The fact that Gears of War 2 takes place predominantly underground and, um, inside a giant worm also ends up not doing the 26LG3000 any favours. For despite its high 15,000:1 contrast ratio claims, the 26LG3000 really struggles to render the darkness of the game’s environments, leaving cavern walls and shadowy corners looking a distracting shade of blue or grey rather than black.
Needless to say this same problem materialises with many films – especially those with a horror theme. That unnerving impulse to scan dark corners for hidden killers or monsters just isn’t as strong when the only thing you can make out is a vague grey mist. Though I guess this problem is actually quite nasty in its own none life-threatening kind of way!
You might be surprised to hear me say at this point that the triumvirate of problems just recorded don’t completely kill off the 26LG3000. For it does have a couple of strengths up its sleeve that might just help it find an audience.
The most striking of these is the terrific sharpness with which it presents HD sources. This might sound vaguely ridiculous when you’re talking about a TV that’s just 26in from one corner to the other, but seriously, it really can show off the lovely impact of HD from a Blu-ray versus standard definition courtesy of the built-in Freeview tuner.
That said, the 26LG3000 is also a decent upscaler of standard definition sources, reproducing them on its HD Ready screen without significant noise and with no extra colour issues or softness. This is a particularly surprising result considering there’s no XD Engine on board to help the process along, but there you go.
The 26LG3000’s audio sadly returns us to the land of negativity. For without the two-way speakers of the bigger LG3000 models, the 26LG3000’s audio sounds wimpy, lifeless and thinner than an haute couture model, meaning it can barely cope with a daytime TV chat show, never mind a bit of beach landing in ”Saving Private Ryan”.
LG’s 26LG3000 does a clever job of standing out from crowded shelves of TVs with its pretty looks and puny price. But dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that achieving that puny price has required LG to make more sacrifices and compromises than we’re comfortable with.