HANNspree HANNSvibe £730

27th Apr 2007 | 23:00

HANNspree HANNSvibe

Take a trip back to a more stylish time

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

This 60s-inspired HDTV is low on features,but the price is right and pictures solid

Like:

Funky, unique design; Good price

Dislike:

Poor connectivity; Picture is underwhelming

If Andy Warhol had designed an LCD TV, chances are it would have looked like this 32-inch TV from Taiwanese manufacturer HANNspree.

The distinctive Pop Art-inspired retro look of the HANNSvibe makes a refreshing change from the safe styling of most other LCDs on the market.

The HANNSvibe sports a black and white matt finish and playful curves. The speakers are detachable, which allows you to place them away from set either vertically or horizontally, while the centrally-placed cluster of chunky, transparent buttons adds to the '60s vibe.

Around the back there's only one HDMI, which could be restricting if you've got more than one hi-def source. There's also a set of component video inputs, two Scarts (one RGB-capable) and a PC input. For audio, there's an optical digital audio output, and on the front is a selection of AV inputs.

Missing vitals

At this price, the HANNSvibe was never going to have a killer features list. The big disappointments are the lack of a digital tuner, which is of no use with the analogue TV switch-off having begun, and the panel which is a standard 1366 x 768 pixels - no 'full HD' here.

Elsewhere, there are some audio features such as BBE ViVA HD3D, which adds width and depth, but that's about it - barring a few picture basics like noise reduction, 3D comb filter and edge enhancement.

The set's menu system is sensibly laid out and uses attractive icons to denote the different submenus. Our only gripe is that some people could find the text too small to read comfortably. The remote is also easy to use, sporting well-labelled and responsive buttons, but some of those buttons are unnecessarily tiny.

The HANNSvibe turns in an impressive picture performance, particularly with hi-def content. The Torchwood clip on the BBC HD channel looks as clean and sharp as it is possible on a 32-inch screen, with drops of rain and facial detail displayed with intense clarity. Shots of ant colonies on Natural World are arresting, with the minutiae of the forest floor expertly resolved by the set's competent picture processor.

Colour reproduction is also solid and generally noise free, while black levels are decent, if not up to the standard set by LCDs from the likes of Philips and Toshiba.

But what's really pleasing is how good standard-def pictures look. Daytime fare like Loose Women and This Morning are bright and vibrant with a low amount of noise, but trickier footage on Sky Sports or Eurosport is handled with equal aplomb.

DVD playback also boasts good colour and black levels, but it can be hard to make out some of the action during dark scenes in our test disc of Superman Returns, as the bright backlight washing out some detail in the shadows.

Sound quality is reasonable. The 8W speakers deliver some powerful bass output that helps convey the excitement of our test movie's dramatic action scenes, though at loud volumes it can sound a little harsh and fatiguing. BBE ViVA and SRS TruSurround are superb at opening up the sound field to give you an extra sense of space.

While the HANNSvibe's pictures and sound performance are good rather than great, this 32in LCD TV's real selling point is its Pop Art design, which should earn it more than just 15 minutes of fame.

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