Tiny LC-20H3S review

Can a 4:3 screen with a PC heritage cut it?

TechRadar Verdict

Not a movie master by any means, but a solid PC monitor that doubles as a TV

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As a simple PC monitor for a desktop, this 20in LCD from Tiny is rather well designed. Equipped with a sturdy carry handle and well-built, if bland silver exterior, as well as side-mounted speakers, it certainly doesn't look cheap.

That's until the specification sheet comes our way. At 640 x 480 pixels, this is actually the lowest resolution LCD we've reviewed in a long while, which goes some way to explaining how Tiny can get the set down to a generous bargain-basement price. The cost has been kept low by sparse connections, too, which number a solitary Scart, S-video, PC , composite video and stereo audio inputs and outputs.

Of course, there's the aerial input for accessing the analogue TV tuner - which is about all that separates the screen from being just a PC monitor. But while the basic auto-search function works well, tuner pictures fail to impress, with lots of grain and ghosting apparent - although that's UK analogue TV for you, more than any fault of this set. Better to use that Scart to get pictures from a separate Freeview digital box to give the LC-20H3S a fighting chance.

We used spooky new release Boogeyman as our test disc, and the resulting pictures were initially disappointing. The two most noticeable flaws are picture noise and the set's representation of blacks. Swathes of black in images were deep, but far too much like 'black holes', with no detail whatsoever.

Running on empty

What's more, while we have seen worse LCDs when it comes to motion sickness, the Tiny's problem with this still meant that when actors ran across camera, the background was left flickering to a distracting extent.

However, closer inspection revealed a few picture gems. The screen coped well with a complex scene of a closet attack by the Boogeyman, and managed to accurately resolve the flash-style camera work and fast-changing colours.

Moreover, images were very bright, and viewed from a distance look absolutely fine. But up close - and this is where a PC monitor/occasional DVD, desktop-bound product of this kind is going to have to excel - things visibly deteriorated, and images were lacking fine detail. The picture just isn't impressive enough for us to recommend this as a dedicated bedroom or kitchen TV. Of course, it is actually a PC monitor first and foremost, so it would be unfair of us to criticise the Tiny's mixed picture performance too harshly.

The screen's sound is rather good. Unexpectedly at this price point, it boasts a variety of presets that can lift a movie from its below average on-screen appearance, and everything is kept tight with good basic stereo. Great for playing games on your PC, and for lifting audio for TV.

Tiny is a brand keen to shout about how affordable its products are, and the company has done it again with this PC monitor that doubles as a reasonable TV. And there's the rub: this is a computer screen with TV tagged on as an afterthought, rather than a dedicated bedroom set. Great if that's what you're looking for, not so great if all you want is a top-notch small-screen TV.

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