Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Review: Samsung LN-T3735H

About a month ago my girlfriend and I decided to buy a new television. We had been thinking about his for a while.

I researched different sizes and models. I liked the price of the ViewSonic LCD televisions, but there seemed to be quite a few bad reviews on NewEgg.com. We decided to go with Samsung. According to Best Buy employees and Consumer Reports, Samsung has a good reputation for LCD televisions.

We looked at different size televisions and we decided that a 37 inch diagonal was good enough. More on that a little later. The Samsung T3735H was exactly what we wanted. It has 3 HDMI inputs, which will be handy to plug in a new DVD player or media center. One of the HDMI inputs is on the side not the back. The screen is 720p. 1080p would be nice, but we probably wouldn't be able to see the difference on a 37 inch screen.

This Samsung model isn't sold in many places. There were only a couple sites online that sold the model and when you considered shipping and handling all the prices were about the same. We decided to buy the TV from BestBuy.com*. After some trouble, we were able to schedule delivery for the TV and we got a free wall mounting bracket, which is nice. The price for the TV was around $1050 on sale. After shipping and taxes the price came to right around $1200.

We also bought a new component audio/video cable to connect the DVD player to the TV. We bought the cable from monoprice.com and I am very happy with it. Cables and accessories tend to be high markup items at retailers like Best Buy. The cable I got from monoprice was very cheap and seems to be very high quality.

The television was delivered. We moved our old 27 inch TV out of the way and put in the new shiny LCD. Both of us had the same initial reaction: Oh no, this TV is way too big. At the store the 37 inches TVs seems a little small. It seems like 40 inches is the middle of the road. Now that the TV is in my living room, I can't imagine getting a TV any larger than 37 inches.

I am not a TV expert, but I think this TV is great. HD shows look fantastic. Standard TV looks fine to me -- it seems to be a common complaint that standard tv looks horrible on LCDs. Using an antenna made from a coat hanger (really) I was able to pick up several local HD channels -- all the major broadcast networks. I live in an urban area and the antennas are only about 5 miles away according to antennaweb.org.

The on screen menus and controls for the TV are quite easy to use. There are 3 presets for viewing, each tuned for different environments. Dynamic for brightly lit rooms, standard, and movie for watching TV or movies in low light. I think the remote control is decent, if a bit big. I have an Samsung DVD player that came with 2 remotes. One remote had every button, the second remote just had the commonly used buttons. I wish they had provided a smaller remote for the television.

There are 2 features which are purely cosmetic. There is a sound that plays when you turn the TV on and off. There is also a blue glowing light on the bottom of the TV. The sound is cute at first, but quickly becomes annoying, espeically late at night when you don't want to wake your neighbors. Luckily, both features can be turned off using the menu system.

The one thing that is a little odd about this TV is that seems to be not well known. There aren't many places selling it and it isn't even really listed on the Samsung website. I'm not sure if the model is being discontinued or if there is something else going on. With the experience I have had so far, I highly recommend this television.

* The fun part is that many years ago I work as a consultant on the BestBuy.com website. Also, one of my friends worked on the system that was used to schedule the delivery of the TV to my apartment.