HANNSpree HANNSnara £890

23rd May 2007 | 23:00

HANNSpree HANNSnara

Can this strange looking TV compete with the big names?

TechRadar rating:

3 stars

HD viewing for well under a grand will bring this within most people's budgets but expect to see some visual compromises

Like:

<p>Affordable</p><p>Good audio</p>

Dislike:

<p>Too many picture compromises</p><p>Ugly</p>

The HANNSnara is part of Taiwanese manufacturer HANNSpree's Style range. But some will say that style isn't something this TV has in abundance.

By HANNSpree's standards the HANNSnara isn't unusual looking - after all, it's not shaped like fruit, basketballs or wildlife. Even so, it stands out from standard silver or gloss black flatscreens, with a grey chassis, non-swivelling stand and a silver trim. The HANNSnara's design will split opinion - to some it'll be stylishly retro, and to others ungainly and outdated.

This TV has removable speakers, which looks like a good idea on paper: if you've got a decent external sound system already set up, you won't need to connect them up and the TV ends up that much slimmer and trimmer.

Light on features

Connectivity is decent, but nothing exceptional. There are two Scarts, one component video input, and one PC VGA input, but only one HDMI. With more and more HDMI-toting kit hitting the stores, an HD-ready TV really should have two HDMIs at the very least. A flap at the front opens up to reveal S-video and composite video inputs and a jack for headphones.

Picture quality is far more impressive. Feed the HANNSnara some hi-def material and it does an excellent job. Walk The Line on Sky HD showed off a reasonable amount of detail, smooth colours and acceptable black levels, plus very little in the way of noise when the TV is viewed in a well-lit room.

In a darkened room, things don't look so rosy, with the blacks coming out grey and the contrast range seems limited when compared to other LCD screens available. But then this is to be expected, as this TV slots in at the cheaper end of the market.

Standard-def material also looks pretty good - a little soft in terms of detail and somewhat washed-out colour-wise (to be expected, when comparing analogue with hi-def TV), but acceptable. However, the lack of a built-in digital tuner means the TV only offers a paltry five channels out of the box.

The speakers and built-in audio processing modes provide a more than satisfactory accompaniment to the pictures, belting out Johnny Cash's musical numbers in Walk The Line with toe-tapping crispness and clarity.

We'd like to say the user interface is as slick as the sonic output, but HANNSpree has made a real dog's dinner of it. The on-screen menu system is plain enough, and everything is where it's expected to be, but the remote is among the worst designed we've seen in some time.

After a week of living with the TV, we still didn't know how to change the aspect ratio - or indeed, if it's even possible to do so with hi-def stuff. Watching 4:3 shows like Heroes in big-head stretch-o-vision is incredibly annoying, and pressing the 'zoom' and 'wide' buttons on the remote does nothing whatsoever. The remote's smooth plastic buttons are also unresponsive.

Striving for average

All things considered, this is a pretty mediocre TV. While the picture is pretty decent with hi-def material and the audio is strong, the lack of features, and the annoyingly bad remote make it only worth considering if you're on a tight budget.

Added to that, the HANNSnara's love-or-hate-it looks could prove controversial in your home, so you should only consider buying this TV if you're on a tight budget.

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