LG 32LB1D LCD television review

3.5 out of 5
£899

For

Plenty of connectivity, user-friendly image adjustment, built in DTV with freeview channels, sharp clear picture, easy swivel stand

Against

Sound quality from the built-in speakers is a little disappointing, image quality could be better

The 32LB1D is the smallest of a new series of LG LCDs, reengineered with the XD engine digital image generating chip.

This boasts a rather baffling array of technology that in summary, promises to make the very best of high definition images. A collection of six digital processing engines are designed to improve clarity, colour, contrast and brightness with the aim of producing the best possible picture.

Luckily these are happy to work away in the background without demanding constant supervision or adjustment, but they make for inspiring reading and you could be forgiven for expecting something pretty dazzling to appear on screen when you switch it on.

Despite the relatively small screen size the 32LB1D is pretty featured packed. It’s capable of resolutions up to 1080i (1366 x 768 for data) and is positively swimming with connectivity. You’ll find three scart, component, composite, an HDMI and an HDMI/DVI port along with PC inputs, so pretty much everything is supplied for today’s A/V enthusiast. The TV is easy enough to set up and is mounted on a convenient swivel stand for easy adjustment.

You’re also given a pretty comprehensive all-in-one remote, with support for two additional devices over the TV itself. You’ll find over 30 freeview channels on the integrated digital tuner, pseudo 3D surround sound and a bass boost system.

There’s even a technology called "Intelligent Eye" that measures ambient light in the room and adjusts the picture for optimum quality. All of this sounds very good, but won’t mean a lot unless the TV can actually perform in a real world environment. During testing we were impressed, but not as much as we thought we’d be considering all the promotional spiel the LB1D series pours forth.

Image quality was sharp enough but solid blacks were hard to find and it was difficult to establish a decent contrast ratio on a dynamic image. LG has admittedly done a nice enough job of compressing the reams of digital processing technology into a menu structure you can manage. Rather than simple brightness/contrast/colour settings (although manual tuning is still possible) image adjustment is split into categories such as dynamic, mild, cool or warm, and sound into sports/movies/music etc. With instant previews available this is a nice way to make quick adjustments and most of the time they do improve the situation as the title would suggest. You’ll still find yourself fiddling with the user defined settings to get the perfect picture though and in some situations we struggled to see any improvement.

It’s a well-featured television then, but not one that really bowls us over with striking image quality and breathtaking sound. The latter in fact, is a little disappointing, it was difficult to detect any kind of three dimensional audio and the "bass boost" was conspicuous by its absence. Perhaps the larger models in the series have more room to show this off.

Verdict

You’ll certainly be well prepared with the LB1D, this is a reasonably priced screen considering its capabilities. If it’s striking picture clarity and dynamic sound you’re after, we’ve seen better options around.