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Relisys RLT1730 review

Get out and about with the miracle of ashtray power!

Our Verdict

A terrible remote control takes the shine off a fine small LCD for DVDs and games

A budget brand specialising in LCDs, Relisys is now aiming at a market hitherto overlooked by TV makers - the caravanning fraternity. Not the most lucrative of markets, surely, but if you want a flat TV 'on the move', which can be powered by a car cigarette lighter charger, this 17in set is your only option. As well as harnessing the miracle of ashtray power, the RLT1730 has a nifty handle on its neck, and at only 5kg it's likely to be lighter than your luggage.

That's about it for novelty features - or at least positive ones. This widescreen LCD isn't quite what it seems, for the screen is actually 15:9 in shape, which means DVD movies will be slightly squashed. Boo.

Connections are fairly standard for this size, with higher-grade video inputs passed over in favour of the more versatile Scart and lower-quality composite and S-video. A PC input is a nice touch, though, while an RF input means it could be worth investing in a good outdoor aerial if you're travelling.

After our struggle to simply tune in the TV and swap between inputs, however, we would advise taking a good book. The tuner did eventually manage to find all the terrestrial channels, but it was almost 10 minutes before we were watching the Ashes! These broadcast pictures looked okay - a bit of ghosting and poorly defined edges are par for the course with LCD technology - but there was some blur in close-ups. Still, pictures were never less than watchable.

Our main problem with the RLT1730, in fact, is its remote control: not only is it unresponsive, but it's also verging on embarrassing. For starters, the 'sleep' timer function actually toggles between stereo, mono Dual I and Dual II sound modes, while the 'MPX' button sets the alarm! Worse is to come from the AV toggle button, which flatly refuses to do anything useful. Even the widescreen/4:3/ zoom option merely switches the LCD to PC mode.

Late bloomer

So bad are the RLT1730's behavioural problems that it's actually annoying that it turns out to be quite a performer with DVDs. It's no high-end model, but the LCD screen copes surprisingly well with what we throw at it through the RGB Scart.

During a run-through of Swedish director Lukas Moodyson's A Hole in My Heart, there's a good level of detail and close-ups - in bright scenes, at least - sparkle. The picture is also well coloured, while perhaps the most impressive skill is the almost complete lack of picture noise or grain.

In the gloomy footage in the squalid flat, however, there's a good deal less to see, suggesting a lack of contrast. There's also a slight shimmer on peak whites and some blur across fast-moving action - but things never get out of hand.

Audio, meanwhile, is nothing special, with the basic stereo sounding a lot more full than either the Dual I or Dual II settings.

If the RLT1730's operating system matched its pictures, Relisys could have been on to a winner. Still, if you're looking forward to another year of caravanning, but dreading the rainy evenings stuck indoors with undesirable relations, this enjoyable LCD is worth a punt.