of entry-level LCD design. The understated, low-profile Sony BX420 provides the D550's closest competition, but we still like the Samsung's look better.
|Remote control and menus|
|Remote size (LxW)||9.5 x 2 inches||QWERTY keyboard||No|
|Illuminated keys||No||IR device control||No|
|Menu item explanations||Yes||Onscreen manual||Yes|
Unlike the step-up D630, the D550 has Samsung's older remote that feels dated in comparison. It's missing illumination and feels too long and cluttered, but we did appreciate the well-differentiated buttons.
Samsung's menu system is somewhat schizophrenic on this TV--the main menu page uses the old transparent design from the last two years, while the submenus that appear afterward use the 2011 opaque, rounded-edge design. We like both designs better than the alternatives from Sony, LG and Vizio, for what it's worth.
|Key TV features|
|Display technology||LCD||LED backlight||N/A|
|3D technology||N/A||3D glasses included||N/A|
|Screen finish||Matte||Internet connection||No|
|Refresh rate(s)||60Hz||Dejudder (smooth) processing||No|
The big spec sheet difference between the LND630 and the LND550 is refresh rate; this set lacks 120Hz processing and the associated dejudder (smoothing) options.
Unlike other entry-level TVs, however, it does support streaming of media files from a home networked computer or other device via DLNA, as well as USB. Its Ethernet port can also download firmware updates if necessary.
|Adjustable picture modes||4||Fine dejudder control||N/A|
|Color temperature presets||4||Fine color temperature control||No|
|Gamma presets||7||Color management system||No|
Unlike LG, Samsung decided to reserve its ultra-advanced picture tweaks--namely 10-point grayscale and color management--for step-up models like the LND630. The LND550's selection is still very good however, highlighted by a gamma control and 2-point grayscale.
|HDMI inputs||1 back, 3 side||Component video inputs||2 back (shared)|
|Composite video input(s)||2 back (shared)||VGA-style PC input(s)||1|
|USB port||2 side||Ethernet (LAN) port||Yes|