Top critical review
14 of 17 people found this helpful
A budget TV-DVD combo with adequate performance
on January 7, 2013
The Apex LE3212D TV / DVD combo performs rather well, as long as you have realistic expectations.
Let's get this out of the way up front. The LE3212D is not meant to compete against $2000 Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic LCD TVs. It's not even meant to compete against the $500 versions of those brands. For the price, this TV works well enough for a dorm room, or workout room, or perhaps small office room where you might want to occasionally hook up a laptop to it. The TV itself has a rather slim profile with a fatter section for the DVD loading slot on the back right side. The base has a small footprint and was easy to connect, but you will need to use 4 screws (included) to secure it. Not the most stylish piece of hardware, but it's nowhere near an eyesore either. What the LE3212D does have, however, is a healthy array of inputs. For a 32" TV at this price I was pleasantly surprised to find 3 HDMI inputs, a VGA input, component and composite inputs, and a coaxial cable input. The remote gets the job done, but I find the channel and volume +/- buttons to be too slim and awkwardly located at the top of the remote. The rest of it is no frills, with menu buttons down the right side and DVD controls grouped together at the bottom. The remote sensitivity was a little weak, though. From straight on--6-9 feet away--the TV had no problem picking up my commands. But when I was at approaching 45 degree angles, the TV had a hard time picking up all of my remote button presses. One minor quibble is the mechanical DVD loading slot. It's not an auto-load mechanism found on most slot loading computers or car CD players. Instead, you have to hit the DVD Open button on the side of the TV and wait to hear the loading motor start up. You then have a couple seconds to gently slide a DVD into the slot. Jamming a disc into the slot without hitting the load button first can damage the DVD player.
The screen itself is unmistakeably of lower end quality. Again, you don't want this as your living room TV, but for a dorm it's honestly still ok. The panel resolution is a WXGA 1366 x 768, and works well with 720p source material, although it'll display 480i (standard def TV), 480p (progressive scan DVD), 1080i (most HDTV), and 1080p (BluRay, video games). For a 32" HDTV, I personally think a 720p panel is fine, especially if you're situated more than 5-6 feet from the display. At that distance and TV size, you're not going to really appreciate a difference between a low-end 720p panel and a low-end 1080p panel. If you are considering a TV bigger than 40 inches then I more strongly recommend a 1080p panel. For the price, the picture quality is acceptable, because hey, you get what you pay for. The contrast is a little weak as the blacks are really just dark grays, and images that have larger areas of black in the picture have some mild white noise that is visible. Colors are a a bit dull. I'd consider myself someone who knows TV panels pretty well so I'm trained to notice all of these picture limitations, but if you are just a regular TV consumer and don't have this unit positioned next to $500 and $1000 TVs to directly compare, I'm guessing you'll think the image is pretty good. One other note--if you're thinking about also doubling the use of this TV as a full-time computer monitor--don't. It works in a dorm room when you want to temporarily hook up a laptop to a larger screen (to watch Hulu for example), but you'll strain your eyes if you're using it as a desktop monitor at a close distance. Additionally, you'll want to set your laptop to 1366 x 768 at 60Hz resolution otherwise things get wonky.
So in summary, I feel like this TV is adequately priced for it's level of performance. It's greatest strength is it's versatility with the built-in DVD player and a nice variety of inputs. It also doubles as an ok computer monitor in a pinch for dormroom TV streaming or to show off vacation pictures to a group. With it's friendly price tag, the Apex LE3212D doesn't disappoint nor exceed my modest expectations. A worthwhile 3-star TV if that's what your budget permits.