Heading into the TV’s onscreen menus via a bland-looking but surprisingly functional (for a combi TV) handset, the first thing that strikes us is that the text in the menus is uncomfortably small. We had to move right up close to comfortably read everything, which seems pretty daft when the problem could easily have been fixed by simply making the text larger and having a few less options on screen at once.
Making this all the more silly is the fact that the onscreen menus don’t actually have to accommodate many options. In fact, there are only three things worth mentioning here: a handful of picture presets, the option to turn on or off a dynamic contrast system (which adjusts the backlight in reaction to the image content), and a noise reduction system.
With nothing more to detain us, let’s get straight into the main order of the day: the 22DV200E’s performance.
Starting with DVD playback, things don’t kick off particularly well thanks to the really rather unfriendly DVD slot mechanism, which frequently seemed stubbornly reluctant to take our discs in. We’d strongly recommend that you don’t let toddlers have a go at pushing discs in by themselves, or all kinds of carnage is likely to ensue.
Once you’ve managed to actually get your discs into the TV, though, the 22DV200E gives a very creditable account of itself – at least by the standards of similarly affordable small screen LCD TVs.
Its pictures are pleasingly bright, for a start, making the set a better option than many small screens for a light environment like a conservatory.
This innate brightness helps its colours enjoy quite a bit of punch too. This gives bright, dynamic content – especially animated films – real dynamism and definition. But also, unusually for the small-screen market, the colours retain decent saturations and tones during dark scenes.
Another area where the 22DV200E is comfortably ahead of most affordable TVs is motion handling. For even though there doesn’t appear to be any serious motion processing on the TV, action scenes don’t turn into the blurry, low-resolution mess they so often still do on cheap little LCD TVs.
We’re not suggesting that there’s no motion blurring at all; just that it’s less aggravating and distracting than we would have expected.
The 22DV200E’s contrast is good or average, depending on your perspective. Taken, again, in the context of other sub-26in LCD TVs – especially DVD combis – blacks get blacker than we often see with rival machines, without having to compromise brightness too much.