Kogan led55 review

It's a brave new brand indeed that tries to crack the UK TV marketplace right now. But Australian brand Kogan is having a pretty full-blooded stab at it, especially now that it's got a genuine flagship proposition on its hands in the shape of the Kogan LED55.

This 55-inch set is no ultra-basic lump of plastic, despite its low price. It's got a Freeview HD tuner, it uses Edge LED lighting, it's got a Full HD resolution, and it's even got 100Hz processing to help pictures out.

Its performance isn't the horror show that we might have expected for its money, either. Its contrast range and brightness in particular are good enough to render pictures perfectly watchable. But there are also enough problems to remind you that the set is, after all, a budget model.

We liked

The Kogan LED55 is remarkably affordable for a 55-inch LED TV, despite having a respectable core spec sheet. Its Freeview HD tuner is appreciated considering the TV's affordability, as is its facility for recording to USB drives. Black level response is better than usual for the budget world, too, and pictures are generally vibrant and dynamic.

We disliked

The Kogan LED55's 100Hz system is of a pretty low quality, causing obvious unwanted side-effects. And, annoyingly, you can't turn it off.

There are also backlight consistency problems unless you really slash the television's brightness output, and colour tones don't look especially natural or subtly toned. HD pictures don't look particularly crisp either, and skin tones tend to look plasticky and unrealistic.

Finally, while the TV's audio is mostly OK, loud scenes can start to sound quite shrill.

Final verdict

Kogan has certainly unleashed a startling statement of intent with its LED55. Its 55-inch size shows that the brand has the AV ambitions to take on the more established TV brand names, and its lowly price shows that it's prepared to appeal to our wallets.

Kogan has even managed to underline its raw 'big screen, small price' hook by giving the LED55 a few unexpected features, such as a Freeview HD tuner and 100Hz processing.

Perhaps inevitably, though, while it's better than expected in the contrast and brightness departments, the Kogan LED55 falls short of its more established rivals with its performance, thanks to some backlight consistency concerns and some troubling 100Hz processing that leaves obvious distracting side effects and can't be turned off.

In fact, this 100Hz problem is so frustrating that it ultimately led to the Kogan LED55 only ending up with an overall score of three stars rather than the three and a half it might otherwise have claimed.