Samsung PN60E550 Review

60" 3D Plasma HDTV with Smart TV

Samsung PN60E550 Plasma TVThis is an active 3D value piece from Samsung with an excellent array of features for the price. It does not get the full benefit of all of Samsung's Real Black Pro picture quality features, but the PN60E550 does have full 1080p resolution. The up-conversion processing from standard definition sources is not as crisp as it is with some of the better processing chip set TV on the market, but it's OK. Actually, the two things you sacrifice are the better blacks and louvered filter of the higher end lines. Aside from that, you get Samsungs excellent color, and smooth plasma presentation. We've awarded Samsung plasma panels best picture quality awards the last two years and this panel receives the benefit of all that technology at a lower price point. The Smart Hub feature with Internet options is a new feature to this TV as well. Overall, it's a value low priced play with some extras. It doesnt have the refined looks of the best 2012 TVs, but it would have looked darn good 2 years ago when all we saw was black shiny gloss plastic bezels. These lower end Samsung plasma TVs have gotten very good-looking.

Picture Quality

More on the PN60E550
PN60E550 Specifications

The PN60E550 doesn't have the new All Black Pure Filter so it sacrifices a bit of contrast over the top tier Samsung plasmas but it still has a strong overall picture. What you get with the E550 is a very good picture on a value priced 3D, 1080p plasma television. The glare or reflection from the clear coat plasma screen is a little more pronounced and the colors are not as rich but other than that overall picture quality is right up there with the best TVs from 2 years ago.

Black Level and Contrast

Even without the All Black Pure Filter the 2012 PN60E550 has fairly strong black levels and good contrast. It does not have the peak white output and brightness of LED panels but that is a whole different animal to this plasma. For darker - controlled light rooms this plasma will outperform the mid-level LED TV offerings. Dark shadow detail is a strong point on all Samsung plasmas, in dark scenes you will not miss small details due to over powered black levels like you will in many of today's LCD and LED televisions.

PN60E550 3D Plasma TV

Color

The colors on the PN60E550 plasma look extremely realistic and fresh. In an age where many televisions are pushing color saturation over the edge, Samsung's plasma televisions continue to deliver warm and cool colors you see every day in life as well as excellent flesh tones that do not push red or blue. Be sure to calibrate the settings correctly to get the optimum picture performance.

3D Viewing

The PN60E550 includes 2 pairs of Samsung's new and improved 3D glasses. The light weight glasses are far more comfortable and considerably less bulky than many active 3D glasses. The 3D performance on the PN60E550 is improved over previous years. There is plenty of depth in the highly detailed picture and there is less crosstalk an blurring when compared to older models.

Appearance

The PN60E550 has a 1" black plastic bezel that is covered with a clear acrylic finish, it is a decent look for a value priced model though this is an area of sacrifice to the higher end models. At 2.75" deep it is not a slim as many of today's televisions but it is still considerably slimmer than older plasma models.

Internet Options and Connectivity

Samsung Smart TVThe Smart TV feature has been expanded for 2012, the E550 has access to the app store which has grown to over 1500 apps. There are apps ranging from social media to streaming video and even games you can play on your TV. Stream video from Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Hulu, Vudu and more. Stay updated on the latest news, financial numbers, sports scores and the weather and new for 2012 on mid tier models: surf the web on the inlcluded full web browser.

The PN60E550 has built in WiFi so there is no need to run extra cable to get your plasma television on your home network. This feature is increasingly becoming important due to the Smart TV options and Apps.

Value and Comparison with Panasonic TC-P60UT50

The closest competitor of the PN60E550 is the Panasonic TC-P60UT50. At $1297 for either, both TV offer incredible value for a 60" TV. When you consider that it is only $500 more than a 50 inch TV of the same model, you really see the value per square inch. I like certain picture quality attributes of each manufacturers picture better. I like the peak brightness of the Panasonic plasmas better, however the TC-P60UT50 does not have a Pro Settings menu, therefore it is impossible to properly ramp up the colors on the TV like they should be. I like the warmer picture on the 60E550 a bit better than the more artificial colors on the Panasonic. The Panasonic plasma TVs also have a stability issue that is not present with the Samsung. One other important note is that there is more control over the Samsung through 2 point white balance adjustments. Feature-wise they are about the same The E550 is selling for around $1300 and includes 2 pair of 3D glasses, while the 60UT50 sells for $1300 but includes no 3D glasses. At $50 a pop for the 3D glasses, that makes the Samsung the better deal by $100. Lastly, the sound quality is better on the E550.

Picture Quality Rating: 8.8/10

Features Rating: 8.6/10

Value Rating: 9.5/10

Overall Rating: 9/10

Quick Specs

  • 1080p Full HD
  • 3D Compatibility
  • Smart TV
  • 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...