A Sinotec 32″ STL-32VN28F FHD LED TV Review (Updated)

Sinotec 32" FHD LED TV STL-32VN28F review

Being a man of simple tastes (yes, I’m not rich), I decided to treat myself to a gift that I’ve been wanting for a while for my 30th birthday. An extra 5 inches… on my TV screen.

Ok, technically what I had before wasn’t a TV. It was an old but relatively large 27 inch Samsung P2770 monitor. This monitor was hooked up to a media box, PS3, and Logitech 2.1 sound system and has served me quite faithfully, but I wanted something slightly bigger so that I could host movie nights at home.

I’d been keeping an ear to the ground so when I heard that Makro had a 32 inch LCD Sinotec LCD going for R2800, I immediately started to do my research on the brand. This first thing that I discovered is that there isn’t much information online about Sinotec TVs but I managed to track down some technical specifications for the model I was interested in:

  • 32″ LCD
  • Resolution 1920 x 1080
  • Aspect Ratio 16:9
  • Brightness 250nits
  • Contrast 3000:1
  • Response Time 6.5ms
  • 3 HDMI connectors
  • Updated information: 5 year warranty

This screen actually looked fairly decent, at least on paper. I decided to see if I could find any Sinotec reviews.

Actual reviews for Sinotecs were few and far between, but there was some information posted on a few local message boards. The general impression I got from these posts was that Sinotec produces decent screens at a reasonable price. Today I am here to tell you that, for the most part, this is true.

Sinotec00a

We picked up the Sinotec from Makro, and of course the first thing I did was open the box and throw all the manuals to the side. I then tried to put together the stand so that it could stand on it’s own two… errrrr, one foot. I looked at it and was a bit perplexed. How was this supposed to clip together? It took me a few seconds to notice the four screw holes at the bottom of the stand. I wondered why this was the case considering all my Samsung screens have clip on bases but I suppose you get what you pay for. After rummaging through the manuals I found a small bag with four screws that you use to manually attach the base to the TV. I won’t lie, this is annoying when you’re mostly used to dealing with Samsung hardware that clips easily together, but it’s not a huge problem.

I put it side by side with the Samsung to compare the size. As you can see below it was a reasonable step up.

Sinotec01a
27 inches vs 32 inches (also, it was laundry day at home so don’t mind the clothes in the background)

So after I attached the base, I moved it to the spot where my old Samsung used to be and connected it to my media center. I was also very happy to discover that it had multiple HDMI connectors, which meant that I could also hook up my PS3 without having to do any hotswapping.

I also took the time to quickly compare the depth of the screen, and was pleased to note that most of the monitor is only a little bit thicker than a PS3 game box near the edges. The screen does bulk out near the middle, but overall it’s mostly thinner than my old Samsung 27″.

Sinotec04a
I was surprised how thin this screen was considering it was a budget TV

Again, being so used to Samsung screens which have their controls on the bottom, it took me a while to figure out that the buttons were located on the right hand side of the screen. Once I turned it on, it took a few seconds to “boot up” but it’s not long enough to be annoying. With the screen on I used the buttons located on the side to try and configure the TV, and this is where I came across my first hurdle. The way the buttons are used to navigate the menus don’t make much sense. I found it so confusing trying to figure out how to navigate the menus that I actually had to get the manual. Even with the manual, I still found it very unnatural. At this point I decided to walk to the shops to buy batteries for the remote. Getting the TV up and running with the remote was a far simpler process.

The actually configuration settings are fairly standard, including video, audio, and OS settings, which is to be expected considering this is a low-end screen.

Sinotec03a

After figuring out which HDMI source my media box was hooked up to, I wanted to get a good idea of the picture quality. I opened up a few high resolution images I had and was very impressed by the quality of the still image. The colours looked good, and being a 1080p panel, the image didn’t have any issues with scaling. Now this is all well and good, but how does it actually handle a 1080p video? I’m pleased to report that it handles video well. At a normal viewing distance there are absolutely no visible ghosting or screen tearing issues. It also upscales lower resolution video as well as can be expected. Gaming was also smooth without the lag a lot of other cheaper LCDs exhibit.

