We do so love cracking open a new gadget, but we also love animals. So imagine our surprise and delight when the HANNspree HANNSZ.elephant arrived in the office.
The HANNSZ.elephant is a 10-inch LCD TV which has an appealing, soft-toy elephant cover. HANNspree doesn't just do elephants (or capslock) either: there's a zebra, a giraffe and even a lion -- all of which are adorable. HANNspree also has a sporting range, where you can get TVs in a panoply of designs most British sports fans won't give a monkey's for (basketballs and the like).
Our first impression of the TV was that we wanted to hug it. Some people seemed keen to stroke it and others just liked to make noises at it, chief among which was "ahhhahahh". Second impressions were that the front panel is clearly laid out, with buttons to access on-screen menus, change the channel and volume as well as select the input source and turn the TV on and off. When we popped into the menu we were really surprised by how easy it was to use. There are menus for video controls, brightness, contrast and other associated gubbins. The audio menu has an equaliser, allowing you to setup the sound to your taste. There's also a tuning menu to set the TV up to receive analogue stations.
Analogue reception is as good as you'd expect, if slightly blurred. With a good external antenna you'll get an acceptable picture. The good news is your fluffy elephant telly (and all the other animals) can accept a Scart connection. This takes the form of a special all-in-one cable that's provided. You can use this for Freeview or DVDs. We popped our old favourite Ronin on, and were actually quite impressed with the picture. Okay, it's hardly 720p and it's a 4:3-format screen, but the quality is pretty good.
Despite its snugly cuteness, the HANNSZ.elephant isn't perfect. For a start, the speakers are on the back, so sound is muted and dialogue difficult to hear. There is a headphone socket, but the sound quality is quite disappointing: much fiddling with equaliser settings still produced a very tinny sound.
The other problem relates directly to the cuddly snuglyness. Kids will probably love it, which means they'll wipe their dirty snotty noses and filthy chocolate-covered hands all over the fur cover. HANNspree has very sensibly put a zip on the bottom of the cover so you should be able to take it off and wash it, but the instruction manual oddly comes with a dire warning about only authorised service technicians removing it.
Overall, the picture quality is decent, the sound is pretty dire and the TV itself is cute as a button. It's easy to use and the supplied remote control does the job. All of the HANNspree animal range can be bought online for about £180, which is reasonably expensive for such a small TV set. -IM