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Samsung LN55B650 55″ 120Hz LCD HDTV: A Layman’s Review


A Closer Look at the Samsung LN55B650

While the overall design of a TV is rarely a deciding factor for most people, the LN55B650’s look caused some pretty strong reactions with friends and family. Personally, I love Samsung’s “Touch of Color” design with the thin red border as it goes with the décor of my room quite well. Reactions from other people ranged from love at first sight to instant hate with many questioning the use of red.

This TV also has a bit of a chin (or “jowls” as my significant other likes to call it) with its bottom portion sweeping slightly downwards directly below the Samsung logo. Another thing that should be mentioned is that both the plastic bezel and the screen itself have a glossy finish and are dust magnets. Luckily, the glossy “Ultra Clear” screen doesn’t adversely affect viewing when in a brightly-lit room but if there is a window directly opposite from the TV, we can see it this high gloss panel leading to some picture quality issues.

The base of this Samsung HDTV is a flat plate which has a glossy finish that will reflect any messy cabling job you may have done. Directly below the Samsung logo is a small LED that glows red when the TV is turned on. This may be a distraction when watching in a dark room so Samsung has wisely decided to include a menu option to control it.

At around 80mm deep, the LN55B650 is far from the thinnest TV on the market but when compared to similarly-priced LCD panels, it takes up surprisingly little space. Just remember that the slim design hides some heavy-weight components so proper reinforcement is an absolute must when mounting this set to directly to a wall.

When it comes to input connectors, there are some notable omissions but the addition of side-panel connectors is a welcome addition. The side of the TV includes two USB 2.0 connectors, a HDMI and a composite audio / video input.

Meanwhile, the back of the TV includes a horde of additional inputs and outputs. They include three additional HDMI connectors, a section for a PC’s VGA and audio inputs, a LAN jack for internet access, additional audio headers if you are using a DVI to HDMI cable that does not support audio pass-through and an EX-Link connector for future Samsung accessories. Outputs include left / right analog connectors and an optical audio output. Finally, closer to the bottom of the panel there are a pair of composite video inputs with their corresponding audio inputs and a single antenna jack.

So what are we missing? I would personally like to see an S-Video connector and a headphone jack. The lack of a headphone jack is a particularly odd omission since there are plenty of people out there (myself included) who lack a stand-alone amplifier and don’t want to have the TV blaring late at night.

The remote included with this HDTV is easy to use and extremely straight-forward in its functions. The keys are clearly marked and can be illuminated with the press of a button. The top portion consists of all the direct input buttons for channels, volume and video sources, the middle buttons allow you to navigate the menus while all the buttons in the bottom portion are used for media viewing and controlling other sources. All in all, it is a pretty ergonomic remote but I am sure that many of you will probably want to replace this with a Logitech Harmony some time down the road.

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