Although its black levels and motion clarity are its most outstanding picture elements, the 19D1E also has a few other tricks up its sleeve. Its colours, for instance, are terrific, combining surprisingly rich saturations with some of the most natural toning you’ll probably ever see on such a small screen.
OK, yes, one or two rich reds can look a touch orangey, and the occasional standard def skin tone can go a touch waxy. But this is all very small beer indeed versus the various more extreme problems usually found in at least one or two areas on most small TVs.
Remarkably, given its size, the 19D1E’s pictures are also detailed enough to clearly delineate the difference between an HD source and a standard definition source. For instance, comparing the DVD of ”Casino Royale” with the Blu-ray, you can definitely see more detail in Daniel Craig’s craggy face and fancy clothes when watching the Blu-ray. What’s more, the 19in screen does a superbly noise-free job of both upscaling the DVD to its HD Ready pixel count and downscaling the 1,920 x 1,080 Blu-ray.
Really the only fly in the 19D1E’s picture ointment is – predictably – its brightness. Images don’t blaze off the screen quite as aggressively as those of some rivals, which could represent a problem if you’re using the screen in a very bright environment, such as a conservatory. But in a relatively low-lit bedroom or study the TV’s superlative contrast and colours will really make a mark.
Even the 19D1E’s sound is pretty good, for heaven’s sake. Traditionally, small LCD TVs sound like the audio equivalent of two tin cans and a piece of string. But the 19D1E delivers enough raw volume to fill a room a good 25m square, together with enough clarity to deliver even a film action scene without too much compression, flatness and distortion. There’s even a more than half-baked attempt to produce a bit of bass, for heaven’s sake!
Although the relentless shift towards ever-bigger screen sizes might make Sharp’s 19D1E appear a little unfashionable, if you are in the market for such a diminutive TV, it’s comfortably the finest LCD ‘portable’ I’ve seen so far.