The front of the LN32B360 is mostly taken up by the panel itself, which is surrounded by a clear plastic bezel over a darker platic layer.
The significant features on the back of this HDTV are the port panel on the left side, and the power socket on the right. In the middle just above the stand is a zip tie that can be used to route the cables back behind the stand, so they don't spoil the look of the screen.
There are no features on the left side, but on the right you'll find the on-tv controls.
The stand of the LN32B360 is a small rounded platform that tapers into the single column that goes into the screen itself. The platform is about 10 inches deep and about 15 inches wide. It allows the TV to rotate to around 15 to 20 degrees, which isn't really enough to allow full access to the ports on the back. We also found that the stand was a little awkward to put together; it wasn't immediately obvious how the stand connected to the display, and the process isn't described in the quick start guide. But when it is in place, two screws hold it securely.
The physical controls of the LN32B360 are located on the left side of the display. From the top, we have controls for switching the video source, acessing the menu, colume, channel and power at the bottom.
The remote is a long, thin affair that has lots of buttons. Despite being so long and thin, it fits well into the hand. Our only major complaint is that the buttons for channel and volume aren't well palced; they don't fall under the thumb.
In The Box*(6.0)*
You don't get much in the box with the LN32B360; as well as the HDTV, you gert the remote, batteries, stand, manual, quick start guide and a piece of string and connector that can be used to connect the TV to a wall in case the earth moves. There is also a cover than can go over the stand cavity if you are wall mounting the screen. No cables are included; you'll have to bring your own antenna/cable and HDMI connections to the party.
The LN32B360 has a clean, striaghtforward design that desn't get in the way of the job at hand; showing TV signals. The dark plastic bezel around the display doesn't distract from the screen itself, and the Samsung logo is placed far enough away from the edge that it doesn't distract. There are a few small logos at the bottom left corner of the screen (for the SRS Tru Surround and Dolby support) but these are small and faint enough that they don't distract much.
To get the best image possible out of a HDTV, we run through an extensive calibration process, where we look at a number of test screens from the DisplayMate software and tweak the settings to get the best results. The settings that we use are below, and we would recommend these as a starting point for your own use. However, the ideal settings for any HDTV vary depending on the desired result, the type of material being watched and the surrounding lighting setup, so you should go with your own gut for your settings, or ask a professional calibrator to help you out.
We found that our calibration required generally minor tweaks; the display was almost calibrated out of the box. We did find that we needed to increase the gamma a bit, turn of Digital noise reduction and turn the sharpness down. The latter was because the default setting was overly sharpening the image, causing some fringing around edges. This may be a matter of personal taste, but we were seeing some definite artifacts on screen with it at the default settings.
The LN32B360 offers three modes for watching different types of material:
That's a pretty short list: most other displays offer a wider range of modes, including ones such as a game mode (which turns off any processing that could cause a lag when playing a game) or custom modes. Instead, the LN32B360 allows you to tweak the existing modes, but there are only three modes available. There is a game feature that allows you to turn off the processing for gaming, but it's buried rather deeply in the picture menu.
The LN32B360 had a pretty decent result in this test, where we look at how deep the blacks are. We measured the deepest black at 0.09 cd/m2, which means that the blacks on the screen are pretty dark, so dark scenes will look more dramatic. The LN32B360 had darker blacks that most of the other TVs we've reviewed; the blacks on this screen are darker than both the LG 32LG40 and the JVC LT-42P300. It's no prizewinner, though; the Samsung LN40B650 had slightly deeper blacks.
However, given that the LN32B360 is about a third of the price of the LN46B650, this is a very strong result.
At the other end of the scale from the blacks is peak brightness: the brightst white that this HDTV can acheive. For the LN32B360, we measured this at 400.32 cd/m2, which again is a very strong result. What this means is that the screen of the LN32B360 is pretty bright, and could be clearly seen in everything but direct sunlight. This is also significantly brighter than our comparison TVs, which ranged from a lackluster 212 cd/m2 (for the LV 32LG40) 260 cd/m2 (for the Samsung LN40B650. We do expect smaller TVs to be slightly brigher (the other Samsung is a 40-inch model), but this is a very strong result for a low-cost TV like this.
