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Samsung PN51E530A3F Plasma HDTV Review$999.00
The PN51E530 is square, black, and bulky. It's the epitome of standardized plasma displays. Its stand is a reinforced black rectangle that seats the panel back a bit for balancing purposes. Like most of Samsung's mid-level plasmas this year, it doesn't have any frills, save for a matte gray screen that hums with a gentle touch of blue. Simple port placement and questionably useful on-set controls ensure that the TV is actually less complicated than its button-heavy remote control. Chances are, if you're investing in this TV, you're not looking for anything too fancy, and are more concerned with core performance.
In case you haven't familiarized yourself with it, 2012 is Samsung's Year of the Jog. The jog analog stick, pictured below, is a simplified version of traditional HDTV on-set controls. It can be clicked, and moved in four directions, as a selector, and an allocator of changes in volume and channels. It doesn't do anything else, and on most of Samsung's models is tucked away on the back of the TV. The E530's jog dial happens to be on the underside of its bezel, probably because the TV doesn't swivel. It's convenient enough, but you've really only got a choice between the oversimplified jog and the overly complex remote.
This is the standard infrared remote for Samsung's televisions without internet capabilities. Despite the simplistic design and menu functions of the PN51E530A3, the remote control has buttons a'plenty for every action this TV is capable of. We were, at one time, fans of this remote, but we've since been spoiled by LG's Magic Remote and Samsung's Smart Touch Remote.
In the Box
The Samsung PN51E530A3 ships with the panel, stand, power cable, 2 AA batteries, infrared remote, quick-start guide, and an installation guide.