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Dual DLCD2001 review

A surprising level of performance despite its dowdy looks

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Our Verdict

Hardly a performance superstar but it does better than its specifications and price tag would lead you to expect

For

  • Picture in some ways

  • price

Against

  • Smearing on motion

  • limited connectivity

Time was, all the contestants on Supermarket Sweep could scoop into their trolleys was a healthy collection of fruit,veg and booze. Nowadays,though,they could add all kind of home electronics - such as the Dual dlcd2001,a 20in LCD TV exclusively available from Asda.

As usual with supermarket electronics, the dlcd2001 is targeted at the budget end of the market. In fact,at £350 it's one of the cheapest 20in sets ever.Which is nice.Rather less nice are its looks. Its drab colour, plasticky finish and imagination-free design just look plain cheap.

The set's connections are also utterly bog standard, featuring only the absolute essentials of one RGB Scart, a tuner input,a composite video input,an S-video input,a headphone jack, and a stereo audio input. It's particularly sad that there's no PC jack,denying you the chance of doubling the screen up as a computer monitor.

Features are thin on the ground, too.There's a soundstage widening option,a room light adjustment, and a dynamic skin tone adjustment.But that's about it.

An interesting side note: the features and onscreen menus on this Dual TV are absolute ringers for the Hitachi 20LD3200,suggesting some shared OEM heritage...

Turning to the dlcd2001's pictures,we have to say that based on extremely low contrast ratio claims of 350:1 and a fairly average claimed brightness of 450cd/m2,we didn't expect much.Which may be why we were pleasantly surprised...

performance

Black levels, for instance, aren't as shallow and washed out as we'd expected from that 350:1 contrast ratio claim.Admittedly dark areas of the picture look a bit hollow, thanks to a lack of shadow detailing, but the flatness and greying over isn't as bad as it might be.

This also helps colours look quite dynamic, with plenty of vibrancy and richness backed up by an above average level of brightness.

Another surprise is the amount of detail,which helps pictures from strong broadcast sources and DVDs alike look sharp and textured.

However, longer term viewing reveals that any image with lots of movement in it suffer noticeably with LCD smearing - visual confirmation,an underwhelming claimed response time of 25ms.

The other concern is that its colours don't combine their vibrancy with a particularly authentic tone.Dark picture areas can look a little blue,and skin tones can look over-ripe.

The dlcd2001 devotes more of its chassis to its speakers than is common but that doesn't help it sound any better than average.The soundstage is reasonably widely dispersed round your room,but there's almost no bass,and peak trebles sound thin,harsh and muffled.Voices at least remain clear for most of the time,though, and the cabinet doesn't rattle even under extreme duress.

Basic in its specification and ugly looking the Dual dlcd2001 may be, but depressingly for the specialist electronics stores,Asda's latest 20in LCD at least performs well enough to rank as something of a bargain