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LE52M87BDX Design & Operation

by Andrew Fee
9 August 2007

Setup of the LE52M87BDX is nice and easy. The top half of the box just lifts off, and the stand is already attached. Due to the sheer size of this display, you will need two people to move it, but it's nice and light despite the size.

As with most of Samsung's displays now, the LE52M87BDX is very, very shiny. The frame is glossy black, the stand is glossy black, and even the back of the television has this finish. It uses Samsung's latest Super Clear panel, which is very reflective when the set is turned off.

There isn't a boxy part to this television, with gentle curves and bevelled edges everywhere. In typical Samsung fashion, the power button is right in the centre, which adds some nice symmetry to the look of the TV.

If you are worried about dust or marks, this is not the television for you. As this is was a review sample that has been to various other places before getting to me, it had picked up plenty of dust, fingerprints, and minor scuffs on the frame.

Connections

You will find the exact same inputs on the LE52M87BDX as all Samsungs from this range - two HDMI 1.3 inputs (one of which has RCA audio connectors as well) two SCART sockets - with only one accepting RGB, component and VGA.

While the VGA connector can apparently accept 1920x1080, the highest I was able to send it from my Xbox 360 was 1280x768, so I was unable to get full 1080p from HD DVDs with it, However I believe this is due to the fact that it is a review sample that has an old firmware version.

On the left, there are your standard composite/s-video connections, and the third HDMI input.

Down the right hand side there are manual controls for the television, though I doubt many people will be making use of these.

Menus

The menus on the Samsung LE52M87BDX are quite well laid-out, with the standard picture settings visible on the first page, and the advanced settings hidden in the "detailed settings" menu.

There is plenty to adjust here - far more than the average user will want, but it's great for anyone that wants to properly calibrate their display. It doesn't have everything you need to get a perfect calibration, but far exceeds what most televisions offer.

While the menus are transparent, they are quite large, and right in the middle of the screen, which means that you have to keep closing the menus to see what your adjustments look like.

Disappointingly, while they are fairly simple looking, the menus can be quite unresponsive at times, which is frustrating when trying to calibrate the screen, as it has you going two or three "pages" deep when adjusting the white balance, and they close fairly quickly if they don't receive an input, so this slowed down the process considerably.

There are three presets available for settings - Dynamic, Standard and Movie though some options are locked out in the Dynamic and Standard modes. Additionally, enabling xvYCC and the Game mode store their own settings as well, and all of this is saved on a per-input basis.

Picture Menu More Picture Menu
Picture Detailed Settings Sound Menu
Equaliser Menu Setup Menu
More Setup Menu  

EPG

Samsung has quite a nice EPG for their Freeview tuner - it has a small window showing you the current channel while navigating it, giving you a two-hour look of six channels at once. If you prefer, it can also be set to just show you Now and Next.

EPG

It's a little on the slow-side, but not unbearable, and I quite like the "Channel List" that you can bring up, which has a grid showing 24 channels at once, drastically speeding up channel selection. (though there is no information on what is currently showing)

EPG Grid Format

Remote

This is pretty much the same remote you will have found on all Samsung TVs this year, and for good reason - it's sleek, has a nice matte black finish, feels very solid, and is well balanced.

There are Braille inscriptions next to / on some of the buttons, and the Volume, Channel and TV buttons are backlit. A nice touch is that the button used to light these actually glows in the dark.

The remote can also be programmed to control your VCR, Cable Box, DVD Player, various other Set-Top Boxes. While this is a nice feature, it leaves the remote feeling a little cluttered.

Remote Control


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