While generally good, though, the 46X20E’s HD performance certainly isn’t perfect. Colours, for instance, can look a touch unnatural during dark scenes. Also, the lack of 100Hz means that while relatively static HD images look exceptionally sharp, things do soften up rather during NT2’s action sequences.
To be fair, the Action mode can, as billed, help reduce this motion blur. But the mode also causes the TV to flicker in a way not dissimilar to that seen with old 50Hz CRTs, and so I preferred to leave it set to off.
The bad news continues with the 46X20E’s standard definition performance, which is at best fair to middling. Standard def images tend to look rather soft for a start, especially where skin tones are concerned, meaning that people can look really quite mannequin-like at times.
The colour toning flaws noted on occasion during HD viewing are exacerbated with standard def fare too, and there’s a tendency for edges in standard def images to look rather jagged and over-stressed. Oh well; at least the 46X20E’s smaller screen size means that it doesn’t tend to expose its standard def shortcomings quite as ruthlessly as its bigger, 52in sibling.
The 46X20E’s sound, meanwhile, follows the trend of many other Sharp TVs we’ve seen recently in sounding OK with untesting material like a normal day-time TV-style show, but short of power and dynamic range when watching an action film.
There’s no hiding the fact that the 46X20E’s performance is something of a mixed bag, especially with standard definition. But it’s also impossible to ignore the set’s new, remarkably low price. In fact, in the end the price wins the day with us, as we just can’t stop feeling that getting hold of 46 inches of always decent, sometimes outstanding LCD pictures for under £730 really does look like an opportunity too good to pass up.