Samsung's Series 5 LED LCD TVs may forego fripperies such as 3D, motion control and USB timeshift recording, but if you're looking for a big brand, internet-enabled television, they're very temptingly priced.
The 40in Samsung UE40EH5300 reviewed here typically sells for around £500. It's also available as the 32in UE32EH5300 (currently £376 on Amazon), 46in UE46EH5300 (£640) and 50in UE50EH5300 (£899). See also Group test: what's the best TV?
Design is generic. At 93mm deep, this big-screen isn't quite as svelte as its more glamorous stablemates. Not that you'd be able to tell when viewed square on; the Samsung UE40EH5300 set has a glossy frontage with a slim bezel.
There are two HDMI inputs on the rear of the Samsung UE40EH5300, nestled alongside a SCART and combination AV phono/component jacks. There's also ethernet, an optical digital audio output and headphone mini-jack (an odd place for this, but there you go).
Side-mounted is a third HDMI, plus a couple of USB ports and a CI card slot. There's no integrated Wi-Fi, although the Samsung UE40EH5300 TV will work with an 802.11 wireless dongle.
Samsung UE40EH5300: user interface
The Samsung UE40EH5300's user interface is clean and colourful. Samsung's online portal offers a fine selection of streaming services, including BBC iPlayer, Netflix and Skype, plus a gazillion apps of more variable interest.
Multimedia file playback support is also excellent. MKV, AVI, MOV and MP4 all play from stick or NAS, while audio compatibility embraces FLAC, WMA, MP3 and AAC. Tracks are represented by a funky spinning CD graphic, adorned with album art when available. The Samsung UE40EH5300's programme guide is a standard Freeview EPG affair, enlivened by a live TV channel window.
Audio-visual performance is good, with caveats. There are no high-speed refresh modes to bolster the Samsung UE40EH5300's 100Hz panel, which means motion resolution brick-walls at just under 800 lines.
Engaging the LED MotionPlus function fails to lift this, but it does drop the set's brightness. If you're looking for a TV that delivers crisp sporting detail, you'll need to look further up Samsung's range. For less frenetic viewing, the Samsung UE40EH5300 is fine. There's no horizontal judder on pans, and pictures have a dynamism that's immediately appealing. Colour reproduction is livid, with reds tending toward orange, but blacks are sufficiently deep, with noise and miscellaneous fizz low.
Backlight uniformity, the bane of most edge-lit screens, is good; only a low-level glow emanates from the corners. Take care with placement though, as off-axis viewing is limited. Contrast and colour drop away quickly when viewed from the side.
The Samsung UE40EH5300's audio performance is surprisingly good. The cabinet's extra girth affords room to some decent speakers, translating to a listenable mid-range. Don't get too excited about the SRS TheatreSound HD preset though, it's duller than a Big brother contestant.