The HS102’s combination of sharpness and brightness naturally serves it well, too, when switched to a PC source, delivering PowerPoint presentations and the like with reasonable verve.
Not that standard definition pictures look bad either, though; in fact, they look quite natural, with natural colours and no serious scaling noise issues. If there’s one aspect of the HS102’s pictures that perhaps lets the side down, it’s black level response. Dark scenes look infused with a sub-tone of grey, making them look less natural and involving than the same scenes look on Samsung’s P400B.
To be fair, I wouldn’t characterise the HS102’s black levels as actually bad – especially if you choose the film preset, switch the lamp output to its Economy setting, and nudge the brightness level down. But the black levels of Samsung’s P400B are definitely better, despite the HS102 seemingly being more blatant with its home cinema ambitions than the P400B.
The convenience factor of the HS102 wouldn’t be complete, of course, if it didn’t have some sort of audio reproduction on board so that you can get sound to accompany your pictures without having to rustle up some sort of separate audio system.
With a whole 1W of mono audio power, I obviously wasn’t expecting the HS102 to fill the room with surround sound magnificence. Yet the reality is actually even worse than anticipated. Even at maximum volume it struggles to be heard in any room bigger than a shoe cupboard and it tends to distort quite badly when pushed even slightly hard by any sort of orchestral score or action scene.
The HS102 is in most ways a solid effort by LG, offering a well-judged balance between extreme portability, design robustness, and engaging picture quality. Personally I preferred the slightly larger Samsung P400B’s performance, especially if you’re looking for a machine to do domestic film as well as business presentation duties. But by far my biggest gripe with the HS102 has to be its price; it just doesn’t do enough in my book to justify costing £100 more than its Samsung rival.
Score in detail