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Unfortunately for Sharp's 42in LC-42XL2E, it's gone and got me all riled up before I've even switched the thing on.
Why? Because it claims to be something that, in reality, it's not. Look up the TV on Sharp's website, and it clearly declares that it's a ‘slimline' design. Yet I'm looking at its backside as I write this, and it sure doesn't look especially slim to me.
A quick check with a tape measure confirms that the 42XL2E's rear end sticks out around 95mm. Not particularly fat, admittedly, but hardly in the same ballpark as the 34mm depth of the majority of the rear on JVC's ‘Super Slim' LT-42DS9's, or the 35mm of the whole of the ‘Ultra Thin' Hitachi UT42MX70's back end.
If Sharp considers the 42XL2E to be super thin, then presumably when the brand finally delivers sets as thin as the Hitachi and JVC models I've just mentioned it will have to call them super mega ultra thin or some such rot. Grr.
Anyway, now I've got that off my chest, let's get back to the reality of the 42XL2E rather than its marketing spin. And I can at least report that despite not being especially thin it's still a fine-looking TV. The black bezel is pleasantly glossy and impressively diminutive - barely an inch across - and the pleasingly retro feel is completed nicely by the way a little silver strip under the screen rests above an angled-back bottom edge.
The 42XL2E also tries to win me back to its cause by providing a healthy three HDMIs, all of which are v1.3 in nature and able to handle the Deep Color format. Plus there are the increasingly inevitable component video and PC D-Sub offerings, alongside a digital audio output, an RS-232C port you could use to integrate the TV into a wider home cinema system, and all the other more basic offerings found on any TV worthy of the name.
With a Full HD pixel count and impressive looking dynamic contrast ratio of 10,000:1, the 42XL2E also has the key specs to get me back ‘onside'. But that's by no means the end of the 42XL2E's up-front attractions, as it also rather crucially boasts 100Hz.
Well, at least I hope that the 100Hz will prove to be an ‘attraction' rather than a curse. For while 100Hz can usually be relied upon to make motion on LCD screens look sharper and more fluid, on Sharp's previous range of 100Hz TVs it actually made pictures look really quite weird, for want of a better description. Hopefully Sharp will have improved things considerably for 100Hz mk II.
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