Alba LCD15TV review

Great resolution. Great price. What's the catch?

TechRadar Verdict

A very narrow viewing angle and poor contrast contribute to an all-round average performance.


  • +


    no blurring


  • -

    Lacks contrast

    restricted viewing angle


Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Let's start with the good news: this is a very high-resolution screen, technically able to show hi-def quality images - unheard of at this tiny size. Plus it's selling for a pittance: just £300 for a flatscreen TV! Interested? You shouldn't be.

On a TV as small as this true HD pictures would be wasted on the human eye, and in any case there's not even a hint of an HD Ready badge, but the hi-res screen still promises impressive images from JPEG photo files and perhaps even from DVDs.

More of that later, but be aware that this is not a widescreen TV. Its 4:3 screen seems a tad old-fashioned, especially as even basic TV from its built-in analogue tuner is not presented in its now native widescreen shape.

Maybe people think they're getting more for their money with a 4:3 TV, which are bigger - in physical size - than their widescreen equivalents. Think again: the size of the picture you actually see is exactly the same, with the sides chopped off.

As if missing out on a large portion of pictures wasn't enough, images from that TV tuner are grainy and washed-out at all times, although with the digital TV age now so embedded,it's hard not to cringe at analogue TV pictures and the common interference/ ghosting that dogs it.

At least this diminutive Alba switches to widescreen mode when connected to a DVD player via its weak offering of just one Scart.

Still,DVD playback quickly reveals a trio of strengths. For starters, the screen shows a lot of detail to an impressive degree and although there is quite a bit of grain on outdoor scenes, the panel is so bright that's not a major problem. In fact, these scenes look the best, despite a little over-colouring of skin tones. In general, colours are vibrant, excelling during outdoor scenes.

Heading even an inch away from head-on viewing position isn't recommended though, because this TV is severely restricted - there's almost nothing to see from just off centre. We thought this LCD nasty would have been wiped out by now but clearly not.

Contrast is also a problem. Footage shot in murky or shadowy surroundings lacks any detail and is also plagued by too blue-ish blacks. There's also a problem of geometry because the tiny screen's corners are tinged darker than the centre.

At least there's no blurring over movement. Couple that strength with a VGA PC input that enables this screen to double-up as a PC and there's some crumbs of comfort.

Audio is, as expected on a tiny TV, weedy and thin, but our impression of this Alba is further weakened by sound frequently cutting-out during our test.

For £190 we didn't expect much, and certainly didn't get it. There's few other LCDs on sale this basic, but there's none cheaper and if nothing else it's a PC monitor-cum-occasional-TV. Although Alba says it's not suitable for wall mounting, the LCD15TV does have standard fixings on the rear, so we beg to differ. Just make sure you fix it at eye level if you want to see anything. was the former name of Its staff were at the forefront of the digital publishing revolution, and spearheaded the move to bring consumer technology journalism to its natural home – online. Many of the current TechRadar staff started life a staff writer, covering everything from the emerging smartphone market to the evolving market of personal computers. Think of it as the building blocks of the TechRadar you love today.