This 52-inch LCD TV hails from one of Samsung's top-shelf 2008 lines and thus sports many advanced picture technologies and features. It has a 1920 x 1080 resolution and a four-millisecond response time. It uses Samsung's Auto Motion Plus 120Hz technology to reduce motion blur and render smoother movement with film sources. The Super Clear Panel is designed to reject ambient light to help improve contrast and black levels. The attractive Touch of Color design puts a hint of red around the edge of the gloss-black cabi net. The generous connection panel includes four HDMI (with one on the side panel), two component video and one PC input, plus a single RF input to access the internal ATSC, NTSC and Clear-QAM tuners. The HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24. Picture-in-picture functionality is here, with the option for window and side-by-side viewing.
The LN52A650 ($2,999.99) also offers a nice assortment of features for the digital- and Web-minded user. A side-panel USB port allows you to quickly and easily play MP3s and JPEGs, while the inclusion of an Ethernet port lets the TV access the Internet to display news, weather and stock information as part of its InfoLink function. For $200, you can step up to LN52A750, which adds media streaming via the Ethernet port and HD video playback via the USB port. The step-up model has also its own flash memory, and the u nit comes preloaded with games, recipes, children's content and more.
Samsung includes a lot of video and audio adjustments to fine-tune the TV's performance. In addition to three picture modes, five color-temperature options and digital noise red uction, the LN52A650's menu features white-balance, gamma and flesh tone controls, plus multiple color spaces with the ability to adjust six color points. The Auto Motion Plus 120Hz menu offers multiple settings, each of which affects the image quality differently. The Off mode simply repeats frames to create 120Hz, which many film purists prefer, while the Low through High modes perform varying degrees of frame interpolation to create smoother movem ent with film-based sources. The LN52A650 has six aspect ratios, including a Just Scan mode that displays 1080i/1080p sources with no overscan.
Read about the high points and the low points of the LN52A650 on Page 2.
On the audio side, the menu includes five preset sound modes. An
equalization feature lets you further tweak various frequencies within
each mode. SRS TruSurround XT processing is offered, while the Auto
Volume feature reduces level variations between TV shows and
commercials. New to this year's Samsung TVs are three entertainment
modes called Sports, Cinema and Games. Each of these offers fixed video
and audio settings meant to suit that type of entertainment. Therefore,
if you don't wish to wade through all the video and audio parameters we
just described, you can simply select an entertainment mode and let the
TV make the adjustments for you.
• The LN52A650 produces a very
attractive image, thanks to its great light output, good blacks,
natural color and excellent detail.
• The Super Clear Panel's
reflective screen helps blacks look darker and creates better contrast
in a room with some ambient lighting.
• Auto Motion Plus reduces motion blur and can produce very smooth, fluid motion with film sources.
• The connection panel is well endowed, and the inclusion of Ethernet and USB ports is a nice perk.
• The front panel is very reflective,
even more so than on many other plasmas, which can be distracting when
trying to watcher darker content in a bright room.
LN52A650's viewing angle is only average; the picture is not as rich
and saturated when viewed off-axis as it is when you sit right in front
The LN52A650 is a versatile HDTV
whose performance is well-suited to a variety of viewing conditions. It
produce a great-looking picture and also offers a thorough connection
panel and some compelling features for the digital media and Internet
fan, all at a reasonable price for a 52-inch panel.