LG RZ-20LA70 review

Is LG's best small screen good enough?

Our Verdict

Great colours and contrast, but no PC in and poor sound mean it's beaten here

For

  • Good, clean images

Against

  • No PC connection

The RZ-20LA70 has a 4:3 screen, which means any watching of widescreen DVDs (ie, most movies) will result in black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. So its 20in size is more a necessity than a luxury.

The screen's looks certainly don't suggest luxury either, although it is extremely thin - never a bad thing for a flatscreen.

So is the RZ-20LA70 prepared for anything, the way a good bedroom LCD should be? Well, no. There's an RGB Scart for DVDs and the like, but no PC input. Oh dear. We see this as a bad oversight, because as the nation turns to broadband and flat tellies, it would be a shame to have to buy another screen for that PC in the bedroom.

What it lacks in standard connections, however, the LG makes up for in technology know-how. Behind the 640 x 480 resolution screen is LG's own - and acclaimed - XD Engine, here in its 'slim' incarnation. So instead of PC use, we're promised more natural-looking skin tones, increased contrast, more even brightness and less image lag than on some of the screen's PC-enabled competitors.

We put that XD engine to work with our Raiders of the Lost Ark test disc, and discovered that LG wasn't wrong about the natural skin tones. Close-ups of Indy, Marion and the evil Major Toht all revealed this skill, although we must admit it's difficult to rate 'naturalism' during the scene when Toht's face melts in front of the Ark!

But colours during all types of footage - from the overtly bright sunlight of the dig to the dullness of the snake-infested temple where Indy gets the heebee-jeebies in front of the serpent shrouded sarcophagus - were also given a vibrancy that's impressive.

That latter scene in the temple also revealed the quality of the LG's black level response, which contributed to a stable, detailed picture that only occasionally substituted grey for black. And even during the great chase scene where Dr Jones manages to cling on to the underside of a moving truck there was little trace of image lag - although there were a few jagged edges and a slight spill of light in corners.

Soft touch

Of course, despite all the RZ-20LA70's clever picture processing, the resolution of this screen is only a paltry 640 x 480, meaning the overall image is comparatively soft. That, however, seems to us to be a small price to pay for such a clean image: we've seen many higher-resolution screens struggle to give as much clarity as was on show throughout our test disc here.

The RZ-20LA70's speakers don't do justice to that that tight on-screen image. With no bass and little detail on anything but dialogue, there's not much to get your head round. For delivering TV and PC sound they suffice, but set to work on a film like Raiders of the Lost Ark they don't do this TV any favours at all.

The RZ-20LA70's picture we like: it is strong, vibrant and skilled with movement, colour and contrast. Despite being let down by a few minor foibles - and the slightly bigger problem of a low resolution that leaves the image looking soft - there's still a lot on this LG to shout about.

However, its limitations - namely its 4:3 shape, poor speakers and the omission of a PC input - mean this is hardly the most versatile or best-value screen.

Despite this being LG's best small screen to date, there are other LCDs that do everything the RZ-20LA70 doesn't, and can also match its impressive pictures pixel for pixel. At this price, there are better options out there.