The range between the deepest black and the britest white is the contrast, and the bigger this number, the better the pictures on the screen will look. The LN32B360 had a very wide contrast ration: we measured it at 4453:1. Out of our comparison TVs, only the LN40B650 did better; the others had significantly lower contrast ratios.
Having dark blacks and bright whites is important, but a good HDTV has to be able to display both on the screen at once. Think of a documentary on polar bears; a good HDTV should be able to show you their bight white coats and their coal-black eyes at once. On some HDTVs, having an area of white next to one of black leads to the black becoming weak and muddy, but that wasn't a problem on this HDTV: when we measured the depth of the black with an increasing amount of white on the screen, the black stayed at the same deep, dark level all through this test.
The flip side of this coin is what happens when there is a small area of white surrounded by black; does the level of the white stay constant as it is surrounded by more and more black? Again the LN3B360 had no major issues here: with everything from a small splotch of white to nearly the entire screen being white, the brightness of the whites remained constant. This is in contrast to the JVC LT42P360, where the white changed significantly as the amount of white altered.
The LN32B360 had a few minor issues in screen uniformity; on both black and white screens, we saw some patchiness on the screen, with the light level on the white screen falling off quite significantly at the corners. On a black screen, we also saw some patchiness, with blotchy areas that were slightly lighter than the rest of the screen. These didn't show up so much in normal use, though; the dark blotchiness and the slight corner falloff didn't detract much from the image itself.
Gamma describes how the HDTV deals with greys; as the image on the screen goes from black to white, it should smoothly display this increasing brightness on the screen. The rate at which it goes from black to white is called the gamama, and an ideal TV should have a gamma of between 2.2 and 2.4. The LN32B360 fell a little outside of this, with a gamma that's a touch on the high side at 2.45. That's not a huge problem, but it is a little steep. The other problem is that the curve is not smooth; on the graph below, a perfect TV should have a flat curve, but the LN32B360 has a significant dip at the darker end of the slope. This means that it doesn't quite ramp up quickly enough, so some of the particularly dark greys will be slightly darker than we like to see, which could lead to some subtler details getting a bit lost in the dark parts of your movies.
The LN32B360 is a 720p screen, which means it can natively disp[lay an image of 720 horizontal lines and 1280 pixels wide. However, devices often supply a signal that's at a different resolution, so we also test how well a display can cope with these signals. Overall, the LN32B360 did a decent job, as it was able to input a wide range of digital signals and do a decent job of showing them, even if they were at a higher resolution than the screen itself can show. One odd thing that we did notice was that the LCD looked like it was set at a slight angle to the bezel; when showing a 1080i or a 1080p signal, the last line was partially cropped at the bottom left corner. The fit screen picture size mode does allow you to move the image around, but if you moved it up to deal with this, the top line was cropped off. This wasn't a big problem when watching TV, but it was rather annoying when using the display with a computer, as it crops off the bottom edge of windows.
Devices such as standard definition DVDs with digital outputs send out a 480p signal, and the LN32B360 had no problem in processing and displaying this signal; it was. We did see about 3% overscan (where the edges of the image are off the edge of the screen) which could not be removed, but that's pretty standard; most HDTVs apply a small amount of overscan with a 480p signal.
1080i signals are produced by most cable and set-top box devices, and it's also the format that most over the air digital TV is sent in. So, it's good that the LN32B360 was able to do a decent job of displaying signals in this format; our test images were rendered cleanly, although we did see some evidence of moire patterns on a grey cross hatch pattern. There was no overscan when the display was in screen fit mode, but there was about 2% overscan when it was in the standard 16:9 mode.
The LN32B360 was obviously straining when we fed it a 1080p signal, such as one produced by a Blu-ray disc player. Working with this image, we saw some distinct moire patterning, and text and sharp edges looked very soft. But this isn't unexpected; if you want the best quality from a device that can output 1080p signals, you'll need to spend more to get a display that runs at a native 1080p resolution.
