It’s not just dark parts of the picture that enjoy above-par detailing either. The picture as a whole is emphatically sharp and crisp, especially with our Xbox 360 and Sky HD receiver high definition sources. This proves as we’d hoped it would that the jaw-dropping clarity we’ve seen in smaller LCD pictures really can translate up to bigger screen sizes.
It does no harm to the LE46M51’s intense portrayal of HD’s detail and clarity finery that its motion handling is one of the LCD world’s better efforts too, with precious little sign of the customary smearing and lack of focus over moving objects.
From all this you might well be thinking that our score of seven for image quality is looking a bit stingy. But we have our reasons. The main one of which is that the longer you watch the LE46M51, the more you start to notice that although dark parts of the picture do indeed look dark, they’re also afflicted by a rather annoying blue undertone. This makes deep blacks look quite unnatural, as well as shifting rather a lot of other colour tones off key. And while this problem is particularly acute in dark scenes, even bright ones aren’t 100 per cent immune.
Also distracting us from time to time are glowing halos around the edges of particularly harshly contrasted picture elements, together with some rather too obvious skips in brightness levels caused by the Dynamic Contrast system you’re expected to use if you want to enjoy the deepest black levels that the TV has to offer.
Moving on to the LE46M51’s cunningly disguised speakers, they sadly represent a triumph of style over substance as they simply don’t have the raw power or frequency range at their disposal to deliver the sort of volume levels and soundstage largesse that such a large screen deserves.
The LE46M51 initially looks like it’s god’s gift to telly with its stunning design and aggressively rich pictures. But look a little deeper and you’ll find that underneath all that surface gloss there’s really only a more or less average TV struggling to get out.