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Insignia NS-46D400NA14 LED TV Review

A sizable screen for a small sum

$449.99 46 in.
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Overview

If your billfold needs a breather and your homestead needs a mid-sized TV, Best Buy's Insignia D400NA14 may be worth a gander. We tested the 46-inch model, which carries an MSRP of $449.99, but the series also comes in 39- and 50-inch versions.

If you have your heart set on jaw-dropping picture quality, you'll need to pry more pennies from your piggy bank. But if you aren't a total purist and you need a sizable panel, this TV might be good enough.

Design & Features

Fits the mold

The D400N is a cookie cutout of a TV: Insignia slapped a big black rectangle atop a smaller black rectangle. Nothing swivels. Nothing sparkles. Nothing glows. You're in the bargain bin, so lower your design expectations.

A row of on-set controls lines the right side of the panel: menu, input, volume, channel, and power. On the opposite side, users will find three HDMI ports, a USB port, and a headphone jack. Nearby are shared component/composite hookups, an antenna hookup, digital optical output, VGA, and PC audio in.

Aside from the sleep timer, features are all but absent.

Aside from a sleep timer, features are all but absent. Users can view photos via USB, but the interface is exceptionally slow and irritating. The menu options are conservative; the offerings include brightness, backlight, and temperature —to name a few—but there are no controls for advanced items like gamma or white balance. We tried tinkering the TV's tint, but the changes were imperceptible.

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Picture Quality

Unexpectedly deep blacks, but notably flawed colors

The D400N surprised us by swooping into some truly deep blacks—an asset you just never expect to find on a cheap TV. Production of deep black levels is very important to TVs, as it allows for a more detailed, lifelike image. While this Insignia doesn't get as bright as most LED televisions, it's certainly bright enough —even for a sunlit room.

Images on this TV look garish and unrealistic, necessitating a great deal of calibration.

Other tests didn't return such favorable results. While the D400N does an adequate job transitioning from one hue to the next, retaining acceptable detail along the way, the actual colors are not ideal. For example, the TV's blues are grossly exaggerated, so that images are unnaturally vibrant. On top of this, visible color temperature errors lend unpleasant blue and red tints to shadows and highlights. The overall result? Images on this TV look garish and unrealistic, necessitating a great deal of calibration—all with an abbreviated, unresponsive set of controls.

The rotten cherry on top? This TV's viewing angle is the definition of stingy. At even mild angles, the excellent contrast degrades significantly, so fight to the death for the center of your sofa.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the Insignia NS-46D400NA14, take a look at these other televisions.

Final Look

A tolerable TV for weary wallets

In a word, if you purchase the D400N, you're trading color quality for dollars. It's great to get a 46-inch panel with big contrast for under $500, but the tawdry, oversaturated colors are an ugly pill to swallow.

For low-maintenance buyers with bare billfolds, the D400N offers great contrast and 46 inches of screen size for an affordable $450; but if you're looking for pristine color at a palatable price, this isn't the panel for you. Unless you're on a strict budget or buying for a guest room, I say spend more and find something with better color performance.

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