The HANNSvibe is so quintessentially 1960s in appearance we were expecting to see images of the Fab Four flickering in the Test Labs, along with a 60s 007. 

There’s an affordably priced HD-ready TV beneath the retro sheen; it’s just a shame that a few key details have been overlooked in the hurry to make it stand out in an already crowded 32in LCD marketplace.

The design is chic and chunky, but we will wager that its looks will polarise opinion: there’ll be as many potential customers who wouldn’t showcase such a kitsch piece of kit as those who are seduced by its ‘Swinging London’ design aesthetic.

Good price vibe

The price of this TV is also suitably yesteryear. At just over £700, it’s resolutely within the grasp of most who are yearning for a flatscreen upgrade. But, as we’ll discover, there are limits that undermine the HANNSvibe’s bargain status.

The most obvious criticism we could make lies in the connections. Like its Evesham rival in this group test, the HANNSvibe only has one HDMI input – sending you up the creek if you want to hook up more than one hi-def source, unless you shell out on an HDMI switcher. 

Budget screen or not, the provision of a single HDMI just isn’t good enough. Still, the rest of the connections tick all the basic boxes, including component video inputs, two Scarts (one RGB-enabled), a PC input and all the lesser AV jacks.

Unfortunately, the next omission is more damning. Is HANNSpree taking the retro aspirations of this TV too far by failing to include a digital tuner? Yes, there’s only a built-in analogue tuner here – hardly useful when the digital switchover hits your area. Still, at least the HANNSvibe is HD-ready (with a native resolution of 1366 x 768) and has a few basic features such as noise reduction and 3D comb filter.

With that relatively basic feature count in mind, we didn’t have massive expectations of what the HANNSvibe would deliver, as we set our test Blu-ray disc of Casino Royale a-spinning. But, despite the lack of exciting features, it puts in a solid – if not earth-shattering – performance with hi-def feeds.

Bearing in mind some of the inherent limitations of LCD technology, the HANNSvibe fights a good fight. Hi-def material is as sharp as can be expected, particularly noticeable in close-up shots of protagonists’ faces. Colours also impress, with a relatively wide palette on display.

Royal blacks

The HANNSvibe accepts the challenge of the now iconic title sequence of Casino Royale and delivers more than adequate results. Black levels are decent enough, and low noise levels are pleasing to the eye. The same movie on standard-definition DVD reveals an above average performance. Pictures are free from noise in the main and retain a convincing solidity, but darker sequences can suffer from lack of detail.

Sonically speaking, the HANNSvibe is solid, even though you’d be forgiven for expecting a tinny whimper from the old stylings. The 8W speakers have decent bass prowess, but harshness can creep in when you turn the volume dial to a higher setting.

Once we saw the HANNSvibe’s pictures, it was clear that this 32in TV wasn’t going to be walking away with any gold medals – there are more accomplished screens lurking close by. But, if unique design floats your boat, it’s worth an audition as a second room screen.