Taiwanese company Hannspree's made a name for itself by producing cheap and cheerful monitors, as well as a range of quirky small-screen TVs with animal-themed designs. But the company has put the novelties aside with its latest range of LED-illuminated LCD tellies.
The 32-inch, 1080p SV32LMNB sits in the middle of the range, between the smaller 28-inch model and the larger 42-inch offering. Priced at around £420, it's relatively cheap for a slim LED set, but does it have the performance to rival sets from better-known manufacturers?
The SV32LMNB's design is very reminiscent of LG's last generation of TVs, which is no bad thing, as they were fairly good-looking sets. The screen is framed by a black bezel with a transparent lip running around the outer edge.
This two-tone design is carried over to the attractive stand, giving the whole set a more upmarket look than its budget price tag would suggest. The set's slim dimensions consolidate this impression, as it measures just 46mm thick.
Like the majority of today's 32-inch models, this one has three HDMI ports, one of which is side-mounted for easy access when you're hooking up portable devices like camcorders and laptops. There's also a set of component inputs for use with older high-definition gear, along with two Scart sockets, a VGA port and a composite input.
Sadly, the TV lacks a Freeview HD tuner, so you'll miss out on channels like BBC One HD and Channel 4 HD unless you already have a HD service from the likes of Sky, freesat or Virgin Media. It does, however, have a standard-definition Freeview tuner. The TV doesn't have an Ethernet port, so there's no support for online services such as BBC iPlayer.
On the plus side, Hannspree has fitted it with a side-mounted USB port that can be used to play back photos, music and videos. Format support for the latter is pretty good -- we found both DivX and MKV files played without any problems.
The TV's menu system is pretty straightforward, even if its presentation is drab. The Freeview electronic programme guide is less successful. It uses a vertical design, with channels listed on the left of the screen and upcoming programmes shown on the right. The problem is you can't view programme information for a different channel without the TV actually switching to that channel. As channel changes are noticeably slower than on most other TVs, the EPG proves annoyingly sluggish when you're planning an evening's viewing.
The SV32LMNB uses a 1080p panel and has 100Hz processing to help it deliver smoother motion. Nevertheless, the picture quality is mixed at best.
Hannspree's picture-processing technology seems to lag someway behind that of the big-name manufacturers, and it's especially obvious when this set is dealing with standard-definition TV channels via its Freeview tuner. Pictures tend to look quite noisy, and colours are garish too. It also takes plenty of tweaking in the set's menus to get the TV to produce half-realistic skin tones. Even with plenty of adjustment, colours remain quite cartoon-like.
The set does, however, produce quite deep black levels. It's fairly accomplished when working with high-definition sources too, such as Blu-ray movies. HD pictures look quite sharp and colours are slightly more natural. The TV still lacks the extra finesse of budget sets from the likes of Samsung and LG, though, especially as, even with the 100Hz processing turned on, there's a fair amount of motion blur in fast action sequences.
The TV's thin chassis means that its audio performance is compromised, simply because there isn't enough space available to fit in a decent set of speakers. For a slim set, though, the SV32LMNB doesn't actually perform too badly in this area. It does struggle to produce deep bass, which can leave action scenes in movies sounding flaccid, but it offers decent mid-range presence, so dialogue tends to cut through. It's also loud enough to fill a decently sized living room.
The Hannspree SV32LMNB is something of a disappointment. Despite its attractive design and decent sound quality, it just doesn't deliver in the area that matters most -- picture quality. If you're seeking a budget set with plenty of features, we'd recommend you take a look at LG's 32LD490 instead. It might be bulkier, but it blows the SV32LMNB away in terms of picture quality and features, while costing about £70 less.
Edited by Charles Kloet