LCD TV - Hannspree SJ42DMBB 42" Class Full HDTV Review

In the world of large high definition TV’s, Hannspree doesn’t seem to be one of the better known brands. You may even say they are the best maker of the "cheap LCD TV"! Samsung, Panasonic, Sharp and even Toshiba all come up well ahead. They appear to be about equal with LG on price (rrp) although whether this holds for quality I don't know. So initially when I went looking for my 42 inch LCD 1080p HDTV, I didn’t even know the name, little realising that theirs would be the best LCD HDTV for me! I dutifully looked up all types, read about the difference between plasma, LED and LCD, understood the jargon, even worked out that the image contrast ratio appears to be giant pack of lies designed to befuddle you with the notion that higher is better, and in the end it all came down to price.

Unless you’ve earmarked a lot of money (and even given that they’ve come down in price a lot), and you’re looking at anything above 32” in size, expect to be stunned. Top Samsung 32” TVs seem to go for around £800+, Panasonic a little more affordable £700+ and Sharp even better at £600+. Of course those are the top models but only at that size. When you start going 42” or larger, expect to drop at least £2k for the very top screens.

Hannspree on the other hand, are a little more reasonably prices, even if you can’t exactly call it cheap. As I took a more realistic hold on my budget, so did my options drop accordingly. If I wanted a 42” (and be honest, who doesn’t?) I was looking at two makes, Hannspree and LG. At the time I was buying (about mid 2010), Hannspree had a slight edge in terms of what was offered. The resolution tended to be the full 1080p over LG’s often 720p and they came with say, three HDMI ports rather than two. Price for price, they were similar, however Hannspree was consistently a fraction cheaper with more offered.

quality product
quality product

Of course, as the saying goes, pay peanuts, get monkeys, but in my case, peanuts was still more than I wanted to spend. The offer of £50 cashback (thank you Misco) finally tipped it and I purchased a Hannspree SJ42DMBB 42" Full HD TV. I was a little concerned with the lack of reviews but in all honesty, there’s only so much you can ponder two options.

I’m not going to detail everything you need to know about buying large flatscreen TV’s. It’s complicated, boring and there are resources that do it far better than I can. I did my research, but confined by price, I got what I could – and I really was not disappointed. For a little known brand at the lowest price on the market, it is one amazing piece of tech.

Style and Class

It’s blurb lists it as “minimalistic” but unless you like rainbow hued appliances it looks great. A glossy surround of black plastic, much similar to the type the Iphone used, frames the screen with a chrome finish in a strip at the very bottom edge. Perhaps some might call it a little heavy handed, even tacky but I think its suitably eyecatching and yet sophisticated and with discretion. BS over, it’s a TV, it looks fine, functions great and will fit in very well into almost any décor but your grandmothers lace strewn cosy room.

Picture Quality

 

This is really the key element in a TV. The neat verdict is: nice. I don’t really have much to compare it to, but the image is fairly sharp, probably it’s best feature in terms of viewing.

The colours are pretty good, depending on what you’re expecting. Occasionally the tinge is wrong, and necessitated a manual style altering of the colour for one low light film that gave the people a vague tinge of yellow and turned the zombies positively green! On the plus side, a yellow image should look really nice!

The saturation is fair but excessive differences of contrast occasionally obliterates picture detail and could be better. I’ve just got a Samsung Galaxy S phone with a super AMOLED screen so I know what stunning contrast looks like on screen.

The backlighting is adequate, while obviously not being LED lit, is fine for most rooms, although didn’t do well in very bright sunshine. I’ve no idea what power consumption is like, and while I suppose this affects my bills, I didn’t really look at it as a feature.

screen quality
screen quality

DVD output from a basic cheap DVD player is very good for the most part. Output via the VGA port from a computer is actually surprisingly good. It may be the high output from my laptop which has pretty decent discreet graphics card, but I’d say using this as a computer monitor is it’s best function. I’ve not tried it on Blu-ray (own no discs) nor on the TV itself (iplayer is perfectly sufficient, thank you) so I can’t comment, but games output from PS3 is pretty stunning to my eye, coming from a 20 inch old widescreen with strange converting things to get the damn thing to show any games.

Overall, I’d rate it as mid to low range, markedly better than every other TV I’ve had in the past but a far cry from the picture quality of the top brands. Having said that, aside from sometimes being a little lamentable on colour accuracy, colours are ok, contrast is ok, sharpness is good and viewing is more than adequate. If you’re expecting ultra sharp and vivid pictures, you may want to move up-market to Samsung.

