Hannspree, if you're among the 99 percent of the population who's never heard the name, is best-known for HDTVs shaped like stars, pigs, or basketballs. The Xv model looks refreshingly classy in comparison, but its claim to fame has little to do with design and a lot to do with price. So yeah, the Xv is inexpensive, but its feature set--while not quite up to the standards of the Vizio VX32L HDTV, for example--is still pretty extensive. As for picture quality, the Hannspree Xv might not be as accurate as the Vizio, but it's still fine for the price, especially if you're watching a lot of relatively clean, standard-definition programming such as from a digital cable or satellite.
Essentially free of wackiness, the exterior of the Hanspree Xv is nonetheless relatively attractive, with the standard, glossy black frame set above a horizontal strip of matte black speakers. The stand is a pedestal design, so there's a stalk below the panel that suspends it a couple of inches above the base. Strips of glossy black on either side of the base complement the screen around the frame and help create a look that's a notch or two classier than many low-priced LCD TVs.
Including the removable pedestal stand, the dimensions of the Hannspree Xv are average for a 32-inch LCD: 31.8x25.4x8.3 inches, with a weight of 48 pounds.
Hannspree's remote is a solid design as well, with well-defined button groups arranged around a central cursor pad. We don't expect backlighting at this price, but people with smaller hands might have to stretch to access the buttons toward the top of the long wand. The Xv's basic-looking menu system gets the job done with little hassle, and we appreciate that the picture parameters drop to the bottom of the screen during adjustment. Our only complaint was that a few key picture controls, such as color temperature and backlight, are inexplicably listed in the Setup menu as opposed to the Picture menu.
Like most LCDs of any size, the Hannspree Xv has a screen containing 1,366x768 pixels, a native resolution that allows it to display every detail from 720p HDTV material. All sources--including HDTV, standard-definition television, and computers--are scaled to fit the pixels.
The Hannspree Xv includes the required ATSC digital tuner for grabbing over-the-air programming. The set's picture-in-picture feature allows you to watch two sources simultaneously, incorporates both inset and side-by-side modes, and works with computer and HDTV sources in most combinations. There's also a freeze mode and a picture zoom.
Aspect ratio control on the Hannspree Xv is nothing if not extensive. It has no fewer than eight choices with HDTV and standard-definition sources, including three zooms and a couple of modes that duplicate one another. Nonetheless, between its zoom modes and its many aspect ratio selections, the Hannspree Xv provides more ways to size the picture than just about any HDTV we've tested yet, regardless of price.
The Hannspree Xv is likewise no slouch when it comes to fine-tuning the picture. It offers four preset picture modes as well as a fifth User mode that's independent for each input. We also loved that the three color-temperature presets are complemented by a fourth User mode that allows independent control of red, green, and blue. We would have liked the backlight control to be continuous instead of a simple three-step design, but that's a minor gripe.
Slightly more important to some users will be the Hannspree Xv's input selection. This LCD has just one component-video input and one HDMI input, whereas many current models have two of each. We did appreciate the addition of a VGA-style PC input (1,360x768 recommended resolution) although the Hannspree's selection of standard A/V inputs is also sparse, with just one composite-video and one S-Video slot. An RF input rounds out the rear-panel jack pack, and there are no side-panel inputs