As part of our calibration process, we set the color temperature of the brightest white to as close to 6500 degrees Kelvin as possible; for the LN32B360 this was at 6761k. But this is only part of the story; some TVs shift the color temperature as the brightness of the white falls, which can lead to color casts in the grays. That's what we test here, but we didn't find many problems; the color temperature of the LN32B360 remained mostly constant as the whites shifted from white to gray.The green line on the graph below shows the distance at which most people would begin to notice the color temperature shift, and the LN32B360 remains within these limits for most of the range. However, it does go outside of these limits at the lower end of the range, which means that some darker greys and near-blacks may have a bluish cast to them as the color temperature increases.
HDTVs like the LN32B360 create colors by mixing the primary colors of red, green and blue. So, we test how smoothly these displays deal with the range of these primary colors by looking at how they process the entire range of shades of each, and plotting the results onto the graph below. A perfect TV would have a smooth, uniform slope for each of the 3 primary colors, by we often see bumps and jumps in the curves as the display processes the colors. The LN32B360 didn't have many issues here: the curves are mostly smooth, so the display manages to take the range of all three colors and display it well. It also had no problem with peaking, where the curve becomes flat at the top. If this happens, subtle details in bright parts of an image can be lost because the display can't reproduce the different levels of the signal, but this wasn't an issue with this display.
When your local TV station transmits their HDTV signals, they are calibrated so that the colors are within a certain color gamut (a range of colors) , which is set by an international standard called Rec.709. Your HDTV should then take this signal and display the colors within the same range, which is what we test here. If the color gamut of the display is different to the standard, colors on your screen won't look the same as the ones that are transmitted. The LN32B360 had a few issues here: all three of the corners of the gamut were a little off. The red was too far in, which means that reds will look a little flat and under saturated. The green and blue had the opposite problem, though; the measured gamut was farther out than the standard, which means that greens could look a little over saturated. Think of an image of a British telephone box in a field with a blue sky; the grass would look a bit too green, the sky a bit too blue, while the phone box would look a bit too pale.
For those who want to know facts and figures, the ideal and measured co-ordiantes of the gamuts are below, as well as the error (the distance between the two).
The LN32B360 produced moderately smooth motion, but there were definitely some issues there. With our test that involves a photo moving across the screen, the faces in the photo had a very blurry look, and the skin tones became flat and almost cartoonish. Unlike its more expensive cousins, the LN32B360 has no 120Mhz or faster processing to smooth the motion, and it shows; the video was much less sharp than other models that ran at the faster speed.
Our tests use a variety of hard-to-display screens to look for problems, and we found a few on the LN32B360. In a test with a white edge moving across the screen, we saw a rainbow effect that was caused by a slightly different response of the different colors. We also saw an odd effect where some of the grays were blurrier than the blacks and whites, and a video processing problem caused some sharp white edges to have a jerky, broken look as they moved across the screen. Our tests provide a pretty extreme example, but the same thing can be seen on video that has fast movement (such as a handheld camera shot); with especially quick movement, the video becomes broken and jaggy.
3:2 Pulldown & 24fps*(9.0)*
Although it wasn't a star performer at rendering motion, the LN32B320 had no problem correctly displaying a signal that contained a 3:2 pulldown (such as many TV shows that are shot at 24 frames per second, then converted up to 30 frames per second). We saw smooth video here, with none of the processing jerks, judders and odd blocky effects that we see on some displays. The LN32B320 also had no problem detecting and displaying a 24 frames per second signal from our test device (a PlayStation 3 playing a Blu-ray disc).
The LN32B360 had a disappointing result in our tests for viewing angle; we found that the high contrast ratio that it can amange quickly fell off when viewed from even a small angle; at just 17 degrees, the contrast ratio had fallen by 50%. Contrast this wth the performance of the LG 32LG40, which had a much wider viewing angle; the contrast ratio fell by 50% at an impressive 55 degrees from straight on. At a 45 degree angle, the contrast ratio of the LN32B360 fell to about 100:1, which mean that images looked extremely washed out and pale. At wider angles, we also noticed that the reds took on a distinct yellowish cast. All of this means that the LN32B360 wouldn't be a good TV for group viewing; those on the edges of the group would only see a pale imitation of what those in the center were seeing. If we compare the viewing angle with our comparison TVS, we can see that it is the smallest of them all by a significant amount.
