Ferocious price warfare in the middle ground of the TV marketplace has piled all sorts of pressure onto the budget and small-screen TV scene, and as a result it’s becoming more and more challenging to discover a cheap or little TV that really stands out from the crowd.
The Samsung UE32K5600 has no truck with the black or gray plasticky finishes commonly found wrapped around small-screen TVs nowadays. Its slender frame gleams with a beautiful metallic silver finish, and the screen sits low on a chrome cross-shaped stand which appears and feels exceptionally opulent by present 32-inch TV standards.
Samsung Galaxy S7 Battery Life Review, if you’re one of the odd people who likes to look at the back of the TV as well as front.
The UE32K5600 does not ship with one of Samsung’s cool new ‘smart’ remote controls. However, although the standard remote you do get is not especially stylish it does boast responsive buttons and a sensible design.
Connections, meanwhile, go farther than those of all 32-inch TVs by including three HDMIs, two USBs for multimedia playback or recording in the digital tuner, and built in Wi-Fi.
Design TL;DR: If there’s a prettier mainstream 32-inch TV on the market, we have not seen it.
The Samsung UE32K5600 sports pretty much the exact same Tizen-based smart motor you make it on Samsung’s much larger and more luxurious TVs. This is mostly good news, as it means you get the benefit of a pleasingly effective, graphically rich and readily customisable home display which uses another layer of icons to supply faster direct access to direct shows, movies, programs or games depending on the option you have got selected from the bottom layer.
Amazon Prime and Netflix are one of the supported smart services, along with the BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub and My5 catch-up TV services. The only notable absentee, curiously, is the All4 app — although programs can always be included by firmware upgrade, so it may appear at some point.
The only other issue we have with the UE32K5600’s intelligent engine is that its interface runs pretty sluggishly at times. Clearly it’s not being driven by as strong a processing system because Samsung’s higher-end Tizen TVs.
Smart TV TL;DR: A decent selection of features combines with a straightforward and simple to customise — should rather sluggish — onscreen menu system.
The Samsung 32K5600’s pictures leave those of most current 32-inch rivals for dead. Its native full HD resolution, for instance, helps it deliver some of the crispest, cleanest, most detailed pictures from high quality HD sources which we’ve seen on a small-screen TV.
What is more, as long as you decrease the Sharpness setting somewhat from its default setting, this high degree of detailing looks impressively natural, without any evidence of edge halos or excess grittiness.
Even better for the small TV marketplace, the 32K5600’s sharpness is just slightly diminished whenever there’s a lot of motion in the frame.
The 32K5600 is quite impressive in its own black level functionality also. Unlike the majority of 32-inch models it can create profound, believable blacks absolutely free of low-contrast greyness.
The picture may begin to seem a little unstable if you employ the 32K5600’s Dynamic Contrast program on its greatest setting, and may lose quite a little black level should you flip Dynamic Contrast off. But stick with its Low setting and you get a strong equilibrium of black level thickness and brightness, without much backlight ‘flickering’ at all.
TVs that handle a good black level usually also deliver rich colors, and also the 32K5600 is no exception. The bold, vibrant tones of animated movies blaze off the screen with much more intensity than you usually see small-screen TVs, while subtler video images show off the TV’s ability to render a wider variety of tones than many rivals. This colour finesse and richness even remains largely intact in dark parts of the picture, which is quite unusual in the affordable small TV world.
Truly the only issues with the 32K5600’s images are that they shed colour and contrast if watched from an angle, and you will want to continue changing its backlight up and down to keep getting the best pictures out of it if you’re going to use it in frequently changing bright and dark surroundings.
The Samsung 32K5600’s size makes it a potentially popular gaming screen, and gamers will be over the moon to learn that in its own Game mode the 32K5600 ends in an input figure of just 10ms — it’s one of the smallest measurements we’ve recorded from a TV, and ought to have practically zero impact in your gambling experience.
While the UE32K5600’s slender, metallic design may look very pretty, there does not seem to be much space in there to get a critical speaker system. It comes as a pleasant surprise, then, to find Samsung’s miniature marvel sounding pretty good. It is open and strong enough at the mid range to always sound clear and well rounded, and its speakers are lively enough to deliver good amounts of both harshness-free treble detailing and bass rumbles.
Audio excellent TL;DR: Like its own pictures, the UE32K5600’s sound outguns the attempts of nearly all its mainstream 32-inch rivals.
Other panels to contemplate
Note 5 Battery Life and Review, so it’s difficult to pick out top notch direct competition for your Samsung UE32K5600 together with our customary confidence. Samsung itself has a more recently published option, the UE32M5500, however, that prices #50 or so longer, and we can’t vouch for its performance (yet, anyway).
Experience suggests the Panasonic TX-32ES500B might also be a good 32-inch choice, though that version just boasts a 720p resolution rather than Total HD.
Another option would be to try and stretch the budget into some 40-inch TV, like the HDR-capable (though still Full HD rather than 4K) Sony 40WE663.
Possibly the only best choice, though, would be to step up to this 40-inch version of the UE32K5600, the Samsung UE40K5600, that is yours for only around #50 more than the 32-inch model.
The Samsung UE32K5600’s picture quality is excellent, it sounds great also, and it offers you a robust and well-presented smart system. All of which means that if your budget is limited to around #360, and/or a 32-inch display is as big as you can handle, the UE32K5600 is in a league of its own.