The universe maintains its balance with the Syntax-Brillian Olevia 747i LCD HDTV’s awful design and great image quality. On one hand, the Olevia 747i could be far ahead of its time. On the other hand, it might just be a little too far ahead. Check out the on-screen menus. The 747i gets points for originality with its bolt-shaped interface when you access the remote’s menu.
Cute though it might be, you’ll be wishing it were less cute if it meant actual practicality. The display is sorely lacking. Something as simple as adjusting the picture quality can be taxing, what with the way the 747i displays just one video option at a given time.
One thing the Olevia 747i has going for it is its impressive picture quality. For that alone, it lands on the third spot out of the nine 46-inch and 47-inch HDTV sets tested at that point, hot on the heels of the Vizio VO47LF (second place) and the Samsung LN46A550 (first place).
A few note-worthy hitches mentioned were the graininess in a few images, and at one point it seemed like Dave Letterman received an unseemly tan in The Late Show clip. Not to make it seem like this set only had bad things to offer. One viewer credited the set for showing a clip of According to Jim and making it look very natural.
The 747i gets top points for sound quality as well. The set poses no difficulty in projecting either quiet or loud sounds, with whispers coming off cleanly and clearly, and music that you can rock out to. The Olevia 747i’s speakers are removable, giving users the option to mount them somewhere else for a desired effect, or to connect additional external speakers to the TV.
The remote gives the 747i an added charm, with its brilliant backlighting feature that activates with a press of a button. The buttons are well-spaced and big enough to make life easier for the avid TV surfer.
Besides the most basic features, operating the Olevia 747i can be a pain. The ill-thought design reaches all the way to the back of the set that even locating something as simple as the AC power connector becomes a chore. The quick-start guide is virtually wordless and helpful only enough to tell that it was behind the TV.
The operations manual isn’t even on paper. Instead, it’s a PDF file that comes along with the CD. And just when you thought it couldn’t get more difficult, the PDF file comes in bitmaps of text instead of actual text. Virtually nothing is printed on paper, and the digital information provided is difficult to navigate.
A pleasantly surprising feature of the TV set is the Welcome wizard that appears the first time you turn on your TV. This application asks you if you’ll be doing your viewing at home or in a showroom. Unfortunately, this highlights a notorious flaw in most TVs these past few years. They’re engineered to look fantastic in a store, but wait until you set it up at home.
While it is a great HDTV that offers good quality for your money, don’t expect to see anything new. This Syntax Brillian Olevia 747i does not have features or a design that makes it stand out from the rest of the TV’s on the market. It is however, seamless and will look great in the room of your choice. However, you will find the included speakers and they can be attached to the sides easily. If you choose to hook up the speakers, they will make the entire screen seem bulkier than usual.
This should be a lesson to Syntax-Brillian and all other HDTV manufacturers. Between easy-to-use or sleek and bizarre, users will always prefer the former over the latter. The bottom line, however, is in its performance and image quality. At that, the Syntax-Brillian Olevia 747i LCD HDTV gets it right.