There's no need to beat about the bush: to put it simply, Sharp's new 32GD7E is comfortably the most expensive TV in its class. With a market-leading position in LCD sales, and massive investment in LCD technology, it seems the brand believes it can justify the price premium.

The 32GD7E is one of Sharp's 'Titanium' range of Aquos TVs - and very fetching it looks too with its ultra-slim frame and futuristic metallic finish. As befits a higher-end proposition, the HD Ready 32GD7E boats an HDMI input plus component jacks, two Scarts, a D-Sub PC interface, a digital audio throughput, and a card slot for adding the Top Up TV subscription service to the provided digital tuner.

Although DVB enabled, the 32GD7E doesn't support the Freeview 7-day electronic programme guide. Sharp tells us though, that the EPG will be added by an imminent free, broadcast update. Perhaps even by the time you read this.

Buried in the feature specification is an unusually extreme selection of picture adjustments, including multiple progressive scan settings, manual geometry adjustment, picture in picture tools, and a dedicated 'de-judder' application for making motion appear smoother. The panel resolution is a standard 1366x768 pixels.

The brand claims a contrast of 800:1 and brightness of 450cd/m2. In our own lab tests we rated contrast at a high 855:1 after calibration.

Unquestionably this screen's greatest strength is the quality of the images from its digital tuner; they're generally sharp, noiselessness and colour rich.

HD viewing reveals the 32GD7E to also be capable of phenomenal fine detail. However, while colours are vivid, I didn't always find them to be entirely natural in tone. In our lab, it proved impossible to get a natural 6500k colour balance. The best achieved was 8200K. Colours can look over-ripe with DVD and DVB.

Despite the high contrast, its black level is merely average. At times, shadowed images look hollow . Willy Wonka's kaleidoscopic world looks a little thin as a result.

The 32GD7E's sound system can be considered above average, producing an unusually widespread, clearly detailed soundstage. There's even a smattering of bass, although turn up the volume and voices can get a little overwhelmed during complicated action mixes.

There's much to like about this Sharp, but when viewed alongside the competition that higher price point seems difficult to defend. John Archer