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The drive to trim away features for the 26LG3000 presumably reflects the fact that it will generally be destined for second rather than main room use, and so needs to put hard price concerns ahead of tricks and options. But as we implied earlier in the review, it does seem up to speed in some specification areas. For its 15,000:1 claimed contrast ratio actually looks mighty high by 26in TV standards, and the 500cd/m2 brightness rating is also no slouch.
Not surprisingly the 15,000:1 contrast ratio figure isn't a native one, but rather one that's dependent on a dynamic backlight system that reduces the image's brightness when dark scenes are detected to reduce the appearance of greyness over dark areas. This isn't necessarily a problem, though, provided the backlight adjustment can respond quickly enough to the image content to avoid looking unstable.
For the most part, I'm not too alarmed by the corners LG has cut to keep the 26LG3000 as affordable as possible. The only one troubling me as I started watching the 26LG3000 was the lack of LG's XD Engine processing. And sadly my concerns prove well founded.
The first problem area to strike me is the set's colours. They're reasonably vibrant and dynamic, but basically they just don't seem to carry very natural tones. And we're not just talking about the odd orangey red or radioactive green here; almost the entire colour palette seems somehow a key or two off, to introduce an entirely unhelpful musical simile. Basically, it's as if the screen has been calibrated with PC-friendly colour temperatures more in mind than the D65 standard video devices generally aspire too.
Joining colours in distracting me from what I'm watching on the 26LG3000 is its fairly aggressive motion blur. The screen only claims a pretty uninspiring response time of 8ms, and this, without any 100Hz or other image processing to help things along, results in footie players looking blurred as they charge around the picture, or action-based film scenes looking indistinct and smeary.
The response time issues don't do action-based games like Gears of War 2 any favours either, especially if a lot of motion within the frame occurs at the same time that you decide to pan around your surroundings.