UPDATED!

One of my readers asked if the USB port on the TV supported video, something I hadn’t bothered to check since I have a media box. I am pleased to announce that it does support video and also supports MKVs natively. This is quite a welcome surprise considering some of my friend’s older higher end TVs don’t do this. It also natively supports images, music, and certain types of text documents.

Unfortunately, while the screen itself has no issues, the same can’t be said for the speakers. The speakers that are built into this unit are… how do I put this politely… shit. Honestly, it sounds like someone is playing the audio through their cellphone, just at a much higher volume. After trying to fiddle with the settings on the TV I came to the conclusion that the speakers were just that bad and decided to hook up my old 2.1 Logitech sound system. I played another video and breathed a sigh of relief as the sweet audible nectar poured from my two speakers and subwoofer.

Overall, I am very pleased with my first Sinotec purchase. The image quality was miles ahead of other brands in the same price range (such as JVC, Sansui, and Hisense), and I didn’t notice any visible difference between the Sinotec and other more expensive brands (such as LG, Samsung, and Sony). However, the firmware and speakers on the more expensive TVs were much better when compared to the Sinotec. Considering the R1000 (roughly $100) price difference, this was more than acceptable. So if you are looking for a good quality screen on a budget, and can either afford to buy new speakers or have a spare set lying around at home, then I can easily recommend picking up the Sinotec 32″ FHD LED TV STL-32VN28F.

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88 thoughts on “A Sinotec 32″ STL-32VN28F FHD LED TV Review (Updated)

    1. Good question! I know it said it would play off the USB, but I’m not sure what file formats it supports. I’ll check that out when I get back home.

      Like

    2. You will be pleased to know Craig that the USB port does play video, and does in fact support MKVs (which is more than I can say for my PS3). Thanks for asking this since it’ll be very useful information for the review.

      Like

    3. Very informative. Would have liked AV input. Compare to Proline:
      USB, 3 x HDMI, 2 x AV, Coax for dish input or antenna

      Like

  1. Hey Rowan – Just stumbled onto your review, and it answered most of the lingering questions I had. Thanks!

    Now that you’ve had it for a while, I had one more question: Up until now i’ve been using a Samsung T260 for my PS3 (similar-ish to a P2770), and wanted to know if you noticed the extra latency at all? (going from 5ms to 6.5ms). I don’t have too much hands-on experience with latency differences when it comes to screens, but I’m just a bit paranoid that it might cause some issues with input-lag sensitive games.

    Like

    1. Hey Flib,

      To be honest, I haven’t noticed any extra latency on my games, and I have seen some really bad lag on LCDs before so I know what to look for.

      However, most of the stuff I’ve been playing on my PS3 has been single player games (Last of Us, White Witch) and I may simply not have noticed anything. I will try and see if I have any fighting games lying around (my friends tend to borrow games I’m not playing) to run some tests.

      Like

    2. Sorry for the very delayed reply! I got around to testing Super Street Fighter 4 this afternoon and I have to admit that I can’t feel any major difference between this screen and my old Samsungs. I’m still able to pull of the same combos that I used to, and the game feels responsive. It might be a couple of ms slower but my brain sure as hell can’t pick it up.

      Like

      1. Thanks for getting back to me! Thanks to your review, I felt more confident going with the Sinotec, and have been fairly happy so far. Like you mentioned, the ‘extra’ lag isn’t noticeable at all (compared to a 5ms monitor, etc.)

        Like

  2. Thanks for your review…I saw this tv on special at Game stores and was skeptical about buying it, after reading this am def going for it (its my 1st tv purchase and am on a budget too) Thank you

    Like

    1. No problem. It’s a little bit tricky to compare to other screens instore since they sometimes do weird things to clone the image which affects the quality, but if you can just do a side by side comparison.

