capsule review

Samsung HL-S5087W

At a Glance
  • Samsung HL-S5087W

    TechHive Rating

    Handsome 1080p DLP showed excellent color and minimal artifacts in tests. Unusually intuitive menu system is easy to master.

The 50-inch Samsung HL-S5087W, a DLP HDTV, won raves in PC World's testing, pleasing our judges enough to collect some of the highest performance marks we've seen in this category. At a street price of $2499 (as of September 8, 2006), this 1080p DLP might be a luxury purchase for some buyers, but its multitude of features and excellent image quality may push you to splurge.

The HL-S5087W averaged a score of Very Good on almost every TV test we threw at it. In high-definition scenes, this 1920-by-1080-resolution model produced realistic skin tones and exhibited good saturation, particularly on objects containing large swaths of color. A red car, for example, was vivid and rich-looking, with a balance that prevented the colors from looking unnatural. Sky and clouds in a wine country scene, a problem for many HDTVs we tested, betrayed very little blockiness here. Green tones were satisfying in the same scene, and trees and grass popped out with appealing color and detail. The TV produced what one panelist called a "pleasing picture" in a George Lopez scene, with a near-absence of shimmer on background curtains and wood grain. Skin tones were well defined, too, as the TV showcased its ability to portray a cast with naturally distinct dark and light skin tones.

In standard definition tests, this HDTV DLP also excelled. A San Francisco Giants baseball scene also demonstrated exemplary consistency in the green turf, and the red-orange background used for scores was pleasingly vivid. A juror detected a slightly "pink cast" here, as well as in the DVD tests, though the effect was not terribly bothersome. The TV set collected high marks for color quality and did a remarkable job of reproducing detail in darker background scenes.

The HL-S5087W's cabinet design is sleek and attractive. A large round power button, located just below the TV's glass in the center, serves as a visual anchor for the imposing 50-inch screen and its glossy black bezel. A stripe of silver steel, angled just above the power button, houses the TV controls for the on-screen display. Samsung even throws in a chamois cloth to clean the glass.

The built-in speakers were above average, but not great. In the last scene of the Seabiscuit DVD, each element-- dialogue, soundtrack, and sound effects--was distinct, so the audio was satisfactory; but the finale didn't sound as powerful as it can with stronger built-in speakers. Still, sound enhancements, such as surround settings and a five-channel equalizer, may suffice to please a lot of viewers. And audiophiles with high-end components can take advantage of the optical audio-out connection for crisp digital sound.

The HL-S5087W's user interface deserves special mention as one of the best-designed menu systems we've seen on a TV. Colorful animated icons appear at the bottom of the screen in a row when you press the Menu button on the remote. The menu system required almost no time to master. Samsung includes only five colors in its individual color controls (red, green, blue, yellow, and pink), but it also offers a convenient "before and after" screen comparison as you adjust the set, making your color decisions faster and more accurate.

Despite its many attractive, high-tech features, the HL-S5087 is easy to navigate, thanks to a thoughtfully implemented on-screen display feature that Samsung calls a Menu Map. It gives you a map of virtually all of the adjustments on the screen, instead of forcing you to scroll through a menu tree. It's a noteworthy touch that we hope to see in other TVs.

The Samsung HL-S5087W's remote is slim and lightweight. It has no backlight--a minor drawback--but its buttons are logically organized and partly color-coded. You can use it to control multiple devices, including DVD players and cable and satellite boxes.

The Samsung HL-S5087W's relatively high price of $2699 (as of September 8, 2006) reflects the fact that it's one of the most future-proof HDTVs available. Among the many features it includes are 1080p resolution and two HDMI inputs. A USB port that Samsung calls Wiselink even lets you display photos directly from your camera and play MP3 files.

Useful and unusual as those features are, the quality of the set's screen and electronics is what ensures a pleasing TV experience, in either standard or high definition. And on that point, the HL-S5087W definitely delivers.

Roy Santos

This story, "Samsung HL-S5087W" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • TechHive Rating

    Handsome 1080p DLP showed excellent color and minimal artifacts in tests. Unusually intuitive menu system is easy to master.

    Pros

    • Excellent image quality
    • Easy-to-use menu with animated icons

    Cons

    • Pricey
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