Packard Bell SW Series 17" Digital LCD TV review

4 out of 5
£600

For

Viewing angle of 176 degrees, wide range of ports, loud and crisp Nicam sound

Against

Converging solution for home TV, VCR, DVD and PC.

Converging devices are changing the nature of home entertainment, with slim-line LCD TVs offering a space saving solution for modern living.

This model from Packard Bell combines the screen requirements and solutions for PC, TV, DVD, VCR and console gaming, with 5 screen modes and 100 channels.

The wealth of ports, and great compatibility make this a great option. The SCART cable plugs vertically up into the socket- this allows the monitor to sit almost flush with the wall/surface behind. The ports are laid out to allow for easy access and the swivel stand helps make connecting and disconnecting less of a chore than with a full size rear projection television.

Space saving really is the key here. This monitor is solid, yet portable enough for moving round the house, thanks to a very slim chassis and lightweight stand.

The multi-purpose functionality doesn't impinge on picture or sound quality. The 17” flat screen is crisp (1280 pixels and a viewing angle of 176 degrees), supports picture in picture technology, and displays at 16:9 ratio widescreen.

Even for a 17” screen (there is a big brother 30” screen in the range), the picture quality is very crisp, even over 6-8 foot, so you won't need to be hugging it to see your favourite shows. The sound too is 1st class. Even through the twin built-in speakers, the Nicam sound is excellent, putting this high up the food chain in the home cinema stakes and making it great for gaming too.

The full remote control is complemented by tactile touch sensitive buttons, located on the main unit, tucked under the right edge of the screen surround. A semi-transparent On Screen Display makes tuning and tweaking settings easy.

Verdict

Packard Bell is focusing heavily on converging solutions for home sound and vision. This is a good example- high quality combined TV and PC flat panel monitor, at a competitive price.

By incorporating home PC monitor and the TV, the boundaries in home entertainment and electronics are being redefined. Expect to see more of this ilk hitting the stores this Christmas, but perhaps not so nicely done. This looks great, even when turned off, and that is half the battle as the consumer electronics retail market becomes ever more style-led. This SW series also features a 30” model which should overcome the one limitation with the 17”- the 16/9 widescreen format does not make the best use of the 17” screen size.