Hannspree Hannsjoy ST288MAR review: Hannspree Hannsjoy ST288MAR

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The Good Solid audio; bright pictures; appealing design; cheap.

The Bad No USB port for digital media playback; cartoonish colours; poor electronic programme guide; no Freeview HD tuner.

The Bottom Line The 28-inch Hannspree Hannsjoy ST288MAR LCD TV is certainly cheap, and it definitely looks cheerful. But its lack of picture-processing features means its images have a rough and ready quality to them.

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5.5 Overall

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Hannspree made a name for itself by producing low-cost monitors that offer plenty of features at a low price. It's also created a number of novelty TVs shaped like animals and fruits. This time around, it's relying less on novelty shapes, and more on eye-catching colours, as shown by the glossy red, 28-inch, 1080p Hannsjoy ST288MAR LCD TV.

It's available for around £200. 

User interface

The menu systems on today's high-end TVs are becoming ever more complex and flashy, but the ST288MAR is definitely more old-school in this regard, which isn't all that surprising, given its price.

The functional and static menus are graced with a splash of colour here and there, but lack the flashy animations that you now find on premium models. Still, the simplicity of the menu system means it's quick and easy to get at the picture and audio settings. You get a decent amount of control over these settings too, with picture options including backlight control and the usual colour and contrast settings.

Picture menu
The picture menu gives you control over the backlight.

This set's remote control is fairly chunky, but it does have large buttons. The layout is good, with the info and electronic-programme-guide buttons neatly placed next to the central control pad. Still, the TV can be sluggish to respond to the remote, which becomes frustrating after a while.

Sluggish remote
The remote can take a moment to respond to button presses.

The TV's EPG isn't very impressive. It uses a vertical layout, with the channel names and numbers listed on the left-hand side and the upcoming shows for the currently selected channel displayed on the right. This makes it much harder to compare what's on at any given time across multiple channels, because you have to actually hop between them. With a traditional, horizontal EPG layout, you can see programme clashes at a glance.

Worse, though, is the fact that, to view the EPG listing for a different channel, the TV tuner actually has to change to that channel first. As channel changes typically take around 2 seconds, this makes navigating the EPG slow and tortuous. If you use your TV with a set-top box for a service like Sky or Virgin Media, this may not be an issue for you, but it's definitely worth bearing in mind if you mostly tend to watch TV via Freeview.

Annoying EPG
The EPG's vertical layout is annoying.

Design and connections

The ST288MAR stands out from the pack largely thanks to its glossy red finish. The red looks quite striking and isn't as overpowering as it sounds. On the downside, though, the bezel around the screen is quite thick by today's standards.

When it comes to the range of connections on offer, the TV doesn't fare too badly. There are two HDMI inputs, so you can have, say, a Sky+HD box connected at the same time as a PlayStation 3. You also get a set of component inputs for older hi-def kit like the original Xbox 360, along with a Scart socket, PC input and composite input. If you were to use it as a primary TV, a third HDMI port would have come in handy, but, given the size of the telly, we think it's most likely to be used in a bedroom or kitchen, so two HDMI ports is probably enough.

Only 2 HDMI ports
Two HDMI ports is adequate for a set of this size.

What this model lacks, though, is a USB port -- something now found on many rivals. There's a hole in the chassis for a USB port on the left-hand side, but this is blanked off, so perhaps it's only available on a step-up model.

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