The 22DL833’s onscreen menus are solid efforts for a relatively low-rent TV. A decent-looking set of icons provide your links through to different multimedia, picture, sound and tuner sub-menus, and these submenus thankfully use text that’s actually legible on the 22in screen without having to stick your nose right up against it.
The remote control supplied with the TV isn’t the best, though; it’s very cluttered, and there’s not enough highlighting in terms of layout or size for the most important buttons. Basically it feels like a cheap ‘one remote suits all’ third party job rather than something expressly designed for this TV. The best that can be said about it is that the DVD controls are sensibly positioned in their own space at the bottom.
Features within the onscreen menus are in predictably short supply. So far as pictures are concerned, the only slightly interesting findings are a noise reduction system and the option to adjust the backlight between auto, minimum and maximum settings. The Auto setting is the most interesting, as it shows that the TV has a dynamic contrast system – something you don’t always get on small TVs.
The potential impact of this feature can be seen in the stark difference between the screen’s quoted ‘native’ contrast ratio of 1000:1 versus a claimed dynamic contrast ratio of 3,000,000:1! It’s extremely likely, of course, that this latter figure is going to prove hugely optimistic and more a quirk of measuring techniques rather than something you’ll really be able to see in the 22DL833’s pictures – but hey, we live in hope!
The only other features of note, really, are the decently presented media player interface, the rather cluttered and hard-to-read 7-day electronic programme guide, and the quite slick way the DVD drive pulls discs in when it detects one entering its slot, and then automatically turns the TV to DVD playback mode.
Our first stop while checking out the 22DL833’s picture quality was that 3,000,000:1 contrast ratio. And as predicted, it just isn’t borne out by the screen’s performance. In fact, the TV’s black level response is quite disappointing, with all areas of the picture that should look black instead adopting a pretty distinct shade of grey. It’s clear that the set’s claims to a very high contrast ratio owe more to some very clean, pure whites and bright colours than any significant deepening of the black-level.
There are also noticeable backlight uniformity errors. These aren’t particularly stark in terms of the differences in brightness levels, but they do spread over quite a large amount of the picture. To be fair, the contrast and backlight consistency issues are only glaringly obvious when watching films, which tend to have more dark scenes and employ a generally wider contrast range than typical TV broadcasts. But then the 22DL833 does carry a built-in DVD player, so it’s clearly designed with movie viewing in mind.