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REVIEW

 

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NICAM TV

 

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NOKIA SFN7176 CLASSIC/WOODEN IT BE LUVVERLY...?

 

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Not so long ago you would have had difficulty finding a TV set that didnít come with a wood-effect cabinet. A few manufacturers still keep one or two in their range, for odd-ball customers who donít care for trendy black plastic boxes, but theyíre very much the exception these days. The Nokia SFN7176 Classic with itís mahogany-finished cabinet, is one of those exceptions, though this is clearly not an exercise in retro styling, it is an up-to-the-minute design, tastefully done, moreover it blends in easily with both contemporary and traditional furnishing. Surprisingly the wooden theme has not been carried through to the stand, which is a rather ordinary looking black trimmed jobbie.

 

By the way, itís not solid mahogany, just a veneer, we checked. Nokia assured us that itís derived from sustainable sources, and the composite material itís bonded to is manufactured using eco-friendly processes. In fact Nokia have got quite good environmental credentials, all the bits in their TVs, including the packaging, are designed to be recyclable and we understand no animals were used during the testing of this product...

 

In spite of its classy good looks, and the equally up-market price ticket, Nokia have given the 7176 a decidedly run of the mill specification. Thereís NICAM, of course, and the speakers set either side of the screen make it look like a proper stereo television, and not a giant Lego brick, but once you get past the 128-page fastext decoder and routine on-screen display thereís really not a lot to get excited about.

 

It has a pair of SCART AV sockets on the back -- one configured for S-Video signals --  and a headphone jack on the front but thatís about as far as it goes in the connectivity department. Moreover,  unlike many of rival big-screen sets it will only handle bog-standard PAL formatted signals, so itís of limited interest to dedicated laserdisc fans with multi-standard players. It is very easy to set-up and use though. The auto-tune system searches through the bands and stores any stations it comes across. Once it has finished itís necessary to weed out marginal or unwanted channels and sort the wanted ones into the right order, but this only takes a couple of minutes. Picture and audio settings are easy to adjust from the remote, with the settings shown by coloured graphics. The three-mode Ďidealí setting is a little touch of luxury.

 

The on-screen display is functional and logically ordered, but thatís about the best you can say. Itís not especially friendly, though the colour-coded prompts and the remote handset have been well thought-out. Talking of which, why on earth have Nokia have hidden frequently-used fastext colour buttons under a sliding flap cover on the remote?

 

PERFORMANCE

The Classic uses a comparatively conventional 66cm picture tube, rather than one of the latest ultra-flat jet-black types, so the lighter grey screen doesnít look overpowering when it is switched off. It does have an influence on picture quality, resulting in a slightly less dynamic contrast range, compared with some recent sets. Itís by no means a problem, though, and the picture is crisp and well-defined, with bright, natural-looking colours.

 

Audio performance is satisfactory, the wide-set speakers generate a fair-sized stereo image but the bass muscle is missing and it lacks drama. Music and punchy blockbuster movie soundtracks for instance, sound a bit flat, unless the volume is whacked up to uncomfortable levels. Speech, on the other hand, sounds good, crisp and well modulated.

 

Thereís nothing wrong with the Classic, it has a nice picture and nice sound, in fact itís a very nice stereo television. Itís the kind of TV that anyone would be comfortable with in their living room. Nevertheless, it behoves us to point out that the Classic is the televisual equivalent of sensible shoes and strong knicker-elastic. Itís the sort of TV your old granny would enjoy watching Coronation Street and Gardenerís World on, but definitely not any of those loud and noisy films with that half naked American boy with the foreign name, you know, the one who keeps blowing things up...

 

DATA STREAM

NOKIA SFN7176 CLASSIC: £850

Pros --  wooden finish unexpectedly stylish, good picture performance and very easy to set-up and use

Cons -- fairly basic sound system with lightweight bass response, a rather unexciting list of features, for the price

Dimensions       751 x 540 x 480 mm

Nokia, Bridgemead Close, Westmead, Swindon SN5 7YG. Telephone (01793) 644223

 

Performance                  8

Features                       7

Value for money 7

Overall Total                  70%

 

FEATURES

* mahogany finish trim

* NICAM stereo

* menu-driven on-screen display

* Fastext with 128-page memory

* 2 x SCART AV connectors

* auto tuning

 

 

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R. Maybury 1995 0410

 

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