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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
|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|