Audio

As I have a surround sound system plugged in I don’t really have a problem with audio, but I can see that you would if you were just reliant on the built-in speakers. At 10 watts RMS output per speaker, they’re not particularly short of power for this kind of thing with the volume being generally fine, however the quality is something else. To make it brief, the speakers sound cheap. They’re tinny, base lacks punch and frankly they remind me of TVs from ten years ago. Plugging in an external audio setup is by far your best bet unless you’re really not bothered about the big explosions and crystal clear sound. Decent surround sound speakers are not that hard to come by and I’d recommend it.

remotely easy
remotely easy

Ease Of Use

This should be short and sweet. I’ve not had the slightest problems using this TV. Everything I needed from hooking up external hardware (DVD player, laptop and PS3) to changing colour settings, aspect ratios and the likes, to returning it normal when my girlfriend adjusted something called “clock” and made everything ripple.

The ports, which I’ll deal with later are mostly located on the back  but it has a very convenient side panel with a HDMI port and some audio/video jacks on it. It sometimes doesn’t automatically detect things plugged into it, such as PCs but changing the input on the remote is no problem

side panel with HDMI, AV in, Audio Jack and Service port
side panel with HDMI, AV in, Audio Jack and Service port

Connectivity

For a TV of this price, connectivity is great. Aside from a whole load of very confusing audio in/out jacks, the ports you might use are the two scart ports for connecting items like dvd players, the three HDMI ports for blu-ray players and games consoles but some PC connections too, and the AV in for things like phones and cameras.

Most of the ports are located on the back, to one side, but a HDMI port, the AV in setup and the headphone jack are on the side panel as well as the usb service port. This makes plugging in things like the PS3 very easy if you have the panel wall mounted.

It has all kinds of built in TV tuners however, as I don't watch TV, I've never tried them.

Other Tech Spec (updated version)

Pixel Response Time 4.5 ms

Viewing Angle (Vertical) 176 degrees

Viewing Angle 176 degrees

Progressive Scan Progressive scanning (line doubling)

Brightness 470 cd/m2

Image Contrast Ratio 15000:1

Colour Depth 24-bit (1.07 billion colours)

Image Aspect Ratio 16:9

Display Format 1080p (FullHD)

Resolution 1920 x 1080

Technology TFT active matrix

Diagonal Size 42" – widescreen

Conclusion

Yes the picture quality leaves maybe a little to be desired but frankly for the price its damn good. Obviously, you can get a lot better but only if you pay for it. As a relatively low budget TV, to get into the 42” widescreen class for this kind of money (£350 when I bought) is ridiculously good. Its probably equal to many it its price range, with maybe different ups and downs but if you’re looking for a big screen, a bit cash strapped and you’re not overly religious about the image quality (which isn’t that bad) then this could well be the model for you. I’ll certainly be considering this make in the future.

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Comments 27 comments

Wibbs 5 years ago

I bought a 42" of the same model for 399.99, love it, but i do get annoyed with some shade of red blurring around the edges. Using on a 360 and not sure if i should be using expanded or intermediate color settings. Nice review


Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Hey Wibbs,

I only get colour problems now when the contrast is unusually high with bright colours. Otherwise its perfect! thanks for commenting.


Phil Johnson 5 years ago

This the the most complete review I've found so far on this TV. I bought a 32" yesterday and now I'm scoping the reviews to see if I should actually set it up. :) Thanks!


Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Phil, Thanks for your comment. Techradar do a pretty good review too. Maybe you can check that out. I would point out that performance or not in the 42" model doesn't necessarily correspond to the performance in the 32" model


isaac 5 years ago

does this tv support PAL B/G reception


Gordon 5 years ago

Great TV. I've had mine 2 months now and paid $499 CND in november 2010. I use all 42 inches as my computer monitor as well as with cable and antenna. The preset colour was off a bit, but no problems adjusting tint etc to make a perfect picture. Using the VGA input works fantastic. The best high def I get is local stations I pick up at 1080p with a $15 outdoor UHF antenna - mounted indoors on the 1st floor! It's a better signal than cable.


networkandy profile image

networkandy 5 years ago from Connecticut

I love technology no matter what anyone says. It is technology that makes out lives easier. I wanna get one of those Tv's


deepakkumaarr 5 years ago

you article is interesting


Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Gordon, thanks for your comment, its surprising isn't it? Although you can see that the image isn't perfect, it's pretty good all round and amazing for the price!

Andy,

Go get one!

Deepak, thanks.


Superhawk996 5 years ago

Hi Lymond, i just picked up one of these TV's yesterday and love it so far!! X-box with HDMI is incredible!. My question is "How did you hook up to surround"? I can't find any audio out jacks.


Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Hi Superhawk996, I have mine plugged into the PS3, not directly into the TV, as I don't watch TV. There is an S/PDIF which the user guide states as audio output but I'd do some reading on this before buying the cable. Also if I needed audio directly out of the TV I would use the standard audio jack on my speaker system and plug it into the headphone socket on the TV.


Superhawk996 5 years ago

Thanks Lymond, I'll give that a try. I think I may have thought of another solution also. If I use a mini speaker jack to RCA connector and go directly to my surround tuner I think that might work.