      And like I said in my review, the video quality is fine but the sound is terrible so be prepared to fork out a little extra for some decent sound if you don’t have spare speakers lying around.

      Like

  3. Basically input lag from 1 to 10ms you won’t make out with the naked eye, but that’s the best range for online players also for prefect and precise gaming you will also have to look at the refresh rate of your TV, maximum HZ you need for PS OR XBOX, so you won’t have button lag and movement lag is 60HZ, nothing more… but I’m sceptical about the sinotec, I am on a low budget, my eyes is on the LED version of your TV, but was wondering if the details are legit with the input lag and HZ, please let me know, try out game like fifa or cod to really see the difference please.

    Like

    1. Hey,

      I just spent the last 15 minutes or so in Super Street Fighter 4 (don’t have Fifa or CoD unfortunately) and all I can say is the response time FEELS as good as both my Samsung PC monitors (which I used to use to play Playstation on). Whether it’s actually about the same speed is another story (unfortunately I don’t have that kind of hardware to actually test out the speeds of the monitors).

      All I can say for certain is that Sinotec panel in the screen I own is pretty damn good, especially for the price that I paid.

      Maybe you can find out what the returns policy is or if the store will hook up a console to the screen you’re interested in buying? Generally even places like Game or Makro will make a plan if it’ll help move a product.

      Like

  4. Rowan : YOU ARE MY HERO! I can get this TV on a very good deal and was a bit sceptical, but will definitely be going for it now 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to write this review as I couldn’t find any other online 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks man! I wish I was able to post actual numbers up but I don’t have the hardware to do that. At the end of the day I am quite happy with the TV and hope you’re satisfied with it as well.

      Like

  5. Have you tried hooking your PC up to the TV and using it as a monitor?
    If so, and noticeable lag with the mouse etc.?
    Is the text clear?

    Like

    1. Hi,

      I’ve used the screen hooked up to a laptop to stream The International Dota 2 competition via Twitch and the text was clear. I’m not sure about delay on the mouse though and I don’t have a laptop to test it out myself.

      Like

    2. I’ve tested it with my PC, and there is a slight bit of lag when using the mouse (But that’s when I compare my current PC monitor to the Sinotec, so it’s a little bit of an apple/oranges comparison). For games I’m sure it it will work fine. Text is also not as sharp (It’s a little blurry/fuzzy), but I believe that’s mainly down to 1080p being stretched to 32″.

      Like

  6. Hi Rowan, does the Sinotec TV have a speaker out connection? I’m curious if it’ll use 3.5mm or RCA connectors for that.

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    1. Hi Jaques,

      Offhand I’m pretty sure I use RCA cables that are connected to a female 3.5 mm adapter. I then connect the speakers to the 3.5 mm adapter. I’ll confirm this when I get home.

      Like

    2. Hi Jaques,

      I actually run everything using HDMI through my media box, and then use RCA cables from that, but as I described earlier you can hook up RCA cables with an adapter to the TV, and then hook up your speakers using the 3.5mm adapter.

      Like

  7. Thanks for the review!

    The sound is dreadful! I wonder if other TVs in this price range compare? It is quite important for those without speakers… I’m going to try the headphone output from the TV into a small (spare) sound system I have at home.

    Tony

    Like

    1. That might work Tony. If not RCA cables and an adaptor are pretty cheap.

      I was really shocked at how bad the sound quality was when I set the TV up. At least I had the option of using my old 2.1s!

      Like

      1. My basic setup is like this: TV -> HDMI cable -> Media box. Then from the media box I have the RCA audio cables connected. In order to get audio to play through my speakers I have a 3.5 mm adaptor (female) attached to the audio connectors on the RCA cables, which I then plug my speakers into.

        So basically you should be able to plug the audio RCA cables directly into the side of the TV, attach an 3.5 mm adaptor to them and connect your speakers to that.

