Hands on: Haier LET32C80 review

Forget the behemoth TVs - here's a 32-inch LED telly you might actually want to buy

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After all the hyperbole of IFA, with big statements and even bigger TVs from the major Japanese and South Korean brands, how about a TV that you might actually buy?

This 32-inch Edge LED-backlit TV doesn't do anything swish, but instead concentrates on wrapping-up a some must-have features in an attractive chassis.

'Metal look' is how the LET32C800 is described, and close-up looks just that. Many brands have attempted to re-create in plastic the brushed metallic look favoured on high-end TVs from the likes of Samsung and Philips, but Haier's is particularly successful. Solid to the touch, the dark grey 'metal look' continues around a bezel that measures around 15mm.

Haier LET32C800

Inside is a Freeview tuner, with 200Hz scanning, a quoted 4,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and all kinds of USB-led trickery.

There is only one USB port on the LET32C800, but provided with a USB HDD or thumbdrive it leads to timeshifting - the pausing and rewinding of live TV - as well as recording from the EPG. It's also possible to playback video files via USB, though we weren't able to test formats.

Haier LET32C800

Two HDMI inputs grace the rear's centered connection box, one of which provided a Full HD feed during our test. The panel impressed, with good black levels and decent contrast on mixed brightness scenes.

There was a reasonably smooth interpretation of some quick camera pans alongside high detail; in one sequence a moving dart pierces a water droplet, remaining clear throughout, while another of a skydive was always comfortable. Greens and reds retained their lustre, to, though most impressive was the wide viewing angle; black and bright colours remained solid even when watched from the wings.

Haier LET32C800

Although the 32-inch LET32C800 constitutes the only member of the C800 Series confirmed to come to the UK, it was presented at IFA alongside other sizes - many of them unique to Haier.

The consequence of more efficient glass cutting in Haier's TV manufacturing plants in China means 39-inch and 50-inch LED-backlit LCD panels were making their debut at IFA, though for now they're destined only for the German market.

But what of the brand? Chinese company Haier has been around for yonks as a supplier and manufacturer, but as a separate brand in the UK has only been around for seven years. It's so far done brisk business in the white goods sector, (including a pretty nifty app-controlled wine cooler), but used IFA 2012 to make a major assault on the living room rather as well as the kitchen.

Haier LET32C800

Early verdict

Its status as a manufacturer also means voracious R&D; judging from the innovation elsewhere on its IFA stand - eye-controlled TV, the 'brainwave TV' and several Android tablets - Haier could be a brand to watch, but the LET32C800 is certainly a solid start.

Due to hit the UK in October, the final cost of the LET32C800 was TBC at the time of writing.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.

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