Evesham V32ELBB review

  • £800

Evesham dips its toe in the flat TV waters

Our Verdict

A great-value performer with DVI sources, but lower-rent material looks poor

The V32ELBB is Evesham's first foray into the flat TV world - if you've heard of the brand before, it'll no doubt be due to its media centres or PCs. We've seen PC brands venture into flatscreen production with mixed results in the past, so we're more than a little curious to find out how this well-priced 32in LCD fares.

Looks-wise, the V32ELBB is a bit on the chunky side, meaning it'll cut an imposing dash in a living room. Still, at least the shiny black screen surround makes a refreshing change from the many nondescript silver budget models, sitting jauntily on a matching desktop stand.

More attractive is the screen's HD-ready status, which it earns thanks to a native screen resolution of 1,366 x 768 and a DVI input with HDCP compliance (so it can display copy-protected high-def material). Component video (for analogue HD), two RGB Scarts, S-video and composite video inputs are also included, along with a D-Sub port for hooking up to a PC.

There's not much in the way of other features. A picture-in-picture mode (which displays PC and video simultaneously), noise reduction and Motion Adaptive Deinterlacer processing sit alongside the usual preset picture modes and manual adjustments for contrast, brightness and colour.

The V32ELBB automatically tunes and stores TV channels from its analogue tuner, but, as is often the case with 'budget' LCDs, it struggles with such low-resolution broadcasts. Even static studio footage like news programmes showed a good deal of grain and fizzing around the edges during our tests, while those ever-present reruns of Friends looked soft and short of detail.

Still, high-quality sources are more our thing, so we gave our test disc, Ridley Scott's latest epic Kingdom of Heaven, a spin. Initially, colours were over-cooked and there was a lack of sharpness, but a little time spent with the Evesham's easy to use on-screen menus reaped rewards and presented a more natural image balance.

Hue's the daddy?

Watching our test disc via DVI resulted in a stable picture, with pleasingly vibrant reds and greens - impressive, as many a budget LCD struggles to present these highly saturated colours with as much finesse. Motion was also well handled. There was no blurring or jerkiness during the chaotic battle sequences, and fast-paced action was natural and fluid.

Pictures via one of the Evesham's RGB Scart inputs, on the other hand, are significantly less stable, and we witnessed noticeable jitter and processing artefacts during our tests. Detail wasn't that great either - but not nearly as bad as with images from the analogue tuner, as there was significantly less picture noise on show.

As is often the case with LCD, it's black levels that are the biggest problem. Dark images from our movie sometimes looked grey rather than black, and there wasn't nearly enough depth to cope with the shadows during candle-lit sequences.

The V32ELBB's larger-than-normal speakers create a clean, open sound, resulting in easy to understand dialogue from our DVD. Bass is a bit on the light side, but there is a output socket on the back of the set for hooking up a subwoofer.

With a DVI source, the V32ELBB shows moments of greatness. Elsewhere, however, its performance is mediocre, and so it is only really suitable for those intending solely to watch best-quality sources. At this point in time, most of us just aren't in a position to do this - especially those of us who are looking for a set around the price point of the screens in this group test.