Top positive review
138 people found this helpful
Great value for money entry level LED TV
on 29 June 2010
I've had my UE40C5100 for just over a week now and thought I'd share my thoughts with you. The first thing that strikes you about this TV, even before you've unpacked it, is the size of the box that it's delivered in. It's sooooo thin! Really, unbelievably thin. So thin and light in fact, that you'll wonder if there's actually a TV in the box! However, pop open the top of the box and you'll find ample polystyrene packaging to keep your prize purchase well protected. There's a bag containing parts for the stand, the remote control (batteries supplied), cable tidies, blanking plates (should you decide to wall mount) and the all important instructions and warranty information.
Unpacking the box is very straight forward, and once again as you slide the TV from it's carton, you'll be struck by how slim the TV is, even compared to it's box. It's only 27mm thin, and is very light indeed. You'll also slide the glass base from the carton, which you'll need to connect to a perspex upright before you can mount the TV on it's stand. Then you attach a back plate to the TV, allowing the TV to mate with the base. This is very a straighforward matter, involving a few philips head screws, but I'd recommend that you follow the instructions closely and have a 2nd person to hand to help you lower the LED panel onto the stand's connection points. Care must be taken to attach the stand whilst the TV is in it's upright position, rather than laying horizontal, in order to ensure a level fit. I had the TV unpacked and on it's stand in around 5 minutes.
Next, cabling was very straight forward. The TV has 4 HDMI slots, an ethernet network port, optical audio out, a headphone socket and the obligatory aerial socket. There are also 2 USB ports. All sockets apart from the aerial are located on the left hand side of the TV (as you look at it from the front), running vertically. They are set back by a couple of inches to allow the cables to flex round, yet remain out of sight. The aerial socket is located on the back of the TV, pointing downwards, about 2/3 of the way from the right hand edge. There are no SCART or component sockets on the unit itself, instead a HDMI adapter for each is supplied, along with a DVI connector, should you wish to connect a PC or DVI equipped DVD player. I connected my Freesat box, Xbox 360 & Playstation 3, along with the aerial and linked into my Netgear gigabit switch via the ethernet port. In order to keep the cables tidy, a selection of plastic clips with self adhesive backing are supplied, along with a split flexible plastic tube. These can be used to bring order to the unruly mess of cables that could spoil the aesthetic effect of the install.
When you power on the TV for the first time, the TV will take you through the very straight forward process of setting up your preferred language before searching for Freeview channels. Rather bizarrely, mine failed to find BBC1 & BBC2 on Freeview. However, I think that this may be an aerial cabling issue with our new house. I'll figure that one out and report back. The tuning process takes approx 3 minutes. Then the TV will show you a demonstration of how to connect items via HDMI, etc. The on screen graphics during this process are excellent. They're PC quality, in fact. Very different to the basic on-screen menu's on my previous 2 year old Panasonic LCD.
Once you're tuned in, and have marvelled at the menu's, it's time to put your feet up and watch a bit of telly! The first programme that I watched was the England vs USA match on ITV1, via Freeview. I was immediately impressed (as were my g/f and guests) by the clarity of the picture, even on standard def Freeview. (Perhaps there is some upscaling and tidying of the picture going on.) There are lots of picture settings to be tweaked on the menu, and in fact I'd say it's taken me about a week to tweak the picture to my satisfaction.
Other connected items worked immediately too. I was impressed to see that the TV had picked up all the relevant setting for my home network, and had found my Buffalo Linkstation Live 1Tb Network Attached Storage (NAS). The TV is able to stream movies from a NAS, or PC running media streaming in a variety of different formats, from DiVX files through to Blu-Ray rips. You can also browse your shared photographs and play music from the same interface. It all works really well. Straight away, I was able to navigate to the correct folder on the NAS (using the Samsung remote control) and stream the majority of my movies. Again, the on-screen interface looking fantastic, whilst being very intuitive. The picture quality of streamed movies is exceptional. Obviously, it depends on the quality of the file encoding, but the TV certainly does the best with the subject matter. One thing that does grate a little, is that some movies will pause, rewind and fast forward, whilst others will not. Perhaps future firmware revisions will address this. For the record, you can also play movies, music and view photos from an attached USB memory stick or hard drive.
