- Review Price: £700.00
We promise we won’t be insulted if you think we’ve cocked things up and run the wrong price for this LCD TV. In fact, the first time we heard the price we couldn’t believe it either. A 32in LCD TV from a big name brand for just £700? Surely some mistake.
But no. We’ve checked and double checked, and the RZ-32LZ55 really can be had from a number of online vendors for £700 – the sort of price that would even be considered cheap on a 26in LCD, never mind a 32in one. So is this the LCD world’s biggest pre-World Cup bargain, or does its price come at the cost of quality?
First impressions don’t bode well. Where most LG TVs are among the most attractive in the business, the 32LZ55 is at best cheap and cheerful, and at worst flimsy and dull. In short, it looks more like the sort of style-free effort we might expect from a PC cross-over brand than something from an A-list consumer electronics brand.
Things are marginally better when it comes to connections – though we’re certainly not talking perfection. There’s a DVI jack and a component video input for high definition use, and a couple of SCARTs. Plus it turns out that the DVI socket will accept PC as well as video feeds, too.
But it goes without saying that we’d always prefer to find separate PC and digital video inputs so that people who want to attach both a PC and an DVI/HDMI source don’t have to keep switching connections over on the TV’s rear. Three SCARTs are always much more welcome than two, as well, and let’s not forget that more and more LCD TVs these days are starting to offer two digital video jacks rather than just one. Oh well – we guess you can’t expect to get everything you want on a £700 32in LCD TV.
We do expect any LCD TV worth its salt to be HD Ready these days, though, and thankfully in this key respect the 32LZ55 doesn’t let us down. Completing the HD Ready job started by its DVI and component connections is a sufficiently high native resolution of 1,366 x 768, and the ability to show 720p and 1080i HD pictures.
While we’re on the subject of specifications, LG claims a really very respectable contrast ratio of 1200:1 for the 32LZ55 (which promises some decent black levels) together with a higher than usual brightness output of 600cd/m2.
A search for other features in the 32LZ55’s locker kicks off with a disappointment: there’s no digital TV tuner. But we guess this shouldn’t really come as too much of a surprise given the 32LZ55’s puny price.
In fact, more of a surprise is a feature the 32LZ55 has been able to cling on to: LG’s XD Engine image processing. Designed to deliver improvements in contrast, motion, noise, colour tone and vibrancy, XD Engine has delivered some respectable results on some of LG’s other flat panel TVs – so it’s a real bonus to find it operating here, in the lower reaches of LG’s current LCD range.
With little else to detain us on the feature front, we might as well head straight into the 32LZ55’s picture performance. And the sad news is that it’s really rather average.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first, starting with colours that all too often just don’t look very believable. This is particularly noticeable where actors’ skin is involved, as it tends to take on a rather sickly pallor – especially during dark scenes.
But even some quite vivid, full tones look either a bit off key, or else vaguely cartoonish.
We also felt fairly nonplussed by the 32LZ55’s black levels. The 1200:1 claimed contrast ratio seems optimistic to say the least, as dark parts of the picture look greyed over and, as a result, low on the sort of depth that sorts the wheat from the chaff when it comes to TV contrast.
Our final significant niggle with this LG is that it doesn’t do a particularly good job with horizontal motion. Either because of problems with the XD Engine processing or, more likely, because the basic response time of the screen isn’t all that, motion can appear rather fuzzy and indistinct.
As well as being annoying in itself, this problem joins with the colour issues in sometimes making the picture look over-processed and unnatural, meaning it’s harder to forge a direct viewing connection.
On the upside, the 32LZ55 is right on the money when it comes to portraying fine detail in a high definition picture. This means that provided there’s not too much smeary motion for the screen to contend with, HD footage can look outstandingly sharp and textured.
Colours, meanwhile, although certainly not always natural, do tend to be blisteringly vibrant and bright. So great can be their sheer visceral impact, in fact, that they sometimes get close to distracting you from the tepidness of the black levels.
It’s unfortunately back to Average Street for the 32LZ55’s sound, however. Although its speakers have enough ability to sound reasonably appealing and clear with basic ‘daytime TV’ fodder, the set simply doesn’t carry the core power to burst into life when asked to by an aggressive film mix. Instead it tends to sink into bass-lite harshness and its soundstage actually seems to diminish.
We really did our best to like the 32LZ55. After all, with a cost of just £700 for a 32in LCD TV, it probably looks like the answer to countless cash-strapped punters’ prayers. But however hard we try, there’s ultimately just no getting round the fact that overall it fails to impress in any significant way.
Score in detail
Image Quality 6
Sound Quality 6
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