Samsung has been known for their excellent electronics and with the release of their latest D5500 LED Smart television, they proved once again that mid-range pricing doesn’t mean less quality. The 5-series set has a lot of great features and will appeal to almost anyone.
As far as televisions in general go, nothing is better than a crisp LED display – and that is exactly what you’ll get with the D5500. Compared to plasma and LCD, there is definitely an increase in the quality of the visuals. Samsung has also packed the set with Crystal Design and an Ultra Clear panel.
What the Ultra Clear Panel does, is eliminate reflections and absorbs external light, leaving the viewer with natural deep colours. It’s a nice touch, but it’s nothing that users will notice until they read up about it.
In terms of design, LED televisions are generally thinner than others, so it won’t take up a lot of space. The set can also be mounted on a wall, which is always great. But the set actually weighs less than one would think and it’s very easy to set up. It literally comes with only eight screws and all that needs to be done, is screw the foot piece in place and attach the television- it’s as easy as that.
Actually watching television is a bit trickier, but it’s by no means difficult. When the set is switched on for the first time, users will have to go through the usual motions of setting the date and time, where after the set will search for a television signal.
Once all the stations have been picked up, the set will automatically organise them into a Channel List. It must be said that the set’s reception is so incredibly strong, that Soweto TV could be picked up all the way in Fourways, Johannesburg. Once that it done, the set is ready for general use, but the TV’s special feature is where it truly shines.
The D5500 is a Smart TV and what that means, is that the set comes jammed-packed with all sorts of really awesome applications and features. Pressing the SMART button on the remote takes users to a built-in media browser, the Smart Hub. The set has two USB ports, so when users plug in a media device such as an external drive, the movie and music files can be easily browsed and viewed.
The Smart Hub is also the access point to the Samsung App store via an internet connection (wireless or LAN cable). A large variety of apps can be downloaded, such as games, education apps and news, and then played directly on the set. The games are a bit difficult to navigate as they all make use of the rather large television remote, but its bearable.
Speaking of USB ports, the set has four HDMI ports conveniently located at the back of the set. A TV can never have too many HDMI ports, so the more the better. Working in conjunction with that, the set makes use of Anynet+ , which allows users to control all HDMI CEC-compatible devices with one remote.
But what is also great about Anynet+, is that the set knows which devices have been plugged in. For example, PlayStation 3 will be listed in the Source list without a user’s input and when switching to HDMI source for the console on the television, PlayStation 3 will automatically switch on. Similarly, when the PlayStation 3 is switched off with the console’s controller, the television will automatically switch from the HDMI source to the broadcast channels.
As an overall package, the Samsung D5500 is a really cool television that provides everything a user could ask for. The design is sleek and stylish, the display is crystal clear and the sound quality is superb. Although the D5500 isn’t the top of the range when it comes to LED televisions, it’s still pretty good.
The addition of the Smart Hub is a bonus, but all the apps aren’t a necessity. It’s great to have games and play a little every now and again, but it might become a bit stale after a while. Other than that, it’s great value. The D5500 only comes in a 40”, which is a rather decent size and it’s naturally Full HD at 1080p.
The only fault that we could find was with some of the automatic colour correction settings and initially connecting to the Smart Hub via the internet.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor