TODO alt text

Samsung UE42F5500 review

An excellent value TV that isn't quite perfect

Our Verdict

Great value TV, loaded with features and with a low price, the UE42F5500 is as near to a bargain as you'll find – but it's not perfect.

For

  • Smart Hub
  • Digital file support
  • Wi-Fi Low price
  • Uniform brightness

Against

  • Motion blur
  • VideoHub app dominates
  • Viewing angle
  • Basic build quality

With Smart Hub apps, a dual core processor, Freeview HD and a drastically discounted price at the time of writing, have we found Samsung's sweet-spot? The search for a a good value, well equipped 40-inch (ish) TV fit for a modern, connected living room simply must encounter Samsung's line-up of LED-backlit LCD TVs, of which this 42-inch UE42F5500 is one of the most appealing.

Ratings in depth
Samsung UE42F550
Samsung UE42F550
Samsung UE42F550
Samsung UE42F550
Samsung UE42F550

It's bereft of pricey picture-boosting circuitry found on the South Korean company's higher-end models, and nor – at 49.4mm – does it have the ultimate slim depth, but as an everyman TV the UE42F5500 is incredibly well positioned.

Despite its plethora of front-line features, it's the UE42F5500's dual-core processor that immediately piques our interest. Likely to make the UE42F5500 a lightning-quick TV to operate and navigate, that dual-core chip ought to also give a boost to the upscaling. That's always crucial on any Full HD TV such as this, though do bear in mind that the UE42F5500 doesn't have any 3D skills. Increasingly a default feature it may be, but we're not expecting its absence to have much effect on its popularity.

However, where its 'my first flat telly' status becomes really obvious is in the UE42F5500's design. It's not ugly – far from it – but the simple gloss black styling and remarkably lightweight (flimsy?) chassis lacks wow factor. Nor are we convinced that the UE42F5500 needs a Samsung logo poking out from the bottom of the bezel, but we do like the spider-like 'quad' desktop stand that lends the UE42F5500 a simple, floating look.

Also available

Freeview HD tuners, Smart Hub and dual core processors also feature on the other sets in the F5500 Series, though Samsung has created so many tiny variants that the prices are a mine-field of confusion. At the time of writing it was possible to get this 42-inch UE4F5500 for £399 (down from a list price of £699), which, considering what its brethren are selling for, makes it the sweet-spot by far.

Samsung's smaller 39-inch UE39F5500 (£449) and 40-inch UE40F5500 (£470) are priced above our bigger review sample, while bigger, pricier choices include the 46-inch UE46F5500 (£599) and 50-inch UE50F5500 (£779). Samsung also makes a couple of plasmas in the F5500 Series; the 51-inch PS51F5500 (£679) and 60-inch PS60F5500 (£949).

Features

The UE42F5500 is an LED backlit LCD TV with a 50Hz native Full HD panel, though what most buyers will be most interested in is its Smart Hub.

A lusciously designed and easy to navigate – thanks to the UE42F5500's dual-core processor – user interface that transits between five colourful panels using virtual page turns, its pre-installed apps are surely the best around. The collection includes all UK terrestrial TV catch-up apps – the BBC iPlayer, ITV Player, 4OD and Demand Five – as well as Blinkbox, Netflix, Lovefilm, BBC Sport, KnowHow Movies and many lesser known apps.

Samsung UE42F5500
The full complement of UK catch-up apps

The Samsung Apps online store hosts a great deal more apps including the likes of Plex, TED, Crackle, Dailymotion, Muzu, Spotify, Rightmove, WatchIndia, Viewster, Ustream, Curzon Home Cinema, France 24, iConcerts, Woomi, ESPN Player, Vimeo, TuneIn, BFI Player, AccuWeather and Samsung's own VideoHub film rental service among many more.

It may possess the finest choice of apps around, but what the UE42F5500 doesn't have, however, is Samsung's suite of Smart Interaction 2.0 technologies; voice and gesture control. And a good thing, too.

