Also snapping into focus is the picture’s sharpness, as the 26R87BD rises to the fine detail challenges of a good high definition source with aplomb. Anyone who tries to say that 26in is too small to really appreciate the joys of HD clearly hasn’t seen this TV strut its high definition stuff.
Although there’s still room for improvement, we also found ourselves impressed with its black level response. Dark scenes are certainly less troubled by the familiar greyness that dogs so many small LCD TVs than we would have expected, and there’s also a touch more shadow detailing subtlety than is common this side of £500.
Yet more good news comes with the 26R87BD’s portrayal of standard definition sources such as those from its own digital tuner. They look much more crisp and free of noise than is common with an LCD TV, expensive or otherwise, though we accept that some of this may simply be a factor of the TV not having such a large and therefore unforgiving (of poor source material) screen as most of the TVs we review these days.
And so we come to the inevitable problems, kicking off with the TV’s motion handling. There’s more smearing and blurring over fast-moving objects than we’d ideally like to see, especially with standard definition sources. You can counter this to some extent by engaging the Movie Plus mode, but this causes its own, arguably worse problems in the form of flickering or shimmering noise around moving objects’ edges.
Furthermore, edges aren’t helped by the (thankfully optional) Edge Enhancement feature, which tends to make lines and contours ‘glow’ quite distractingly. And finally, we also found the set to suffer – in common, it has to be said, with practically all of its LCD rivals – from a loss of colour and contrast if viewed from much of an angle.
So the 26R87BD isn’t perfect. Big deal. We’re not sure we’ve seen a perfect TV yet at any price, never mind a sum as paltry as under £400. What really matters about the 26R87BD is that had its price been a couple of hundred quid dearer we’d still have recommended it as one of the finest 26in LCD TVs around. So basically it’s a steal with a capital S.