As people who have been knocking around in the AV world for far too long now, we can easily remember the days when you could find yourself coughing up as much as £1500 for a 32in CRT TV. So it’s actually quite hard to comprehend the Finlux 32H503: a 32in LCD TV that can be yours for just £228.99.
Not surprisingly such a furiously price-driven TV isn’t particularly over-burdened with features. There’s no online functionality, no DLNA networking support, no fancy picture processing (not even 100Hz), the native resolution of the 32in panel is an HD-Ready 1366x768 rather than a full HD 1920x1080, and the built-in tuner is only Freeview standard def rather than Freeview HD.
But really, when you’re talking about forking over under £230 for a 32in TV, such feature omissions are kinda beside the point. All you can really hope for at such a price point is a decent picture and sound performance.
We’ll get onto finding out if the 32H503 very soon, we promise. But in the mean time, for all its inevitably stripped back nature, Finlux’s entry-level 32in TV does have one or two tricks up its sleeves.
The most useful of these centre around the USB port tucked away down its rear left side. For this can both play back video, music and photo files stored on USB-based memory devices, and record from the Freeview tuner to USB HDDs. Both of which can be classed as impressive tools on such a preposterously cheap TV.
Tucked away within its bright and colourful, if rather cheap-looking, onscreen menus, meanwhile, is an adjustable noise reduction feature; a quartet of backlight settings, including a reasonably clever ‘auto’ one; a sliding bar that lets you shift the colour between enhanced red and green saturations, and a ‘True Black’ option for the set’s HDMI ports that boosts the black level depth of HDMI sources.
It’s a pity, perhaps, that there are only two HDMIs on the 32H503. But then we guess it’s not totally unreasonable for Finlux to figure that people buying such a phenomenally price-driven TV will either be looking for a set to go in a second room where there will be less sources, or else they’ll likely only have a fairly limited selection of digital video sources.
What's also disappointing about the 32H503’s connections is that most of the important ones face straight out of the TV’s rear, making wall hanging the TV more problematic than it would otherwise be.
Again, though, in reality we don’t see many people really wanting to stick a 32H503 on a wall. For a start, it arrives already attached to a desktop stand. But also, with its rather wide black, angular bezel and chunky (by today’s standards) rear end it’s not exactly up there with a Monet in terms of something you’d want to adorn your wall with.
Starting out our tests with a selection of HD sources, it’s soon clear that as with the brand’s recently reviewed 55in model, the 32H503 is quite a bit better than expected.