capsule review

Samsung HP-S5053

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder HP-S5053

    TechHive Rating

    A good picture and appealing extras come together in this HDTV plasma, but they’ll cost you.

Samsung HP-S5053
Photograph: Chris Manners

Samsung's HP-S5053 plasma HDTV looks striking, and not just because of its massive 50-inch panel. The shiny black cabinet and stand, complete with brushed-metal accent and a blue-lit power button, make quite a living-room focal point. Its image quality is generally pleasing, too.

Our test jury liked the HP-S5053's performance on both high-definition and standard-definition TV content. It maintained realistic skin tones, bright colors, and strong contrast even in PC World's bright-lights test. Most remarkable of all, this Samsung plasma excelled at our difficult DVD tests. The HP-S5053 deftly handled the challenges of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, showing the highlights on a black velvet cloak and maintaining good contrast in a dark scene. The TV showed good color balance on DVD content, particularly with the natural skin tones and the vividly colored racing jerseys in Seabiscuit.

Sound from the built-in speakers was generally satisfying. Though the audio wasn't the fullest we've heard, the SRS TruSurround XP added compelling oomph to a dramatic scene in Seabiscuit. The onscreen menus offer plenty of opportunity for tweaking the sound, including an easy-to-use equalizer. The HP-S5053 also includes digital audio output, which opens up some options for connecting to external sound equipment.

The HP-S5053 houses most of its audio and video ports (including two HDMI inputs) on the back, where they face out for easy identification. The set offers S-Video, composite, and headphone jacks on the side as well; these could be handy for temporarily hooking up a camcorder or other device. It does not include a CableCard slot.

My main beef with this Samsung model concerns the remote. Though the buttons are reasonably well labeled, they're up and down the length of the remote. Even a person with relatively large hands must shift the remote about frequently to perform typical functions. Since the remote has sharp edges around its top face, this process can be uncomfortable.

The Samsung HP-S5053 plasma HDTV delivers pleasing image quality on TV content--especially on DVDs. Its sound options are appealing, too. Its price of $4000 (as of 4/17/2006) is neither the highest nor the lowest you'll see for a 50-inch plasma. That said, four grand is four grand. If that seems prohibitively high --and you're not afraid to add an external ATSC and (if you need one) an NTSC TV tuner--you might want to check out Maxent's $2500 MX-50X3 50-inch plasma HDTV monitor.

Laura Blackwell

This story, "Samsung HP-S5053" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    A good picture and appealing extras come together in this HDTV plasma, but they’ll cost you.

    Pros

    • Nice picture quality
    • Good sound features

    Cons

    • Uncomfortable remote
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