- Audio & Video
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
42" Hannspree TV, Higher Spec Model on Amazon UK
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
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.