Like most of Samsung's HDTVs, the LN32B360 has an anti-reflective layer on the surface of the screen. This doesn't do a perfect job - we found that even with a bright screen, a reflection from a lamp was still visible on the screen. However, it was a lot less annoying than many other TVs (like the LN40B650), where we found that a lamp reflection produced an umpeasant smeared reflection on the screen.
The LN32B360 includes a couple of features that are designed to help improve the quality of the images on the screen, particularly if you are working from a low-quality video signal such as a weak cable TV signal.
Ergonomics & Durability*(7.2)*
The LN32B360 comes with the same remote as most Samsung TVs, which is a large remote packed with buttons (39 in total). It has a long, thin design with a curved back that fits comfortably in the hand. The long thin design means that uch of the remote is above the hand, but most of the weight is in the bottom, so the remote doesn't sag in the hand. One very useful feature is a backlight; hit the backlight button in the top left corner, and the buttons are illuminated with a soft blue glow. That's very useful if you are using the remote in a darkened room.
Button Layout & Use*(4.85)*
There are an awful lot of buttons on the remote, and they aren't always logically placed. The channel and volume controls in particular are a bit higher on the remote than we would like; they don't fall under the thumb if it is held in the left or right hand. Instead, the directional controls and menu buttons are the ones that fall under the thumb, and those aren't going to be used that much once the display is set up and calibrated. We had no major problems using the remote; it worked from a decent distance away (15 feet and more) and was usable at an angle, as long as we could see the right side of the front of the TV where there remote sensor is.
Programming & Flexibility*(1.0)*
Despite being a button mashers paradise, the remote that came with the LN32B360 can't be programmed to control other devices. This is a pity; modern HDTVs don't live in isolation; they live alongside Blu-ray players, cable boxes, game consoles and any number of other devices that require remotes, and the human race is fast running out of couch space to store them. So, the ability to use one remote to control multiple devices would help us all out, but Samsung isn't helping here.
Compared to many of the HDTVs we review, the LN32B360 has a relatively minimal number of ports. The basics are ther: (two HDMI, one composite and one component video inputs), but it is lacking the large number of HDMI ports and other connections that we see on many displays. Two HDMI ports would allow you to connect a HD cable box and a game console, but not an additional device such as a computer or second gaming device. Also missing is a dedicated DVI input for computer use, although there is a single VGA port. One of the HDMI ports does have an accompanying analog video input, which would allow for the use of a DVI to HDMI adapter and a seperate audio cable for a computer connection. Also missing is any sort of digital audio input; audio has to be either analog or sent over the HDMI connections.
A single antenna input handles the duties for both over the air or cable signals. The LN32B360 supports both analog and digital signals from both an antenna and cable connections
There are also a minimal number of outputs; there are no video outputs at all, and only two audio outputs in the form of a single stereo analog and a digital optical audio out.
The only other connections are a USB service port and Samsung's proprietary Ex-link port, which connects to other Samsung devices and allows them to communicate and share remote control signals.
The LN32B360 is a no-go zone for media such as Internet streaming or photos and video captured by a camera; there are no memory card ports, USB ports or Internet connections that allow you to watch videos, photos or other media.
All of the ports on the LN32B360 are located on a single panel on the back of the display in the bottom left corner (looking from the back). Some other displays have some ports located on the side or bottom of the bezel, but not this one; everything is on the back. Fortunately, the stand allows the display to rotate, so getting to the ports and sockets is no great problem. It would be a pain to plug in and remove things if the screen was on a wall mount or against a wall, though; you have to rotate the screen at least 45 degrees to get access to the port panel, which means you have to rotate both the screen and the base, as the stand only allows for about 20 degrees of rotation.
