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Sharp LC-52X20E review

The latest Aquos from Sharp is a slender giant

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Our Verdict

Occasionally spectacular, but there are too many flaws visible to warrant a glowing endorsement

For

  • Occasionally excellent pictures
  • Great design
  • Plenty of connections

Against

  • Careful setup needed
  • Limited viewing angle

Taking up little space for a 52in TV, the Sharp LC-52X20E’s high-gloss black bezel is just an inch across.

It’s also unusually slim around the back, even by LCD standards, and sticks out a mere 94mm. Connections are also bang up to date, and include three HDMI v1.3a inputs, all compatible with Deep Color, and able to take 1080p/24fps from suitable HD players.

Inside Sharp's Streamlined LCD

They also have CEC compatibility. Besides these you get the inevitable component video jack, a PC port, and all the usual lower grade fallbacks. Making up the 52in screen are 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, delivering a claimed contrast ratio of 10,000:1.

This is achieved, inevitably, with the assistance of a dynamic backlight system, and image processing comes courtesy of Sharp’s tru-D technology, aimed primarily at reducing image judder.

This Sharp set’s cumbersome onscreen menus contain plenty of subtle fine tuning, such as manual backlight and colour temperature adjustment, and an ‘Action’ mode that can, as if by magic, reduce the screen’s response time to improve its motion handling.

Scintillating pictures

The Sharp 52X20E produces some pretty scintillating picture quality, provided you’re extremely careful how you set it up. Straight from the box we found its pictures garish and black levels unimpressive.

However, careful calibration with the aid of our DVD Essentials test disc improves matters considerably, and colours adopt a tone that at least vaguely resembles the real world.

And although black levels aren’t absolutely the deepest around, especially when compared to 50in plasma rivals, they now look more than solid by LCD standards, and certainly prove deep enough to give even really dark movie scenes a fair sense of depth.

That done, you can admire just how sharp the set can look with hi-def sources, which appear crisp and noise-free. Even after our careful calibration efforts, though, the 52X20E’s pictures still aren’t quite perfect.

An Aquos with flaws

The set’s colour saturation and black levels fall off quite badly if you sit more than 30º to 40º to the side of the screen. Also, motion isn’t that clear, at least when compared with sets out there that carry good 100Hz processing engines.

We were unimpressed, too, by the LC-52X20E’s audio output, which feels far too thin and insubstantial to accompany a screen quite so large as this.