on July 3, 2013
Just got this last night at a big box store. So far I have no complaints. The picture looks even better in my home than it did at the store, where the contrast and vibrancy of colors "popped" far more than comparable models around it. This TV replaces a Samsung LN32A450 32-Inch, bought end of 2008, and is our main living room TV.
Pros: Seems like the the best 1080p LED Smart TV at its size for the money; love the picture; the speakers are completely satisfactory for our purposes (seem a good bit stronger than the old TV); the Smart features are very cool and so far work great, but we've only started messing with them; 3 HDMI ports make it easy to connect cable, game system, and any other device we may acquire in the future.
Cons: using the remote for web browsing or apps isn't the best, but we may just get a wireless keyboard and mouse to go with this - already tested a Logitech wireless USB mouse with it and it works perfectly; watched 3 consecutive Youtube videos without incident, but it had trouble loading a 4th...I've read that the wireless card can struggle, so we'll see how that is over the long term; accessing Game Mode requires three steps through the menus, but it doesn't take too long using a wireless mouse, and I think it switched off Game Mode automatically when we deactivated the console and went back to cable.
Overall: After 1 day it easily gets an A+. If problems develop with anything I'll update my review.
Also, I used the following website to set these calibration settings - really like the picture with these: [...]
Post Calibration Settings
Picture Mode Movie
Dynamic Contrast Off
Black Tone Off
Flesh Tone 0
RGB Only Mode Off
Color Space Auto
Color Tone Warm2
Size Screen Fit
Digital Noise Filter Off
MPEG Noise Filter Off
HDMI Black Level Low
Film Mode Off
LED Clear Motion Off
NOTE: Scroll to bottom of review to read 2014 updates -- I am returning this TV.
This TV was released in February as Samsung's "budget" 32-inch As of this writing it's going for around $475, so about $200 more than the budget Smart TV's from Vizio. First my review of the TV, then I'll compare it to Vizio's product VIZIO E320i-A0 32-inch 720p 60Hz LED Smart HDTV, which I have also purchased and decided to return in favor of this unit. As you would expect, the TV has a great picture. Smooth, no pixelation, even sports look great on here. It's advertised as a 60hz -- but then the box refers to "120 Tru Motion" so I'm not sure what to make of that, but suffice it to say that refresh rates are good. The remote control is decent - lights up at night and has good sized buttons, but I'd like dedicated buttons for Netflix and Amazon VOD. This TV begins to blur the line between TV and computer... the internet browser is competent, but pretty frustrating to use without a keyboard. You can hook up a USB keyboard through the TV's slot. This TV does NOT accommodate bluetooth keyboards, so wireless is out of the picture. I believe the next model up of Samsung (the 6000 series) accommodates Bluetooth as that is referenced in the manual. The "Smart Apps" section reveals many apps (Pandora, Picasa, etc) that you would find on your Smartphone. Due to the dual core of the TV's processor, apps load quickly and the TV starts immediately. As for the sound, it's really decent to good. You're not ever going to get good base etc without an external sound source on any HDTV... but this provides a good viewing experience. Figuring out the DLNA networking (to watch videos and pictures stored on my computer) was unnecessarily complex (very simple on the Vizio). The TV couldn't "see" other devices on the home network until I clicked "Play to" on the computer in the right click context menu and selected the Samsung. The Samsung asked for permission to link to the computer and then I was able to browse. I'm sure this will be fixed in a future software update. By the way, Netflix, Amazon, every app I have tried works great.
I think the software on these "smart TV's" is still overly complex to navigate... At some point a company like Apple is going to figure this out and make a truly seamless intuitive experience. For example, to get to my media on my computer, I have to click "smart apps" then scroll to video, click that, then select a source, then start scrolling through files on the computer. There has to be a better way. Having said that, it's not terrible, and the dual core makes for gorgeous animated menus and really nice response time.