The speaker built into the LNB360 are decent, but unspectacular. Rated at 5 watts, we found that they produced average sound, with clear bass and sharp trebles. But neither end of the range really leapt out and grabbed us; in our test sequence of a clip from monster movie Cloverfield, the monster sounded more like a small, angry dog than a hideous visitation of evil from the stygian depths. SRS TruSurround XT HD virtual surround is also available, but this had only a slight impact, producing a slightly wider sound field, but not making us worried that we were about to be crushed by the monster. The built-in speakers would be fine for watching the news, but if you really want the whole monster growling, rocket launching and New York stomping experience of movies like Cloverfield, buy a separate surround sound system and put the speakers around you.
The LN32B360 uses the same tabbed approach to the on-screen menu as most TVs, dividing the features up into a number of categories that you navigate using the direction keys and OK button on the remote. The menu button opens the menu, and the return button is used to navigate back up the menu structure. At any time you can exit it completely with the exit button. The menu is broken down into tabs for picture, sound, setup, inputs and support. Each one of these can contain several screens worth of options and sub-screens, so changing some settings can involve a lot of button pressing. If you want to enable the game mode (where the display turns off any processing that could cause a lag that might mean death in a game), you have to press the menu button, select setup, press OK, scroll down, press OK again and then set the mode to on.
One nice feature is the Plug & Play option, which sets the TV to a standard group of settings with just a few button presses; ideal if you aren't the sort of person that wants to fiddle with settings.
The LN32B360 comes with a printed manual that is adequate for what's needed. It's easy enough to read and cvovers the basics (such as how to plug the TV in, connect it up, etcetera), but it doesn't go into a lot of depth on the configuration of the manual or what some features do.
The LN32B360 is a 720p display, so it can natively display video at a resolution of up to 720 by 1280 pixels, with the full progressive 60 frames a second. It can accept a signal that is at a higher resolution, but the signal will be processed down to 720p resolution. It also includes 3:2 pulldown processing, (where it can detect a special signal that gives video a more film-like look) and 24 frames per second video from a device that can produce it (such as a Blu-ray player). It does not support the wider color gamuts (such as xvYCC color) that some more expensive displays offer.
The LN32B360 does not support the direct viewing of photos from a memory card or computer; the only way to view photos is to use one of the video inputs with a comaptiable camera.
Music & Video Playback*(0.0)*
The LN32B360 does not support the direct playback of music or video from a memory card or computer; the only way to view photos is to use one of the video or audio inputs with a compatiable camcorder or other device.
No support is offered on the LN32B360 for playing back streaming video from the Internet.
There are no other media playback features on offer on this bare-bones model.
Our power consumption test looks at how much electricity a HDTV uses, and how much that is likely to cost you over the year. We foudn that the LN32B360 was a fairly good pick here: at our standard test level (where the screen is at a brightnes sof around 200 cd/m2), it used 59.5 watts and would cost about $11.82 to run (assuming you watched about 5 hours a day over a year) for the power it uses both while on and while it is in standby, awaiting your command. That's significantly less than our comparison TVs, which typically cost between $20 and $30 a year to juice up.
If you perfer your screen to be brighter, increasing the backlight level to the maximum level of 10 ups the yearly cost to a still very resonable $18.03.
The Samsung has the edge in price: you can pick it up for around $530, while the LG is priced at about $850. The LG has a number of advantages, though; more HDMI ports. Overall, the Samsung represents much better value for money unless you have a huge need for the built-in DVD player that the LG offers.
Blacks & Whites
Although the Samsung LN32B360 is the much cheaper display, it has an overall advantage in our tests that look at the depth of blacks, the brightness of whites and the contrast ratio. In all of these tests, the Samsung performed better and had better scores.
It was a much closer race when it came to color performance, though; here we found that the two HDTVs had very similar performance. Both had whites that stayed pretty consistent, and smooth RGB curves. The LG had a slight edge on the color gamut test, though; we found that the color gamut of the LG was significantly closer to the standards that we test against, which means more accurate color.
Again, it was almost neck and neck on motion; we rated the performance of both TVs at displaying fat-moving video at about equal, although the LG did show less evidence of video artifacts.
This was one area where the LG had a significant advantage; the Samsung had a very poor viewing angle, as we found that the contrast ratio fell by half at just 17 degrees off axis. Meanwhile, the LG kept a good contrast ration to about 55 degrees off axis, so it would look much better if there are lots of people watching the TV at once.
