You will see a lot of reviewers offer you many reasons why this TV may not be for you. They will use words like "Budget" and "Base-Model", and maybe even complain about brightness or lack of features. The truth? If you want a 51' plasma tv, there is no reason to buy anything else. Let me break this down: Features:
This is the only area in which this TV does not get 5 stars from me. Why? Mainly one reason, lack of additional HDMI ports. This TV only offers 2 HDMI inputs, which is a pretty big bummer. Personally, I do not believe any TV should have less than 3 HDMI ports, but preferably should have 4. This is truly the one major weakness of this TV, but is certainly not a deal breaker. If you have more than 2 HDMI sources, you can always buy a switch. There are other features missing, but they are mostly fluff. Namely, this TV is not a "Smart TV". I do not dock any points for this, because the whole "Smart TV" thing is simply a fad and is mostly useless to anyone who is not computer illiterate. Why do I say that? Well, that is because you can turn this TV into a "SmartTV" simply by plugging it into a modern computer. You can then watch ANYTHING from your computer on your TV, including Hulu, Netflix and all that other stuff. Not to mention a PS3/Xbox will basically do the same thing, if you do not own a modern computer. In summary, this TV has all of the features you NEED, and none of the expensive fluff. Performance:
This is inarguably the most important part of any TV performance. Who cares how nice the TV looks, or how robust it's features are, if the picture looks terrible? The answer is: Nobody. -Picture Quality
The 5300 does not disappoint in this regard, delivering ultra-deep, inky blacks, vibrant whites, and an amazing contrast ratio. Do not listen to those who say Plasmas are not bright enough. That may have been true in the early 2000s, but it is certainly not true today. Just set the picture mode to standard, turn off ECO sensor and increase the Cell Light to 15-20(depending on preference). You will NOT be disappointed. The default 720p input looks great, but the second you watch a native 1080p movie (blu-ray) your jaw will simply drop to the floor. It is like watching a painting come to life. Stunning does not even describe it, and the picture quality is unmatched by ANY LED I have ever seen (Including the huge overpriced LEDs you will find on the showroom floors). -Refresh Rate
The 600hz sub-field motion makes a subtle yet noticeable difference in comparison to the standard 60hz plasma. Basically, the sub-field motion eliminates most motion-blur and stuttering, but does not give the "fast-forward effect" that the LED equivalent 'Motion interpolation' does. This is a HUGE benefit, as most people who own LEDs simply turn that feature off and deal with the motion blur due to the unnatural feel it gives to movies. Simply put, 600hz sub-field motion is the best of both worlds and will give you flawless playback the likes you have never seen. In summary, Performance is this set's strongpoint. Flawless picture with a perfect refresh rate creates a visually stunning experience perfect for movies, sports and gaming. Design: Samsung again has learned much from past experience, designing a near perfect modern television. The clear image panel uses a single layer, which fixes the two major flaws in plasma TVs people used to complain about. Namely, Ghost images and Image retention. This TV, straight out of the box, produces ZERO ghosting and even after leaving a static image up for over 15 minutes, there was no image retention to speak of. The classic arguments against plasma are no longer relevant, thanks in no small part to the Clear Image Panel. The third issue that people often complain about with plasmas, screen glare, has still not been solved completely. In low-light, this TV is flawless. In a very bright room with open windows, you will still see some reflections. The reflections are greatly reduced/mitigated by the Clear Image Panel, but still not eliminated completely. That one minor issue aside, the design of this plasma TV is flawless. The Plasma +1 means that you get an extra inch compared to other 51’ TVs, via the ultra-thin bevel featured on this set. Amazingly, with all these improvements, they’ve also managed to reduce power consumption AND overall weight of the TV. In summary, the design of this TV is nearly flawless. The Clear Image Panel has eliminated most issues a plasma TV would typically have, and greatly mitigated the one issue it could not completely solve. In a dark environment, you will find no issues with this TV whatsoever. The ultra-light weight and thin design also makes it a prime candidate for wall mounting. Value: Overall, the value of this TV is quite substantial. It is very cheap for a 51’ plasma, and offers the same stunning performance you would find in a TV twice or even three times its cost. The only thing you are losing out on here are ports and fluff features that most people do not need. In Conclusion:
Visually, this is a top-tier plasma for a bottom-tier price. Don’t be fooled by the more expensive options out there, they will deliver a similar product with features you do not need for much more cash that you do not need to spend. This TV hit’s the sweet-spot for Price and Performance, and I would highly recommend it to anybody in the market for a plasma TV.