Comparing it to the Vizio... if you are thinking "Should I spend the $200 more for the Samsung?" here's why I ended up returning the Vizio in comparison to this unit. First off the positives: The Vizio had a gorgeous picture also, comparable to the Samsung. So it's a draw between the devices. But in every other aspect, Samsung wins. Setup on the Samsung was a breeze -- it scanned all of my Comcast digital channels WITHOUT a converter box, and then automatically subtracted out the scrambled channels. Vizio couldn't/didn't do this. Samsung also has an interactive/nice guide much like the guide you'd see on digital TV/satellite... grid format that tells you what's on all the channels. Vizio didn't have that. The Vizio TV took 5-9 seconds to start. That's a long time when you're trying to catch the end of a show. Samsung starts up instantaneously. The Vizio had TERRIBLE sound -- everyone sounded like they had a lisp when watching TV... the Samsung has a million sound options including even an equalizer. Great sound. There are many more apps on Samsung's unit, and there's also the Samsung version of video on demand where you can download and watch movies. Vizio has placed a button for this on their remote control but it is still a "coming attraction."
If all you care about is a nice picture, get the Vizio. But if you care about sound and the internet apps, as well as platform stability, get the Samsung. They are both energy efficient - the Samsung is $6/year according to the Energy Wise label on the set and the Vizio is $8.
This TV actually begins to blue the line between TV, computer and tablet. You can attach a keyboard. You can also attach a webcam and have Skype video calls. There's also a social app integration that I don't plan to use where you can link everything to Facebook and other social sites, sharing comments on TV shows etc with your friends. Not my style but some might like that. As I use more of the functions on this TV I will update this review, but for now, hope this helps!
UPDATE January 2014: So less than a year later and I'm having some pretty significant trouble with this TV. I've spent four hours on multiple phone calls with Samsung to resolve, but they have been unable to. In short, they released a firmware update last week which made the Netflix app not work... and nothing (factory reset, having them take over the TV from remote somewhere in Japan) will get this working yet. A fix is always "24 hours away" but the deadline comes and goes with no fix. AT this point the new 2014 models should be coming out and perhaps their software will be more stable but this TV has really been a disappointment. One other issue -when you are viewing videos / movies via DLNA streaming you cannot fast forward or rewind, and there is no resume function if you watch half the movie and turn the TV off (or have a power failure) you have to start watching the movie over! I'm not sure it's fair to change my star review on this TV at this time -- I will think about it and see if Samsung is finally able to get this TV working, but I have to say this whole experience has soured me on the Samsung brand.
UPDATE February 2014: After trying and trying with Samsung, it appears they are unable to fix their firmware update. The TV displays a "no new firmware" when you check for updates and Netflix is still broken. Basically, Samsung has great hardware but terrible software, and in the era of Smart TV's you have to have both. Fortunately Amazon stood behind Samsung and is taking this piece of junk back, but I have to go through the hassle of taking it off the wall, boxing it, and then installing a new one (I'm ordering the new Vizio's that are coming out in a few weeks). I don't want to sound like a bitter person ("I'm never buying Samsung again!!!") but I have to admit this experience has soured me on the brand. Their customer support and their software development is just terrible. I'm downgrading this to two stars as the picture/sound are indeed good on this TV but the SMART features... not so smart!!
on April 28, 2013
Let me start by saying I'm a former employee of Samsung. I know they make incredible electronics, I've seen the glowing customer reviews on samsung.com, I've owned quite a few of their products and loved them, but this TV is not meeting expectations. I'm also a web marketer by trade and have a background in internet tech support. I'm tech savvy and I know what I'm doing.
First, the good parts. The picture is great. Set up is easy. The menus are so much easier to understand than other TVs I've wrangled with. External media via USB works well. I bought a Samsung DVD player too and they pair with the same remote which is a nice bonus. All that is great. I have two major complaints.
1- Sound. I have a set of computer speakers that I plugged into the mini jack audio out of the TV. You cannot control the external speakers with the TV remote by this method. Since my computer speakers do not have a remote it means I have to get up and walk across the room to turn the volume down or just use the TV speakers which are pretty worthless due to the nature of every flat screen TV - they must have the speakers in the back by design. I contacted Samsung support and they confirmed that the mini jack audio out is a fixed volume and cannot be altered with the remote.
