Summary

Our Score

8/10

Review Price free/subscription

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The best thing of all about the 52XS1E's colours, though, is that they're not just great at boosting the intensity of graphics and animations. The almost infinite subtlety and range of the TV's post-calibration palette also has a jaw-droppingly positive impact on 'real' video. During the Freerunning sequence near Casino Royale's start, for instance, the range of greens visible in the fauna as Bond chases his quarry through a forested area are unprecedented, as is the combination of vibrancy and tonal variation visible in the sea behind the high crane part of the sequence.

The remarkable expressiveness of the 52XS1E's colour tones continues with the relatively dark interiors of the embassy that houses the finale of the sequence, too, showing that the set's colour talents are just as formidable at low brightness levels as they are with light, outdoor material.


Sorry if I seem to be going on about the 52XS1E's colours a bit, but I really can't state enough just how amazing they really are.

Not that colours are the only 'amazing' thing about the 52XS1E's pictures, mind you. For its black levels also have to be seen to be believed. The black bars around the 2.35:1 Casino Royale image seem pretty much perfect to me, without a trace of the customary flat TV greyness, or any backlight inconsistency whatsoever. This TV really does produce a purer, more natural, more uniform, more engaging and less blemished black colour than any other flat TV I have ever seen. High praise indeed from a man with a self-confessed and unrepentant black level obsession!

Another profoundly impressive thing about the 52XS1E's picture is the fact that thanks to LED's local dimming system, the sublime black levels aren't dependent on overall brightness levels being reduced. So dark scenes can enjoy a dynamism and intensity you just can't get on a normal LCD screen.


This also helps the TV reproduce sensational levels of greyscale subtlety and shadow detail information in dark parts of the picture, making them look totally believable and full of depth.

Yet more great news concerns the 52XS1E's sharpness with HD footage. High quality Blu-ray images look spectacularly detailed, clear, clean and textured, without the accompaniment of any of the graininess or edge-stressing noise sometimes seen where such acute sharpness exists.

It's a pleasure, too, to find that the clarity of HD images doesn't fall apart when things get moving. Sharp's 100Hz engine has gone in a couple of generations from being one of the worst to one of the best, so that here it ensures motion looks crisper and more fluid without generating seemingly any unpleasant side effects.

Even standard definition pictures look good on the 52XS1E. They're not quite as noiseless and crisp as we've seen from the best Panasonic and, lately, Toshiba Resolution+ TVs, and they sometimes exhibit minor jaggedness over some curved edges. But they're impressive nonetheless, and certainly markedly better than we're used to seeing from Sharp's normal LCD TVs.

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