Tested by experts 06d9a64036647e73500f0390c533b110047acb1d8dfcda07834106364a611f86
televisions
  • Editors' Choice

Samsung UN32H5203 LED TV Review

This 32-inch wonder is one of the best deals on the market.

$329.99 MSRP 32 in.
6.1 score Tested by Experts
  • The Samsung UN32H5203 is better than 58% of the televisions we tested.
  • It is better than 88% of the televisions we have tested under $400.
  • It is better than 60% of the LED televisions we have tested.
  • This graph shows the Samsung UN32H5203's score compared to other televisions we tested. Learn more.
# of televisions Product Score This graph shows the Samsung UN32H5203’s score compared to other televisions we tested.
Advertisement

Rarely do low-level TVs outshine their high-end counterparts in categories other than price. For the most part, the purchase of a lower-tier television is a compromise; an agreement that with great discounts come great shortcomings. The Samsung UN32H5203 (MSRP $329.99) is an exception to this rule.

With praiseworthy picture performance and a smart platform to boot, the H5203 is a sure-fire bargain for those looking to dip their feet in the inviting waters of full HD entertainment. If the 32-inch screen isn't big enough for you, Samsung's got you covered: There are 40-, 46-, and 50-inch models in the series, as well.

Looks & Experience

The Smart Hub elevates an otherwise dull design.

We've noticed a fair amount of disparaging user reviews stating that a number of the H5203's smart features are broken. It's unfortunate that these features aren't ready to go out-of-the-box, but with up-to-date software installed, streaming Netflix is a relatively painless process.

Smart features aren't ready to go out-of-the-box.

TV manufacturers don't usually equip low-level models with radical design features. For the most part, TVs in this price range follow a formula: black/charcoal colored plastic and basic, utilitarian shapes. That said, there have been a few recent examples of low-level TVs featuring stylish stands and back casings. Samsung's own H5500 immediately comes to mind, which features a handsome brushed metal stand in place of the typical glossy plastic.

Unfortunately, Samsung didn't outfit the H5203 with a similar, class-defying design. A circular plastic stand and disappointingly thick panel paint the H5203 as irrefutably entry-level. On the back are AV component and composite ports, two HDMI ports, two USB ports, a digital audio port, an ethernet port, and a coaxial connector.

The remote control isn't flashy, but it gets the job done... most of the time.

The remote control isn't flashy, but it gets the job done... most of the time. After downloading the latest software update and connecting to the Smart Hub, the remote control's performance began suffering considerably. It's as if the menu software becomes tethered to the wireless network instead of operating independently of it, so any hiccups in the network will result in severe input lag.

Advertisement

The Picture

Punching above its weight

In terms of performance, the H5203 is head and shoulders above most of its low-level competitors. Although it has its limitations, with properly managed expectations (and a little bit of calibration), the H5203 may satisfy even picky picture sticklers.

Users searching for an inexpensive TV to showcase Blu-rays or play current-generation console games needn't look any further.

The H5203 excels in just about every area of performance. Its colors are accurate, its black level is considerably deep, and at full 1080p HD, the resolution is a cut above other TVs in the same price range.

Users searching for an inexpensive TV to showcase Blu-rays or play current-generation console games needn't look any further. The H5203 out-performs televisions well above its weight class and blows away just about every other entry- and low-level TV that we've seen thus far this year.

This TV suffers from a seriously questionable viewing angle and poor motion performance.

Now for the flaws: This TV suffers from a seriously questionable viewing angle and poor motion performance. Generally speaking, people need to view the H5203 head-on in order to experience the TV at its best. Of course, this doesn't matter much for a 32-inch panel, but if you're purchasing this TV in a larger size for group-viewing, it's certainly something to bear in mind.

The motion performance issues are harder to ignore. Horizontal camera pans and fast-moving objects often appear choppy, which is a bummer during action sequences or scenes where the spatial orientation of certain objects is critical. For example, you will undoubtedly notice the jumpy movement of cars during a chase sequence.

If you consider TVs to be reproducers of art, accurate colors and rich black levels are absolutely critical in delivering a director's intended vision. For anyone in search of brilliant color and detail-rich shadows on an inexpensive TV, that is precisely what the H5203 offers.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the Samsung UN32H5203, take a look at these other televisions.

The Verdict

A perfect personal TV

With fantastic picture performance, a commendable smart platform, and an attractive price tag of $329.99, there's no doubt that the Samsung H5203 is a dynamite deal. There are a few performance-related drawbacks, but the H5203 excels where it matters most.

The H5203 is a bargain even before factoring in the Smart Hub. The ability to stream content makes it the perfect personal TV for a bedroom or small living room–and it won't break the bank.

News and Features

Nba league pass hero

NBA to Sell Single-Game Streams for $6.99

You can watch a single out-of-market game for the price of a latte.

Wifi alliance aware hero

WiFi Aware to Create Brave New World for Mobile Devices

WiFi Aware will open up a wide range of location-based services.

Calibration feature hero

What Is TV Calibration and Why Do I Need It?

Even budget TVs can look excellent with the proper calibration.

Netflix overtakes networks hero

Netflix Will Soon Outperform All Major TV Networks

Data suggests Netflix will have higher Nielsen ratings than FOX, CBS.

14564897968 b72fb50d99 o

Verizon Wants Brands to Sponsor Your TV Watching

This free stream is brought to you by...

Endless computer cpu hero

Endless Is Building a Computer for the Developing World

Endless makes computers for developing nations, but are they practical?

Sony tv hero 3

Sony's Super-Slim 4K TVs Are Now Available in the US

Sony's super-slim X900C and X910C 4K TVs were announced this morning.

4k streaming hero

Want to Watch 4K? A New TV Is Just the Beginning

Nothing you own is ready for the 4K revolution.

Samsung 55 inch mirror oled hero

Samsung Unveils Transparent, Mirrored OLED Displays

Transparent, mirrored OLED displays could replace fitting rooms.