2- Wifi. Maybe I have a dud, but as a wireless device this TV is pointless. I don't have cable TV. I don't watch broadcast TV. I use Netflix, Hulu and Amazon almost exclusively for video entertainment. This means a solid connection to the internet is a must. The TV has major issues with my wifi. I have troubleshooted this issue in every way I know how: network settings, rebooting cable modem and router several times, starting the devices in order from modem to wifi router to TV. I even added 50 ft. of ethernet cable to get the wireless router to just 4 feet away from the TV itself. I then tested the download speed using speedtest.net on the TV's web browser. My laptop, also 4 feet away from the wifi router, measures 14 mbps download speeds. The TV at the same time registers 300 kbps - about 1/40th the speed. As a result none of the streaming video apps work reliably. I wind up going back to watching on my laptop like a student in a college dorm. This defeats the entire purpose of why I bought this TV in the first place. Samsung support suggested I turn off all other competing wifi devices in my home so there's no competition for the signal. Well, ignoring that this is not a viable solution for web device addict like myself (2 laptops, a tablet and two wifi enabled smartphones) this didn't work.
UPDATE: I bought a $30 wifi range extender that has a ethernet port out. I connected that to the TV with a hard cable into the LAN port of the TV to bypass the wifi antenna and this has improved things greatly.
on March 18, 2013
This is my third Samsung LED and I found the picture to be as good as that of my UN46D7000 (higher-tier 2011 model). Supposedly this set can't do micro-dimming. But you wouldn't know it from the black levels, which are as good as or better than the D7000's, lending the F5500 great picture depth. Overall this is a solid performer where it counts, and in a nice-looking package. Very good value for this price point. As noted below, the power cord connector protrudes from the back enough that it might interfere with a low profile mount. And some of the smart apps didn't work out of the box. There are workarounds for the first issue and as for the second, I expect Samsung will fix the apps with an update soon.
Most of this is evident from the photos. The bezel is glossy black and the screen is matte with an anti-reflective coating. It has a gray plastic Samsung emblem at the bottom center that looks like it could be pried out if you wanted to for some reason. There's also an IR receiver that protrudes about a centimeter from the bottom right corner.
The rear ports are recessed and side-facing, perfect for wall-mounting. Unfortunately, the power cord socket faces straight back and is not recessed. So the cord when inserted is not flush with the back of the set. It has a T design that lowers the profile a bit, but when inserted still protrudes about .65 inches. That's a bit more than some slim wall mounts (e.g. the picture-hanging style mount with a .5 inch mounting depth). I shaved part of the T-connector tip and insulation off with a razor to get it down to .5 inch. So far nobody's been electrocuted.
The base is satin graphite-colored plastic (some similar-looking Samsung bases are metal; this one's not). You really have to torque in the screws when attaching it (tried this before wall-mounting).
By the way, if you inexplicably can't seem to turn the thing on, try the master power button at the bottom right back of the unit. Turns out this works much better than throwing the remote at it.
Set-up is easy with the built-in wifi. The interface is intuitive and not tough for non-techies to figure out. There do seem to be a few bugs. Several of the apps (e.g. Netflix, YouTube) prompt you to update the unit's software before proceeding. However, when you do the update check (hit menu and then look under the support submenu), it advises that everything is current. So I haven't been able to use at least two of the apps, as of firmware version 1013. Hopefully Samsung fixes that quickly. Amazon and Hulu work fine.
The apps aren't snappy-fast but also not turtle-slow. Unless you really want these things to pop, you probably won't miss the quadcore processor.
No problems hooking up a Logitech wireless mouse and keyboard. You have to enable it under a menu but otherwise it's plug-and-play.
The web browser works well. Not super-fast but quite usable.
===AS A COMPUTER MONITOR===
I/ve hooked this up to a Macbook Air for use as a monitor. So far I haven't figured out the right mix of settings to get the desktop to display without scaling/underscan/overscan that leaves text blurry and images a bit off (try setting your computer monitor to something other than its native resolution if you're not familiar with this effect). Selecting "screen fit" for picture size at least seems to get the desktop properly fitted on the screen (16:9 will scale it). But the text is still fuzzy.
