On paper, the LG 26LG3000 looks like a potential winner.

As well as having a remarkably high (for its size) claimed contrast ratio of 15,000:1 and good brightness output of 500cd/m², it even manages a pseudo-surround sound mode, promising audio as well as visual talent than most rivals.

But before we get too excited, though, the 26LG3000 doesn't carry the XD Engine image processing used so effectively by all of its bigger siblings.

Also, its sound comes from two one-way speakers, rather than the four two-way speaker situation enjoyed by the 37in and 42in LG3000s.

Fashionable TV

LG seems to have focused on making the TV as affordable as possible, given that sets of this size are now generally for second rooms, and so has dropped some features to hit a very aggressive price point.
With this in mind, it's not at all badly built. Its glossy black finish and slender bezel strike an elegant and compact pose wholly in keeping with LG's strong fashion focus.

Spinning the 26LG3000 around uncovers a respectable set of connections, headlined by a couple of HDMIs, a D-Sub PC port, and the inevitable component video input, which joins the HDMIs and a native resolution of 1,366 x 768 pixels in achieving HD Ready status.

Setting the 26LG3000 up, though, reveals no sign of LG's excellent new graphics-heavy 'Easy Menus System' interface found on all other LG3000s, nor the bigger models' 'Expert' mode for additional picture fine tuning.

Image smearing

This latter feature is especially badly missed, since it might have helped us improve the 26LG3000's troublesome picture quality.

For instance, colours across the board don't seem to have very natural tones, looking as if they've been through a PC-biased colour temperature filter.

Also troubling is the amount of smearing in the picture. The screen's 8ms claimed response time isn't especially impressive, and even quite slow motion can look unclear.

Our final big issue with the LG 26LG3000 concerns its black level response, which often leaves dark scenes looking shallow and grey, and replete with even stranger colour tones than those noted during bright scenes.

Disappointing audio

The LG 26LG3000 does at least present HD sources with impressive clarity and sharpness, except for when the motion blur gets in the way. Plus it upscales standard-def quite noiselessly, and its pictures are unusually bright by 26in standards.

It's back to basics with the set's sound, though. The Virtual Surround mode that raised our hopes earlier turns out to be a red herring, for the 26LG3000's speakers actually produce a feeble and thin sound.