The 42SX also looks slightly less noisy with standard definition sources than many large LCDs, with only a little exaggeration of MPEG processing noise letting the side down.
However, long-term viewing of the 42SX shows that none of these plus points can prevent the Alqemi’s picture from being really pretty average overall, for a number of reasons. The most bothersome of these is the screen’s black level response, which combines a slight unwanted greyness over dark areas with a distinct lack of shadow detailing. The result is that dark areas of the picture look hollow and flat.
Also irritating during our tests is how much the picture deteriorates during off-axis viewing. You really don’t have to watch from much of an angle at all before the picture loses considerable amounts of contrast and colour.
We also must say that although colours are rich and bright, they’re not always especially natural in tone, with skin tones in particular sometimes looking orangey and waxy.
Finally, while it’s certainly possible to see ‘the HD difference’ on the 42SX, HD images aren’t as emphatically sharp and detailed looking as we know they can be, leaving HD pictures sometimes looking more like ‘upscaled’ efforts rather than the real HD McCoy. It doesn’t help in this regard that HD pictures look a touch noisier than we’re used to as well.
Turning to the Alqemi 42SX’s audio, the speakers impress with the sheer volume levels they’re capable of putting out – especially as this loudness isn’t accompanied by any substantial amounts of distortion or cabinet rattle. There’s also plenty of audio detail to be heard in the mix, and the soundstage is dispersed around the room with gay abandon – especially using the Dolby Virtual mode.
Our only complaints are that a slight lack of bass to counterpoint the treble detailing can leave action scenes sounding a touch harsh, and that the Virtual Dolby mode can occasionally sound rather syrupy.
We really appreciate the effort Evesham has put into the Alqemi 42SX. It’s all too common for traditionally PC-oriented brands to just add a tuner to what’s basically a PC monitor and reckon they’ve made a TV. But here Evesham has delivered at least some of the sort of features and performance qualities that the AV market demands. That said, there’s really no getting round the fact that the picture quality is clearly a notch or two lower than that of the most accomplished dedicated AV brands.