Despite the price, the Alba isn’t really a bargainWrite your own review
- Inoffensive looks and decent build
- strong, clean contrasts
- quite poised sound
- Ill-sorted TV tuners
- picture noise, uncertain edges and queasy motion tracking from all sources
- vile remote
Some economies are falser than others, as anyone who's ever bought cheap bin bags will acknowledge.
We all love a bargain, though, and it's not difficult to imagine why the idea of this Alba LCD32880HDF might appeal.
When rival sets cost on average a hefty 30 per cent more, the cost-conscious consumer would be foolish not to investigate.
Ordinary looks, not Full HD
First impressions don't discourage further exploration. It's solidly if unremarkably finished in mandatory glossy black, and comes with neatly integrated speakers and a sturdy pedestal stand.
The Alba's status as a screen with a 1366 x 768 resolution is more suggestive of its price, as are the tiny, rudimentary on-screen menus and brace of HDMI inputs. The remote control can only be described as downright miserable.
Watch our vidcast about this TV
Nevertheless, the Alba's quick enough to scan and store TV stations and, as there's none of the in-depth picture finessing more expensive rivals go in for, set-up is a brief job, too.
Pictures from both the analogue and digital TV tuners are pretty marginal. Clean and punchy contrasts are all well and good, but the '880's overblown colour palette, consistent picture noise and vexation at any kind of motion makes for a taxing watch.
Deep black tones, neutral sound
The Alba is more convincing when upscaling DVD pictures to fit its panel, where the vibrant contrasts and colours are complemented by decent detail levels and deep black tones.
There's still some picture noise, mind, along with some shimmering to edges and a reluctance to track movement with any stability.
Downscaled 1080p/24fps pictures are broadly similar. Let the Right One In carries good detail in the relentlessly dark scenes, and contrasts remain enjoyable, but there's a lack of three-dimensionality to pictures and more digital noise than is proper.
Motion is dealt with anxiously, while edges are drawn with a trembling hand.
Throughout, sound is neutral – some pricier TVs could learn a thing or two.
But, overall, performance is reminiscent of screens we reviewed five years ago. So while the Alba is an unpretentious product, we'd suggest sticking with what you have until you can afford something considerably better.