It doesn’t help our response to the 23-231BR’s contrast performance, either, that dark scenes reveal defined lines of backlight inconsistency around a cm or so thick appearing over the top and bottom edges of the picture.
As is usually the case where a TV struggles to produce a good contrast range, the 23-231BR also doesn’t deliver the best colour response. Skin tones tend to look a little plasticky and short of subtlety, even during HD viewing, thanks to a shortage of colour processing power, whereas tones tend to look a touch too yellow, with no obvious means of correcting them. The 23-231BR’s viewing angle is as limited as that of most LCD TVs, too.
At which point we need to introduce a reality check and remind you that the 23-231BR does only cost £200 despite offering USB recording, a built-in DVD player and mutlimedia/PC playback. So picture perfection was never going to be on the cards.
And you know, when you get down to it, the 23-231BR’s pictures really aren’t that bad overall. Take a little care even with the relatively small amount of adjustments you’re provided with and you can end up with a picture that’s bright without looking flared; well saturated without looking gaudy; and surprisingly detailed and clean, even when there’s a lot of motion to handle. Even the colours aren’t that bad really, especially with a good quality DVD disc or Blu-ray feed. Neither the lack of blend subtlety nor yellow undertone noted earlier often stop you from engaging with the action, and at times colours actually look quite credible.
The DVD deck, incidentally, works absolutely fine. Sure, it’s basic. But it does the simple job of playing discs more than well enough to satisfy a 23in screen.
The 23-231BR is less impressive sonically. For even though the speaker section on the TV’s bottom edge gets rather more physical space than some rival small-screen TVs, the soundstage is still thin and artificial. Though to be fair, it’s not as awful as the headache-inducing harshness heard from so many other small TVs.
Yes, its pictures are pretty average and its sound even more so. But when you’re talking about a package that also delivers multimedia file playback from USB as well as USB recording, an eye-catching design and a built-in DVD player for just £200, even finding an average performance is enough to make the set an attractive second-room proposition.