Samsung's new D5520 Edge LED TV is designed to replace the 2010 C6000. It's a mid-range 2011 model that's a slight step down from the D6500. It therefore doesn't have 3D compatibility, but it still comes loaded with Samsung's Smart TV system and plenty of multimedia functions.
As with some of last year's models, different types of LCD screen panel have been used in this TV. Samsung was perfectly open with us about this, and even sent us two models with different panels to test—one with a Samsung-Sony PVA panel and the other with a CMO MVA panel.
Build Quality and DesignNo matter which LCD panel you end up with, the design, build and basic functions are the same in both TVs. The casing is a very slim 3 cm thick and is made from shiny black plastics that go pretty well with the screen's glossy, mirror-style finish. Although some users do apparently like super-glossy screens, reflections and glare can be a problem. If the TV is placed opposite a window, for example, you'll probably have trouble seeing what's onscreen and you'd be wise to invest in a thick curtain.
The 40D5520 has a swivel stand finished with a glass plate on the base, as well as two USB ports, four HDMI sockets, an Ethernet port (for Internet TV and DLNA), a built-in multimedia player and a remote control with big, chunky buttons that aren't backlit.
The multimedia player reads most file formats. In our tests, we found that FAT32 and NTFS formatted external storage devices and most video file formats could be accessed and played with no problem at all. That said, the system can't play M2TS files or subtitles included in MKV and MP4 files (they have to be removed from the container).
Glossy screen, prone to reflections
Ghosting Time and Input Lag
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Things started off pretty well here. Both versions of the D5520 have an input lag of just 33 ms, which is pretty good news for gamers. However, there's a striking difference in responsiveness between the two different LCD panels: the PVA screen has an average ghosting time of de 13 ms while the MVA panel is a fair bit slower at 20 ms. The PVA panel therefore has a clear advantage in this field.
Image QualityOut of the box, the CMO and Samsung-Sony panels are pretty much neck and neck on image quality. With the default factory settings, colours aren't reproduced accurately, with overexposed whites and dark shades that block together into masses of black. Our advice: switch to Cinema mode straight away and don't look back!
Once you switch to Cinema mode, the PVA panel does a slightly better job than the MVA panel, as the colours are calibrated more accurately. Our sensor picked up an average deltaE (the difference between the colour requested by the video source and the colour actually displayed onscreen) of 3.8 for the PVA panel compared with 5.3 for the MVA panel (the lower the deltaE the better). Both these scores are higher than average when compared with all the TVs we've tested to date.
Similarly, the PVA panel boasts a contrast ratio of 4300:1 in Cinema mode compared with 3500:1 for the MVA panel. That's a pretty big improvement for the MVA panel, which last year had a contrast ratio of around 2000:1. This year then, both TVs will display a deep black. In fact, even with the two models side by side we didn't notice any significant difference in the depth of black.
Both panels show a similar level of homogeneity too, although the PVA panel does still have a slight edge, scoring 3.4/5 for discrepancies across the display compared with 2.8/5 for the MVA panel.
Although the tech specs may claim that this TV has a 100 Hz CMR (Clear Motion Rate) this isn't, strictly speaking, the case. Samsung has simply equipped the TV with a backlighting scanning function to artificially boost the frequency. The only real advantage of this kind of system is that it reduces our persistence of vision, which unfortunately doesn't to much to reduce ghosting on screen panels. Glitches and judder in films are generally still present.
As you can see in the pictures above, the PVA panel is a little less prone to ghosting in films but the difference is, once again, really very slight. In sweeping, travelling shots, ghost images are just a little more visible on the MVA panel. On the whole, ghosting could prove annoying for some more picky users. Without using more responsive screens, the only way to improve this would have been with a genuine 100 Hz mode.
Apart from the LCD panel, both TVs have the same internal electronics and therefore the same SD (digital TV, DVDs etc.) upscaling mode. In both TVs, the upscaled picture is a little more blurred than content upscaled by a console or Blu-ray player. We therefore recommend you up the sharpness to 10 to artificially improve the clarity of the picture without making it look too harsh. For HD viewing, however, you don't need to touch this setting at all, and even with the sharpness at 0 the picture is still pretty much perfect ... apart from the ghosting, of course.
The PVA panel clearly doesn't outshine the MVA in every field! In films, the PVA panel was particularly subject to clouding, with bright patches cropping up in darker images. This effect is mainly visible in the corners and the middle of the screen, and it's a real downside of the PVA display.
Although the LCD panels may vary, the speakers will always be the same in this TV. All in all, the sound quality isn't too bad. High and medium frequencies are fairly well handled but, like most super-slim TVs, the D5520 is severely lacking in the bass department. Some frequencies are completely missing, which doesn't exactly help immerse you in the action. A sound bar or a speaker kit is therefore a good idea.
Although both TVs have the same brightness of 200 cd/m², the MVA panel consumes 5 watts less power than the PVA panel. When in use, the PVA panel uses 65 watts while the MVA panel uses 60 watts. On standby, however, both TVs use less than 1 watt of power!
- Good contrast and depth of black
- Low power use: 65 watts (PVA) / 60 watts (MVA)
- Multimedia player: compatibile with NTFS and loads of file formats
- Panel lottery (MVA and PVA): slight variations in picture quality
- Colours could be better in Cinema mode: average deltaE 5.3 for the MVA version
- Clouding on PVA panel
- Basic remote with no backlighting
The Samsung 40D5520 is a panel-switcher. As far as we know it can come with an MVA (CMO) panel or a PVA (Samsung-Sony) panel. However, the difference in picture quality between the two versions is less marked than in last year's models. The PVA panel still displays more accurate colours and has a slightly higher contrast but the MVA panel is less prone to clouding.