It’s also nice to report that our concerns about the screen’s brightness don’t prove particularly well founded. In a relatively dark environment such as a typical study or bedroom there will be no problems enjoying a punchy image – and although the set might not do quite so well in a bright kitchen or conservatory, it should still satisfy in all but the very sunniest conditions. Which effectively means it will be fine for around 364 days of the year in the UK, if this year’s weather fiasco is anything to go by…
There are two areas where the picture – arguably inevitably – exhibits some of the TV’s budget nature. First of all, colours aren’t quite as exuberantly rich and vibrant as with the best premium LCD ‘portables’ around. We wouldn’t extend this criticism to the point where colours can actually be considered unnatural in tone, however; it’s just that they don’t grab your attention as immediately as those of most other LCD TVs, especially bigger ones.
Our other concern is that the CE22LD94DV’s HD images aren’t particularly, well, HD. For much of the time, possibly because of the way images always have to be resized to the screen’s unusual native resolution, they’ve got a slightly soft finish to them that makes them look only slightly sharper than a good standard definition source.
Mind you, anyone who buys a TV just 22in across in the expectation of being blown away by how amazing HD pictures look is pretty much barking up the wrong tree in any case.
One final issue we have with the CE22LD94DV’s screen is a strangely common one on small LCD TVs, and it concerns the way a small strip of light – presumably leakage from the TV’s backlight – crosses the picture’s top and bottom extreme edges.
Turning our attention to the built-in DVD player, it seems to do everything asked of it passably well. The picture doesn’t look significantly softer than that delivered by, for comparison’s sake, an external DVD deck, and there are no real signs of MPEG decoder artefacts or twitching. Fair enough.
More good news comes from the CE22LD94DV’s audio performance. The onboard speakers prove unusually powerful by small LCD standards, combining a startlingly rich mid-range (ideal for vocals) with good treble detailing and even, most remarkably of all, some real signs of bass that give the soundstage a good, solid foundation.
As if all this wasn’t impressive enough, the speakers also deliver all their strengths at high volumes without any serious distortions or unwanted cabinet vibrations.
There’s a little harshness in the treble register during action scenes. But come on; this is a cheap 22in LCD after all, not some sort of home cinema separates system!
The only REAL sound disappointment is the fact that the DVD deck only appears to decode Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks, not DTS ones. But again the importance of this shouldn’t be overestimated; after all, it’s hard to imagine that many people buying the CE22LD94DV will really want to attach it to a separate multi-channel audio system.
In summing up our thoughts on the CE22LD94DV, we need to keep our feet well and truly on the ground. And so while it won’t win any design awards, doesn’t break any new feature ground, and doesn’t set cutting-edge AV standards, that’s not what it’s all about. Instead it’s designed to do a convenient, space-saving job as simply and above all as economically as possible. Provided you approach it with realistic expectations, we’d say it does that job agreeably well.