Considered against what many larger TVs are now managing in the black level department, though, there’s clear evidence of the familiar grey clouding during dark scenes, as well as a little strip of light ‘seepage’ around half a cm or so deep along the top and bottom edges.
You seldom notice the problems with black level during day to day TV viewing due to the predominantly bright nature of TV broadcasts, but they’re certainly apparent – albeit not disastrously so – when watching films on the DVD deck.
If you want a stellar black level from a portable TV, two options that spring to mind are Panasonic’s L19D28, with its edge LED lighting, and Sony’s 22E5300. But neither carries a built-in DVD player, while the L19D28 retails for around £370 and you’ll struggle to find the 22E5300 for less than £400.
We were pleasantly surprised during our time with the 22DV200E to note that its picture didn’t lose really serious amounts of contrast or colour as we walked around the room.
The set does a solid job of upscaling standard definition pictures to its HD Ready resolution too, avoiding the soft appearance common with small-screen LCD TVs. The screen is also crisp enough with its picture presentation to let you appreciate the difference between HD and standard def sources, especially if you watch from quite a close viewing distance.
Finally on the picture performance front, the DVD player proves pleasingly free of the sort of MPEG blocking and twitching that occasionally troubles combi TVs.
The 22DV200E does have a trio of aggravations, though. First, its sound is really very feeble indeed. The speakers are rated at just 2×1.5W, and as you would expect, this means they struggle to sound convincing even with straightforward ‘chatshow’ type programming. Inevitably they collapse into a harsh, thin, distortion-heavy mess when pushed at all hard by an action scene.
Emphasising the audio weakness is a ridiculously over-sensitive audio volume adjustment, which is capable of shooting up from zero to its maximum, wince-inducing 100 level in the blink of an eye. And finally on our dislike list is the TV’s Electronic Programme Guide. For this is poorly presented, unintuitive to navigate, sluggish to respond at times, and stubbornly covers the entire picture of the channel you were watching when you pressed the EPG button.
For a small-screen TV/DVD combi, Sharp’s 22DV200E is unusually slim, affordable and easy to use (at least where handling the dual TV and DVD functionality is concerned). Plus it manages to be a respectable picture performer to boot.
On the downside, its audio is perfunctory at best, and it could do better in the black level response and multimedia compatibility departments. But overall, it still represents good value for money.