HANNspree XV32 £360

17th Oct 2007 | 23:00

HANNspree XV32

The price is certainly tempting, but look before you leap

TechRadar rating:

3.5 stars

HANNspree hopes to hook budget buyers with a tasty price tag, but the XV32 isn't quite the bargain it seems

Like:

<p>Tempting price</p><p>Good HD performance</p><p>Decent connectivity</p>

Dislike:

<p>Looks cheap</p><p>Black levels not up to scratch</p><p>Low on features</p>

HANNspree is going back to basics with the XV32, a 32in LCD TV that strips out the bells and whistles to reach a buyer-baiting price tag.

This cut-price approach explains the lack of a digital tuner, which could limit its lifespan with analogue switch-off just around the corner. The set's design and build quality has also taken a hit - the hollow, plasticky bodywork and drab black styling are a far cry from the visual exuberance found elsewhere in HANNspree's TV range.

However, the set doesn't skimp on sockets, boasting two HDMI inputs, two Scarts, component video input and even a PC input thrown in for good measure.

Specs appeal

The set's 1366 x 768 resolution completes the HD Ready specs, but elsewhere, there's nothing that will set your heart racing - unless you have a fetish for 100-page teletext, colour temperature adjustment and an audio graphic equaliser, that is.

More exciting is the fact that the XV32's high definition picture quality is better than expected, as a live football broadcast on Sky Sports HD demonstrates. The image looks remarkably sharp from the moment you set eyes on it, picking out fine detail like grass on the pitch and faces in the crowd.

It's backed up by strongly saturated colours that keep everything looking realistic and natural rather than unbalanced and over-cooked.

Standard definition material also looks bright and mostly noise free, with the strong colour saturation making everyday TV fare look suitably dynamic.

But inevitably at this price, the XV32's black levels just aren't up to the standards of the established Japanese brands. And if any DVD is going to expose poor black handling it's Pan's Labyrinth - this ultra-gloomy Gothic fantasy proves too much for the XV32 to handle.

During bright scenes, for example, black objects look washed out, lacking the punch that really helps movies come to life. And during Ofelia's trips to Pan's murky underground lair, the lack of shadow definition and watered-down blacks reduce the scenes' impact and leave you longing for more depth - and make you wonder how much better hi-def could have looked.

Treble clef

However, the decent sound quality from the 10W speakers offers some consolation, with the crisp treble reproduction lending a pleasing snap to effects like gunfire and making dialogue sound clear. An underwhelming amount of bass stops really loud noises overwhelming your senses, but as LCDs go it's not too bad.

At face value the XV32 seems like a bargain, but sadly there are too many reminders of its budget origins, namely lacklustre pictures and lightweight build quality. That said, the generous connectivity is a nice bonus.

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