Sharp LC46X20E review

Not the most versatile LCD television we've seen, but certainly great value

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Our Verdict

A good value set, but overcooked colours and average audio let it down a touch


  • Great feature set
  • 3 HDMIs
  • 1080p/24 processing


  • Poor audio
  • Some picture issues

On paper the Sharp LC46X20E has the lot: Full HD resolution; novel design; ultra-thin looks; and bountiful connectivity.

What can possibly go wrong?

Three HDMI (v1.3) inputs kick things off for the Sharp LC46X20E.

Handy connections from Sharp's latest LCD

This hi-def triumvirate opens up the possibility of attaching an upscaling DVD player, a set-top box from Virgin or Sky, plus a PS3 or Xbox 360.

In a thoughtful touch, one of those HDMI's is located side-on - perfect for a high definition games console.

Additionally, two RGB Scarts sit alongside a set of component video inputs, a S-video input and a port for attaching a PC or laptop. There's also a digital optical audio output - great for routing sound from live TV into a home cinema amplifier - and an input for a PC audio input.

An unusual addition is a RS-232C port, which means the screen can be set-up within a fully motorised custom installation.

An impressive feature set

For day-to-day viewing, the LC46X20E has a Freeview digital TV tuner built-in (and a CI slot if you want to add pay-TV services) as well as a stereo speaker system that features quasi-home cinema SRS TruSurroundXT abilities as well as compatibility with Dolby sound codecs.

Despite the ever-expanding roster of features, the LC46X20E is not Sharp's flagship. That honour goes to its XL2 range, which sell for a few hundred pounds more.

The same design stretches across all Sharp LCD TVs, but the XL2 range benefits from 10-bit colour processing and 100Hz processing which is designed to reduce blur - a classic problem of LCD TVs.

Best friends with Blu-ray

That said, the Sharp LC46X20E has a response time of just 4ms, so the omission of 100Hz tech shouldn't be too much of a blow.

Surprisingly, the LC46X20E can display 24 frames-per-second pictures from Blu-ray and HD DVD players (if you're mad enough to buy the latter following recent news!) - a high-end feature that's rare to find on a screen that costs just over £1,000.

Displaying 1080p footage from our King Kong test HD DVD dot-by-dot, pictures are heavily detailed.

The set lacks a little brightness, however - something that's not helped by it's OPC feature, which constantly adjusts brightness automatically depending on the ambient light levels.

How do you like your HDTV pictures?

The game mode works by boosting brightness, although we did spot a few jagged edges during our test, as well as some elements of blurring over fast-moving games footage.

The Active Contrast feature does deliver deeper blacks than we expected, but the cinematic presence of King Kong isn't helped all that much.

The inky black levels cause a 'black hole' in the picture rather than increased detail in shadowy areas.

Images remain generally watchable, but reds and blues in the pictures are not displayed accurately and it proves nearly impossible to adjust them.

A lot of LCD for a low price

Audio is disappointing, muting dialogue and failing to deliver anything akin to surround sound.

Criticisms aside, Aquos Link is a nice inclusion here. If you have other new kit from the company (like its BPHP20H Blu-ray player, for example) linked to the Sharp LC46X20E, it's possible to use just one remote control.

It's going for a great price, but if the Sharp LC46X20E's undeniably delectable design is what is attracting you, we suggest you head for its more capable sibling, the Sharp LC46XL2.