Hannspree ST321MNB 32

Last month we had chance to review Hannspree's 32" LED Full HD screen and we were so pleased with it we decided to give it a recommended award. More so due to it being the first large screen TV we had reviewed it became the benchmark for other screens to follow.

Plan of Action

Having discovered that 32" was perfect for our office lounge we set about looking to get a TV to replace our ageing 28" CRT. Its taken us this long to upgrade because in the past we have been put off by LCD screens, as the majority could not output a decent enough image when displaying TV content. But with our recent review under our belts we were a little more confident, especially as more and more programs are being broadcast in HD (albeit 720p and upscaled to 1080i with a compatible box).

So with a budget of £300 in mind we set about researching into a TV. Surprisingly there is a respectable selection to choose from, which just shows how far Full HD has come on since it's earlier adaptations. To cut a long story short we decided to narrow our choices down to two manufactures, namely LG and Hannspree, but the latter got our vote in the end.

Whilst the LG screens had a better response time (5ms), we liked that the Hannspree had 4 x HDMI ports, plus the user reviews of the Hannspree were all positive. Besides with our own findings of the company we decided to punt for the Hannspree and believe us it was well worth the £267.99 price tag! (correction we just checked and it has now come down even further to £259.99!)

Box

While we tend not to fuss over the box contents when we review products we have to admit to being more than impressed with the way the screen was packaged. Ebuyer (whom are one of the official retailers of Hannspree TV's) delivered the screen promptly and it was perfectly protected, yet really easy to pull out the box. Even the base was pre-attached to aid installation and despite this being a little flimsy it works well and the TV's black bessel gives it a more expensive look.

As well as the base stand you get a large manual (though this is a multi-lingual version so only a few pages are available for the UK), a mains plug, screen cloth and remote control (incuding batteries).

The remote is the same one we used on our previous Hannspree review and all the buttons are easy to press with a selection at the base dedicated to picture profiles, sound adjustment, sleep and aspect ratio.

Design

As mentioned we found the black glossy finish to give the Hannspree a more professional/expensive look and in terms of thickness it is relatively slim so it takes up less room on your TV-stand (sold seperately). Note: you can also wall mount this to thanks to its VESA complient system at the back of the screen).

The design touches are enhanced at the front with a smart Hannspree logo that allows you to adjust the backlight so it stands out more when the TV turns on. Beneath the screen is a pair of stereo speakers and these are joined by the first of your 4 HDMI ports (HDMI 1.3 compliant) to the side. As well as the HDMI port you also get a 3.5mm headphone port and your composite/s-video connections.

At the back you get the remaining HDMI ports (3 of these), 1 x component,  1 x TV antenna connection, 1 x VGA PC interface (not Dvi) 1 x  PC-in, 1 x Audio-in and 2 x scart ports.

You will also find to the right hand side the manual controls for the TV. But you will mainy be using the TV remote anyway (still it looks better having the options positioned away from your eye-line when watching the screen).

TV Picture Quality

We were impressed that the TV could pick up a vast array of digital channels. Similar to the LED Hannspree it could pick up over a hundred digital channels (though some of these were locked. i.e Sky Sports 1). However while the digital channels were quick at being picked up the old analog ones took ages to find, so you may want to get a cup of tea when this happens. But given that the analog signal is being dropped in full next year it's not to much of a problem.

We have to admit that we did not view the digital channels for to long as we were mainly using the screen with our Virgin V+ box. But TV quality was generally good, some channels were better than others mind, though we still have to admit the screen was miles better than what you would get in say a showroom and in some cases better than some larger more expensive screens we have seen.

Features: As standard you get an EPG guide, red button control, teletext function and sleep. You won't get a HD tuner so for this we switched to our V+ Box.

Virgin HD

We are not sure why, but the quality of the HD was in fact better than our experiences with the more expensive LED version. However this could be down to the Lindy Premium cables we used at the time of writing.

