Sharp lc-32le210e

It may have LED backlighting and a full HD resolution, but that's no guarantee of picture quality out of the box; the LC-32LE210E needs some serious adjustments.

The main problem is brightness. If the TV is in any of its preset modes – Standard, Soft or the dreaded Dynamic – the colours are just too intense and uncomfortable. It's possible to adjust only the major parameters – contrast, brightness, sharpness, etc. with no more comprehensive tweaking possible, though we managed to create a clean and quite cinematic image. Sadly, we weren't able to save our changes and create a 'user' preset.

To put it into context, the set 'eco' mode, which is flagged up as a major feature, has the backlight far brighter than needed.

During playback of our Blu-ray test discs, the quasi-calibrated image features solid and accurate reds, nicely muted greens (always a tricky colour) and some of the deepest blacks you'll see this side of £700. As well as being profound, the black doesn't dominate; tiny pinpricks of starlight within a black-as-night sky can be seen in our test footage, with little trace of haloing and a uniform quality.

That's rare on an edge LED set, where the magic of LED clusters weave their magic only at the sides of the screen. That's not an issue here, probably because of the small size of the display. The shadow detailing isn't always spot-on though. Black areas of image are rather two-dimensional, with clothes in particular lacking much texture.

That said, there is depth in larger images; within a clip of a room in almost total blackout we were just able to pick out enough detail to look into the image – but even a cheap plasma outperforms LED in this regard.

Excellent colours and contrast pervade, but the LC-32LE210E's image is not the finished article. The panel itself isn't as sharp as some, with full HD detail in close-ups and panoramas not as impressive as on some rival sets, though the image is free of any picture noise.

There is also some motion blur, with slow camera movements removing a touch of resolution. On fast pans the problem is more pronounced, though there's little of the irritating judder and 'stepping' that's too often endemic with budget LCD panels.

Still, these twin problems are born of a lack of complex picture processing circuitry; a 100Hz mode – a feature that's pretty standard not far north of this TV's price – would be welcome.

Switch to the LC-32LE210E's built-in Freeview tuner and the all-SD fare is handled with little quality. A sometimes noisy picture that suffers from some pixilation is to be expected at this size and price, but the standard-definition picture is soft and contains a lot of artefacts; the LC-32LE210E doesn't offer much in the way of quality upscaling or circuitry to boost the quality. Noise reduction can be switched to high, but to no avail. At least a USB recording is identical to the broadcast.

DivX HD files look good though, suggesting that Freeview HD channels – sorely missed here – would have sparkled.