This Full HD, LED TV from Kogan's 'Elite' range includes one or two surprising features for a cut price LCD, including USB recording.
Elsewhere in the budget brand's stable is an HD Ready 19-inch LCD TV (£121), and models otherwise identical to the FHDLED26; 22-inch (£169), 24-inch (£189), 32-inch (£390) and 40-inch (£479). In that context, the FHDLED26's price constitutes quite a premium – the extra two inches costs a whopping £100.
Kogan also sells the LEDBD32, a 32-inch LCD TV with a built-in Blu-ray disc drive.
The chief attraction is probably that LED backlight, which helps enable a reasonably slender depth of 45mm.
The other feature of note is a PVR function, which is less impressive than it sounds; instead of digital video recording akin to Sky or Virgin, the Kogan offers to record to a USB memory stick. It does introduce basic recording (both immediate and timed), though probably of more use is the addition of pause and rewind live TV functions.
Elsewhere the FHDLED26 can play digital files from a USB stick, including AVI, MP4, DivX and XviD video files, MP3 and WMA music and JPG and BMP photos. Excellent news, though the USB slot itself is, rather daftly, buried beneath the set's rear panel and is particularly hard to access.
Ease of use
In and outputs are plentiful and USB recording a cinch to operate; the 8GB stick we inserted was able to record an hour of HD material, or 209 minutes of SD fare, though even a 512MB stick can be used (though the 14m/4m of SD/HD recordings that capacity allows is only suitable for short pauses).
The interface is excellent; simple, attractive and uncluttered with transparent backgrounds and fade-ins. Recordings are easy to set either automatically, or from the EPG where once-only, weekly and manual timings are possible. It's hardly Sky+, but it works.
A shame, then, that the remote control is cluttered with tiny buttons and, worse, proves slow and occasionally completely unresponsive.
Despite – or maybe because of – the FHDLED26's use of a Full HD panel, standard-definition material from Freeview lacks sharpness and clarity. A bluish tint to blacks and indistinct peak whites tally with its low contrast ratio specs, while colours lack realism.
Both of these problems increase if you watch the FHDLED26 from the wings; a tight viewing angle is inescapable, with some uneven brightness also detectable. The FHDLED26 does produce precise hi-def images, but a lot of that good work is undone by considerable motion blur.
Aside from its unusual slimness, there's little evidence of the advantages of LED backlighting found on bigger brands' efforts.
The two 15W speakers create an incredibly thin sound that is all treble and no bass, with even dialogue-only programmes suffering. And though it would be wrong to criticise too much – few 26-inch LCD TVs boast audio that's anywhere near acceptable – we've heard much better.
It may suit a few occasional TV watchers, but the novelty of recording to a USB stick is just a novelty; if you're after LED-backlit picture quality, the FHDLED26 isn't for you, though its low price, decent recording options and superb user interface might be enough to convince some.