We opted for 2 x 1 metre Premium cables at £8.99 and 1 x 2 metre at £9.99. While not the most expenses cables in the world these could deliver some great quality that is for sure! Additionally they provide 3D compliance and a 10 year warranty at an affordable price.

Sky 1 in HD which was previously a little disappointing but on this screen it looked stunning with facial tones being natural and colours vibrant. The comedy channel and BBC HD channels were also improved.

Even better the majority of standard definition channels looked great and once again they were a lot better than some £600 screens we have seen.

This was more impressive given that it's contrast ratio was lower than that of the similar LG screen we looked at (50,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio Vs Hannspree's Image Contrast Ratio 1300:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio10000:1).

It also helped that you have multiple colour profiles to choose from, i.e. Vivid, Movies, Standard and User. With the User profile we could set up a custom profile which enabled us to get more out of the screen. The settings we used were gleamed from one of the user reviews from the Ebuyer site. Note: We adjusted the backlight and brightness using the settings menu.

Here are the settings we used:

Brightness 50-60% (experiment with these); Contrast 50-60% (experiment with these); Sharpness: 60%; Colour: 43; Tint: 0; Backlight: 8 out of max. 14

Whilst the settings menu did not have the same graphical appeal as it's LED brother it provided ample support for setting up the latter profile and adjusting audio inputs etc.

Viewing Angle

In terms of viewing angle the LCD screen, like many others, works best from the front as you do get a slight drop in colour when viewed from the side. However it's not bad at all and even from the tightest of angles the screen is viewable, which again is quite an achievement for a budget screen.

XBox 360

So you could say we were impressed with the TV quality, but one of the main reasons for buying the screen was to play our Xbox 360 games in Full HD. With it's 6.5ms response time we were a little concerned by this at first, as the lower the screen redraw the better the games look/play. Thankfully our fears were soon rested as the overdrive mode on the response time certainly made things run smooth!

Graphically, once again the Lindy 2m cable helped drive vibrant images to the screen and all the action FPS games we played ran quickly.

The dark environments in Alan Wake and Bioshock 1 & 2 were also no problems for the screen to handle. Blacks were a lot better than we could imagine, in some cases they are not completely black but with our user profile in place they certainly looked black enough and we could view all the action that was going on even in the darkest of places.

Blu-ray

For DVD or Blu-ray films we used the default Movie colour profile to get the most from the screen. Once again the quality was excellent, especially in Blu-ray, with films such as Avatar looking virbrant.

Again we used a Lindy HDMI cable and we have to say these cables were a great combo for this screen, it's certainly worth the small investment that they provided that's for sure.

PC

We also had an opportunity to run a PC through the screen. The resolution was only set to 1680 x 1050 as it was a PC that had an older graphics card onboard. While we did not run games, as we were only using it for Windows use, the TV did not disappoint once again.

Sound

Sound from the 2 x Stereo speakers was not bad at all. With a couple of 3D type surround options available these can be set to enhance the overall quality which is generally loud enough to fill a room. In fact when playing the Xbox the volume was normally set to 10 and at level 30 is easily loud enough for you to chat whilst still hearing the action on-screen, say during a Rugby match for example.

Power consumption

The power consumption comes in at 115w which is not bad, but if you adjust the backlight of the screen this should reduce the consumption further. Either way the screen does not get that hot when used for long periods of time.

Features & Specifications Link for TV

Features of Lindy cables

  • ATC (Authorised Test Centre) certified for high speed
  • Shielded cable construction for optimum RF and EMI protection
  • Supports resolutions up to 1080p and higher, multi channel audio and HDCP
  • 3D over HDMI ready
  • Deep colour capable - supports over 1 billion colours; x.v.Color and xvYCC ready
  • Low profile design, ideal for recessed connectors
  • Stranded core construction
  • 10 year warranty

Hannspree & Lindy

Tagged under Xbox 360 Hannspree