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While Sharp may be pinning its LCD reputation on its new fancy high-spec models, which we'll be reviewing in due course, it hasn't forgotten that still, for the majority of TV punters, price is king.
The proof? The brand's LC32AD5E, a 32in LCD TV that impressively manages to break the £400 barrier. But does it have anything other than price to commend it?
It doesn't look cheap, at any rate. In fact, with its high-gloss black bezel and cute sculpting, complete with distinctive tapered-in speaker section, it couldn't be much further away from the plasticky, often grey drabness usually found at this low-rent end of the market.
Connectivity, meanwhile, while certainly nothing special, also has everything you could reasonably expect a £400 TV to provide. Which is to say you get two v1.2 HDMIs, a component video input, a D-Sub PC option, plus SCART and composite video standard definition options. It's quite a nice little touch to discover that the LC32AD5E's connections are hidden underneath a cover that helps keep the TV's rear end a bit tidier once everything is hooked up.
However, the first sign of trouble comes with the LC32AD5E's onscreen menu system. For some reason Sharp has opted to use a really messy, unclear font that makes all the options pretty hard to read at times, especially if you're sat any sort of distance away from the screen. Such a basic operational oversight is as frustrating as it is hard to explain given that surely somebody somewhere must have spent lots of time with the TV during its development stages. At least the remote control is sensible in its organisation, but if anything that merely emphasises the frustrating menu presentation.
Surprisingly given the TV's price, the features hidden inside its onscreen menus are reasonably plentiful. You get noise reduction and black level boosting possibilities for pictures, along with a film mode that adjusts the progressive scan processing depending on whether you're watching video or film-based sources. Then there's a series of picture presets based around specific source types, such as sport or games.
Of these picture features we'd particularly urge you to experiment with the film mode, as getting the wrong setting there can have a markedly negative impact on pictures by introducing judder and edge noise.
When it comes to audio, the LC32AD5E provides the seemingly inevitable pseudo surround sound mode, plus a Clear Voice feature that does exactly what it says on the tin; namely, make voices appear stronger in the mix.
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