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Samsung LN32C550 LCD HDTV Review

32 in.

Overall, the Samsung LN32C550 is a mediocre TV.

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Blacks & Whites

Blacks & Whites Summary
Editorial Note: This is a review of the Samsung LN32C550. Test results are for this model, but should indicate the general performance of other sizes in the C550 series. The C550 series includes the following models: LN32C550, LN37C550, LN40C550 and LN46C550.  Read here for more details on series differences.
{{article.attachments['Samsung-LN32C550-vanity.jpg']}} • Great black level and peak brightness • Some trouble maintaining even black and white levels • Testing done using DisplayMate Software
{{article.attachments['tvi-prev.jpg']}} Tour & Design Page 3 of 18 Color Accuracy {{article.attachments['tvi-next.jpg']}}

Black Level*(8.0)*


The Samsung LN32C550 showed a black level of 0.10 cd/m2 in our lab tests. This is a solid score and, coincidentally, the same score as the cheaper Samsung LN32C350. However, there are several important difference we found between these two models, which we detail head-to-head on the LN32C350 comparison page. Overall, this is a good score. In fact, none of the TVs here were slouches. (More on how we test Black Level.)

Black Level
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Compare the Samsung LN32C550 to other HDTVs
{{article.attachments['Samsung-LN32C350-vanity.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['LG-32LD350-vanity.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Sony-KDL-32BX300-vanity.jpg']}}
Samsung LN32C350 32 inches LG 32LD350 32 inches Sony KDL-32BX300 32 inches

 

Peak Brightness*(9.65)*


The Samsung LN32C550 produced a peak brightness of 440.67 cd/m2, which surpassed the other three TVs we pulled in for comparison. A super-bright white is not something that most TV buyers would concern themselves with, nor should they. Anything higher than 300 cd/m2 or so is adequate (in fact, there's not a huge difference between 300 and 440.67, because the values are logarithmic rather than linear). (More on how we test Peak Brightness.)

Peak Brightness
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Contrast*(8.86)*


The Samsung LN32C550 managed a lab-tested contrast ratio of 4407:1, an excellent score that surpasses its peers by quite a bit. (More on how we test Contrast.)

Contrast
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Tunnel Contrast*(8.12)*


The Samsung LN32C550 had a hard time maintaining a perfectly consistent black level, but it wasn't terrible either. The issue is that when some TVs have a lot of white on the screen, the black areas will get brighter. As you can see from the chart below, when the black patch is quite small and surrounded by around 90-95% white, those cd/m2 levels start to shoot up. (More on how we test Tunnel Contrast.)

As we said, the results aren't terrible, but expect to lose some of those deep shadows in otherwise bright shots.

Tunnel Contrast
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White Falloff*(6.15)*


The Samsung LN32C550 had a similarly hard time maintaining consistent white levels when there was a lot of black on the screen. This problem was more visibly evident than its Tunnel Contrast results (detailed above). We could see quite clearly a threshold at which some sort of backlight auto-dimming started to take effect. Sadly, there was no way to turn off this auto-dimming, as is the case with so many Samsung 2010 TVs. (More on how we test White Falloff.)

White Falloff
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Uniformity*(7.75)*


The Samsung LN32C550's screen showed no issues with screen uniformity. On an all-white screen, we saw no problems at all. On an all-black screen, we could see some minor darkening near the edges and overall unevenness.  (More on how we test Uniformity.)

 

Greyscale Gamma*(7.25)*


The greyscale gamma test indicates how well a TV transitions from shadows to highlights. Overall, the Samsung LN32C550 did very well. The slope of the curve, at 2.66, is a bit steep. Ideally, we like to see a curve between 2.1 and 2.2. However, we were quite pleased with the general smoothness of the line. Also, the lower-left corner of the line (which indicates the shadows) moves in a constant upward motion. The cheaper Samsung LN32C350 flatlined in that portion of the greyscale, meaning it could not retrieve any data from those points. The LN32C550, on the other hand, held up just fine. (More on how we test Greyscale Gamma.)

Greyscale Gamma
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Other Models in the C550 Series
This is a review of the Samsung LN32C550. The other sizes of HDTVs in this series should be similar in terms of performance and usability. For details about any differences, click on the image to jump to the Series Comparison page.
{{article.attachments['Samsung-LN32C550-120.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Samsung-LN37C550-120.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Samsung-LN40C550-120.jpg']}} {{article.attachments['Samsung-LN46C550-120.jpg']}}
Samsung LN32C550 32 inches

Samsung LN37C550

37 inches

Samsung LN40C550

40 inches

Samsung LN46C550

47 inches

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Sections

  1. Introduction
  2. Tour & Design
  3. Blacks & Whites
  4. Color Accuracy
  5. Motion
  6. Viewing Effects
  7. Calibration
  8. Remote Control
  9. Connectivity
  10. Audio & Menus
  11. Multimedia & Internet
  12. Power Consumption
  13. Vs Samsung LN32C350
  14. Vs LG 32LD350
  15. Vs Sony KDL 32BX300
  16. Conclusion
  17. Series Comparison
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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