Similarly impressive were the picture quality from Blu-Ray played by the PS3, via HDMI. Also streamed movies and games played on the XBOX 360. The TV supports up to a full 1080p on any of the inputs and will prompt you in the top left hand corner of the screen when it switches resolution. Forza 3 on the Xbox looks particularly good.
The remote control is pretty straight forward. It has all the buttons on there that you'd expect, plus some that you'll probably never use! It's not the most intuitive remote I've ever used, but it's not bad. It's quite large too, and the buttons are well labelled. Also, it's back lit. This is really handy when you're watching the TV in the dark. A button on the top r/h corner activates the back light. One press activates, it goes off after a few seconds, but comes on again as soon as you press another button. In this sense, it's a bit odd, because you can run the risk of pressing a button that you didn't want to (if you get my drift), however a quick double press of the back light button has the same effect without activating some unwanted function. Another nice touch on the remote is the addition of Braille markings next to the volume, power and programme up/down buttons.
My thoughts on picture quality were initially excellent, then mixed, now after some tweaking are back to excellent. As the TV is edge lit by LED's, rather than fully back lit (much more expensive), you might notice some bright patches on black/very dark scenes. However, altering settings such as black level to "low" rather than "normal" seem to have improved this. One thing to look out for whilst altering settings via the menu, are the hints at the bottom of the screen that tell you what effect the settings will have. Nice touch Samsung. There's also a built in light level sensor that Samsung call the "Eco Sensor". This dims the TV when the room is dark, and brightens it when light levels increase. This works really well, and you can also alter the lower level to which it will dim, just in case you find the picture a little too dim when the room is in darkness. Another nice touch, when you have the Eco Sensor switched on, is the "Fuel Gauge" info display that shows when you press the "INFO" button on the remote. This shows graphically how much power the TV is using (or not as the case may be). In brief, my advice for the perfect picture, is fiddle with the settings until you find what suits you best. Also it would each of the HDMI inputs, etc, have their own picture settings stored, so you'll have to tweak levels for each device that you have attached.
Sound quality is surprisingly good for the size (thinness) of the set. You'll wonder how they squeezed speakers into the unit, and where they are located! There is good stereo representation from the TV, although it's rather lacking in bass if you're looking for Hi-Fi quality sound. The TV also has built in Dolby Digital Pulse & DTS 2.0 decoding, but only takes it's audio feed via the HDMI cables, there are no optical or coaxial inputs. I noticed that the TV struggles with the low bass rumble on Forza 3's music whilst showcasing a new vehicle. I put this down to the size of the speakers that are built into the unit struggling to convey the sound, rather than being caused by plastics rattling or resonating. However, it's widely accepted that LCD/LED TV speakers aren't generally the ultimate aural experience, and if you're into the full-on home cinema experience, you'll want to use a surround amp and speakers to get what you really want. That said, for general TV watching, the speakers are genuinely pretty good and will go plenty loud enough for most people's requirements without sounding muddy or distorted. In fact, I decided NOT to set up my surround system, because I wanted to avoid the extra mess and cabling in the room.
Build quality of the set seems to be very good indeed. The unit has a gloss perspex surround with rounded edges, it looks very pleasant and expensive. The screen has a gloss finish, rather than a matt finish like you'd see on most LCD screens. It adds to the vibrancy of the image on-screen, but will also reflect the room under bright lighting conditions. However, our TV is located in the corner of the living room, opposite a bay window and the reflections aren't very distracting at all. I'd suggest not having it facing a bright window, square on.
The manual for the TV is just ok. It reads well, but for me at least, doesn't explain well enough about some of the settings for the TV. Particularly the DTS2.0 & Dolby Pulse decoding. But for most people, I'm sure there's more than enough info in there, should you wish to partake.
In a nutshell, upsides for the TV are...
Excellent picture quality, eye-popping in fact!
Loads of connectivity options.
Design & Build Quality.
Slimness & low weight.
Surprisingly good sound quality for general TV use.
Intuitive menu's & excellent on screen display.
Low, low price for a TV of this size and quality.
Found my network hard drive without any intervention.
Firmware can be updated via internet if you're connected
Downsides, (only minor ones at that)...
Fiddly to get the optimum picture.
Speakers struggle on occasion with low bass sounds.
Optical output on TV only delivers 2.0 output (I haven't mentioned that in this review).
Occasional bright patches on very dark/black pictures. (Just tweak a few settings to sort this out).
Would I recommend this TV? Absolutely! I don't think you'll find a better set for the money.