32" LCD TV Shootout; Samsung LN32D450 vs. Vizio E321VL

Cheap LCD Televisions for 2011

by Robert Wiley

While Samsung has the highest TV sales by revenue in North America by revenue, Vizio sometimes leads the sales by unit category in certain quarters if plasma TVs are excluded - especially in smaller LCD TVs. So it's worth taking a look at these two in comparison. Both of 32" LCD models, while inexpensive are not slouches in quality. They just do not offer the high end features of the 46" category. These LCD TVs can be found at WalMart, Target and other discount stores as well as Internet dealers.


We liked the HD rendition from the Vizio E321VL a bit better. This shot from the Blu Ray of Alexander shows better flesh tone and definition

HD Picture Quality

I was impressed by the HD picture performance of the Vizio E321VL. The light throughput was very good. Black levels looked nicely saturated and the viewing angle was solid. Post calibration colors looked warm and vibrant. The Samsung didn't impress me as much though the HD picture quality was OK. It didn't have the background light, nor color saturation that the Vizio had. Though both TVs displayed some judder effects, the Samsung was a bit too subdued in our opinion.

Advantage: Vizio E321VL

NON-HD Picture Quality


From the standard definition DVD of the Truman Show. Colors from the Samsung were more accurate

Since much of the material you will watch on this TV will not be in HD, it's important to know how the picture will perform in standard definition. Both TVs are a little below average with Non-HD signals.

Both TVs exhibited more problems with Non-HD signals. The Samsung had some jerky effects and the picture was too flat for the most part. The Vizio had a worst time of it with the same jerky effects during panning scenes. But the most distracting aspect of it was the inconsistency with different material. Changing between Standard and Movie settings yielded some divergent results as dark shadow detail was lost in Standard mode due to oversaturation in blacks, while the pictrure looked too dim in Movie mode.


Notice how the light throughput slightly washes out the face of the girl on the Vizio while not doing so on the Samsung. A shot from the Truman Show.

Advantage: Samsung LN32D450

Viewing Angle


In this shot from the Blu Ray of Alexander we can see the Vizio maintained contrast better at side angles than did the Samsung. Notice how the black levels get washed out at side angles.

The Samsung exhibited much of the disappointing black level degradation from side angles that we have come to expect from LCD and LED-LCD TVs. However, the Vizio performed very admirably from side viewing angles. We were surprised by this performance.

Advantage: Vizio E321VL

Audio Performance

You are likely not hooking a 32" TV up to a surround sound system so the inbuilt audio quality is an oft overlooked factor. It matters a lot though as TV speakers vary greatly. Both the Vizio and Samsung TVs have 10W X 10W built in speakers and both have an upgrade feature called SRS TruSurround that helps somewhat with certain programming. The Vizio has plenty of volume but voice is overwhelmed by surrounding sound. The Samsung's audio, while not stellar, better restrains surrounding background sound material to have better voice volume by percentage.

Advantage: Samsung LN32D450

Appearance

This is one of the more clear cut tests in the review. The Samsung LN32D450 retains almost identical design to last years 32C450 and we still like it a lot. Neither of these TVs receives the nice thinness that upper tier TVs have. The Samsung has a depth of around 3.25", while the Vizio has a bulky 3.6" in depth. The Samsung though, has an oval stand, a Touch of Color scarlet red, thinner framing bezel, and attractive thin acrylic edging. The Vizio is boxy with the speaker grill on clear display on the bottom of the TV. The TV is black gloss with a beveled frame. It's not a terrible design, it just doesnt match up well with the Samsung.

Advantage: Samsung LN32D450

Feature Set

Neither TV has much of an upgraded feature set. Neither has Internet capability, 3D ready, upgraded Hz Rates (they both are 60Hz), or 1080p resolution, or LED backlighting. Heck, even the table top stands dont swivel. Both are solid performers in what they do offer. Both have SRS TruSurround. The Samsung 32D450 has a USB input for viewing pictures or video.

Advantage: Tie

Menu/ Functionality

The Vizio E321VL Menu controls are easy to use and flow down the left hand side of the screen with your viewing content still showing on the larger right portion of the screen. The menu is fairly complete with even some advanced picture settings.

The menu system for the LN32D450 is left over from last years TVs. It is presented as an overlay and though a little difficult to use is fun and exciting looking.

Advantage: Tie

see Price, Value, Overall Score and more on page 2

 

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