        If you’re still not sure I spoke to guys at Computer Mania who actually gave me the correct adaptor, and I’m sure most places that sell TVs should be able to help you out.

        Like

      2. Oh right, thanks.

        I’m am connecting a stereo minijack to rca cable between the TV’s headphone output and my amp.

        I’m guessing that there is some inherent low frequency noise inside the TV that they filtered out for the speakers, hence their tinny sound, that still comes through the headphone output 😦

        Meh… You pay for what you get, as Dave Matthews says.

        Like

      3. Ah, since you’re using an amp can’t you connect the TV directly to the amp using regular RCA cables? Skip the headphone output entirely and just use the red and black RCA cables (pretty sure the yellow cable carries the video feed, but can’t check since I’m not at home) and plug those straight into your amp?

        Like

      4. I have my hd pvr decoder and my ps3 connected to the sinotech tv using hdmi1 and hdmi2 inputs on the tv. I have an rf connector from the terrestrial tv antennae in my ceiling connected to the tv too. When I connect the rca av output connectors on the tv to my amp and speakers there is sound only when I select “TV” as the input source. There is no sound coming out of the rca connectors when selecting either hdmi input, although the tv speakers themselves (and the headphone output, with the annoying hum) output sound from all three. Weird… Think I will check this with Sinotech this week.

        Cheers
        Tony

        Like

  8. Hi Rowan,

    Great review! pretty much answered all the questions I had – and the comments answered some I hadn’t thought of.

    thanks again
    Siven

    Like

  9. Hi Rowan. Thank you for this review. I have a AIM 32inch, and was looking to upgrade this December to a 40inch screen. Do you know how the Sinotec 39-40inchers compare to the JVC, Sansui and Hisense models?
    Thanks.

    Like

    1. Hi MyLighty,

      I don’t know how long it’s been on the market, but it’s definitely EOL (end of line). This means that they’ve been phasing them out and replacing them with another model, which is why you can find them for reasonably cheap. They’re still covered by the warranty so this wasn’t an issue for me.

      Like

  10. Hi All, I eventually went for the 40″ as it was on special at R3699. A few observations that may be relevant to people. If you put a memory stick in to view video the stick becomes frighteningly hot, just about combustion level, so don’t leave it plugged in. The only audio output from the set is via the headphone jack. Apart from that it performs splendidly for it’s price and the five year guarantee make it unbeatable value. Two people that I know well sprung for very expensive Sony Bravia TV’s and they both failed in less than three years

    Like

    1. Thanks for the feedback Oyseka. I’m still happy with my Sinotec as a no frills budget screen. 32″ is starting to feel a bit small though…

      Like

    1. It should just work. Have you tried another USB stick?

      If another stick works have you tried reformatting your USB stick? Make sure you back up whatever is on it and set it to format the stick using FAT32. It will erase everything on the stick so only do it if you copy your data to another storage device!

      Like

      1. Thanks for your response.
        Yes I did. None of the USB sticks I’ve tried have worked. When I plug in the USB the light on it flashes showing its functioning but nothing comes up on the screen. The USB button doesn’t respond. So no idea what’s going on there.

        Like

  11. Hi , my son bought a 32 inch the other day, is it normal for there to be a gap between the frame and the screen

    Like

    1. Hi Heather,

      I’m not entirely sure. Usually the image runs almost to the edge of the bezel (frame) of the screen, so it might be a manufacturing fault.

      I suggest you contact Sinotec directly. Their info is at the following page:

      http://www.sinoprima.co.za/customer-support

      It would probably be a good idea to take a photo of the tv and send that along to them as well so they can see exactly what you are talking about.

      Like

  12. Hi Rowan,

    I have a Sinotec ST-32KC70F. Do you known what video formats it can play? I get a screen which looks for (seemingly) pics and music only?

    Any advise?

