The Samsung EH5000 is as bare-bones as you can get in the features department. However, good picture quality and good value for an LED set from a top manufacturer make it an appealing choice for those who want a solid but simple TV for everyday viewing.
The EH5000 series is available in five screen sizes: the 32-inch UN32EH5000 (*Est. $430), the 37-inch UN37EH5000 (*Est. $500), the 40-inch UN40EH5000 (*Est. $580), the 46-inch UN46EH5000 (*Est. $750) and the 50-inch UN50EH5000 (*Est. $1,000).
For its price class, performance is hard to beat. On the whole, experts give picture quality a thumbs-up, especially in comparison to similarly priced TVs. Blacks are strong for a budget set, reports TelevisionInfo.com -- and better than with some more expensive sets, such as the step-up Samsung EH6000. Color performance is also excellent, especially color accuracy. This TV uses a full-array LED backlight -- albeit one with fewer individual LEDs than better full-array backlights found in higher-end TVs. The result is better screen uniformity (no hot spots or edge brightness) than many LED TVs, though some blooming (light halos around bright objects on black backgrounds) artifacts can sometimes be seen. The matte screen treatment means that the TV is a better choice for settings with lots of ambient light from lamps or windows.
The lack of an enhanced refresh rate is this TV's biggest negative, but the benefit of that feature is the subject of debate, with some experts saying that when watching typical TV images rather than test patterns, the improved smoothness of an enhanced refresh rate is rarely seen. That said, one reviewer does see brief blurring in some scenes, which might bother some viewers more than others. TelevisionInfo.com, however, prefers the motion performance of the EH5000 to that of the EH6000 because the EH6000's motion processing produced some motion-related artifacts. Note that because of the way the refresh rate interacts with the TV's backlight, Samsung is marketing this set as having a Clear Motion Rate of 120 Hz. As some owner reports point out, that's deceiving to a degree; this is a native 60 Hz (standard TV refresh rate) panel.
High-tech features not included. Those looking for the latest cutting-edge wizardry will want to look elsewhere. The EH5000 is 2D only, and there are no Internet features to speak of. There is an easy-to-use USB input that can read media (movies, music and photos) from an attached device.
Low on flash, but solid overall. The design won't set hearts a-fluttering, but is classic and classy with its thin but plain black bezel. Thanks to the full-array rather than edge-lit LED backlight, the cabinet depth is thin, but still chunkier than many competing TVs. The typical on-cabinet controls are replaced by a joystick to move through the set's menus -- something not everyone finds easy or convenient to use. The remote is functional and backlit, but could and should be larger. Connectivity is limited, and there are only two HDMI ports.
You pay for performance, but not unwanted frills. For those who want a basic TV for everyday viewing, it's tough to argue with the Samsung EH5000. Some budget sets cost even less, but their value is marred by a less satisfying viewing experience.
The Samsung EH5000 is among the best basic LCD TVs we've seen for 2012. You'll need to forego things like 3D or Internet streaming, but you'll gain surprisingly good picture quality at an attractive price from a top-tier maker. It's a better deal than the step-up EH6000, experts sometimes say, because the performance of the key features that separate the sets -- enhanced refresh rate and motion smoothing -- don't measure up to expectations in several reviews.
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Excellent TelevisionInfo.com provides in-depth reviews of lots of current-year TVs, including the Samsung UN40EH5000. Comparisons include a helpful one to Samsung's step-up UN40EH6000 that favors the less expensive EH5000 set. Christian Sherden says that the UN40EH5000 (and other sets in the series) won't make those trying to set up an advanced home theater happy, but could be a perfect choice for those who value simplicity and strong picture quality, especially for its selling price.
Review: Samsung UN40EH5000, Christian Sherden, March 13, 2012
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Review: Samsung UN46EH5000, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Very Good Though this is the landing page for the 40-inch Samsung UN40EH5000, landing pages for other screen sizes in the EH5000 series can be accessed from here and feedback for all the sets is grouped together. Feedback is fairly extensive, as nearly 50 owners have left their impressions. It's also fairly impressive, with only three leaving a grade of less than 4 stars at the time of our visit.
Review: Samsung UN40EH5000, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Aug. 2012
Very Good While most sizes of the Samsung EH5000 have little to no feedback at BestBuy.com, the 32-inch Samsung UN32EH5000 is an exception, with more than 30 owners having left opinions when we checked the site. Nearly all are pleased, it seems, as 97 percent say they would recommend the TV to a friend. The sole dissenter expected better picture quality and an enhanced refresh rate, and traded up to a more expensive TV to get those.
Review: Samsung - 32" Class - LED - 1080p - 60Hz - HDTV, Contributors to BestBuy.com
5. Home Theater Magazine
Good Scott Wilkinson does not test the Samsung UN40EH5000, but comments on it as part of his review of the step-up Samsung UN40EH6000. He says the two TVs are essentially the same except that the EH6000 offers an enhanced refresh rate (120 Hz) and a feature that smoothes out motion in material that was originally recorded on film. He says that not having those features is not a great loss, especially since the smoothing feature is "fairly ineffective" in the more expensive set. He concludes that, based on his testing of the EH6000, the EH5000 "should provide a very satisfying video image for under $1000."
Review: Samsung UN40EH6000 LED-LCD TV, Scott Wilkinson, Jun 4, 2012