Shifting our attentions to standard definition playback on the Finlux 32H503, it’s less impressive. But actually, only slightly. Certainly there’s nowhere near so obvious a distinction between the 32H503’s HD and standard def performances as there is with the previously tested 55in model.
Covering off the issues first, while standard def fare tends not to suffer as much with judder as HD, there does seem to a bit more motion blur. But it’s not excessive by any means.
More problematic is the set’s colour reproduction with standard definition. As happens surprisingly often with LCD technology, the subtlety and accuracy of the 32H503’s reproduced colour tones takes a noticeable dive with typical standard definition fair, resulting in a more compressed, less expressively painted and less well-balanced palette that tends to look uncomfortably ‘warm’ no matter what you do with the set’s provided colour adjustments.
However, the picture doesn’t look too soft - a result, perhaps, of the relatively easy job of upscaling standard definition to a 1,366 x 768 rather than a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel count. The upscaling system also doesn’t make the mistake of exaggerating source noise while it goes about its business. There’s a bit of moiré noise over areas of striped fine detail, but the MPEG blocking and mosquito noise associated with digital compression doesn’t seem any more distracting than usual.
The Finlux 32H503’s audio performance, meanwhile, is pretty basic. It can deliver a reasonable amount of volume and the soundstage actually spreads out quite a way from the screen. There’s no sense of precision or real detail to the mix, though, and bass sounds ‘poppy’ and forced rather than deep and natural. But such is life when you’re dealing with budget TVs. And actually, the 32H503’s sound is slightly better than that of most bonkers-cheap small-screen TVs that come our way.
The last thing we need to cover here is the 32H503’s potential as a gaming monitor. And actually, it’s not too bad, at least where input lag is concerned. We measured around 37ms of delay between an image arriving at the TV’s inputs and it appearing on the screen, which counts as a pretty acceptable result and one that shouldn’t prove too damaging to your gaming performance.
We might as well admit it: we started out with the 32H503 thoroughly expecting to hate it. We’ve just seen too many rubbish mega-cheap 32in TVs from too many small and wannabe brands over the years.
However, while the 32H503 can probably never fairly be described as anything more than an average performer overall, the fact that it even manages to be average for £229 has to count as a minor miracle.