The LC-32LE210E pulls off a gloss black finish better than most. By curving the frame widely around the corners of the screen, Sharp's designers have lent the set a distinctively smooth, round look that hides the fact that, at four inches, the bezel is rather wide.
It's interrupted only by an 'Aquos' badge on the frame's top-left corner. The under-slung speakers, completely hidden from view and down-firing, sport a Sharp logo and a green/red-lit upside down 'V' shape that helps create a simple, friendly appearance that ought to make it easy to house it alongside almost any AV gear. The only issues are reflections from, and fingerprints on, the glossy finish.
The rear is similarly curved and easy on the eye. A back panel holds more-or-less what you'll need, but does underline just how fast things have changed in the past few years. Three HDMI inputs are essential inclusions, and so is component video, but two less important – though normally standard – video inputs are missing. There's no sign of either S-video or composite video inputs, which will make hooking up an older games console or even a digital camera tricky.
It's all about space-saving back there, with the usual second Scart also omitted. Most of us won't have a problem with any of these exclusions, though the LC-32LE210E is perhaps a bit too big for its boots in declaring the death of old analogue ins and outs. After all, it doesn't even have its own Freeview HD tuner – so there's no Ethernet LAN port, either.
The side panel is fuller than most, with a USB slot, a 15-pin VGA port for a PC (strangely divorced from the PC audio minijack on the set's rear), a headphones jack, and a Common Interface slot that's ready to accept Top-Up TV viewing cards.
The USB slot isn't just capable of recording; TimeShift features mean it stores the channel you're watching on a loop, so pausing and rewinding live TV is possible.
We're impressed by the options available, but who would buy a dedicated PVR with a single tuner? The answer is no-one – they don't exist, and for good reason; recordings can only be made on the channel you're watching.
The chance to schedule a programme to record if you're going out for the evening – as well as the TimeShift options – make this (essentially free) feature a possible point-scorer in a showdown between the LC-32LE210 and a rival, though.
Considering that the LC-32LE210E's USB port also plays photos, music and video files, a second USB port wouldn't go amiss – and there's plenty of room for one below that side-panel's Common Interface slot.
What this set does lack is some serious picture processing – and 100Hz scanning in particular.