Cosmetics & Features
Be prepared for some light assembly work before you rock with this set. Essentially, you'll need to piece together the rectangular base and guide-stand to bring it up to speed. The C550 is a smite heavy due to its glass furnishings, so take extra care. For wall attachments, plug in the "blanking bracket" below before attaching the panel to the wall mount kit.
Unlike the other contenders from the same affordable league, the Series 5 might just pass off as a premium model, all credit to Samsung's rose-colored Crystal Design. Other subtle additions include a row of touch-sensitive controls and glass spine to augment its lavish vibes. Since this model is powered by CCFL backlights, don't expect any razor slim form factors like the Series 9 or C9000 LED model. Then again, we have to say that the C550 is relatively thin for a conventional display at 80mm.
The C550 swivels, that's a good thing, and it also comes with a wide array of AV goodies for your analog and digital devices. Look behind and you'll find three HDMI and two component outfits. Unlike many budget offerings, Samsung has upped the ante with the inclusion of an Ethernet and USB port as well. In case you need to couple a HDMI cable with a DVI connector, do note that it is only friendly with the "HDMI 1" input. For easy access, the side bar also includes another USB option apart from a composite and HDMI jack.
Let's move on to that control stick. Despite the TV's expensive appearance, the drab remote is a rather stark contrast. However, that doesn't mean the wand isn't practical or functional. Noticeably, Samsung has since thrown that rotary-dial design out of the window. In its place is a more conventional and usable directional pad. Dedicated buttons include one for Media Play (more on that later), and another to call up programme schedules provided by broadcasters, otherwise known as EPG (Electronic Programme Guide).
Samsung might have slightly tweaked the color scheme of the interface, but its overall design remains more or less the same. After hitting "Menu" on the remote, simply scroll up or down to toggle between the TV's display, sound, and other options. Four picture presets are available; namely Dynamic, Standard, Natural and Movie. We'd recommend sticking with Movie or Natural mode should you prefer less intense colors and harsh backlights.
The Series 5 boasts of an "Eco Sensor" so if you tend to leave the TV on all day long, then you might want to consider engaging its "Eco" solution with adaptive brightness perks. The equation is simple. Dimmer backlights yield a lesser power draw, which equates to a lesser shock when viewing your utility bills.
Moving on, we also found a number of advanced tweaks to keep the enthusiast happy. They include black tone adjustments, HDMI black levels, white balance controls and edge enhancements, just to name a few. Do you hate trawling through input selections? If your answer is yes, then we're happy to be harbingers of positive tidings. The C550 detects and highlights active AV inputs. Aside from that, the Series 5 has other noteworthy features such as Media Play, which allows you to read multimedia content from USB drives or networked devices, as well as a DLNA perk dubbed as "AllShare". Prior to activating AllShare, however, be sure to connect the TV to your home network (via the Ethernet port) should you wish to exploit its wireless streaming features.