The Grundig GU22DVDBLK 22-inch HD Ready LCD TV is a decidedly no-frills affair, with a somewhat dated design and flimsy looking speaker grille making its budget status all too obvious.

Inevitably, the glossy black bezel was covered in fingerprints within minutes of being unpacked.

The unconventional 16:10 screen ratio makes the panel a tad squashed looking, and gives off the definite whiff of a computer monitor that's been repurposed as a TV. However, the inclusion of a built-in DVD player might just give this pint-sized TV the boost it needs.

Both the onscreen menus and the EPG are basic, but responsive and easy to use. There's no 'page down' button, though, so you have to scroll somewhat laboriously through all the programme schedules.

The layout of the remote control is slightly haphazard and many of the most frequently used buttons are illogically placed.

Performance

Unsurprisingly, Freeview pictures are very soft. Even considering the relatively low quality of the original broadcasts, these pictures seem to be below average. What's more, the backlight is distinctly visible at the edges of the screen, which can prove distracting.

Using the built-in DVD player is simple – you just have to switch from TV to DVD mode using the dedicated button on the remote.

It does seem to take a while to load and pictures are okay on the whole, but black levels are unimpressive, with dark scenes deteriorating into an impenetrable void. Colour reproduction is also slightly below par, with tones tending to appear either dull or unrealistically gaudy.

Viewing discs played on an external upscaling deck offers a marked improvement in picture quality. The level of detail receives a welcome boost, and colours also look good, if still a little overcooked.

Grundig

However, black levels see little improvement, and there is a lot of colour banding and haloing around light objects on dark backgrounds. There's also a significant amount of image blur, even on relatively slow-paced movement.

There are several sound modes, including a pseudo-surround setting, that's unconvincing, especially via the rather weak speakers.

If you're after a compact set with a built-in DVD player and you're on a tight budget then this isn't a bad buy, but the picture niggles make it difficult to recommend fully.

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