Sharp LC-46X20EAD review

A big-screen LCD offering unparalleled value for money

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Our Verdict

Hardly on the top rung of flatscreens, but excellent value for money

For

  • Attractive price
  • Strong black levels
  • Plenty of inputs

Against

  • No fine-tuning
  • Inconsistent colour temperature

Most of this 46in LCD TV's peers have more advanced features, but who cares when a screen this big is edging its way down to the magic £1,000 mark?

Talking about what's missing is a tough stance to take on any new TV. The main loss is its lack of the 100Hz processing that would help it produce smooth pictures. It's often much-needed on screens of this size, but the Sharp's got plenty of other features to boast about.

A resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels is paired with the ability to display 24fps material, currently available only on Blu-ray and HD DVD discs and (some) players. Connectivity is also high end, comprising three HDMI inputs, including one on the side especially for those with either Xbox 360 Elite or PS3 games consoles.

All of the HDMI inputs are version 1.3, which brings with it Sharp's own Aquos Link - Sharp's name for HDMI CEC.

One feature that isn't so hot is the set's 'ecology' mode, which switches itself off after three hours if the channel hasn't been changed. While a good idea on paper, it's a pain if you want to watch an epic film or several programmes back to back.

Performance

Despite lacking 100Hz processing, pictures rarely seem blurred. Our HD DVD Planet Earth test disc provides ample opportunity for all nature of video nasties, but none appear: edges are smooth, blacks deep and pictures are rich in detail.

Aside from some flicker while displaying 24fps, the only serious problem is with colour. This persists after calibration and there's no opportunity for tweaking individual hues. We were left with a picture that was either too hot or cold.

The speakers lack mid-range or bass, but are okay for dialogue. Unfortunately, the sound levels have to be set for each source, so if you've turned down the sound on the TV to listen to Freeview through your amp, be prepared to repeat the process when you switch to a DVD player or games console.

Difficult to set up and with presets that can cause nasty side effects, the X20 scores low on ease of use, but high in terms of value. No other current LCD offers such pound-for-pound quality.

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