Investing in the latest gadgets can be fraught with potential drawbacks: not least the problem that these days is that prices seem to be locked into a perpetual downward spiral.
Invest in a new gadget now, and it’s likely that a year or so on, you’ll be kicking yourself for having jumped aboard that early adopter bandwagon, because the toy you chose to invest in is now available for far less cash.
A question of depreciation
DVD players are the paradigm of this trend – unbelievable that a functioning player now costs less than many a disc – but portable LCD TVs aren’t far behind. Only a scant four years ago, a small-screen flat TV would have set you back over a grand: now, a perfectly decent set is yours for under £150.
If you bought a couple of years ago – and if you’re reading this, there’s a fair chance you did – that’s the sort of depreciation to have you crying into your beer.
Lacks the cutting edge
Now, note we said ‘decent’, not ‘incredible’. Make no mistake, Mogen’s ML-1516TN is a worthy portable television, but it’s no technological miracle: you won’t find cutting-edge features or a lavish standard of build in this bargain 15in portable.
What you do get is a decent analogue tuner, able to accurately lock on to stations and provide crisp, interference-free reception, coupled to respectable standards of styling and finish. It’s not necessarily a set to be proud of, but it’s certainly nothing to feel ashamed about, either.
Welcome to the cheap seats
So, what do you get for £130? The Mogen provides a 15in 4:3 aspect ratio picture, 1024x768 resolution, and just about enough socketry to get by: while you don’t get a Freeview tuner built-in, at least you can connect one at its optimum RGB quality via the set’s rear Scart connector, unlike some more expensive alternatives.
The analogue-only specification is mirrored by the comparatively limited socket fit, which omits component or digital video inputs, so you can forget about feeding in HD video. That’s fair enough at the price, though.
What else? The contrast ratio is modest, at 450:1, but nothing to write home about, and the set-up and installation process is a little laboured – although it still works well enough, and in fairness, it’s only something you do once…
Solid colours, edges could be sharper
Given that it costs so much less than most alternatives, it’s amazing how well the Mogen’s picture stacks up. Yes, it would benefit from more sharpness, and yes, its black levels are no more than passable – but the image still has ample colour vitality and ‘snap’, while fast motion is relayed with an acceptably small amount of colour smearing and blur.
Given how little it costs, and how relatively small the incremental performance benefits are should you opt for many pricier alternatives, that’s little short of amazing.