Samsung PN51E490 Review

51" 720p 3D Plasma HDTV

Samsung PN51E490 Plasma TVThe PN51E490 is a plasma television aimed at getting 3D compatibility into just about everyone's living room. With a 720p panel the E490 comes in at a very low price point like the D490 model that it replaces. It doesn't have the online features of higher models but it does have the Real Black Filter that produced excelent contrast performance in 2010 top tier plasmas.

Picture Quality

More on the PN51E490
PN51E490 Specifications

The vast majority of HD programming is still 720p or 1080i so with the 720p PN51E490 you are not missing much when it comes to resolution. Blu Rays and other 1080p programming has to be scaled down but the picture on the E490 is still quite good for the price bracket of this television.

Black Level and Contrast

The Real Black Filter absorbs ambient light making the contrast and black levels on panels equipped with it appear higher. In models we reviewed last year that had it we were impressed by the performance especially in dark and low light scenes. The Real Black Filter improves contrast in the E490 significantly over the previous year's model.


Not only does the Real Black Filter improve black levels it also helps with color performance in the PN51E490. Colors on this television appear very realistic especially with flesh tones and warm, indoor scenes. There is none of the over saturation seen in many modern televisions.

3D Viewing

At 720p the E490 does not display Full HD 3D to each eye but 720p to each eye is still more detail than is being shown on a passive 1080p 3D television. The PN51E490 includes 2 pairs of Samsung's new, lighter weight 3D glasses that are quite a bit more comfortable than last year's glasses.


The panel on the PN51E490 is surrounded by a 1" wide gloss black plastic bezel. It won't blow you away with its appearance but it is still a good looking television. The E490 is about 2 3/4 inches in depth.

Quick Specs

  • 720p Full HD
  • 3D Compatibility
  • Value Pricing

Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Anthony never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...