Polaroid is quickly becoming hot on our bargain TV brand list. After its dirt-cheap 42in 5-42-LED-14 flew out of a packed test with four stars, the instantfilm camera company returns to repeat history with its 32in HD Ready set.
At a friendly £200 (Polaroid TVs are sold exclusively at ASDA supermarkets in the UK), it’s easy to match up against the Finlux 32H8075-T (£200), and the similarities don’t end with price.
Familiar and functional
The gold-on-black horizontal strip menu we’ve seen on Finlux sets features here, in addition to a blue single-page portal where you can access the usual online services (BBC iPlayer, Netflix, YouTube), your social media (Facebook and Twitter) accounts; and an ‘app market’.
The no-nonsense interface gets the important things right: simplicity and ease of use. Tabs and apps are coherently spaced-out and clearly labelled.
A supplied USB dongle grants the Polaroid wi-fi, though a LAN input allows for a wired connection via an ethernet cable too. Three HDMI, two USB, a scart and PC inputs are also on board, as well as a coaxial output.
It’s all very well being able to tick the boxes marked ‘features’ and ‘interface’, but picture performance needs to impress. And it does.
Load up the latest Jean-Claude Van Damme action thriller, Enemies Closer, on Blu -ray and the picture is crisp and clear as we enter the film’s wooded setting. Cabin floorboards are sharply outlined, and details in the panels’ varying patterns are laid bare.
Colours appear strong and punchy, too, as the greens of the forest and reds of the drug cartel’s jackets litter the screen. Inevitably, hues aren’t as deep or rich as those produced on the best (and pricier) sets, but we’re fans of the Polaroid’s convincing delivery and even tone.
Fresh from the box, there’s a slight issue with factory settings that cause unwanted glare on faces. Run the telly through a THX Optimiser test – finetuning brightness and contrast along the way – and that dies down nicely. As a result, contrast is good. Night-time backgrounds are appropriately pitch black while whites have pop, though nuances in shades can be soft-pedalled.
The Polaroid misses the Finlux’s natural-looking picture warmth, so skin can look a little pale at times. We’d keep colour temperature to ‘Normal’. Motion isn’t an issue, mind: forest flights are two a penny in the film, and the set stays blur-free.
Switch to broadcast programming and the set’s Freeview HD tuner livens up daytime TV with bright, vivid colours. There’s a slightly overcooked delivery but the picture’s punch, sharpness and detail make it a satisfying watch – even with standard-definition programmes. Sound is relatively thin and hard though.
Ask yourself, do you feel lucky?
We still feel lucky to get 32in smart tellies for just £200, but when they have a decent picture, the value factor really hits home. This Polaroid’s sound and design are less inspiring than its picture, but it’s certainly worth the boot-space among your weekly groceries.
FOR Punchy colours; sharp, clear presentation; smarts for the price; easy-to-use interface
AgAinst Pale skin tones; lacklustre design
VeRdict Polaroid delivers another tempting package that offer a decent picture and a reasonable smart offering for a giveaway price
Credit : What HiFi Magazine