High definition sources also look impeccably sharp and textured, especially where Xbox 360 games are concerned. And actually standard definition pictures look much crisper and less fuzzy than usual too, presumably thanks to the detail boosting and noise-reducing elements of Image+.
Elsewhere we find frantic Burnout Revenge Xbox 360 sessions and recorded HD World Cup footie action failing to cause much in the way of motion smearing from the R 37’s LCD panel. What’s more, motion looks smoother than on many rivals.
Noise levels are generally well suppressed too, with only minor and sporadic traces of side effects from the Image+ processing engine, and little sign of grain or dot crawl – provided, at least, that you keep the set’s sharpness rating set pretty low, especially when watching the HDMI input.
The flaw we mentioned is that old LCD nemesis of black level response. The Spheros R 37 just doesn’t present dark picture areas with enough depth to really make them convincing. In other words, where the picture should look more or less black it instead tends to look grey – a problem which forces you to strain your eyes a little to pick out background details, and which tends to make the picture feel a bit lacking in scale.
The problem is probably at its most noticeable while playing dark parts of console games. At times it’s practically impossible, for instance, to really see what you’re doing in the ever-dingy corridors of the alien vessel in Prey. Bumping the brightness way high helps – but only to the detriment of other aspects of the picture, such as colour tones and black levels.
Thankfully entirely without any sort of flaw is the Spheros R 37’s audio. For starters the amount of bass it shifts is pretty much unrivalled in the LCD TV world, and actually puts many separate systems to shame. But crucially this expansive bass range never for a second over-awes speech, or stops treble effects from being rendered with unusual subtlety and richness.
Although we might have sounded tough on the Spheros R 37’s black levels, we should say before we finish that they’re not actually bad by the standards of LCD TVs in general. The problem for us is that ‘not bad’ – even when this refers to just a single picture element – isn’t quite good enough when you’re talking about a 37in TV that costs more than twice as much as some of its rivals…