Experts and users say that if you need a compact TV, it's tough to find a better choice than the Samsung EH4000. Frills and extras are nonexistent, and the resolution is only 720p (though experts say that's perfectly fine in screen sizes this small), but the picture is superb and the value is good.
The Samsung EH4000 is available in two screen sizes, and experts say that both will perform similarly. Choices are the 32-inch Samsung UN32EH4000 (*Est. $320) and the 26-inch Samsung UN26EH4000 (*Est. $250).
In a small-sized screen, it doesn't get much better than this. At first glance the 720p resolution might be off-putting, but experts say that it's all that's needed in the 26-inch and 32-inch screen sizes the EH4000 series includes. With that out of the way, image quality truly impresses. CNET speaks for the majority when it says that for a set of its size and price, the EH4000's black levels are outstanding. The same is true of shadow details (the ability to differentiate between different levels of black in dark scenes).
In absolute terms, you can find sets with better blacks, but not without stepping up to more advanced, notably larger and much more expensive models. Color performance is even more impressive -- "natural-looking and well-saturated," CNET writes, despite the lack of sophisticated color controls. Uniformity (bright patches, often along the edges of the screen or in the corners), normally a problem in edge-lit LED sets, seems to be pretty good with the Samsung EH4000.
This is a 60Hz set, so there's no motion-blur reduction feature. However, as many note, with modern LCD panels blur is already pretty minimized, and what is seen in real program material (instead of test patterns) will often escape the notice of all but the pickiest of viewers. The set does have a dejudder feature (called LED Motion Plus) that smoothes out motion in film (due to the different frame rates of film and video) and makes it look like it was shot on video in the first place. Some people love the effect (often called soap-opera effect), others loathe it, and CNET's Ty Pendlebury says it isn't "as obnoxious as some of the smoothing modes I've seen." The matte screen holds up well under bright lights, and the set enjoys a prodigious contrast level, making the EH4000 suitable for normally lit living rooms and even (ample) kitchen counters.
In addressing big-screen TVs, audio rarely gets much attention because a) many assume that things will be pumped through a home theater system, and b) built-in sound is most often pretty poor. With a smaller set, built-in audio takes on a more important role, as it is more likely to be relied upon. Reports say that what's heard here is pretty decent. We found little negative feedback from owners regarding sound quality. One professional reviewer who addresses sound quality does note a few problems, but says it is fine for typical TV programming.
If you are looking for the latest in whiz-bang technology, don't look at the EH4000. You won't find 3D or Internet or local streaming in this set, but the good news is that you won't be paying for those features either. However, if you have your own content (video, music or photos) that you want to enjoy on the set, the EH4000 can read it from a USB thumb drive. The edge-lit LED backlight keeps things on the thin side.
The EH4000 will look fine in most settings. The piano-black bezel won't let you forget it's a TV when it's off, but it is tastefully thin. The stand does not swivel -- not a deal killer in a set this small, we believe. The remote is backlit, but small. Some find issues with its ergonomics, as buttons are crammed pretty close together. Others say that it is excellent. Connectivity is fine for a small set, but some are disappointed that there's no VGA input for use with a computer.
You get what you pay for, and then some. You can find cheaper sets, and you can find sets with more features. What you will struggle to find is a set with better performance at this price point.
With the EH4000, Samsung proves it understands that buyers of bare-bones small sets might be willing to give up features, but can be less forgiving when it comes to picture quality. Great blacks, even better color and styling that is a small step above the typical budget crowd make it a reviewer and owner favorite.
Review Credibility: Excellent CNET calls the 32-inch Samsung UN32EH4000 "a fine example of a no-frills television that gets the basics right." You won't find the bells and whistles of pricier TVs, but you do get picture quality that outpaces the competition. The site adds that the 26-inch UN26EH4000 has similar specifications and should perform the same.
Review: Samsung UN32EH4000 Review, Ty Pendlebury, Aug. 7, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent ConsumerReports.org is one of the few professional testers to look at smaller-screen TVs, including the 32-inch Samsung UN32EH4000. Discussion, though briefer than some, is more comprehensive than it once was. Testing is done and results are presented. The set is rated and ranked.
Review: Samsung UN32EH4000, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Review Credibility: Very Good Owners leave feedback for both the 32-inch Samsung UN32EH4000 and the 26-inch Samsung UN26EH4000 (feedback for both sets can be accessed from this page). Most are pretty pleased, as evidenced by the overall rating of 4.4 stars following nearly 70 reports. A very small handful complains of sets that stopped working, but most of those comments refer to an older model, not the Samsung EH4000.
Review: Samsung UN32EH4000, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Aug. 2012
Review Credibility: Fair About.com guide Robert Silva names the 32-inch Samsung UN32EH4000 as a Product of the Week. However, while Silva occasionally produces excellent testing-based reviews, this write-up is based, it appears, on an assessment of the TV's features. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Samsung UN32EH4000 32-Inch LED/LCD TV, Robert Silva, June 29, 2012