The main attraction of the Hannspree HT09 is simple: it's got a full HD resolution despite being only 28in across and costing just £320. But does it make its in-built advantage count?
Hannspree is known for making some of the craziest looking TVs around including sets that look like flowers, basketballs and even bags of chips. So it's a relief to find the HT09 conservatively styled in its slender, gloss-black bezel with contrasting arced silver speaker section along the bottom.
The set is hit and miss on the connections front, though. Two HDMIs lead the way, along with a component video input and a VGA port for dedicated PC connection. However, the onboard digital tuner isn't supported by a CAM slot for adding subscription services, and there are no RCA composite or four-pin S-Video inputs.
The full HD resolution isn't exactly the 1,920 x 1,080 pixel count we'd expected, either. Instead we get 1,920 x 1,200, which equates to a 16:10 aspect ratio, rather than the usual widescreen 16:9.
Also troubling us is the set's claimed contrast ratio of 800:1 that hints at some poor black levels.
However, an Adaptive Contrast Management option tucked within the TV's startlingly attractive onscreen menus appears to deliver dynamic contrast, leading us to believe that the 800:1 figure is a native one, rather than one that takes into account the Adaptive Contrast system.
Other features of note include multi-level noise reduction, colour transient improvement and a contrast balancing option.
A clean image
The HT09 delivers startlingly crisp, detailed pictures when you're watching HD and colours aren't bad either, in that while not particularly vibrant, they are at least natural and subtle in a way that illustrates the screen's full HD resolution more than the image's definition.
Pictures are quite noiseless, too – even with standard definition, surprisingly. Though this lack of noise does not preclude SD images from looking decently sharp.
The TV's odd aspect ratio isn't as problematic as feared, either. For while widescreen pictures are stretched vertically with the 'HDMI Scan' mode set to Auto or Overscan, the Underscan option corrects things, albeit by adding bigger black bars to top and bottom than you'd get with a true 16:9 TV.
Black levels, though, aren't great. There's definitely a grey tinge to many dark scenes, especially if they also contain bright elements. Predictably, the set is flawed by motion blur too, and its audio suffers from a severe lack of bass, shrill trebles and a tendency to make voices sound unnatural.