Accustomed as we are to the almost bewildering rate of price cuts in the LCD world, it takes quite a deal to raise our eyebrows these days. But they’re well and truly raised right now, we assure you, thanks to Acer’s AT3720: a 37in LCD TV that’s yours for the astonishingly small sum of £800. But with previous TV efforts from traditionally PC brand Acer failing to inspire, will the cut-price AT3720 really turn out to be the bargain it first appears?
It’s rather drab aesthetically, that’s for sure. The dull grey of the speaker section, desktop stand and outer trim looks bland and feels plasticky, while the matt black of the screen frame lacks the lustre and robustness of the average LCD glamour boy.
There’s rather less to complain about on the set’s rear, though, as we find an unexpectedly well-stocked connections panel. Particularly reassuring is the presence of two HDMIs. But there’s also component video input for hooking up a progressive DVD player or analogue HD sources like an Xbox 360, along with a complement of two Scarts, a D-Sub PC input, and an RF aerial input. The only obvious disappointment is the lack of a dedicated four-pin S-Video input.
We stressed ‘obvious’ disappointment back there, though, with good reason. For it turns out that the aerial jack is only connected to an analogue tuner; Freeview reception is not on the menu. Still, sad though this is, we guess it’s a feature we can just about live without for £800, so long as there are suitable rewards in the performance zone.
The AT3720’s claimed specifications are solid enough. The 1,366 x 768 native resolution is sufficient to earn it its HD Ready wings; a claimed contrast ratio of 1200:1 is more than acceptable for such a cheap 37in TV; and although the claimed brightness of 450cd/m2 is slightly lower than normal, it shouldn’t present any problems in most normal living room environments.