Fortunately, the AT2356 leaps into life quite impressively when we switch to brighter, more colourful material. Now we’re free to note just how strikingly vibrant yet also realistic the AT2356’s colours tend to look. This gives them a real edge over the colours of the majority of other very affordable small TVs, especially since the colour tones don’t dip in naturalism as badly as expected when you switch down from HD to standard definition.
The AT2356’s HD pictures also score over those of most budget screens courtesy of their sharpness. Obviously, you have to question whether a Full HD resolution could ever truly be necessary on a screen as small as 23in, but that doesn’t stop the AT2356’s HD portrayal from doing a nice job of reproducing the detail and subtleties of a good HD image.
Playing a part in this sense of clarity is the AT2356’s surprisingly respectable motion handling. Blurring and smearing are only noticeable on a near-subliminal level during HD viewing, and judder is seldom distractingly troublesome.
Standard definition pictures on the AT2356 look a little more prone to motion blur and soft motion than its HD pictures, but not enough to prevent the AT2356 being much better at handling standard def images than your average budget TV.
One performance area where the AT2356 certainly doesn’t rise above the budget fray, however, is audio. For in keeping with so many other small, flat TVs, its sound really is desperately one-dimensional thanks to a near-total lack of bass. This leaves all of its treble information sounding over-exposed and thin, voices sounding nasal and compressed, and the soundstage generally sounding tiringly harsh when put under any duress at all.
The best that can be said about the AT2356’s sound is that it doesn’t distort into phutting and thudding, even when pushed to near-maximum volume (which isn’t actually very loud!).
The AT2356 isn’t going to win any awards for its AV performance, features or design. But nor does it completely mess anything up, as we’d half expected given the set’s price. So we guess overall it deserves a berth on any arch bargain-hunter’s audition list.