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Samsung LN40A650A 40-inch LCD HDTV Review
Samsung LN40A650A 40-inch LCD HDTV Review - PCSTATS
Samsung are a well know brand in the HDTV arena, and today PCSTATS is testing one of its mid-sized 40" widescreen LCD displays that goes by the call letters LN40A650A.
 87% Rating:   
Filed under: Home Theatre Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Samsung Mar 16 2009   J. Apong  
Home > Reviews > Home Theatre > Samsung LN40A650A

Mirror Mirror on the wall...

The audio system built into the 40" Samsung LCD HDTV is modest, just 10W per speaker, but provides enough kick to get the job done. It supports SRS TruSurround XT, which is a virtual surround sound system. Audio output is taken care of via a SP/DIF optical, co-axial, or RCA outputs to connect to a speaker system.

This 40" HDTV is actually in the middle of Samsung's 650A family of displays, which range from 19' all the way up to 52". Like its siblings the LN40A650A HDTV has Samsung's Touch of Colour design, so its glossy translucent bezel is actually a very dark red, instead of the typical black which has become common with other high-definition televisions.

The design is sleek and smooth to the touch, and even the control buttons are made smooth with the outer bezel of the display so as not to break with aesthetics.

LCD TVs have come down significantly in price over the past few years, so Samsung's asking price of $2100 CDN ($1600 USD, £1150 GBP) actually makes the Samsung LN40A650A about average when compared to other LCD HDTVs of its size class.

Of course, size and features are only half the story when it comes to a three-inch thick slab of LCD glass. What really matters is how it looks with a 1080p blockbuster exploding on the screen!

Buttonless Control Panel Blends In

Samsung has tried to make the LN40A650A's controls as unobtrusive as possible to keep a clean, simple look for the front bezel of the display.

This certainly looks nice, and from even a few inches away it's difficult to tell that this 40" Samsung LCD TV has any buttons on it at all. Unfortunately not being able to see the buttons from more than a few inches away can make it somewhat difficult to use.

This problem is exacerbated since these aren't physical buttons that depress or give some element of tactile feedback, these are non-haptic, touch-sensitive zones that are flush with the bezel of the television.

In low-light situations accidentally pressing the wrong button a common occurrence. Having these buttons illuminate when in use, or having raised bumps on them (like the raised bumps on the F and J keys on your keyboard) could go a long way to making the television's physical controls easier to use.

Remote control - big buttons for old eyes?

The remote control bundled with the Samsung LN40A650A television works from distances up to about 25 feet away and is compatible with all other Samsung Anynet+ displays, DVD players and so on. It's nice that one remote can basically be used to control all your home theatre devices... provided you're fully outfitted with Samsung hardware.

The black remote fits comfortably in adult-sized hands, with large, rubbery buttons that are easy to depress and spring back nicely afterwards. These buttons can also be illuminated for use in dark rooms and during movies.

The 44-button remote works with any Anynet+ peripherals, including Blu-ray players and home theatre systems. It uses the TM98B standard.

The remote itself has the standard channel-surfing, volume and source selection buttons you'd expect to find on a TV remote, but there's also a series of buttons to control the LN40A650A LCD HDTV's special features, like InfoLink and WiseLink features.

For other Samsung devices that support the Anylink+ feature, like Blu-ray players, there are basic forward, backwards, pause and play buttons. These aren't quite the equivalent of having a dedicated remote for these functions, as the remote didn't have buttons to skip chapters on the Samsung Blu-ray player we were using.

The scroll wheel doubles as a d-pad, and is used to navigate through the LN40A650A's menu screens.

For navigating through the various sub-menus and on-screen displays of the Samsung LN40A650A, the remote uses a combination scroll-wheel and four-directional pad. The wheel is used to scroll through the longer menu lists, while the d-pad is used to select sub-menus.

While this sounds like a great idea, the implementation could use improvement. The first problem is that the LN40A650A's menus are too slow to keep up with the speed of the scroll wheel, which spins quite freely. Even spinning the scroll wheel all the way around only made the menu system jump forward a single spot.

In PCSTATS tests it was actually faster to just give up on the wheel and just use the d-pad to navigate. Unfortunately the scroll wheel still gets in your way if you accidentally scroll upwards or downwards while trying to click sideways. Removing the scroll wheel and having faster menus would make this remote a lot easier to use.

Okay, now lets take a closer look at this 40" beauty...

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Contents of Article: Samsung LN40A650A
 Pg 1.  Samsung LN40A650A 40-inch LCD HDTV Review
 Pg 2.  — Mirror Mirror on the wall...
 Pg 3.  Physical Attributes of Samsung's LN40A650A
 Pg 4.  Media Inputs and Outputs
 Pg 5.  HD Viewing and Listening Experience
 Pg 6.  Samsung LN40A650A LCD - is 40" big enough?

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