Sure enough, there's another issue for the TV when it comes to sharpness. For its HD pictures just don’t look very HD. There's a small step up from standard definition, but it’s not as pronounced in terms of either detail or crispness as we would like.
It doesn’t help, either, that despite the claimed 3ms (grey to grey) response time, the picture is still prone to a degree of motion blur, especially during camera pans. Plus we detected some slight shimmering noise over bright parts of pictures during camera pans.
The HANNSjoy further lives down to its price with its contrast performance. Or at least, its black levels. Actually, using the word black in association with this set’s pictures isn’t really on, as it’s simply not able to deliver anything deeper than a sort of greyish blue, thanks to the amount of low contrast ‘mist’ lying over the top of everything.
Then, of course, there are the predicted aspect ratio concerns. Use the set in its ‘full’ aspect ratio and while 16:9 pictures fill the screen, they look slightly stretched vertically. Go for the Wide settting, and while the picture appears intact and in the right proportions, you’ve got narrow black bars to top and bottom. To be fair, the images in this mode are still appearing on 1,920x1,080 pixels, as they would on a normal 16:9-ratio TV, but somehow we suspect people will still find having to have black bars on ALL their widescreen viewing annoying. Especially as these black bars look so grey thanks to the set’s lack of black level.
Pictures can, we guess, look quite bright for a budget set, and colours can look very punchy if you aren’t somehow alienated by the colour tone issues. Also the set is oddly accomplished at upscaling standard definition sources, at least to the extent that it doesn’t make them look either unduly soft or excessively noisy. Otherwise, though, the HANNSjoy’s pictures make us feel anything but joy.
The set’s finest performance asset, in fact, is its sound quality. The speakers can go surprisingly loud, and they can do so without distorting or sounding ‘crowded’.
Any 28in screen clearly has potential as a gaming monitor. But as well as feeling that our gaming was hindered by the screen’s lack of contrast, the screen’s input lag felt a touch inconsistent - a feeling backed up by our input lag measurements, which bizarrely varied from as low as just 6ms to as high as a definitely problematic 80ms, with around 40ms as the average.
The Hannspree HANNSjoy does not, alas, live up to its name. Yes, it’s remarkably cheap, and yes, it looks cute in a kitchen or bedroom. And yes, we guess you could argue that the fact that a 28in TV even switches on is acceptable for £199. But for us, the HANNSjoy is more an argument for spending more than a compelling budget option.