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11 Feb 2022

Samsung's top-tier 32-inch smart TVs reviewed

Small TVs have struggled in recent years, can a QLED display make the difference?
Samsung QE32Q50A 4K TV in child's best room

32-inch TVs are often an afterthought. Basic, underwhelming TVs that are stuck behind the high-end, feature-packed might of bigger sets that manufacturers focus on. Not Samsung, though; it's released two QLED 32-inch TVs.

We haven't seen a 32-inch TV come close to mid-range in years and now we have two of them: the QE32Q50A and the QE32LS03T, which is one of Samsung's Frame TVs (these are designed to look like a picture hung on your wall).

They are both pricey for small TVs. The 32-inch QE32Q50A only costs £70 less than Samsung's 43-inch QE43Q60A 4K QLED at the time of writing. So while you are paying less for these smaller TVs, the difference in price compared to bigger 4K QLEDs isn't as big as you might think.

We've known for years that 32-inch TVs still have an audience and finally a manufacturer has responded. But do either of these TVs close the gap on bigger sets when it comes to quality?

It's a good time to buy a 2021 TV, so use our TV reviews to find a model that suits you for a great price.

QE32Q50A - £429: Samsung's first 32-inch QLED TV

Quantum dots are the main selling point here and the main difference between the QE32Q50A and other 32-inch TVs. The dots are designed to boost colour and brightness.

QLED TVs still use liquid crystals to create the picture, like an LCD TV, but those dots can make a difference to the vibrancy.

The Q50A supports HDR, too. Usually we only see high dynamic range on 4K TVs because 4K content and HDR usually come as a package, but some Full HD content can make use of it, such as video games.

Don't be put off by the lack of 4K - it's not something you ever really see on sub 40-inch TVs. You'd struggle to see the extra detail on such a small screen unless you're sat close to it, which is why you see 4K computer monitors.

The smaller display does mean the pixels are more tightly packed, so HD should look crisp anyway.

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SAMSUNG QE32Q50A Full HD 32-inch TV

Fixing the sound on small TVs

We've tested small TVs that look good, but rarely can we say the same of the sound. The small speakers crammed into the 32-inch chassis are usually tinny, top-heavy and shrill.

Bass tends to be absent from the mix, which is why the harsh treble dominates and creates wince-inducing audio.

So what is Samsung doing to fix this? Well, it's added Object Tracking Sound (OTS) - this helps create a surround sound effect, by making audio come from different parts of the screen. This specificity should prevent the audio sounding like a muddled mass, where you can't pick out dialogue or softer parts of the mix.

There's no indication this will fix the bass, but it does show Samsung has considered the audio. OTS is a feature in Samsung's mid-range, bigger QLEDs and it's fantastic to see feature parity across the different sizes.

Talking the talk

The QE32Q50A has all the ingredients for a Best Buy TV. We've tested Best Buy QLED TVs before, and Samsung has made sure that the features and tech are consistent across the different sizes in the QLED ranges.

The quantum dots, OTS, as well as the operating system, remote and voice assistants are the same here as you'd find in the bigger 55-inch Samsung QE55Q60A and Samsung QE55Q70A. The main difference is the lack of 4K and some gaming features but, based on the tech, this should be the best 32-inch TV we've tested in years.

It's fairly costly for a 32-inch TV at £399, so those features need to shine.

You can read our Samsung QE32Q50A review to see if it's a must buy for anyone after a small TV.

32-inch Frame TV QE32LS03T - £399

Samsung 32-inch Frame TV mounted on a wall display

Launching alongside the Q50A is Samsung's smallest Frame TV. It's QLED, Full HD and similar to the Q50A in many ways, but Frame TVs are designed to look like paintings when hung on your wall.

They come with frames that create a thick bezel and reinforce the illusion that the TV is a painting. They are interchangeable with many colours and finishes available.

You have access to hundreds of painting from real galleries around the world and they show up when you're not watching the TV. It's certainly nicer than a black screen.

It does lack some features compared to the Q50A though; there's no HDR10+ or OTS. The advanced HDR isn't a great loss (it still supports the basic HDR10 format) but inferior sound would be a bigger issue.

Is it better, worse or the same as the QE32Q50A? Read our Samsung The Frame QE32LS03T review to find out.

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