The HannsG HH251H is a 24.6in flat-panel LCD display available for less than £200.

HannsG has always had a knack of quietly surprising us. Take its early days in PC Advisor, when it appeared from nowhere and suddenly started supplying the screens of half of our desktop PC reviews. Or, perhaps, you can look at the subject of this review, a 24.6in screen (it's billed as a 25in, but to be totally accurate, the viewable size is 24.6in corner-to-corner). The HannsG HH251H vaults into the sub-£200 category at a time when other companies are still polishing off their 21.5in and 22in models.

Unfortunately, not all outlandish moves come off, and we're not sure that the market's quite ready yet for a sub-£200 24.6in screen. The problem is, the HannsG HH251H just isn't quite good enough. And it's not quite good enough in quite a few areas.

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We can forgive the HannsG HH251H for its slightly tacky exterior - we're sure there're a number of gaming addicts out there who'll quite appreciate the overly glossy casing. We're not so convinced by the menu system though. The buttons are small and virtually unmarked, not to mention painful on the fingertips to use.

And while the HannsG HH251H has buttons with dedicated uses, there isn't one for altering the colour mode - often an invaluable feature in a screen you might want to use for a number of different uses - which means you could spend far more time than is really desirable scrolling through the torturous setup screens.

The HannsG HH251H's two HDMI ports seem forward-thinking, although many a user would prefer to have a regular DVI connection too - there aren't any DVI-HDMI adaptors included, so most computer users will need to add the cost of a suitable adaptor or cable to the asking price.

The HannsG HH251H's native resolution of 1,920x1,080 is the best option these days, and the given brightness rating and response rate are fairly commonplace. The standard contrast ratio of 800:1 can apparently be bolstered to a frankly unbelievable 15,000:1. All in all, the specifications promise that this'll be a stunning screen.

The HannsG HH251H, however, manages to fall some way short of its promised perfection.

Viewing angles are never going to be good on cheap TN (twisted nematic) flat-panels. But even compared to some very mediocre performance from the competition, the HannsG HH251H is surprisingly poor. We found it almost impossible to get a picture that was properly focused in every corner, and the smallest twitch of the head results in an alteration of the image.

The HannsG HH251H is also too bright. We found it painful to use for long periods, and it was difficult to dampen the brightness while retaining decent colour quality. The HannsG is capable of good images, but you can certainly find steadier and higher-calibre pictures if you're prepared to go for a smaller size.

NEXT: our expert verdict >>

OUR VERDICT

To be fair to the HannsG HH251H, it will have its uses. We could still imagine it working well as a cheap big screen for movie buffs. And gamers who’re prepared to experiment with the settings may find the large viewing area noticeably enhances their playing experience. For general use, however, we’d recommend that you’ll be safer with something smaller. The affordable 25in flat-panel will come. But it’s not quite with us yet.

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