Sadly, many manufacturers seem to see the small-screen TV market as an unimportant sector, and don't put much effort into such matters as picture quality and feature sets. But LG, at least, seems hell-bent on bucking this dismal trend. The 22-inch, HD Ready 22LU4000 LCD TV, available for around £300, does more than just the basics.
There's never been a 22-in TV that looks anything like the 22LU4000. For starters, it's clad in a distinctly iPod-esque glossy white finish. Extra cuteness comes in the form of its tastefully arched and rounded screen shape, and subtle see-through trim.
If you consider yourself particularly macho, you might find the 22LU4000's looks rather effeminate. But, since we're in touch with our feminine side, we personally think it will look very good in any conservatory, kitchen, bedroom or study.
In fact, it's particularly suited to a study, since, as well as a respectable two HDMI ports and a component video input, the 22LU4000 has a dedicated PC port so that it can double up as a computer monitor. This is by no means a universal feature once you get down to the £300 price point.
The set's solid specifications also include an HD Ready resolution of 1,366x768 pixels, LG's decent XD Engine video processing, and a claimed contrast ratio of 8,000:1. While this contrast figure is far short of the tens of thousands to one -- and higher -- numbers bandied around in the big TV world, it's actually remarkable for such a small TV, raising hopes of some really exceptional picture quality.
The 22LU4000's on-screen menus are also good. Surprisingly, the TV enjoys the same excellent graphics-heavy user interface that we've enjoyed on LG's recent larger TVs. What's more, there are far more picture-adjustment options at your disposal than we'd generally expect to find at the sub-26-inch level of the TV market. Highlights include a black-level booster, separate backlight and brightness adjustments, edge-enhancement processing options, standard and wide colour gamut settings, and various gamma presets. If all this sounds intimidating, fear not -- LG has thoughtfully included a series of test signals to guide you step by step through optimising picture performance.
As we hoped, LG's efforts in the picture department haven't been in vain. Right away, for instance, the screen's contrast -- particularly its presentation of deep black colours -- proves to be in a whole different world to that of most small-screen LCD sets.