Sometimes settings for a particular input are optimized by default for use with a computer (usually they're marked something like "HDMI 3/PC" or "HDMI 4/DVI"). I tried all of them, no change. I turned off all motion smoothing and other picture processing. No luck. I tried various configurations on the Mac display menus. Still no go. It's not clear whether the issue is on the Samsung or Mac side. It might be fine with a PC.
I'll try to post an update if I figure this out.
on April 6, 2013
This is not my first high definition set, but it is my first smart TV--40 inches makes it the largest I've owned--and I am duley impressed so far. What drew me to this set was the very thin frame or bezel around the screen which obviously gives a larger picture in a smaller space.
The technical specs and capabilities are well described on the product page, so I won't repeat them here. I want to give you an idea of my experience with the set, the things I was surprised by, and what you may not otherwise find out.
The set-up was the easiest experience I've had so far with the TV guiding me through the process before I even had to find the Menu or Guide buttons on the remote. The ports are plenty and well marked leaving a minimal wire profile and a clean look.
The remote control is pretty well marked and easy to follow, though not as tactile to use in the dark as the Dish Network control. The Samsung's remote, however, is backlit so it doesn't need to be particularly tactile.
I very much like the fact that the base is not a large, flat, glossy black surface as most sets have been in the last few years, showing the first specks of dust and never staying clean for very long. This stand is four curved grey legs that are elegant and practical from a cleaning point of view.
The sound quality is especially good with broad range and deep, unmuttled lows. Every manufacturer claims good fidelity, but this set actually provides it. My dog reacts to the slightest animal sounds as if they were right in the room.
There were only pros in my experience and no cons (if that changes I will update this post) and I highly recommend this TV.
Samsung makes great TV's that surpass every other manufacturer in their class. I have two Samsung's in my house and I can tell you the image is beautiful. This TV has an LED screen and in my opinion this the way to go (LED is similar to LCD its back-lit better so that they are no dark spots on the screen).
Now add in that this TV can directly connect to the internet and I'm sold. TV's of this class have never been cheaper.
One thing that I have found with TV's that its very important to actually look at the TV in person. Now when you look at the TV's, go to a place like Walmart to see them, because many times specialty stores like Best Buy play with the lighting controls on the TV and in the store to skew the image to there advantage. Once you look at the TV simply look and decide which one looks better to you.
The next step to take into consideration is features. Here are a few that come with this TV:
This Samsung comes with Auto Volume which automatically adjusts the volume of the desired channel, lowering the sound output when the modulation signal is high or raising the sound output when the modulation signal is low. This reduces the difference in volume when changing channels. The Auto Volume feature can be set to Normal, Night or Off.
As far as outputs most of these TV's will come with more than enough Inputs and Outputs. This TV comes with 3 HDMI Audio/Video In, 1 RCA Component Audio/Video In and 1 Digital Coaxial Audio Out.
Next thing when shopping for a TV is in box technology. Here are some of the features of this TV:
With this Smart HDTV there is a full web browser with WiFi built-in apps made for TV. Some of the apps this TV features is Hulu Plus, YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter. Browse the web while you watch movies and TV shows, and enjoy TV while you chat with friends and family online, all on one screen with this Samsung.
Thank you for reading my review, if you have any questions feel free to email me, I would be happy to help you with any questions you have.
on April 25, 2014
I have purchased many Samsung products and have been very happy with them. However, as I learned with this TV, if one has a problem, Samsung does not back their products with service. I have spent hours on the phone with Samsung, have been handed off from one person to the next, each time I am told to try something else and to call back if the problem still exists. The problem I am having is the TV turns itself off then back on and continues this behavior until unplugged. If one does a Google search this problem will get many hits including information regarding a class action lawsuit due to this problem. Still Samsung refuses to acknowledge the problem is real and to provide a resolution. Given Samsung's unwillingness to accept responsibility for their problems, my recommendation is to avoid purchasing anything Samsung makes.
Great picture quality and sound. It was easy to set up and to connect to wifi with the wireless modem. I love the look of the tv and how it's situated on a four-leg stand. When you turn it on, you get an attractive menu with one tv channel playing in a small window, and a bunch of other channels lining up at the same time. You can then enlarge the channel currently playing, or to switch to any of the other channels. Definitely have the HD box hooked up to the tv for some terrific picture quality.