Neither HDTV is a media maven, although the LG does have the advantage of 1 more HDMI port and a built-in DVD player. But neither display includes the Internet connectivity that is becoming common on higher end models, and neither can play back photos, videos or music from either the Internet or directly from a memory card.
Both TVs are priced at around the same: around $550. So, the choice comes down to what is most important: performance or connectivity. The Samsung has better overall performance, with better black,s whites and the contrast ratio imbetween the two. But the JVC has more connections, so it would be easier to connect multiple devices to the screen if you have a large A/V setup. Overall, we think that the Samsing represents better value for money, though; it produces better images, and at the end of the day, that's what counts with a TV.
Blacks & Whites
The Samsung is the clear winner here: it had significantly deper blacks, a higher peak brightness and a much wider contrast ratio. What this means is better looking images, with more dramatic impact and that would look better in daylight.
It was much more of an even match in our tests on color; we found that the JVC had slightly bette preformance in keeping the whites white across when going from white to grey, but the Samsung had smoother RGB curves. This means that subtle color changes (such as skies and leaves) will look better, with less potential for banding and other unnatural looks to them. The JVc had a very slight edge when it came to the color gamut, though; it was a little more accurate than the Samsung.
It was a pretty even race between the two in our motion tests as well; we found that both did an adequate, but not outstanding, job of displaying motion. Both HDTVs had significant blurring in fast scenes, and there were some obvious artifacts caused by processing problems (such as skin tones becoming cartoonish). Neither TV had the faster motion processing that we see on their more expensive cousins.
The JVC had a significantly wider viewing angle than the Samsung: we found that while the contrast ratio on the Samsing fell by 50% at just 17 degrees off axis, the JVC's held up until about 40 degrees, so people on the edges of groups would get a better image.
Both TVs offer the basic options for connecting external devices, but the JVC has a a wider array of ports and options here: it has one additional HDMI port, more analog video inputs and a USB port that allows you to connects a digital camera or camcorder to play back photos or videos directly on the screen. Neither HDTV can connect to the Internet, though.
If we compare the LN32B360 to its more expensive cousin, we see what more you get for your money. The LN32B360 costs abotu $550, but the LN40B650 costs about $1400. But you do get a lot more for your money: the more expensive Samsung had significantly better performance, a bigger screen, more ports and better media support.
Blacks & Whites
The LN40B650 was the only one of our comparsion HDTvs that consistently beat the LN32B360 on our tests of image quality; we found that the bigger, more expensive model had darker blacks, brighter whites and a wider ratio between the two.
The more expensive LN40B650 was also the stronger performer in our color tests; it had singificantly smoother RGB curves, which means that you would see better looking color gradients. But both TVs had problems when it came to color gamut: they were both slightly off from the ideal that we look for, which could mean slightly inaccurate colors on the screen.
Neither TV was a clar winner when it came to displaying motion on the screen. Although the LN40B650 had much smoother motion (probably due to its 120Hz refresh rate), we saw some annoying artifacts: sharp lines and areas of solid color had a jerky, unpleasant look on both displays.
Neither TV blew our socks off when it came to viewing angle; on both, we saw a huge falloff in the contrast between white and black at even just a small angle from staright on to the TV. The LN40B650 was the better performer here, though; we measure than angle at which the contrast ratio falls by 50%, and this happened with the bigger TV at about 20 degrees. The LN32B360 only managed about 17 degrees.
The LN40B650 is the clear winner here: it provides more HDMI ports (4, which is double the number on the LN32B360) and a much better selection of analog video and audio inputs. This would make it much more flexible for a setup that includes multiple sources of video. The LN40B650 also includes the ability to stream audio and video from the Internet or a PCon yout home network; you can watch YouTube videos on it, or stream music, photos and video from any PC that can run the Samsing PC Share software that comes with the TV.
The Samsing B360 series is composed of 4 models with similar features but different sizes: a 19-inch model, a 22-incher, a 26-incher and the 32-incher that we looked at.
Meet the tester
Alfredo Padilla is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.
Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.Shoot us an email