What Samsung calls ConnectShare (USB 2.0) Movie is simply named Media Player on the remote control; this simple software, partially integrated into the Smart Hub panels, can play digital video, music and photo files from either hardware, like a USB flash drive or HDD, or over a network using DLNA. That means Windows computers and laptops.

Samsung UE42F5500
Three HDMIs, and some other ports too

While budget TVs from some rival brands do have four HDMI slots available, we're pretty comfortable with the UE42F5500's three HDMIs, two of which are situated on a side panel the TV's right-hand side (as it's viewed). Around those two HDMIs are a couple of USB 2.0 slots – one of which can be used to record or time-shift programmes from its Freeview HD tuner – as well as a Common Interface Slot and an RF aerial feed. It's a slightly odd place to put the latter, but it's recessed well enough to hide any protruding cables.

A panel on the UE42F5500's back contains the rest of the ins and outs; a set of component video inputs features alongside some stereo phono outs, and its green input also acts as en emergency composite video slot. Alongside are a digital optical audio output, a full RGB Scart and Ethernet, though the UE42F5500 does also have a built-in Wi-Fi module. Also back here is a headphone jack – close enough to the side-panel not to be inconveniently positioned, as it was on some Samsung TVs in 2013 – and that third HDMI slot. Our only issue is that all connectors on this rear panel poke outwards, which might cause problems for wall-mounters.

Picture processing forms part of Samsung's HyperReal Engine, though on the UE42F5500 it's fairly limited. Mega Contrast, Wide Colour Enhancer Plus and Dynamic Contrast Ratio are joined by 100 Clear Motion Rate, though the latter makes little difference to the UE42F5500's native 50Hz panel. Some motion interpolation circuitry would have been very useful.

Tech Specs

Product TypeLED-LCD TV
Scan Format1080p
Digital TunerDVB-C (MPEG4), DVB-T (MPEG4)
Video Signal StandardHDTV 1080p
Number of HDMI Ports3
Product Family5500
EU Energy LabelA
Smart TVYes
Brand NameSamsung
Screen Size106.7 cm (42")
Aspect Ratio16:9
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityEU Ecolabel
EthernetYes
Wireless LANYes
Ethernet TechnologyEthernet
USBYes
HDMIYes
Weight with Stand (Approximate)9.80 kg
Backlight TechnologyLED
Operating Power Consumption58 W
Standby Power Consumption300 mW
RMS Output Power20 W
Electronic Program GuideYes
HDMI VersionHDMI 1.4
VGANo
HeadphoneYes
Digital Audio OutputYes
Height with Stand624.20 mm
Width with Stand971.80 mm
Depth with Stand265 mm
Number of Common Interface1
CI+Yes
Composite VideoYes
Component VideoYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Number of USB Ports2
Energy Consumption per Year27 kWh
PC StreamingYes
Internet AccessYes
Media PlayerYes
3D Glasses RequiredNo
Motion Interpolation TechnologyClear Motion Rate 100
Height576.9 mm
Width971.8 mm
Depth49.4 mm
ColourBlack
Sound SystemDolby Pulse, DTS, Surround Sound, Dolby Digital Plus
Product Series5500
Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
FeaturesWeb Browser, Teletext, Auto Program, Auto Power Off, Sleep Timer, Picture in Picture, PVR (Personal Video Recorder)
ManufacturerSamsung
Product ModelUE42F5500AK
Product Name42" F5500 Series 5 Smart Full HD LED TV
Manufacturer Part NumberUE42F5500AKXXU
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.samsung.com/uk/
Marketing Information

Now it's even easier to discover and enjoy all kinds of great entertainment. With a Samsung F5500 Series 5 LED TV, you can enjoy tailored recommendations based upon your tastes from S Recommendation. Samsung's Smart Hub gives you access to a wide range of online apps and content, including movies and TV programmes on demand. Thanks to a powerful Dual Core processor, you can also take advantage of fast multitasking, so you can browse the web smoothly, download one app while using another, and more.

Package Contents
  • 42" F5500 Series 5 Smart Full HD LED TV
  • IR Extender Cable
  • Remote Control
  • User Manual
  • E-Manual
  • Batteries
  • Power Cable
SpeakersYes
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)8.70 kg