Samsung LE32A656 review

Barry de la Rosa
13 Feb 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT



32in, Freeview, analogue, 1,920x1,080 resolution, 3D: , 4x HDMI

Samsung's LE32A656 has a wide black bezel with dark red undertones and a transparent overlay that looks stylish and uncluttered.

The remote is chunky and has large buttons and a backlight for use in the dark. The generous complement of four HDMI inputs means you can have a number of devices plugged in at the same time.

Tuning the analogue signal took almost four minutes, while digital took less than two minutes. The LE32A656's image quality was disappointing, however, with a speckled effect on Freeview channels that made it look as though we were watching through frosted glass. This made it difficult to spot details. Colours were vibrant, though, and from a distance the image looked sharp. The EPG was a bit slow to react, and while it displayed a preview of the current channel, this meant there was only room for information on six channels. Confusingly, selecting a program that was just about to finish didn't switch us to that channel. There was also a noticeable delay when changing channels.

We were pleasantly surprised to see a pixel-perfect 1,920x1,080 image from our PC via VGA, but using HDMI required changing the display setting to Just Scan. Colours in photos were a bit saturated and the image was slightly dark, but flesh tones looked great. The image quality was harder to adjust than on Sony's KDL-32W4000, as changes to settings were less subtle. VGA is definitely the better connection, as it produced clearer text and more accurate contrast levels, whereas the HDMI connection produced grainy edges and overblown contrast and colours.

The image from our Blu-ray movie was a bit dark, and turning up the backlight served only to wash colours out. Contrast was turned up too high by default, and the edge-enhancement processing made the image too grainy. Overall, the image was too dark and colours a bit faded. DVD images at 576i were smooth and suffered only slightly from ghosting on sharp edges.

If you're looking for a TV that will double as a computer screen, the LE32A656 is a good choice as it works best under Windows. Its TV functions and image quality are disappointing, however. If image quality is your primary concern, you should choose the more expensive Sony KDL-32W4000 or Philips 32PFL9613D. If you're restricted to a 32in TV, Sony's Bravia KDL-32V4000 is better value, but for high-quality 1080p video LG's 37in 37LG5000 is the best choice.

Basic Specifications



Viewable size32in
Native resolution1,920x1,080
1080p supportYes
Aspect ratio16:9
HD readyyes
Contrast ratio15,000:1
Speakers2x 10W
Bezel (top/side/bottom)58mm/53mm/74mm
Screen depth90mm
Screen elevation135mm
Stand size (WxD)503x48mm


DVI inputs0
D-sub inputs1
HDMI inputs4
Component inputs1
S-Video input1
Composite inputs1
Audio outputsoptical S/PDIF out, 1x stereo phono
Otherheadphone output, 3.5mm minijack audio input


Tuner typeFreeview, analogue
EPG7 day


Power consumption standby1W
Power consumption on149W

Buying Information

Warrantyone year onsite