    Karl

    Like

    1. Hey Karl,

      Unfortunately I can’t seem to find any information on that screen. The earliest post of it still on Google is from a special in 2012, so (as weird as it sounds) it may not support video natively. The only way to know for sure is to email Sinotec support.

      http://www.sinoprima.co.za/contact-us

      Like

    1. Hi Victor,

      I found some information on this site regarding the TV you are interested in:

      http://www.sinoprima.co.za/products/led-tvs/32-HD-READY-D-LED-TV

      The stl32vn67d is not the same as the TV I have. The main differences are that the stl32vn67d is HD Ready, not Full HD (this means the screen resolution is only 1366 x 768, not 1920 x 1080), the colour contrast is lower (2000:1 vs 3000:1), and the panel is a tiny bit slower (7 ms vs 6.5 ms).

      What does this mean?

      Firstly, if you play a full HD image such as a movie from a blu-ray, it won’t play at 1080p. It will only play at 720p. This is not a big deal on a smaller 32″ screen. This would only be a big deal on bigger screens where you can see more details easily.

      Secondly, the colour reproduction won’t be as good (you generally want a higher ratio than a lower one). This might be minor, but I can’t say for certain without actually seeing the screen. You’d have to look at see if you are happy with the colours yourself.

      Thirdly, the panel is a tiny bit slower in terms of the refresh rate, but considering the difference (0.5 ms), I would say that it probably won’t be noticeable.

      I see there are some specials on for the stl32vn67d TV right now, and I don’t think it’s a bad buy for the price (R2600), especially when compared to other TVs in a similar price range.

      HOWEVER, the stl32vn67d is a lower spec model than the one I reviewed, and obviously I haven’t seen it in action so I can’t tell you if it’s a good TV or not. If possible you need to check it out and see if you are okay with the picture and sound quality.

      Like

  13. Hi Rowan
    Finally a decent review on Sinotec
    i have been looking around for a decent 40-40″ tv recently as my Sony 40″ led was stolen recently(crap)
    was a brilliant tv by the way with no issues for 4 yrs
    Anyway I have seen a uhd 42″ JVC which i quite liked…but also looked at the Hi sense.
    i have noticed that the Telefunkens are very decently priced as well..
    but im kinda leaning towards the JVC and the Sinotec…..
    from your experience what in your opinion would be an all round good buy

    thanking you kindly

    Like

    1. Hi Aarif,

      Bugger the thieves! South Africa man… At very least these days the cheaper TVs have definitely improved in quality, so you don’t have to spend a ton of money to get a decent screen. Anyway…

      I don’t know anyone who has a JVC, and I haven’t looked at a JVC since I first shopped around for my 32″ TV. Pretty much the same with HiSense.

      I can say I am still quite happy with my Sinotec (except for the poor quality speakers). From what I’ve read on forums such as MyBroadband, most people are happy with theirs.

      In these situations I always recommend people try and compare the TVs they are interested in store (I was lucky when I got my Sinotec that Makro had most of the TVs I was interested in, only saw one at Game that was in my price range). Either that or compare the specs on the TV to get a better idea of which one is better (at least on paper).

      Like

  14. Thank you for the review and comments – very helpful! Can someone tell me if the 29HD50 can play MP4 video through the USB port? I can see the titles (file names) on the left of the screen and it plays a preview in a small window on the right. But I would like to know how to view MP4 in full screen. If it cannot play MP4 in full screeen, then what format should I convert to?

    Like

  15. This is Sinewave again. I was being thoroughly stupid – after fiddling a bit I found that the PLAY button must be pressed!!! So now I see movies full screen. Apologies if I wasted anyone’s time!

    Like

  16. Hi Rowan,

    Dude firstly well done on the excellent review! I know I’m a bit late to the party here, but I couldn’t find any reviews either, so this was extremely helpful.
    Okay, question. . . I’m also on a budget and looking at a Sinotec 40inch, mainly for gaming purposes. Just want to know if I can connect my hd cable from the TV to the playstation for video. Then I have this old home theatre system lying at home, want to connect the playstation directly to the home theatre box via optical digital cable for audio? Had it set up like this on our Samsung TV, just want to know if it this would work fine.
    Sorry if it’s a silly question, complete layman when it comes to these things..

