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Samsung UE32J5500 review

 Review: August 2015  
 

Rating: 4 stars

In a nutshell: The Samsung UE32J5500 pulls off a seemingly impossible feat - a Smart 32-inch TV for around 250. There's value here by the bucket load, all wrapped up in a designer look. Picture quality may not be a match for Samsung's more expensive models, but it will be good enough for most viewers.



 

Design & looks

Samsung's Series 5 models are the place to look if you're after value, and for 2015, the company has really pushed the envelope when it comes to value for money. The UE32J5500 is the cheapest Smart TV we've ever reviewed, and yet it doesn't give any cheap first impressions.

On the contrary, this is a lovely looking TV, with a slim black & chrome chamfered bezel surrounding the screen. The matching stand has a subtle V-shape. It's a very stylish and modern look.

Picture quality

Samsung has assigned the J5500 a Picture Quality Index (PQI) of 300, putting it fairly near the bottom of its 2015 range. That's a fair overall assessment, and we'd say that this is a TV designed for catching up with the latest soaps and reality TV rather than savouring the Director's cut of your favourite movie.

Having said that, picture quality isn't too bad. The TV uses direct LED backlighting, so it has a good uniformity, with no evidence of clouding at the edges, which can often be a problem with edge-lit TVs. The screen doesn't reach the deepest black levels of Samsung's more expensive Series 6 models, and the dynamic range is fair to middling. Motion response isn't very crisp either, so there can be a loss of detail, or even some judder in fast moving scenes.

One thing we did like about the screen is the relatively wide viewing angles available. It actually outperforms most Series 6 TVs in this respect, so you can watch the TV from an angle without too much loss of image quality. Colour fidelity is good on this screen too.

Xbox/PS4 gamers will also be pleased that the input lag is relatively low in Game Mode.

Audio quality

For an entry-level TV, we can't complain about audio quality. It's exactly what we expected, which is to say, acceptable. The TV has stereo full-range downfiring speakers, delivering a maximum power output of 10W x 2, which is standard for most entry-level and mid-range televisions. Dialogue is usually crisp, but background sounds and effects aren't well reproduced here.

Smart TV

Samsung has updated its Smart TV system for 2015, and so apps and services are still rolling out. Hopefully this will all be finished before too long, although over-the-air updates will probably continue to be released regularly throughout 2015.

The system is well designed and easy to use, and fast to respond, thanks to a quadcore processor.

The full range of apps will include catch-up TV from the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, All 4 and more; streaming services YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Instant; plus social media and games.

You can also stream content wirelessly from compatible smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers, using your TV as a media hub.

Connectivity

Whereas other manufacturers often slash the available connectivity options in their budget TVs, Samsung always ensures that your TV can connect to whatever else you need.

In addition to the built-in Freeview HD tuner, you can connect your TV via HDMI (3 ports), USB (2 ports) and a combined component/composite connection. There's an optical audio output for connecting to a speaker system, although there's no SCART option.

You can reach the internet either by ethernet or Wi-Fi (both built-in). The system also supports screen mirroring of wireless devices, MHL, and a CI+ slot. You'll also find a headphone jack.

Overall, we're very happy with the range of options on offer.

Conclusion - a recommended bargain buy

The Samsung 32J5500 looks like a star buy for anyone on a really tight budget. Although the picture quality isn't as refined as Samsung's more expensive Series 6 models, it's good enough for casual viewing. The fact that you get comprehensive Smart TV services in such a low-cost TV makes this well worth the money. Add to that the TV's super-stylish looks and excellent range of connectivity options, and we've got to say it - we're impressed.


Samsung UE32J5500 features include:

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Is a wall mounting kit included with the TV?

Asked by Jonny from England on 19th Feb 2016



Samsung UE32J5500 user reviews

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Reviewed by Siontis from Greece on 4th Sep 2015
This tv is only for slow movies and tv shows NOT FOR GAMING! The input lag is horrible!
Rating:

Reply by ste from england on 23rd Mar 2016
no this runs at 60hz actually... and input lag is lower than most more expensive tvs... theres proven tests on utube. make sure you switch to GAME MODE... and turn off all post processing settings which causes lag.... u will have to calibrate to get a perfect picture.

Reply by Dan from UK on 27th Mar 2016
I hope no-one takes ste's comment seriously and buys this set under the delusion the input lag is low. I owned the set and quickly returned it because - in gaming mode - the best input lag figure I could get was 46ms. The most generous report online is 40ms. Both are bad. For gaming, you ideally want it below 30ms. Some of Sony's 32" and 42" 1080p sets have input lag below 20ms.


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