Hannspree's latest TV -- the SV28 -- uses LED backlighting so it's slimmer than many of the other 28-inch models that we've had in for review.
It's competitively priced at £225, which will appeal if you're on a budget. Better still, the stylish design hasn't been compromised for the price. But just how well does it perform?
User interface and EPG
A lot of the cheap TVs we see have very basic menus that look like they wouldn't be out of place on a Commodore 64 computer from the 1980s. We were pleasantly surprised when we hit the menu button on this TV's remote.
Hannspree has divided up the menus into separate pages for stuff like Pictures, Sound, Tuning and the Eco mode. These are accessed by moving between tabs that are shown down the left-hand side of the screen. The functions are clearly signposted with good-looking and friendly graphics.
As a result, tweaking picture or audio settings is very quick and straightforward. However, in the picture menu you won't find the more advanced controls, such as gamma and hue settings, that you would on many larger screens.
Unfortunately, the electronic programme guide (EPG) isn't quite up to the same standard as the menu system. Like Hannspree's ST288MAR that we reviewed in September, this one uses an EPG with a vertical rather than the more traditional horizontal layout. As a result, it only shows what's coming up on a single channel at any one time; you can't easily spot clashes in programming across different channels.
Even more annoying is the fact that when you go to check what's coming up on another channel, the TV actually has to change to that channel to show you the programming data. This makes moving around the EPG slow and tiresome.
At least you can skip up and down through pages of channels using the red and green buttons on the remote. You can filter the programming data by genre such as movies and sports but there's quite a long pause as it does the filtering.
Along with the EPG, you can also press the Info button on the remote to call up a description of the current programme. Pressing it again switches to the Now and Next view.
It's worth noting that this TV only has a standard-definition Freeview tuner. You don't get access to high-definition channels like BBC One HD or Channel 4 HD, which is a shame.
Digital media features
The TV has a USB port on the left-hand side and this can be used for playing back digital media files. If you select USB from the input list using the source button on the remote, it starts up the simple media player. This is little more than a file browser, split into sections for music, photos and videos, but it gets the job done.
Format support is fairly good. It can play JPEG and PNG format picture files, MP3 music tracks and videos in MPEG2, MPEG4, MOV, Xvid and HD MKV format.Sadly though, unlike a lot of other smaller screen models we see, this one doesn't allow you to record from the Freeview tuner to USB drives and memory keys.
Design and connections
For a low-cost set, the AV28 is actually quite an eye-catching model. There's no doubt that its looks are helped by its use of LED backlighting, which has allowed Hannspree to create a very slim model.
It measures a mere 39mm deep, which is very slim by 28-inch TV standards. It's much, much slimmer than Hannspree's other 28-inch option, the ST288, which uses traditional CCFL backlighting.
It's not just the slimness of this set that impresses. Hannspree has done a good job on the overall design. The styling has obviously been influenced by the designs of Samsung and LG, but that's no bad thing as both of those companies' TVs are among the most stylish on the market.
The bezel around the screen is predominantly black, but it's covered by a layer of clear perspex that extends out beyond the black edge to create a transparent lip that looks very attractive. The pedestal stand has a transparent stem; the base adopts the same mix of glossy black and clear perspex used on the bezel.
The bezel is a little thick, measuring 37mm wide. We're not overly keen on the illuminated Hannspree logo on the front and you don't seem to be able to turn it off from the menus as you can on most other TVs. Other than that, this is a handsome model.
The connections on the back are split between a side-mounted panel and one that's rear mounted. The rear-mounted panel houses a single HDMI input, along with a Scart socket, a set of component inputs and a composite socket.
It's also home to a VGA input so you can use the set as a monitor. There's an audio mini jack to allow you to feed sound from a computer into its speakers. It even has a coaxial digital audio output to let you feed audio from the Freeview tuner out to an external amp or surround sound system.
The side-mounted panel houses a second HDMI port along with the headphone jack, composite input and common interface (CI) slot for satellite signals. All in all, it's a comprehensive line-up of connections, although a third HDMI port would have been welcome.
The remote control looks overly plasticky and feels slightly cheap to the touch. It's wider than most of the remotes we see with today's TVs, but it still manages to feel quite comfortable to hold, especially as it's not overly long. At least the larger size has allowed Hannspree to kit it out with big and chunky buttons that feel good to the touch.
That said, the TV can sometimes be a little slow to respond to the remote, and on occasion you find yourself having to press the button twice for the function you're trying to access. This was especially noticeable with the EPG and Info buttons.
As this is a slim LED model, there isn't a huge amount of room in the chassis for the speakers. However, the SV28's audio isn't actually that bad.
Perhaps not unexpectedly it doesn't make much of a fist of the lower-end frequencies. Even when you crank up the bass using the 5-band graphic equaliser found in the sound menu, it doesn't make much difference to the resulting audio.
On the plus side, the TV produces strong dialogue with plenty of presence, which isn't something that you always get on these smaller-sized sets. It goes pretty loud too, without introducing lots of distortion, so it's not a bad option for smaller living rooms.
Along with the graphic equaliser, Hannspree has added a couple more settings to the audio menu. There's a simple virtual surround mode that widens the soundstage slightly and manages to do so without muddying dialogue as some models do.
You'll also find the Auto Volume Leveller, which smoothes out the difference between louder and quieter sounds. This can be useful if there's a sudden jump in volume between shows and adverts.
Budget TVs usually throw up very few surprises in the picture department. Thankfully the AV28 is different in this regard. Its LED backlighting helps it to produce very bright pictures. This in turn gives its colours a serious amount of punch and vibrancy. Black levels are reasonably deep and images have above-average levels of contrast for a smaller set in this price bracket.
Naturally the TV looks its best when dealing with HD material. This is when its impressive levels of sharpness shine through and colours and contrast look their best. Standard-definition broadcasts don't look too bad on this smaller screen, but colours can be a little unruly, especially on redder hues. Overall, the results are very watchable.
The SV28 is a good budget offering. It's attractively styled and produces bright pictures with decent levels of contrast. Its colours can be a little unruly at times, especially when watching Freeview channels. For the most part they're fairly good, especially by small screen standards. If you want a slimmer TV in a smaller screen size, but don't want to spend big money, it's worth checking out.