You don't have to look further than its price tag to spot the attraction of LG's RZ-15LA66. Just £250 for a 15in LCD TV? Even the budget-focused likes of Goodmans can barely manage that. Yet here the deal comes from a genuine big-name brand with more direct LCD experience than you can shake a stick at. Surely the 15LA66 has to be too good to be true?
As usual with LG, the 15LA66 is a cute looker. Its slender flame benefits from a classy simplicity and clear understanding that sometimes the subtle things in life - like the slender reflective strip under the screen, and tastefully arched pedestal - can make the difference.
Connectivity is good, with LG squeezing in an RGB Scart, an aerial input,an S-Video input, a composite video input, stereo audio inputs, a headphone jack and even, pleasingly, a D-Sub PC input.The fact that you can use the 15LA66 as a PC monitor as well as a TV makes its price tag seem even more appealing.
Aside from that PC compatibility, though, there aren't really any other interesting features to report. In fact, the only thing we noticed during a search for features was how aggravatingly small the text of the onscreen menus is!
With nothing else to detain us, we might as well just get straight into assessing the 15LA66's performance. Which quickly presents itself as a mixture of the good and the indifferent.
Heading up the good stuff are its colours.Their tone, in particular, deserves major credit for being so overwhelmingly natural. Even lowlit skin tones, always a stern test of any LCD TV's colour fidelity, look completely believable, avoiding the common tendency to introduce an undercurrent of green.
Colours also earn kudos for the vibrancy and noiselessness of their saturations, ensuring that your eye is always engaged by the screen's pictures in spite of its small dimensions.
The 15LA66's suppression of LCD's common problems with blurring over motion is to be applauded,too - as is the fact that for the most part, its black levels are solid enough (without ever being spectacular, mind) to give pictures a sense of depth and scale.
We have to qualify our comments about the black levels, though,on account of what looks like LCD light spillage along the picture's top and bottom edges. And now that we're into the less impressive things about the 15LA66, we may as well report its other key picture deficiency: softness. For some reason the picture doesn't look as detailed or sharp as similar sized efforts from some rivals - most notably Philips.
Sonically, the 15LA66 is par for the small LCD course - which is to say it suffers a depressing shortage of bass, sometimes distorts at loud volumes,but is generally reasonably clear and punchy with standard daytime TV fodder.
In the end our feelings towards the 15LA66 are pretty neutral.The picture's softness and light seepage problems are impossible to ignore, even in the presence of some pictorial strengths. But,for just £250, nobody can have any real grounds for complaint. John Archer