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Samsung UN32D5500RF LED TV Review

32 in.

At a reduced price it could make a great addition to a home theater

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.

Introduction

The Samsung UN32D5500 has a rather high MSRP of $699, considering it’s only a 32-inch TV. There are some “premium upgrades” you’re paying for, like LED backlighting, dynamic contrast ratio, and a faster refresh rate. Of course, we use the word “premium” with some dubiousness, knowing that these features can be far less valuable than advertised. Nevertheless, at its core the D5500 is a good television that performs well. If you can find it a significantly reduced price, it would make a great addition to a home theater.

Design

A good looking TV, but the red trim may not be to everyone's taste.

The Samsung UN32D5500 is a good looking TV, like nearly all the Samsungs of the last few years. It has a relatively thin bezel when viewed from the front and a very slender frame when viewed from the side. As the black finish on the bezel nears the edge, there’s a thin red line. This may not be to everyone’s taste, but we’ve heard positive comments about it.

It has a number of ports for newer AV devices, including an ample four HDMI ports, two USB ports, and a LAN port to connect to a local DLNA network. For older devices, though, the options are curtailed. There is only one shared component/composite AV input and it requires an adapter that is included, but could easily be lost and difficult to replace.

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Smart TV Features

A clean menu interface makes the D5500 easy to navigate.

The menu system shared on all the 2011 Samsung TVs is great—a stellar example of how simple yet effective a menu can be. Not that it’s the only great menu system out there, but we’ve seen enough bad ones to spot a winner. The navigation is simple and clearly labeled. If you ever go too far down the rabbit hole and get stuck in a menu, you can always hit the Return or the Exit button on the remote and start over.

A stellar example of how simple yet effective a menu can be. Tweet It

Further, the Samsung UN32D5500 can play back photos, video clips, and music files in a wide variety of formats. The files can be delivered by a USB stick or a DLNA home network (via the LAN connection on the back). It may not be something most people will do with their TV, but for the infrequent family get-together it's a nice addition.

Picture Quality

The D5500 is, in fact, quite a good TV in almost every regard.

The contrast ratio, black levels, color rendering, and motion performance are all excellent. No TV is perfect, though. The viewing angle is quite narrow, meaning Super Bowl parties and group watching may not be as comfortable for all eyes involved as it ought to be.

The Samsung UN32D5500 did well in our motion tests. Sure, there was the usual amount of judder that you see in LCD televisions, but nothing too noticeable or excessive. Objects in motion may lose a small amount of fine detail. Also, when vertical lines passed across the screen there was a slight tendency towards becoming diagonal. If you’re sitting far enough away, you probably won’t see any of these problems, but they're there nonetheless.

At least you're buying performance. Tweet It

Overall, though, the Samsung D5500 boasts a handsome quality of picture, regardless of content. It's still pretty expensive for what it offers, but at least you're buying performance.

Conclusion

The Samsung UN32D5500 is a 32-inch TV in a sea of less expensive 32-inch TVs.

Some of the competition is bargain-basement garbage, but there are plenty of excellent 32-inch TVs we’ve reviewed that offer equally good performance for less than the $699 MSRP that Samsung is asking. While the TV is attractive, that simple fact is hard to get around.

Overall, the Samsung UN32D5500 is a great TV—there’s no doubt about it—but it feels like Samsung is holding one of their best features—streaming content—for ransom, as you have to shell out another $200 to get it in the D6000 series. Surely, with 2011 models well on the way out you're likely to find a deal on this television (if you can still find it). That’s your time to move on it. We think you’ll be pleased with what you get.

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.
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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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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