Hannspree, ever heard of them? Neither had I until very recently? They create televisions for the more affordable end of the market.
This is the Hannspree SE40LMNB 40-inch Widescreen LED TV which retails for just £350. Which I originally thought was very very cheap but it only undercuts the competition by about £100-£150. However, if you are on a tight budget that's quite a bit. This saving of money means you won't find any Apps or the ability to connect to the Internet and even record TV out of the box.
It comes in just one colour, which is black. The rear of the TV isn't anything special to look at but the front is a totally different story. The bezel is small, keeping all eyes focused on the picture. The bezel actually has a brushed aluminium look which is really only noticeable when up close. I think if this also came in a maroon colour it would suit the brushed aluminium look very nicely. It looks fantastic in my living room environment. The Hannspree is very thin but fairly heavy so if you plan on moving this around your house you will need more than one person to help you.
What does this have in terms of input and output? Well, most importantly, this has three HDMI ports, plenty enough for me. One Scart adapter, USB, audio jack, SPDIF, component, PC In (video & audio) and, of course, it has an ariel port. I used all the IO and it worked as expected with no hiccups. The USB port allows you to plug in a hard drive or USB stick to record, pause and rewind live TV, it works but the software for this part of the TV is a little buggy.
The operating system the Hannspree uses is very functional and easy to navigate with the remote control. To function different input and outputs, such as one of the HDMI ports, it takes just two clicks to enable. The inbuilt TV guide allowing you to see what's on now and in the future for all the channels is very simple to use. It allows filter for movies, news, sports etc. Getting to the next day of scheduling and previous day is one button click away. The whole OS has been well thought out and designed and I really appreciate that.
Let's get onto the most important part of the Hannspree SE40LMNB, this being the picture quality. When I first turned this TV on and tuned it with the inbuilt Freeview Tuner, I was very disappointed. It's a really bad tuner, you wouldn't want to use it to watch TV, and I find it very hard to understand why Hannspree didn't include an HD Freeview Tuner. Image quality is weak and washes out. Then I plugged in my PS3 and WOW! Suddenly the LED backlighting, full 1080P HD comes to life. I watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and it was amazing! This TV makes a fantastic BluRay watching experience. The blacks pop and the cinematic colours are superb! This seemed to be the case with every HDMI and component device I used. The picture is very sharp and colourful and easily comparable to sub £1000 TVs on the market. But if you're going to want to watch Freeview, plug in a Freeview box, I used a £200 Humax Freeview Recorder and the picture quality was solid.
Sound is very impressive from its 2x 8watt speakers. For a flat screen it takes a very good stab at it, the bass is quite impressive, which is something that is left out of TVs nowadays. But if you want the best sound from your movies and television watching you will want surround sound.
]Overall the Hannspree SE40LMNB is a very good TV for consuming video from an external source. But the fact that the inbuilt Freeview tuner is outright awful, will mean you will have to spend on buying another, therefor increasing the price of the inexpensive TV, unless you already have one that is. The operating system is very easy to navigate and the IO doesn't hold back.