Very good black levels, four HDMI ports, precision colors, great judder reduction technology and a host of other built-in media centric features
Somewhat expensive for a non-LED TV and the screen glare can be a problem when near windows
Suspect as whether its unique styling can pass the test of time. However, it looks nice in 2009
Go Go Verdict:
The Samsung LN55B650 is a bit expensive but at 55 inches it gives you enough "Pow!" to separate yourself from the standard issue 52 inch models that are currently dominating the scene. Although some of its technology is not as cutting edge as the new LED based 240Hz models it still has a top quality picture and a great viewing surface. Recommended.
Go Go Review
Samsung has been popular with HDTV users for a few years now and continues to pick up good momentum. Although their lineup is a bit crowded and occasionally frustrating to choose from they prefer giving a buyer choice versus a one size fits all mentality. We decided to start our reviews somewhere in the middle of the road so in comes the Samsung LN55B650 55 inch LCD.
Let look at what you get:
Screen Size: 55 inches
4ms response time
Built-in digital tuner
Auto Motion Plus 120Hz: Reduces Blur
USB 2.0 port
Speakers: Two 15-watt stereo speakers
SRS TruSurround HD
Content Library (2 GB Flash Memory):
Warranty: 1 year parts and labor with in-home service; Samsung toll-free support
Although still based on a CCFL LCD and running at a 120Hz, the LN55B650 may be considered a bit expensive. However, when the price is compared for its size (55 inches), then the price of entry becomes more enticing especially since it moves past the usual 52 inch market that currently dominates the scene.
Following a trend it also comes with DLNA technology to allow your TV to serve up content stored on your PC or any other DLNA supporting device. Although this features works well it was somewhat slow at times. However, we appreciate the value add of it but don't believe that their implementation or execution are deal breakers in the minds of most buyers.
More and more devices use HDMI so the inclusion of 4 HDMI ports is good. However, considering that most users may now have at a minimum 4 HDMI devices we think that 5 HDMI ports might have been better.
Starting with the basics, how's the picture quality? The black level is very good (although not the best from this year's models but certainly in the top ten). A comparison to our base benchmark Sammy 71F series model showed a drastic difference between black levels from that older generation. Although the black levels are nice we did see that in black heavy scenes there was a slight purple tinge that was noticeable.
The judder reduction or "dejudder" technology is also very good and is quite customizable but when turned up to high it caused our sample movies to look less film like and introduced noise. We recommend a moderate level.
Samsung likes their screens glossy and apart from the obvious product placement advantages they tend to introduced a considerable amount of glare when near windows. The LN55B650 is no exception. However, a glossy screen will create a better overall contrast and colors that pop.
We were hopeful for high contrast and color accuracy and we got both. Color wise the LN55B650 is nearly ready out of the box and requires very little calibration. A big plus for normal users who may never calibrate. The stated 100,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio was outstanding especially considering that it is a non LED based TV. Bright colors were very bright and blacks were very black.
As far as it's styling goes the "Red Touch of Color" is nice but may be a bit distracting if emphasis should go on its performance. However, Samsung did a good job to separate themselves for an endless sea of black frames. Our main concern is whether such bold styling will make it past 2009.
Having seen quite a bit of competitors this year we are happy to say that the Samsung LN55B650 55-Inch LCD looks to be a solid entry and a win for Sammy, Inc.
The Samsung LN55B650 55-Inch LCD is available at retailers such as Amazon.com and all major electronic stores.