However, once we’d got past these initial woes, we did start to warm to its images a bit. For instance, with HD at least, colours look credible, if not especially subtle or dynamic.
The image’s contrast also looks surprisingly decent, with credible black levels appearing alongside reasonably punchy colours and whites even within the same frame. The washed out greyness we would usually expect to see over dark scenes with extremely cheap TVs is largely absent. The worst that can be said about the SE40LMNB’s black levels is that during dark scenes you can see four or five relatively low-level patches of extra brightness.
This backlight inconsistency is, obviously, not ideal. But it’s also found to some extent on almost all edge LED TVs - and actually, so long as you avoid the set’s Vivid preset and keep the backlight setting to a sensible level, it’s not a massive problem.
The SE40LMNB is pretty much devoid of processing, aside from a noise reduction option that you frankly shouldn’t touch with a bargepole. But far from being a bad thing, on a budget set like this one it’s actually rather refreshing to find HD images unsullied by what would almost certainly have been second-rate frame interpolation or 100Hz/200Hz processing.
A 40in TV as cheap as the SE40LMNB clearly has potential as a dedicated gaming monitor in a bedroom or study. But this appeal is marginally tempered by its average input lag figure of around 48ms, arrived at from measurements ranging from a good 33ms to a potentially performance-reducing 65ms. This isn't a massive problem given that we usually consider an average input lag score of under 40ms to be fine, but if you're a really serious gamer, it's still something you probably need to know about.
Wrapping things up with the SE40LMNB’s sound, we’re again in average territory. Only this time it’s average with a capital A, as the downfiring speakers start to sound thin and muddy under even the slightest duress. It does at least, though, work acceptably well with undemanding soundtrack fare like daytime TV and, um, Woody Allen films.
The timing of the Hannspree SE40LMNB isn’t great, coming as it does on the back of a series of TV crackers from Samsung, LG and Panasonic. But once you get past the initial shock of the SE40LMNB’s flaws and remember that this is, after all, a 40in TV that costs under £350, there are positives here - especially if you can feed it as much HD as possible. As such it's not an out and out bad purchase, just not a particularly outstanding one.