Ten... small screen HD TVs
Bed and breakfast
When you absolutely, positively can’t afford to spend more than a couple of quid on a new TV, you’ll start to look at OEM brands. You know, the kind of non-names that attract and repel in equal measure – Matsui, Digitex and Logik, to name just a few.
To compete against household brands, these sets usually pile the features high. This 26in Currys own-brand sports an integrated DVD player, yet sells for just £250. Generously, it also has three HDMI inputs. Design is definitely not a plus point. With CCFL backlight and DVD transport bolted onto to its back, this model was never going to win slimmer of the year.
The panel boasts a resolution of 1920 x 1080 but image quality is a little bleh. The set lacks contrast, so blacks tend to wash to grey when ambient light dips. The USB port is compatible with MPEG video and MP3s. The audio output is bolstered by SRS TruSurround. Worth considering only for the kids' bedroom, just don’t expect them to be too grateful when you connect it up.
Reg Rating 65%
More info Logik
Panasonic Viera TX-L24E3BG
Unashamedly expensive, this beautifully built 24in edge-lit LED has a smart black bezel with understated lights and legends. It’s the only screen in this group to offer a Freeview HD tuner, and the Full HD panel looks splendid with Blu-ray.
Unfortunately, there’s no USB reader. Instead, Panasonic offers media playback from its SD card slot - not much help given that most of us only keep JPEGs on our cards. Picture quality is perfectly acceptable. With no picture processing tech, motion resolution was always going to be limited, but colour fidelity is accurate, there’s a decent black level and only minor low-level noise.
The sound quality is so-so, but you can remedy this somewhat if you're inclined to experiment with its eight-band equaliser and faux surround sound V Audio mode. You don't have to look very far to find this set with at least £120 off Panasonic's on-line price and consequently it earns the Recommended award.
Reg Rating 85%
More info Panasonic
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