How does 40-inch of flatscreen luxury for a little over £1,500 grab you? On price alone, this 40-inch LCD TV gives plasma a run for its money. But surely that's where the good news stops: a 40-inch LCD TV for this price can't deliver the visual goods, can it?

Once you've gathered your jaw from the floor, after seeing the lowly price tag, the N4060W sets about its seduction. The TV may be on the plastic side, but you wouldn't guess from the tasteful grey screen frame.

Whipping out our magnifying glass for the all-important connections, we soon discover that there's more here than we expected. The (single) HDMI is present and correct, as well as a trio of Scarts, component video inputs (which are HD capable), and a PC VGA input too.

The specification is also good: the native resolution of 1,366x768, high contrast ratio of 1,000:1, and claimed brightness of 500cd/m2 all tick the right boxes. The onscreen menus aren't the quickest in the world, which is a shame, and there aren't that many features to write home about (noise reduction and picture-in-picture functions are worthy of note), but bring that price tag back into focus.

When our standard-definition test DVD of Fear and Loathing... was playing, the brightness and vibrancy of the colour palette were the first things about the N4060W's pictures that impressed us: the colourful desert sequences and dark casino scenes (which are punctuated with vivid colours) were well rendered. If you take into account the sort of pictures that we're used to seeing in screens of this size that cost this little, this is a remarkable effort.

Too good to be true?

The overall effect of the pictures is one of believability: flesh tones lack any showroom dummy hues, and even reds are rendered with a certain degree of authority. There are more picture-perfect screens out there, but they'd empty your wallet for a while too.

A high-definition feed of Premiership football courtesy of Sky HD ups the ante again. We're surprised to discover that this ViewSonic is a dab hand at handling motion too, with little sign of smearing and judder. Pictures are pretty sharp, too.

There are a few important points that undermine this flatscreen's too good to be true status. Firstly, the colour tone is a little on the wayward side: when watching the analogue TV tuner, pictures look a little washed out in bright areas and greens and blues can look a little alien. Secondly, our Sky HD receiver feed wasn't entirely to this ViewSonic's liking: pictures from it can exude a certain harshness. Also, there are lip synching issues and the sound is disappointing, lacking the required oomph in its bass.

The greatest issue we have with this set's pictures is that dark areas can look a little blue, which undermines the impressive viewing experience. To accentuate the positives, colours are good, as are black levels (generally), and the contrast is excellent.

This performance is more than enough for a monster screen at this price. You may well find models more to your liking within the confines of this group test, but you certainly won't find them at a price like this. In a nutshell, this ViewSonic offers more-than-decent pictures at a stupid price. If you're on a budget but crave the big-screen experience, you could do a lot worse than give this beast an audition.