I go on a road trip to the Philadelphia suburbs to look at this thing in person, I spend three hours there putting that little sonofagun through its paces, and I drive back here to four new pages, 3.5 of which are acrimony. I feel that our decorum is slipping again.
Anyway, on to the report, cheerfully entitled "I Can Tell You Where to Find Your Most Holy Gr-r-r-ail!"...
I tried to take photos of this thing with my dumb little digital camera, but all my pictures suck (I am not a photographer). I was unable to hook it up to a PC over HDMI, sadly (they just wouldn't haul one of their desktop PCs over for it), but I was able to do it over VGA and everything clocked in perfectly there (duh). It's not much consolation, but I was given repeated verbal assurance that it will do 1-to-1 pixel mapping via HDMI (for which the "Just Scan" setting is the best choice, apparently). All the images I brought looked predictably lovely over the laptop I used. I brought several pictures to try to test for black and/or white crushes and saw none whatsoever (my Westinghouse had black crushes like mad).
I brought three movies with me: Star Wars (I refuse to call it "Episode " because that is hooey), The Empire Strikes Back, and Fellowship of the Ring. Again, I looked for crushed blacks and whites and found literally none. Even in Moria.
I still cannot get over this display. God. Bear with me...
So I monkeyed around with its settings like crazy, and when I first brought up the desktop from the laptop PC, I thought I saw the feared halos off the toolbar at the bottom. Then the rep and I discovered that the local dimming function was not turned on. That taught me a little humility about psyching myself into seeing things that are not there. So we turned it on.
Holy, holy crap.
Prior to that, I had no idea that I had been looking at a gray screen, but obviously I had. This new one was black, baby. So I monkeyed around with the computer some more and tried to find clouds, flashlights, etc. Nuthin'.
When I played the movies, the color gamut feature, the local dimming, and the motion smoothing feature all went bananas (in a good way). I tried really, really hard to find color crushes, halos, et al, but I simply could not find a single one. At first I thought I did in Star Wars when Vader first walks onto the ship they stormed, but then I paused it, got in close, and took a long hard look. Every single shadow, every single detail, every gradation that I know to be on the disc (I know that movie VERY well--that's why I picked it) was right there in front of me. In other words, there were gradations in the shadows that my own eyes had trouble catching, but that the Samsung faithfully reproduced. It turns out the reason I had trouble seeing some of those details is that the room was bright and yes, there is a glare (criminny, would you guys please relax about that and try some breathing exercises, or something). Is the glare a problem? Not for me, no. My computer room generally is kept dark even in the daytime, so I absolutely do not care. Also, the glare is NOT pronounced. It is enough to hide some details in a bright room, though. Shucky-darn. Guess I'll have to buy some other display with a lower contrast ratio, eh? Not bloody likely.
NO OTHER DISPLAY HAS ANYTHING LIKE THIS!! (I checked a ton of them at the Magnolia.)
The motion smoothing feature does have one expected cost: it dims the display. It also makes the movies, to my eyes, like butter. I mean, the second scene in Empire Strikes Back, where we see the Star Destroyer spitting out probe droids, is always just sooo choppy it totally bums me out. It was perfectly smooth (to my eyes). I could not catch a single hiccup or hesitation in the motion. It wasn't like I was watching footage at all. It was like I was seeing an approaching Star Destroyer.
Long and short of it: I bought one. How could I not??? Seriously--how could I not?
They didn't have any 40"s in stock, though, so I have to wait (get this) until 9/20 for it to arrive (my guess is it won't really be available for pick up until 9/22 or 9/24). I could have walked home with a 46" tonight, yes, but that would have made me dig into my zero-balance credit card and I simply will not do that. Especially not for a TV, man. That's rubbish.
So I got $1280 for my dodgy old Westinghouse (net loss: $1000), plopped down an additional $1900 (net loss: $1900), and in three or four weeks I'll have my new baby hooked up to my rig.
Oh, I should mention one last thing for tonight before I crash and allow myself to forget how much I hate driving. The displays, for anyone in the area, are in two Philadelphia suburbs. Five are in stock right now in Plymouth Meeting, with more due in a week or so, and 40 are due in stock in King of Prussia this Sunday, but delivery is more likely to be Tuesday or Wednesday simply because the trucks don't seem to be delivering there this weekend.
Right. Did it blow my mind? Yes. Yes, it did. I really didn't think this kind of image detail, shadow detail, and color accuracy was possible on an LCD display. It IS possible; it's just very, very expensive. (I still can't believe I just spent $2g.) Are the local dimming, the wide color gamut, and the motion smoothing all that and a bag of chips? Yes. Yes, they are (in my unprofessional opinion). Is it worth going into debt? No consumer product ever is; don't be stupid. If you have the money, is it worth it? Oh, God, yes. Absolutely. Will there be problems with it? Does the Pope where a silly hat and say impolitic things about Islam?