- Review Price: £1000.00
The irresistible rise of LCD has caused nothing short of a complete sea-change in the fortunes of Korean giant LG Electronics. Before LCD struck gold, LG was largely perceived in the UK as a second-tier budget brand that simply couldn’t compete with the big-boys like Sony and Panasonic. These days, thanks to its efforts with LCD, LG sells vast quantities of TVs in the UK and has earned a handy reputation for combining innovation and style with some very tidy pricing. So here’s hoping its new 32LX2R continues the trend.
It’s certainly a winner on the style front. Its glossy black and silver colour scheme might not exactly be original, but its combination of sumptuous curves, back-lit logos and reflective panels nonetheless make the set stand proud from the crowd. And more importantly, of course, the design adds a real touch of sophistication to your living room.
Connectivity is impressive for a 32in LCD TV costing just a grand. For starters there are not one but two digital video inputs: one HDMI and one DVI. With multiple HDMI/DVI-requiring devices incoming, such as Sky’s high definition receiver, Toshiba’s HD-DVD player and Sony’s PS3, having more than one digital video input on a TV is becoming increasingly desirable. Both the LG’s digital jacks can be set to take high definition video or PC feeds too, and they’re supported by component video inputs, a pair of SCARTs and all the other more basic video alternatives.
A search for features on the 32LX2R quickly uncovers a disappointment: there’s only a built-in analogue tuner, not a digital one. With this in mind it might have been nice if LG had provided a third SCART socket, since many buyers will have to use one of the two that are provided for attaching some sort of digital receiver. But we guess we won’t harp on about this too much given that the set carries one digital input more than the vast majority of its rivals.
Key among the features the 32LX2R does deliver is HD Ready specification. This honour is earned by a sufficiently high native pixel resolution of 1,366 x 768, the HD-capable connectivity we’ve already mentioned, and the facility to handle the required 720p and 1080i HD formats. In keeping with the vast majority of current TVs, though, the 32LX2R won’t play the upcoming high-end 1080p format.
The LG’s next big feature is its XD Engine picture processing. This proprietary LG system is designed to improve the appearance of no less than six key picture areas: colour saturations and tone, contrast, colour blending, clarity, brightness and motion.
The 32LX2R also carries the acclaimed DCDi scaling system from Faroudja, which is intended to make the image sharper and get rid of the jagged look you can sometimes see round curved edges. Plus there’s a healthy suite of picture in picture capabilities.
If you’re feeling fairly confident in your AV capabilities, meanwhile, the 32LX2R has more user-adjustable image tweaks at your disposal than usual. Particularly interesting are MPEG noise reduction (for tackling the blockiness of some DVDs and digital broadcasts); individual fleshtone, greentone and bluetone adjustments; an optional digital comb filter; and separate adjustments for the red, green and blue image components. More than enough to keep you entertained on a wet Sunday afternoon, we think you’ll agree. But will the 32LX2R’s picture quality keep you entertained as well?
Overall yes, it will – though with some caveats. Starting with the set’s positive points, its colour response serves up some exceptionally rich tones combined with a surprisingly (given the high level of vibrancy) natural tone. Also impressive is the 32LX2R’s handling of motion, as fast-moving objects appear largely free of the smearing problems still associated with many LCD TVs. Just the job when you’re trying to stay on the road in Burnout Revenge…
We’re pleased to say we didn’t spot any seriously unpleasant side effects from the XD Engine processing, even while watching fairly low-rent standard definition pictures. This means there’s no major price to pay for all the myriad benefits that XD Engine brings.
The general lack of digital processing artefacts and motion smearing also contributes to some impressive sharpness levels – levels which are particularly, though not exclusively, brought to the fore when watching high definition film trailers and games on our resident Xbox 360.
With ordinary TV viewing, meanwhile, the 32LX2R shows a pleasingly natural touch in the way it combines the authentic but vibrant colour schemes mentioned earlier with reasonably profound black levels, impressive suppression of grain and dot crawl noise, smooth contouring and enough colour subtlety to ensure pictures look reasonably three-dimensional.
As for those caveats we mentioned, the first would be that the picture flickers from time to time. The cause of this isn’t entirely clear, though we suspect it may have something to do with the XD Engine processing system getting a little confused occasionally.
Next, while the 32LX2R’s black level response is good enough to round out most TV footage, the higher contrast demands of movies and some of the darker Xbox 360 games can reveal a slightly bluish, detail-obscuring undertone to the LG’s attempts at really dark hues.
Finally, while viewing via DVI and HDMI we occasionally spotted quite noticeable amounts of digital blocking noise – a surprisingly common LCD trait caused by the aggressive nature of the technology’s backlighting system.
Sonically the 32LX2R doesn’t set the world on fire. We’re not saying it actually sounds bad or anything; in fact, with your typical ‘day time TV’ fodder it sounds punchy and clear. But let loose on a rowdy film mix there’s no denying that a shortage of bass soon becomes apparent; mid tones sound like they’re getting compressed (resulting in some mushy-sounding speech); and peak trebles can get so harsh they threaten to make your ears bleed.
LG’s 32LX2R is certainly not without its flaws on both the picture and sound fronts – and it’s a pity it hasn’t got a digital tuner. Yet its forward thinking connectivity, sleek design and above all low price ticket mean it’s still at least worth considering.
Score in detail
Image Quality 7
Sound Quality 6
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