Sharp LC-32GA6E £1100
1st Jan 2006 | 00:00
Does Sharp's middle man deliver the best of both worlds?
There are two extremes of Sharp's latest LCD range: the exceedingly affordable but not HD Ready 32P50E, and the costly but HD Ready and digital tuner-equipped LC-32GD7E. Now it's time to check out Sharp's 'middle man'.
Defining the 32GA6E's mid-range position are its £1,100 price and the fact that it is fully HD Ready.
Aesthetically it's unusual but a winner,thanks to its fetching metallic finish and distinctively slender frame.
Connectivity is fully geared up for the HD world courtesy of both an HDMI input and a set of component video jacks.There's also a 15-pin D-Sub jack for PC connection,two Scarts and an FM radio aerial input.
Key specifications comprise a 1366 x 768 native resolution,healthy claimed contrast ratio of 800:1 and slightly below average claimed brightness of 450cd/m2.
The feature count is pretty high for a £1,100 LCD TV.Highlights include motion compensation for more natural movement,a backlight adjustment,interlaced and progressive options,a dynamic contrast setting and a Dolby Virtual pseudo surround mode for the audio.
In action,the 32GA6E gets off to a blinding start courtesy of a superb high-def performance.With pure and even upscaled HD sources pictures look breathtaking,shaming those of some of the rival screens that cost considerably more.
Fine detail is outstanding,giving HD images all the extra texture and sharpness that makes them so special.What's more,it delivers this exemplary detailing without succumbing to graininess,dot crawl, instability or over-emphasised edges.
HD footage also enjoys terrific colours in terms of both vibrancy and tonal naturalism.A little more core brightness might have things even better,but we're still more than happy.
The contrast range is good,too, delivering rich,deep,detailed black levels at one end and natural,bright, but controlled whites at the other.
The 32GA6E is less assured with standard definition,though.SD colours look less natural,and sometimes suffer with slightly distracting over-stressed edge contrasts.Motion can judder a touch, too - especially if you're not careful with the set's progressive and interlaced processing options.
Even with these niggles,we'd still describe the set's SD performance as above average for £1,100.
The 32GA6E's sonics are pretty standard,however.Ordinary TV viewing sounds adequate,but with a rampant movie soundtrack the set noticeably fails to produce much frequency range,resulting in a muddy and overloaded mid-range.
Ultimately how appealing the 32GA6E is depends on what you mostly expect to be watching on it.
If you're a fully signed-up member of the high-definition fan club, with an Xbox 360,Sky HD receiver and HD DVD/Blu-Ray DVD deck firmly on your wish list, the 32GA6E's HD prowess makes it impressive value.
If,on the other hand, you lack either the funds or inclination to embrace the HD revolution, you're probably better off with a more consistent all-rounder like Panasonic's TX-32LXD52.