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Samsung LN52A650 review

Ben Drawbaugh

Spring is in the air and the new HDTVs are hitting the streets -- and in the case of Samsung's Series 6 1080p LCD -- our labs as well. The latest 1080p LCD from Samsung once again is sportin' 120Hz and still possesses many of the things we love about Samsung's TVs, like a nice looking case, adequate remote and the pleasant little song that plays on power up -- well, not so much the last one.

Gallery: Samsung LN52A650 Review | 21 Photos

The Good

  • Easy access to ports on the side like HDMI and headphones.
  • Just scan mode, aka 1:1 Pixel Mapping.
  • Passed HQV video resolution loss test, very important for converting all that 1080i TV material to 1080p.
  • Swivel base makes it easy to adjust when not sitting directly in front.
  • No blue light on base -- this may be bad depending on your feelings of blue LEDs.
  • Solid, usable ATSC and QAM internal tuner, including a nice signal strength meter; the scan automatically puts the channels where you expect them and removes the encrypted channels from the lineup.
  • The info bar on the internal tuner (both QAM and ATSC) includes a bar graph of the position of a show, audio information, end time, and the call letters of the channel -- very nice.
  • Info for other inputs shows frequency which can be great when setting up your system, 1080i, 24Hz, 60Hz etc.
  • HDMI-CEC -- aka AnyNet -- worked as expected, including other branded products.
  • We like being able to edit the names of the inputs.
  • Plenty of pictures settings including ability to control 120Hz -- or turn it off completely.
  • Speakers are heard and not seen, perfect considering how they sound; you're going to want a surround sound setup anyway.
  • Sleep button is easy to find at the bottom right of the remote when you're tired.
  • Impressive Closed Caption settings, including font size, opacity and a caption button on remote for easy access -- you know, for those times when the significant other is talking over the movie.
  • In addition to a vanilla sleep timer it has three other timers (so you can wake up to TV) -- unfortunately, we couldn't figure out how to use 'em with the HDMI input.
  • Can control the volume of the "melody" that plays when you turn set on or off, or turn it off completely.
  • EX-Link port for motorized wall mounts, too bad it doesn't work for controlling the TV.

The Bad
  • Glare is worse than the Kuro we had in the lab; Samsung should use a better anti-glare coating.
  • Partial fail on the HQV film resolution loss test, a big deal if you watch a lot of 1080i movies (Like on HBO HD).
  • Speakers don't sound great.
  • Remote is typical Samsung, which isn't that fantastic, but the essential buttons are at least backlit.
  • No EPG for ATSC.

The Ugly
  • PIP is useless 'cause it only only works if one of the two sources is the analog tuner.

There is more to like than to dislike about this TV. Even when we solicited users for feedback online, we were hard pressed to find any complaints. We really enjoyed the time we spent with this TV and if the contrast of a plasma doesn't interest you, then we would definitely recommend that you check out Samsung's latest Series 6 LCD.

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