Low-cost no-frills LCD from Soniq

At $1198 and $798 respectively, Soniq’s 46 and 40 inch LCD televisions are priced below competing full high definition LCDs of similar-size, meaning that “quality, large-model televisions are no longer confined to a select few buyers,” according to the company.

The comparison is fair one too, with a quick web check showing that 40 inch models from big-name brands cost $200-plus more than Soniq’s models. Money isn’t everything to consider when choosing a TV, though, and when you look closer these budget models lag the performance criteria the bigger brands.

They don’t, for example, offer the picture smoothing 100Hz processing, CEC over HDMI 1.3, energy saving features, or multimedia connectivity via USB or SD slots that the extra money buys in model from a more recognised nameplate.

You can, of course, live without all these, but the poor response time of the Soniq’s will be something you’ll notice. Whereas the large electrotonic nameplates are claiming 4–6 millisecond response rates for current LCD ranges, the 40 inch (101cm) Soniq QSL400XT and the 46 inch (117cm) QSL460XT claims 8 milliseconds and 15 milliseconds respectively.

Soniq QSL460XT
Soniq’s 46 inch model might just be worth it for you. We did say might.

These slow response times indicate the panel will have trouble handling fast moving action scenes, displaying pictures that appear blurred’ and ‘smeared’. The 15 millisecond rating was common among LCD televisions marketed by the larger brands more than five years ago.

Contrast ratio too, at 3000:1 and 2000:1 for the 40 and 46 inch respectively, is below the current norm, with these specs indicating that blacks will appear more ‘murky brown’, and that detail in dark scenes will be hard to discern.

Soniq doesn’t specify viewing angle, another indicator of panel quality. LCD TVs with wide horizontal and viewing angles, of say 150-180 degrees, allow the picture to be seen clearly from off-axis viewing positions. Narrow viewing angles mean the picture falls away when, say, you are necessarily seated to the left or right of the ideal front-and-centre sweet spot.

In the flat panel world, you get what you pay for, and Soniq’s 40 and 46 inch LCD tellies don’t cost very much.