- Above average image quality, speakers sound good
- A slight grainy look to the pictures, some contrast issues, big
If the size doesn't daunt you, the HD-L27 will make a reasonable addition to your lounge room, although there may be other options with better picture quality.
Price$ 1,999.00 (AUD)
The Sagem HD-L27 is a deceptively big television. The whole unit has an extremely chunky feel, measuring several inches in thickness and sporting quite a large pair of speakers fixed on either side. The size attracted a number of comments, ranging from "Wow that looks great" to "My eyes, my eyes!"
Overall we felt the design looked very good, with a glossy, piano black finish and virtually no annoying LED indicators. The buttons are well placed in a small string down the right hand side. However, despite being a rather small screen by today's standards, (27 inches) the entire model measures over 38 inches diagonally so it takes up significantly more space than a regular model of the same size. The way television prices are beginning to bottom out, the primary reason for not purchasing a 32-inch or 37-inch model is space rather than cost, so a 27-inch screen in a 37-inch body won't appeal to everyone.
All that extra space isn't entirely wasted however; the integrated speakers pack a bit of a punch. They aren't as visceral as a dedicated home theatre system, but they went well above regular listening volume and provided clear and crunching sound during our gaming and movie forays. When one buys a new television however, one typically purchases a new home theatre system at the same time, so the inclusion of better pair of speakers seems like a bit of a waste to us, but still a nice touch.
If space isn't your primary concern and you're after a wall mounted alternative for the bedroom or just a smaller TV, the L27 offers above average picture quality. It sports a high definition resolution of 1280 X 720, which will support 720p high definition television broadcasts, as well as play the new Xbox 360 at its native settings. We happened to have an Xbox 360 to test with the unit, and it looked absolutely fantastic running in all its high definition glory.
Standard definition signals don't miss out either, with a clear and sharp images, and accurate colour representation, particularly skin tones. Brightness is rated at 550 nits, which is about average, and the screen held up reasonably well under most lighting conditions. That said, we did find the image a little grainy in parts, and there was noticeable noise on darker backgrounds. It wasn't prominent enough to ruin our viewing experience, but it was visible.
The listed contrast ratio is 600:1, however we felt this was the weakest characteristic of the display. Blacks had a habit of slipping to dark greys, and dark areas often blurred into lighter colours. This was particularly noticeable when viewing from a wide angle. The viewing angle is listed at 160 degrees, and whilst the image was clear and sharp, even from extreme positions, blacks lost a lot of colour if we weren't directly in front of the screen.
The back of the L27 packs in a disappointing array of connections. There is a single component input for high definition support, as well as RCA and s-video ports. There are two spare audio connections down the bottom, and the rather obsolete SCART connectors on the far right. Why there isn't at least one DVI, HDMI or D-Sub port is beyond us. Small LCD televisions are favourites for connecting the PC up to, but this model offers users virtually no option to do that (short of using a component dongle on their video card). The lack of high definition connections also appears, at first, to be a negative, but realistically most people will be running this through the component plug to a receiver which should offer all the connectivity they will need.
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