While large screens are ideal for the lounge, most of us want a smaller TV when it comes to the kitchen or bedroom. With its 1080p resolution and 22-inch screen, the JL22 LCD HD from John Lewis shows that opting for a smaller TV doesn't mean missing out on 'Full HD' pictures. It packs a built-in Freeview tuner too. As this LCD TV is an own-brand product, it can only be purchased either on the John Lewis Web site or in the company's stores. It's currently priced at around £250.
Pretty for a porker
Smaller screen sizes don't always translate into slimmer TVs. The JL22 is fairly chunky, at 190mm thick. But the front of the TV is attractively styled, with a glossy black finish and sliver trim running around the edge.
Given its size, the TV is reasonably well specified when it comes to connections. There are two HDMI ports and a set of component connectors for hooking up high-definition equipment, but you also get Scart and composite sockets for analogue kit, as well as a VGA port if you want to use the TV with a PC.
The JL22 is very quick to set up and, once you've tuned in all the Freeview channels, you'll find that its menu system and electronic programme guide are presented in smart-looking high-resolution graphics, together with a welcoming colours scheme. The seven-day EPG doesn't fill the whole screen, though, which can make it difficult to read if you're sitting quite far away from the TV. On a screen this size, it would have been a much better idea for the EPG to make use of the entire display area.
Nevertheless, the on-screen menus give you a decent amount of control over settings like contrast, colour and brightness. The remote control is also rather good, as it has large buttons and is comfortable to hold.
Clean and crisp pictures
The picture quality from this type of small set is rarely all that impressive, but the JL22 is better than most in this department. Perhaps surprisingly, given its size, the set uses a 1080p panel, so there's no downscaling when you're viewing Blu-ray discs. The benefits of having a 1080p resolution on such a small screen are debatable, but HD content certainly looks uber-sharp. Pictures from the Freeview tuner also look surprisingly clean.
The TV's viewing angle is quite wide by small-screen standards and, while the black levels won't exactly knock your socks off, we wouldn't describe them as washed-out either. The contrast performance isn't wonderful -- shades of grey are often rendered in a way that makes them look more like black -- but it's hardly the first small-screen TV to suffer from this issue.
Colours generally look quite vibrant too, although the set does have a tendency to over-egg them, leading to slightly artificial skin tones. But, overall, although we wouldn't say this set excels in terms of picture performance, it doesn't drop any major clangers either.
When it comes to sound quality, small sets often struggle, but this TV again performed beyond our expectations. The speakers may only be rated at 3W, but they're surprisingly loud and will easily fill even large kitchens and bedrooms. They're also pretty punchy. The mid-range has plenty of presence, but the speakers aren't particuarly great at producing bassy rumbles in action movies.
The John Lewis JL22 LCD HD may not be the perfect small-screen TV, but it still impresses with its 1080p panel, better-than-average picture quality and fairly strong audio. As a result, we think it's a good option if you're looking for a small TV for a bedroom or kitchen.
Edited by Charles Kloet