BTW, I ordered my TV from walmart.com ($449 USD)on Friday evening at 7pm and it showed up at my house the very next morning!! And I used standard shipping that cost only $19.97!!! Amazing...


Fox 5 years ago

I just ordered one from Walmart for my daughter. It seems since the review was done the specs on this model have improved. Pixel response is now 4.5ms, brightness 470 cd/m2,contrast ratio 15000:1 color display 1.07 billion.


yvette 5 years ago

I love this t.v. but my fiancé is goin nuts tryin to figure out how to connect the surround to the xbox. It works fine with the satilite but when we turn his game on it doesn't connect with the surround.??


Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

Fox, thanks, the specs have been updated.

Yvette, not quite sure what you're trying to do. If you're connecting the surround to the TV and then trying to put sound out from the Xbox through the TV to the surround, I would doubt the TV is set up to do that. This might work for the Satellite as it's primary function is as a TV and has more support for TV based add-ons (like a Satellite box). You may need to look at a method of connecting the surround directly to the Xbox. Also one other caution is that if you're connecting the Xbox via a VGA cable rather than a HDMI cable, VGA doesn't carry sound and needs a separate cable for sound.


Luis Westwood 5 years ago

Muito bom!! Fiquei surpreendido pela qualidade aliado ao seu preço!!


Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

thanks for your comment Luis, it is very good value for the price!


Luis Westwood 5 years ago

E ainda se vc ligar um cabo HDMI ao seu PC pode ver filmes com uma excelente qualidade que, segundo amigos meus que compraram outras marcas muito mais caras, não é inferior ás mesmas. Por 450€ [em Portugal] já é muito bom, tendo em conta que o equivalente nas outras marcas ronda entre 750€ e 900€. Na diferença de preços já se compra uma PS3.


Lymond profile image

Lymond 5 years ago from UK Author

I haven't tried the HDMI port for the PC as my laptop doesn't have one but the VGA works just fine. I guess your friends wished they'd spent a little less then. Did you get the PS3?


Felipe 5 years ago

thanks for your comment Luis e Lymond,

it is very good value for the price!


Kemo 5 years ago

Hi,

Topic: Hanspree 42?

I’m having problems with the Auto Scan feature in which it repeats the same listing many times on Channel List, for example 41, 41-1, 41-2, 41-3, 41-4 and so on showing the same image on the screen until reaches the next ie 42, 42-1, 42-2 etc. There are so many instances of channel repeat and the editing interface so awkward that I’m sure it will take me about four hours to finish, and even then, there is no way to save such profile….

I already called Hanspree but have no way around it. By the way I’m hooked to a service (not even monthly Basic) in which Time Warner charges you one time $20 dlls and hooks you directly to the cable without the hardware device that they usually require.

Any clues?

Thanks in advance

Kemo.


Bruno 5 years ago

how can I watch 3d movies in the hannspree 42"?


Mally 4 years ago

I strongly advise you not to buy one of these TVs. Ive had mine 6 months now the picture is very poor, if your watching a football match they go in slow motion from time to time. I ordered a boxing fight in HD one night it was like watching a PS£ game. The volume is turned up to 60 via a sky HD box before you can hear anything. Then last week the censor went cant turn tv channels or volume. I went back WITHG my receipt the shop wouldn't entertain me told it was over 28 days, its nothing to do with them, phoned the company they wanted me to pay E15 for a box for the courier to bring it other wise he woulddnt. I explained i couldn't be in the house all day as both my partner and i worked, so i asked if they could give me a quick call b4 they arrived as i only worked 5 minutes away fom my house, no way would they call me. AVOID you have been warned.


Lymond profile image

Lymond 4 years ago from UK Author

Kemo - not a clue, don't use the tuner section of it at all.

Bruno - I doubt that it is possible on this TV

Mally- sounds like a tough break, can't really say I'm surprised about the customer service at this price point but if the thing is actually broken and still under warranty I would guess they must replace or refund.

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/index/your_world/con...

and a nice article from the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/apr/17/consum...


Liam 4 years ago

Hey i got a 34 inch hannspree tv, i love it and it was only 169 quid so im happy, its big, its hd, and its great for my xbox on hdmi, however i can not get the tv to work with my netbook through vga. it keeps saying that it isn't surpported, i tired my net book on my dads samsung flatscreen of 32 inch and it works fine. can anyone help me??


Lymond profile image

Lymond 4 years ago from UK Author

Hi Liam, frankly not much of a clue. On my laptop I hit the relevant F key to out to a screen and it goes. Even if there is no TV on the other end of the cable it still blanks the laptop screen and presumably tries to put the screen up on an external monitor. Definitely got the TV set on vga input? Maybe the Samsung detects the VGA input automatically and switches to it and the Hannspree doesn't?


Ram 4 years ago

Is the TV capable of swivelling easily on its stand or is the position fixed? Can any owner please comment?

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