LG 19LD350 review

Always the darling of consumers looking for good value, LG recently reached the enviable target of selling 5-million LCD panels worldwide in 1 month (September 2010). With astronomical figures like that you’d be forgiven for thinking that LG is churning out cheap tellies without much thought, but this 19-inch LCD TV is proof of the opposite. Okay, so the 19LD350 doesn’t break any moulds, but it does represent yet another LG-made marriage of good value and ease of use.

There’s no LED backlit panel, one omission that helps achieve this low price, though we won’t miss it much; it’s a mere fuel for sales patter at this small size where deep blacks and ultimate contrast ratio is not likely to be on your shopping list. Nor is an ultra-slim screen, which is lucky since the 19LD350 has a rather solid design (at 65mm, calling it fat would be going too far) though the frame around the LCD panel itself is slimmer than usual.

Below a red stripe on the TV’s undercarriage are some “invisible” speakers. Measuring 5W, they’re more powerful than most TVs this size carry, and though they’re of reasonable quality they can’t offer anything in the way of bass or even mid-range audio. At least the Clear Voice II lives up to its name, though the speakers’ treatment of speech-based TV isn’t a problem.

Elsewhere the 19LD350 is a cinch to use - as all LG TVs are. The home menus, which float over the Freeview channel you’re watching, comprises eight blocked icons covering everything from the USB slot to set-up to dedicated icons for each live input. That latter feature is handy since, for example, a Blu-ray player that’s switched-on will automatically appear on the screen. There’s also a nice Picture Wizard function that walks you through the set-up of the HD-ready panel itself; a welcome idea since the 19LD350’s myriad picture settings sees it certified by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) - as well as by the Energy Saving Trust.

One major difference to bigger TVs up the scale in LG’s huge range is the 19LD350’s treatment of digital media. While its higher-end screens are media darlings, the 19LD350 can only muster support for JPEG files and MP3 music. Both are handled exquisitely well, with slideshows set-up quickly and music playing accurately and clearly, though it’s difficult not to hanker after the DivX - and even DivX HD - support of other LG products.

What we missed most of all on the 19LD350, however, was picture quality. Because while Freeview programmes are rendered well, with plenty of colour and clarity, there’s an innate softness and a big dose of motion blur to contend with.

It’s further proof that the big TV manufacturers see the market for small TVs as purely a price-based game, though the 19LD350 does make for a reasonably good all-round solution if ultimate picture quality is not your major concern.

Verdict

Doesn’t break any moulds, but this good value 19-inch LCD TV marries acceptable picture quality with a fabulous user interface.