televisions

Haier L55B2181 LCD TV Review

55 in.

A paragon of cheap, low quality manufacturing.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Introduction

Haier, the Chinese company known in certain circles for their production of low-cost home appliances, began producing and distributing the L55B2181 in April of this year. In a market saturated by feature-heavy HDTVs boasting everything from full HD 3D and expansive smart platforms, to voice and gesture controls, the L55B2181 is a rare bird. It’s a 1080p LCD television, and that’s about it.

While I’ve as of yet been unable to track down an official MSRP for this 55-inch TV, it retails locally and online for around $999, though some sites are selling it for only $700. This Haier is cheap, not only in price tag, but in the way it looks and sounds during use. It simply isn’t a good product and there are numerous TVs on the market that will give you more value for your money.

Design

There’s very little good to say about the Haier L552181, at least within the area of design details.

Many of the TVs we’ve reviewed this year have had interesting aesthetic additions, but Haier’s budget-targeted TV is as “plain Jane” as they come.

Expect a rectangular, charcoal-black bezel, and a platform base that screws into the bottom of the TV. The L552181 doesn’t swivel or tilt; we would call it average-looking, but lately the average-looking TV is either thinner, sleeker, or more interesting in some way than this Haier.

...this TV brings nothing to the table. Tweet It

The Haier’s controls are placed along the right side of the TV. The Haier L55B2181 has a single USB port for video/audio playback, three HDMI inputs, a VGA pin input for your PC, a neighboring audio input for your PC, and an odd little set of composite/component and audio out that’s clustered in the center of the port area. To the right of that, you’ll find jacks for coaxial and RF cables, an audio out for headphones, and the input for the TV’s 12v power cable. It’s ports are all shoved into a recessed area at the center of the TV’s back, in a way that makes them hard to get to. Overall, this TV brings nothing to the table.

Smart TV Features

Haier’s menus haven’t changed much since last year and give the user only the most basic of options.

The basic menus on the Haier L55B2181 are simple, straight forward, and easy to figure out—unsurprising considering there really aren’t very many options. Outside of altering picture settings like brightness, contrast, and temperature, or sound options like toggling surround sound or manual EQ adjustments, there’s really not many options or variable features to be found.

On top of being very bare bones, these menus just aren’t very attractive and take up most of the screen with a big, solid display that makes jumping in and out of picture settings a real pain.

Picture Quality

The majority of this TV's performance specs are subpar.

This Haier boasts average color production and a stellar contrast ratio, but everything else about it is truly subpar. I was actually able to see a lot of its drawbacks simply by watching regular film/broadcast content, which is always a bad sign. The blurriness, cramped audio, and teeny viewing angle felt like a knock on the head.

There are 2012 TVs with worse color production, but this one takes the cake for being stacked with performance features that are a pain to both the eyes and ears. You’d be better off hollowing it out, jumping in, and paddling it down the river to your friend’s place for a rousing game of charades.

Conclusion

There are cheaper, better performing, better looking TVs on the market.

Haier’s 55-inch model is the only screen size in the B2181 series. It’s in the price range of $700-$999, depending on which retailer you buy from. The price seems decent for a 55-inch LCD, unless you consider that it’s an unattractive, non-3D, non-Smart, utterly inflexible product.

I would be championing this TV’s value, if only its performance had been better. It tested with decent color and a good contrast ratio, but most of your viewing experiences are going to be run aground by its horrible audio and motion. Even if a picture looks good where color is concerned, it’s hard to enjoy it when any sort of motion leaves discolored, shadowy streaks, that should probably be accompanied by the sound of a rubber cat being sucked into a black hole.

It would be one thing if this TV had the slimmest price tag available, but it doesn’t, and for that reason we can’t see any incentive to pursue it as a purchase.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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