Samsung UN32D5500 LED LCD HDTV Review$699.00
Blacks & Whites
- Black Level
- Peak Brightness
- Tunnel Contrast
- White Falloff
- Greyscale Gamma
The Samsung UN32D5500 produced great black levels, as low as 0.07 cd/m2. That compared quite favorably to the three TVs we pulled in for competition, as you can see from the chart below. True, it's not quite as deep as the other Samsung and a similar Sony, but all these TVs did far better than the JVC BlackCrystal model. More on how we test black level.
The Samsung UN32D5500 offers very bright whites. It will have no trouble competing against the ambient light in a sunny room. At best, the TV can get as bright as 208.06 cs/m2. More on how we test peak brightness.
Take the brightness and divide by the black level and there you have the contrast ratio. According to our test results, that would give the Samsung UN32D5500 a contrast ratio of approximately 4401:1. That may seem small compared to the purported "Dynamic Contrast" ratio of 3,500,000:1, but we can assure you that there's a lot of nonsense and fairy dust behind that number. Our calculation is much closer to what you'll actually see. More on how we test contrast.
The tunnel contrast measures how well a TV maintains a consistent black level, regardless of how little or how much black content is on the screen. Fortunately, the Samsung UN32D5500 has no problems in this regard. More on how we test tunnel contrast.
The reverse of the test above, we see how well a TV maintains consistent peak whites. Again, the Samsung UN32D5500 had no problems here. Typically, LCDs do well in both the Tunnel Contrast and White Falloff tests, while plasmas frequently have problems. More on how we test white falloff.
The Samsung UN32D5500 is an LCD television that uses LED backlighting, rather than the older CCFL bulbs. On the plus side, LEDs allow the panel to be made thinner and more power efficient. One of the potential downsides is that LEDs do not always illuminate the screen evenly, as was the case here. In certain scenes, like a mostly-black or all-black screen, you can see a certain blotchiness of lighter patches. It's not pretty, but you probably won't see most of the time. More on how we test white falloff.
The greyscale gamma measures how well a TV transitions from black to white within the greyscale. We're looking for smooth gradients and a slope that falls, ideally, between 2,1. and 2.2. As you can see in the chart below, the Samsung UN32D5500's response curve is smooth enough, except for that little hiccup in the lower left portion of the line. That indicates that there's going to be some minor issues in the darkest stretches of the shadow details. The slope of the curve measured 2.49. That's a bit steep. Overall, though, the Samsung performed well. More on how we test greyscale gamma.