Besides the "on tv" section which is automatically selected when you turn on the tv, the menu interface includes other categories like "movies and tv shows," "photo/video/music," "apps" (that's where you get the web browsing, as well as access to facebook, netflix, amazon instant video, twitter, youtube, skype as well as a bunch of other less known apps), and lastly a fourth category called "social" (not sure of its purpose, as you can just use the apps for that).
One thing I really liked is that I noticed the screen automatically adjusts itself to its surroundings--if the room is bright the tv is bright, if I turn off the light and the room is dark, the picture becomes dim as well. Great sensors.
Now to some things that could be improved: If say I lose my remote control and need to turn on the tv manually, I have to actually bend over and reach all the way behind the tv to locate the joystick-like button that turns it on and controls it. This is inconvenient. Also, when I turn on the internet, I have found that it's uncomfortable to do the typing with the remote control pointer. I have remedied this issue by purchasing the logitech k400 wireless keyboard, which was easy to set up and I noticed works well with this tv. Lastly, and a minor annoyance with the otherwise superb design, is that while the brand name "samsung" is often directly imprinted on its products, here it sticks out separately, underneath the monitor, like some kind of cheap tag that you keep wanting to tear off, before suddenly remembering that it's attached to the tv.
Overall though, this is the best smart tv on a budget, that has almost everything that the more expensive models have. The only thing lacking is a camera (that's if you want to use skype, but it would cost way less to purchase one separately and hook it up to this tv, than to buy a more expensive smart tv model where the camera is included).
on November 21, 2013
Let me begin by saying I am your average Jane Doe TV viewer, with an above average ability to manage my network, etc.; however, I'm not an audiophile, and the lighting issues I've read about haven't been an issue with me. The software is a little cumbersome but it's intuitive and simple to figure out. I've not even looked at the manual yet, and when I do I may learn some easier ways of managing around the various menus. But seriously, putting all that aside, I LOVE THIS TV! This is my 3rd Samsung in the last 3 years (for different rooms) and they keep getting smarter. The network connections were easy, I've been able to log into my Amazon and YouTube accounts easily, Pandora was simple too. Geez, this thing is almost an oversized tablet with all the apps that are built in. DirecTV was as easy connection, I've added a wireless mini-keyboard that I wasn't using and a wireless mouse. Both of these have made manuevering around the menu's easier than the remote. The remote is cumbersome, but intuitive, thus the keyboard and mouse. The networking connections were done easily on first try, because it was found quickly. That 26 key PW is a PITA with the remote. The sound is fine for me, the picture is fine for me, and all the preloaded apps will keep me busy for quite a while as I go thru those. I really love this unit and hope it continues to perform as well as it is now.
on March 27, 2014
First, just want to make a disclosure - i bought this TV from another site but wanted to share my review on his site as well. Based on past purchases, Amazon has been great and have no issues with them. The review is about the product.
I bought this product back in December as a holiday present. Did not open it until January. It was working fine until couple of weeks ago. TV started power cycling (restarting) on its own. It can be while in a middle of a program or when just turning it ON. I initially called the vendor but was told that since it is more than 60 days, I will need to contact manufacturer. I called Samsung support. The tech advised to plug it a different outlet and upgrade the firmware. I followed their instructions but problem persisted. I was told to open a service request online. After couple of days, I received a voicemail instructing to perform same troubleshooting steps and that they will close the service request. I did it anyway and obviously did not work. Opened another ticket online. I got a call few days later and was being told the same thing. I told them that it has been done few times and that it does not work. I was told they will open a service ticket but I will need to bring it to their service center. I said that it is ridiculous and want a tech visit since it is not my fault and still new. I was told that they can send a tech out but I may have to pay for the repair. At that point I asked to speak with a manager. I was put on hold for at least 10 minutes then they hang up on me.
I want to give them the benefit of the doubt that I probably just got a defective product but their customer service is so so bad that it makes me wonder if I want to purchase any other product from them with this experience.