    Like

    1. Hi Kershwyn,

      I don’t use a home theatre system but I feed my video from my PS3 to my Sinotec via an HDMI cable and then feed the audio to my speakers via an RCA cable. If it worked on your Samsung it should work on the Sinotec (I’m just assuming that to be correct from my understanding of things, so don’t quote me on that).

      Like

  17. Hi Rowan
    I’m Sorry to be a bother but can you tell me if this screen has auto on and off- I mean like when you switch the PC on, the screen comes on automatically without having to use the remote or “on” button tand goes off automatically when you shut down?

    Like

    1. Hi Bill,

      Not a problem. On my set up at home, if I boot up my laptop the TV doesn’t automatically turn on. I need to turn it on and then select the Source channel. When I shut down it stays on a blue screen and then only powers down after a certain amount of time with no activity.

      Like

  18. Wow!! a year later and your still getting questions on this post. amazing. how is the TV doing a Year later. my sis wants to buy a 32 Full HD tv now, and shes looking at a cheapo JVC, do you think sinotec would be a better option? (sinotec STL-32FD16 going for R3500, JVC LT-32N347 going for R3279)

    Like

    1. Hey Stevo. Can’t comment about the JVC but I’ve been thinking of an upgrade and there doesn’t seem to be much difference in the low end these days. As always I suggest trying to check these out in store with some HD source (bluray or games console) because there’s so little difference. Sorry that’s this is not very helpful but the gap between these low end TVs seems to be closing.

      Like

  19. Thanks for your blog Rowan. I have the Sinotec 32″ FHD LED and my remote’s not working. I can get to Source and select Media using the buttons on the tv but the “Enter” button isn’t user friendly- as in there’s no destinct button for Enter…..or is there and I am just being dof? Will I ever be able to watch a movie without having the remote?

    Like

    1. Hi Hayley,

      I remember the buttons being very confusing myself, but I fiddled and eventually figured out what went where. Otherwise you’ll have to find another compatible universal remote to replace your broken one.

      Like

  20. Hey great review. World class. Thank you for your time and effort

    Im also late to the party. I just bought the sinotec 32inch fhd led tv. Sound was terrible as u mentioned so i bought a 2.1 channel speaker system made by dixon from cash crusaders.

    Plays great. Problem is…it doesnt play sound from my ps3. This is my setup… ps3, hdmi to tv, then from my tv from audio out i got rca cables red and white connected to my 2.1 channel speakers(yellow is for video so no connection to my speakers) The sound just plays normal on my tv and nothing on the 2.1 speakers.

    Are there any settings i need to change on my tv or maybe my ps3 as i suspect

    Thanx

    Like

    1. Hey Feroz,

      It’s been ages since I used my PS3, but I think you may need to set the PS3 to output audio by the RCA cables. If I remember correctly it is a separate setting.

      Like

  21. I have the 50″ and loving it except for like you know the sound luckily I had a sound system that I incorporated. Have you tried finding or updating the firmware?

    Like

    1. Hi CJ,

      Not at all. My model is so old now that I doubt there would be any newer firmware. Also, we recently got a Chromecast so don’t really need to do any updates to improve the functionality on it 🙂

      Like

  22. Hey Rowan. Thanks for the great review. My boys messed with my Sinotec and we have no remote. Every time you touch any button, you get the message key lock and you cat do anything else. Please help.

    Like

    1. Hi Oliver, unfortunately the only way to do a reset is using the remote (and from what I’ve read it’s using the original remote). My only advice is to maybe try and find a universal remote that works and then try and find out what the default Sinotec unlock password is.

      Best of luck!

      Like

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