What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Fri, 27 Nov 2009, 10:00am

Hannspree ST321

Tested at £330
60100
3

If you’ll only be watching off-air, it’s cheap and cheerful – but all-round performance isn’t up to scratch

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For

  • Smart design
  • Full HD spec
  • good tuner
  • cheap

Against

  • Video playback less impressive
  • poor black levels
  • sound is weak

When news of a new Hannspree TV appears, we brace ourselves for something out of the ordinary.

But this isn't a 10in TV styled to look like a shiny apple, or a 26in TV with a 1920 x 1200 resolution. Hannspree seems to have played this 32in TV a little straighter. It's a 16:9, 1920 x 1080, Full HD screen.

Four HDMI inputs, with component, Scart, S-Video and composite connections, should serve all but the most action-packed living room, and there's a digital Freeview tuner built-in.

This is an ultra-competitively priced set and, up against some of the more expensive sets around, its tuner holds its own.

It's a little soft and lacks the last word in detail, but motion is smooth and colours full-bodied.

Black levels lack real solidity
Switch to video and things start to wobble. Bright scenes in the Blu-ray of the intimate Moon have plenty of life, but low-light scenes are a different matter. Black levels lack real solidity, texture and insight.

It's similar with DVD, with Star Trek proving tricky at times, while brighter colours lack the vitality and sense of depth that other sets manage.

Thin sound doesn't help to endear us further.

If you were largely concerned with watching this set's TV tuner, you could do a lot worse – it is after all very cheap. But even with the price in mind, video images and sound mean it struggles to be a viable all-rounder.

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