Daewoo DLP32D1LPS review

Can Daewoo still stand out now that LCD has come of age?

TechRadar Verdict

A mediocre performaner - particularly with TV footage and sound - but the price is good

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.

A few years ago Daewoo was instrumental in bringing flatscreen technology to the masses, by lowering prices to a more attainable level. Now LCD technology has come of age, but the brand is still offering highly affordable screens: the DLP32D1LPS has to be one of the most inexpensive 32in models currently available.

With this in mind, the set is surprisingly well equipped. Most notably, it's fully HD-ready, thanks to a screen resolution of 1,366 x 768 and a digital DVI input. The only downside with DVI is that, unlike the surround sound-capable HDMI input (as featured on the Sony and LG models in this test), it's video-only, so you'll need to make a separate audio connection.

Other connections are plentiful, though, with two component inputs for progressive scan DVD sources as well as two RGB Scarts and dedicated S-video and composite video inputs. There's even a handy PC input, so the set is can double up as a luxury monitor.

Wide boy

Looks-wise, the Daewoo's black surround and silver frame give it a sophisticated feel, but it's considerably larger than others in this test thanks to bulky, side-mounted speakers and a large frame surround. And unlike the Sony and LG models, the set's stand doesn't have swivel or tilt capabilities.

Features are respectable for the price, comprising picture-in-picture and Fastext capabilities as well as virtual surround sound and preset sound EQ modes. Picture processing options are basic, but the usual adjustments for colour, contrast, brightness and sharpness are all present and correct.

The LG's plasticky remote control won't win any awards for styling, but it's easy to use, while on-screen menus are simplistic, but pleasingly straightforward to navigate.

Soft touch

TV pictures through the Daewoo's analogue tuner are colourful and watchable, but certainly not without flaws. As is so often the case with budget LCD technology, images are soft, and therefore lacking in detail. Skin tones are particularly poor - it's virtually impossible to make out subtle shadings or fine lines on presenters' faces, making them look almost cartoon-like. Still, as we've said time and again, such a low-quality source is never going to bring out the best in a flat TV - we'd usually advise going digital.

It's a similar story when we give The Matrix Reloaded a spin. DVD images boast good colours and and reasonable black levels, but a closer look reveals that they are considerably below par given the Daewoo's high-resolution capabilities. The main flaw is again the softness of pictures, which means that complex camera pans inside the underground city of Zion show little in the way of subtle details.

On the plus side, however, the Daewoo copes well with our test movie's fast-moving motorway chase sequences, with no obvious motion blurring - so often the downfall of budget LCD.

Sadly, the screen's sound performance throws up more weaknesses. TV programmes sound rough and distorted, and there's little in the way of bass. In fairness, however, this is the case with the majority of built-in speakers, and isn't surprising considering the price of this set.

Daewoo has pretty much stripped this LCD screen down to basics to achieve the low price, and this leads to a mediocre performance - particularly with TV footage and sound. Images from all-digital and high-quality analogue video sources are more impressive, and may please the undemanding user, but ultimately the DLP32D1LPS is of limited appeal, even at this attractive price point.

Tech.co.uk was the former name of TechRadar.com. 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 Tech.co.uk 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.