As is usually the case where a TV struggles to produce a really convincing black level response, the ST321MBB’s colours fail to convince either. Skin tones look patchy and over-ripe for the most part, and tones across the board look really quite muted compared with the dazzling delights often associated with quality LCD screens.
The underlying colour temperature looks a bit off too, appearing to my eyes to marginally favour a PC-flavoured temperature rather than aiming for the 6500K level reckoned to be best for video.
Is there anything good that can be said about the ST321MBB’s pictures, then? Well, although colours aren’t as dynamic as we’d like during dark scenes, the picture can look quite bright and punchy when showing predominantly light material.
Also, while motion certainly loses resolution pretty routinely, it’s not an absolute smear-fest of the sort we sometimes see at the Hannspree’s level of the market.
Similarly, I should qualify my statement that the ST321MBB doesn’t really make HD look like HD by saying that sometimes the TV gels with a particular HD image and suddenly does look reasonably crisp - at least for a few seconds.
Aside from qualifying my earlier negatives, though, I’m really struggling to come up with any wholly positive things to say about the ST321MBB’s pictures.
The ST321MBB’s speakers give me a little more room for positivity, as they manage to present a quite clear, detailed soundstage that doesn’t distort when pushed quite hard. Before you get too carried away, though, the soundstage also lacks any significant sense of bass, which can leave action scenes sounding rather tinny and thin.
Time was when Hannspree’s ST321MBB would have impressed as a more than respectable budget option. However, with Toshiba’s superior 32AV635D now actually available for less money online, Samsung’s miles better LE32B550 only costing around £60 more and a rather ‘last year’ look to the ST321MBB’s picture quality in a number of key areas, it’s hard to think of any compelling reason why you should buy one.