Samsung UN48J5500 Review
48 INCH 1080p Motion Rate 60 Smart LED TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
- Full Web Browser and Smart TV options
- Thin bezels and profile make for an attractive appearance
- Quad core processor much better at operating the Smart Hub
- Plenty of HDMI (3) and USB (2) inputs for a small TV
- Good brightness from LED backlights
- Price/Value Compelling
- Attractive design for the price
- Side angle viewing degrades quickly as the viewer moves from off-center
- Operation of the Smart Hub with the standard remote lacks the feel of the Touch remote; web browsing is much slower
- Semi-matte screen finish seems dull compared to clear coat displays
- Built-in sound quality is average
- Though the Samsung Smart Hub is offering better performance with the quad-core processor, some Apps are buggy and the system still has its issues.
Excellent colors and a great amount of detail are seen in this shot
Picture Quality Rating: 82/100
This bright 50 inch edge lit LED TV provides a brilliant picture. The edge lighting also helps to balance out the downsides of the matte screen by providing rich colors and strong contrast. All of that said, from relatively close to front and center we felt the picture displayed was very good with lots of light flow-through to help with depth perception. The biggest negative as far as the picture is light bleed and “clouding” in dark and black areas of the screen over time. The weakness is not there initially, it develops over time with use. It's a result of the LED backlights and average panel filters. But as a mid-level screen we expect a few of these challenges. On the positive side, I think the J5500 has good color rendition after calibration. There are also lots of picture setting options to choose from. We recommend the movie setting to start. Upgraded picture quality features on the J5500 include a wide color enhancer which purportedly presents the eye with a wider color gamut. We're skeptical about the benefits of this feature. The second is a micro dimming pro feature that improves contrast in isolated areas. It works to some extent.
Contrast is strong with vibrant color reproduction
Side Angle Viewing – Still Room for Improvement
The biggest problem with the J5500 TVs picture quality. Color and contrast degrade pretty early at about 20 degrees off center and it quickly gets worse from there. The amount of “wash out” is also more severe than LED TVs with a clearer coat (ie more advanced filters and light absorption). Above and below off center viewing gave a similar result. This is important for those who plan on wall mounting the TV above eye level. Or for those with wide angles in their viewing room.
Auto Motion Plus - Know When to Use this Feature
The Auto Motion Plus picture setting in the J5500 is a feature that comes as a blessing and a curse. By default it is set to On in all of the preset picture setting modes. You should turn it off for streaming content, DVDs, Blu-rays, and TV shows. You end up with the dreaded soap opera effect, making images look terribly unrealistic by eliminating natural background blur. Turn it off in the Picture Options menu and everything will be fine again. You'll immediately see judder when you disable it, but your eyes will adjust momentarily. We've noticed that it actually helps when it comes to displaying 3D content and sports programming. When viewing 480i based content we saw slight improvements when the setting was low as well. Just be familiar with how to adjust this and it won't be a problem.
(Note: to get to the setting click on Menu, swipe across to Picture, Scroll all the way down to Picture Options, Scroll down to AutoMotion Plus.)
Once again, take note of the excellent color reproduction and strong contrast
Game Mode - the Way to go for Gaming
The J5500's 60 Hz panel is not going to be the best for gaming. But after enabling the Game Mode, the J5500 turns out to be a perfectly acceptable gaming TV. Even a good one. Game Mode features its own picture settings, so take a moment to get the picture looking good again the first time you do it. Screen Fit is also one of the most important things to select so you don't get overscan. A lot of the picture settings for games will be determined by personal preference. Just be sure the picture is bright enough for you.
Features Rating: 82/100
Smart Hub - Lots of Options
The familiar Samsung Smart Hub makes a return on the J5500 series
Samsung has cut down on the number of Apps in the Smart Hub, many are still buggy. Let's face it though, you probably are only going to use the most widely used ones anyway. Believe it or not, when it comes to quality of free and paid apps, they beat out most of the competition. The Premium Apps such as the movie services, sports and music are also top notch and include the usual Netflix, You Tube (though we like Youtube through the browser better), Facebook (browser is better here too), Twitter, Vudu, Amazon, Hulu Plus. All of this and the web browser are powered by a quad core processor for increased speed.
Wifi and Web Browser Included
The built-in wifi connected to our network flawlessly and quickly. We had everything up and running in no time at all. The Web Browser on the J5500 defaults to a Bing search bar. The browser is slow to use with the 5-way controller on the remote but loads content quickly and the Wifi connectivity is just as strong as last year's model.
Remote and Menu System
Samsung always has a very easy to use menu system that is very well organized. The layout presents tutorials beside various settings and information explaining some of the more complicated picture settings that you probably do not want to use, but may be curious about.
Design and Appearance
The J5500 looks are just your now-standard thin half inch black bezel, simple and understated with clean lines - just the way we like it. I also like the new stand design though the material quality could be better. Panel depth is thin-enough at 2.7”.
Sound is of average quality from the down-firing 10WX10W speakers.
BD Wise Plus
A nice added feature that automatically finds the optimum resolution setting when viewing BluRay disks.
Value Rating: 93/100
The UN48J5500 is one of Samsung's best value models of the year, and starts at a compelling price tag of $700 but may be found for less. It's a much better deal than the UN50J6300 which has little in extra features. This is one of those “mover” value models for Samsung. In these smaller screen sizes, we generally do not recommend moving up to 4K UHD, due to limited content and increased cost. The J5500 has an adequate feature set and pretty good picture quality. It forgoes some of the costlier features such as 3D, a touch pad remote, and a higher grade panel filter.
Overall Rating: 86/100
- 49.5" Diagonal Measurement
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- Motion Rate 60
- Wide Color Enhancer
- Mircro Dimming
- 2x 10 watt speakers
- 4 HDMI, 3 USB inputs, 1 component input.
- Dimensions without stand (W X H X D): 44.0" x 25.5" x 2.7"
- Dimensions with stand: 44.0" x 27.7" x 12.2"
- Weight without stand: 28 lb.
- Weight with stand: 29 lb.
|Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Wiley never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...Wiley does. Read more about Robert|