Samsung LE46B750 television review

4.5 out of 5
£1250

For

Colour, contrast, HD detail, no blur, DLNA networking

Against

Network connectivity issues, weak Contents TV, viewing angle, average audio

It may be concentrating its marketing budget on a brand new range of LED-packed Luxia screens, but Samsung still has time to give ageing LCD TV tech a quite brilliant makeover. Added to a Full HD 1080p resolution, a 200Hz mode is the icing on a TV that elsewhere has a host of features to appeal to all kinds of users.

Nicknamed Motion Plus, the 200Hz feature can be set to clear, standard, smooth and custom settings, the latter allowing individual blur and judder reduction levels to be tweaked. Here, as on most similarly-featured TVs, Motion Plus’ frame interpolation – whereby individual frames of video are inserted into the action to get rid of image lag and ghosting - is something of a trade-off; a dizzying amount of depth is created, but so are some irritating artefacts. Keep the lowest "clear" setting and the otherwise all-round excellent picture doesn't suffer from the annoying flicker around moving objects, something that blights other TVs efforts at frame interpolation.

Picture-wise, there's little else on the LE46B750 that needs explanation; kudos goes to Samsung for creating such clean pictures free from noise, as well as deep, believable blacks that really lift the action into the realms of reality. And colours rarely stray from perfection – considering its size, the LE46B750 is quite an achievement.

A superb set for pairing with a Blu-ray player, the LE46B750 also proves reasonably adept with high-def games, while even Freeview pictures are watchable.

If mere video gets boring, the LE46B750 packs quite an arsenal of digital distractions. The Internet@TV widget gallery, which comprises a pop-up toolbar along the bottom of the screen, can be activated while a Blu-ray disc – or any other video source – continues beneath. Better still, the video source can be re-sized to sit alongside an open widget menu – a Yahoo news report, say – in its entirety.

As you scroll around the toolbar, menus for each widget pop-up, creating a very PC-like experience, though, like a PC, baffling problems do appear; the YouTube widget wouldn’t load during our test.

The Anynet+ feature works without a hitch; simply perform a search from the onscreen menu and a connected Blu-ray player can be paused, played and skipped around using the TV’s remote.

Using the LE46B750's other new feature, Contents library, means switching off Anynet+ and any other video source. Used in isolation, this gallery of pictures, recipes, one basic game (called WiseStar), children's stories and the oddly named "wellness" category (a collection of bland chillout tunes that play over animated shots of rainforests, clouds and candles) really isn't much of a diversion.

DLNA networking certainly is. Although not advertised on the remote control, it proves this TV’s most tempting add-on feature. It relies on some rather fiddly folder icons and generally overcomplicates the whole process, but we successfully streamed all manner of videos and music from an iMac on the same broadband home network. Streaming DivX, AVI and most iTunes-based videos proved a cinch, though it did fail to play other common formats.

Loading times are fair, though overall there's little here to challenge the far easier streaming interface that’s so familiar to Xbox 360 owners.

Verdict

The LE46B750’s weak points are its built-in speakers, a narrow viewing angle (sit immediately in front of the screen for contrast-heavy pictures) and a few extra multimedia features that fail to deliver. Thankfully, these are overshadowed by the LE46B750’s impressive core ability to produce a cracking high-def picture that screams class.