If you’ve been waiting for prices to drop below the $300 mark before taking the HDTV plunge, the wait is over. Priced at $299 (list), the Hannspree ST32AMSB is a great deal for anyone looking for a small-screen (32-inch) no-frills TV. You don’t get much in the way of features or cutting edge technology with this set, but it offers good 720p HD image quality with wide viewing angles. And did I mention it’s less than $300?
Hannspree ST32AMSB Design
There’s nothing fancy about this TV; the 32-inch panel has a maximum resolution of 1366 by 768, which means it can only display HD content in 720p, rather than full 1080p HD, a common limitation for models in this size and price range. The screen uses CCFL backlighting, which accounts for the thick (3.6-inch) cabinet. The glossy black top and side bezels are almost 2 inches wide, and the bottom is 3 inches, giving the set a decidedly clunky look. Narrow bezels would go a long way to giving the ST32AMSB a more streamlined, stylish appearance. The oval stand is also done up in a shiny black finish and does a good job of supporting the 24-pound TV, but it does not swivel.
Hannspree ST32AMSB View SlideshowSee all (8) slides
There’s a Hannspree logo in the center of the lower bezel and an LED power indicator and remote sensor off to the left. The right side of the cabinet holds seven buttons (Power, Volume Up and Down, Channel Up and Down, Input, and Menu), all of which are clearly labeled. The ST32AMSB has only two HDMI ports, which means you’ll be swapping cables if you want to connect a cable box, a gaming console, and a DVD or Blu-ray player (another budget model, the 32-inch Sceptre X322BV-HD ($399, 2.5 stars), gives you three HDMI ports). The connections are at the rear of the cabinet where they are difficult to reach. Also around back are two sets of component A/V jacks, an optical audio output, a coaxial antenna/cable jack, a VGA (PC) and PC audio inputs, and stereo audio out jacks. There’s also a USB port back there, but if you mount this set on a wall you can forget about using it; it should have been located on the side of the panel for easier access. The ST32AMSB lacks an Ethernet connection and doesn’t come with built-in Wi-Fi, which means no Web apps.
The two 10-watt speakers embedded in the lower bezel aren’t very loud, but they do deliver clean, distortion-free audio. Just don’t expect booming bass from the small, down-firing cones.
Hannspree ST32AMSB Specifications
- Screen Size
- 32 inches
- LCD TV, LED
- Supported Refresh Rates
- Aspect Ratio
- Hannspree ST32AMSB Video Inputs
- Component, HDMI
- Speakers Included
- Stand Supplied?
- Hannspree ST32AMSB Yes
- Hannspree ST32AMSB Height
- 23 inches
- 31.3 inches
- 3.6 inches
- Hannspree ST32AMSB Weight
- 24.3 lb
The 7.6-inch black remote is slightly tapered and fits comfortably in the hand. It has 40 buttons (including a 4-way rocker), responsive buttons that unfortunately aren’t illuminated. The usual assortment of keys include a number pad, four color-coded keys for selecting DVD, Audio, Cable, and TV modes, Menu, Mute, and Last Channel buttons, and a set of DVD-player controls.
Image and audio settings are fairly basic; there are five Picture modes (Cinema, Sport, Vivid, Game, and User), but it’s hard to tell the difference between most of them. Sport, Vivid, and Game are all oversaturated and way too bright. Cinema mode is your best bet for movie and TV viewing, but you may want to bump the backlight level up a notch or two for best results. In addition to backlighting you can adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, sharpness, and color temperature settings. Advanced settings include noise reduction, adaptive luma (auto color balance), and flesh tone, but there are no advanced color, gamma, or white level settings that you get with more expensive high-end sets like the Mitsubishi LT-55265.
You can adjust several audio settings, including Surround (which I found was best left in the Off position), Treble, Bass, and Balance. There’s an equalizer that offers six presets (Rock, Pop, Live, Dance, Techno, Classic), none of which are ideal for movies or TV. Fortunately, you can simply turn the equalizer off.
Hannspree ST32AMSB Performance
The ST32AMSB turned in mixed results on the DisplayMate HDTV diagnostic tests. In terms of color accuracy, reds and blues were very close to the CIE 1976 chromaticity standard for those colors, but greens were slightly oversaturated. That said, color quality was still quite good on my Blu-ray and TV program tests. Skin tones looked natural and there was no evidence of tinting. The panel doesn’t do a very good job of displaying blacks, as evidenced by its relatively high black level measurement of 0.13cd/m2. My test clips from the movie 2012 on Blu-ray Disc showed a significant loss of shadow detail in darker scenes, and in one particular scene it was impossible to see the stripes in a dark pinstripe suit.
The ST32AMSB passed all of the HQV high defintion performance tests save for one; it struggled with the Random Noise test. Setting the Noise Reduction feature to medium helped reduce the frequency of artifacts but did not eliminate them completely. Bumping it up to high didn’t help either and produced a smoothing effect that looked like a homemade video. Predictably, it had the same problem with noise reduction on the standard definition tests. That’s not to say the picture was terribly noisy, but in both cases background noise was noticeable. This carried over to my Blu-ray and satellite box tests as well.
The ST32AMSB drew an average of 53 watts during my testing, which is significantly lower than the Sceptre X322BV-HD (93 watts), another 32-inch CCFL-backlit HDTV. Still, it can’t touch theWestinghouse LD-3255 ($429, 3 stars), an LED-backlit 32-inch model that used just 38 watts of power. Based on five hours of daily use using the national average cost of 11.55 cents per kWh, the ST32AMSB will cost 93 cents a month, or around $11 a year, to operate.
At just under $300, the Hannspree ST32AMSB is one of those deals that is hard to pass up, especially if it’s discounted even further, which is likely. Even if you already own a larger, more feature-rich HDTV, this set works nicely as a second set for the bedroom, dorm room, or any area that doesn’t warrant a big screen TV. Sure, it has some performance issues, and you don’t get many features either, but at this price it’s tough to complain.