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Samsung LE40F86BD Final Verdict

by Vincent Teoh
10 September 2007

SUMMARY
Although [100Hz Motion Plus] doesn't work as well as we'd like it to, Samsung LE40F86BD still comes up trumps with excellent blacks, exquisite detail, and smooth 1080p/24 handling.

PROS
> Deepest LCD blacks + high perceived contrast ratio
> Detailed image from 1080 source with [Just Scan]
> Smooth 1080p/24 handling from PS3

CONS
> [100Hz Motion Plus] introduces interpolation artifacts
> Shadow detail slightly indistinct

> Reflective screen requires good ambient light control

Pros

  • Deepest black level among all the LCD TVs I've tested so far (marginally beating M86)
  • Super Clear Panel™ increases perceived image depth and contrast
  • [Just Scan] allows for 1:1 pixel mapping and exquisite detail from 1080 sources over component and HDMI
  • Greyscale calibration options available in user menu (near-D65 achieved)
  • Accepts 1080p/24 signal from PS3 in both "Automatic" and "On" mode with a resultant reduction in judder
  • Deinterlaces 1080i to 1080p without any loss in resolution, and correctly processes 3:2 pulldown in 1080i over HDMI
  • Generous connectivity with three HDMI 1.3 inputs and even a USB port
  • [Wiselink] works well: easy to view JPEG and listen to MP3 files using a USB drive
  • Independent per-input memory settings
  • Tabletop stand comes pre-installed permitting quick setup
  • Stylish and futuristic design
  • Well mapped-out EPG and remote control

Cons

  • Non-existent film mode deinterlacing
  • Slight judder with 1080p/24 signal (screen refresh probably not a multiple of 24Hz)
  • [100Hz Motion Plus] erodes the 24p cinematic quality of film material, and introduces various interpolation artifacts (tearing, shimmering, sparkles)
  • Dip in low-end gamma makes shadow detail slightly indistinct
  • Failed to perform 3:2 and 2:2 pulldown over 480i/ 576i
  • Mild clouding, though lowering backlight reduced it to negligible levels on my review unit
  • Viewing angle of 90° limits off-axis enjoyment
  • Sluggish user menu and channel navigation
  • Reflection may pollute the image on screen if ambient light is not controlled

Conclusion

I've droned on and on, so let's get the crux of the matter out of the way: there is probably no condition under which I would voluntarily engage [100Hz Motion Plus] on the LE40F86BD to enhance my viewing pleasure. For film material, I find that it wreaks havoc on the very fabric that gives 24p movies their surreal dreamlike temporal quality. Call me nostalgic, but I prefer my movies to look filmic/ cinematic, not as if they were shot using a cheap £150 handheld camcorder, which is what [100Hz Motion Plus] does as it mutates 24p to hyper-real 50/ 60 fps "news mode".

For fast-action sports and console gaming, [100Hz Motion Plus] can indeed preserve more detail and resolution in motion, but in doing so various interpolation artifacts – shimmering, tearing, and sparkles around moving objects – would creep in. I have pretty much decided against using it myself (because the artifacts jump out at me every time I enable it), but if you think its benefits outweigh its shortcomings, by all means sprinkle some [100Hz Motion Plus] onto what you're watching... Samsung have generously provided 3 levels of control to suit your palette: "Low", "Medium" and "High".

Some of you may ask: if I'm not going to use [100Hz Motion Plus] which is a major feature on the Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
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, why am I still recommending this LCD TV? For starters, even without the aid of [100Hz Motion Plus], I found motion handling on the LE40F86BD to be more than acceptable, which was no mean feat seeing that I was comparing it against our reference Pioneer PDP508XD plasma side-by-side.

Throw in a black-level performance that's best-in-class (as long as we're talking about LCDs without wandering into local-dimming LED territory), and breathtaking picture depth that is laid down by Super Clear Panel™, and we've suddenly got a formidable television on our hands. Is the Samsung LE40F86BDBuy this for £949.98 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £50.00 discount
worth buying over the M86/ M87? In my opinion the answer is a definite yes, due to marginally better blacks and most importantly absence of internal Freeview tuner stutter. And who knows, you may be one of those who can tune out the artifacts and embrace the motion resolution benefits of [100Hz Motion Plus].

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