At first glance, the 32LE210E’s pictures look very promising. There’s a real snap and punch to proceedings, with bright, richly saturated colours sitting alongside some surprisingly good black levels. What’s more, it soon becomes apparent that unusually for an edge-LED TV, the black levels are consistent across the screen. There are no obvious areas where the picture looks lighter than it does elsewhere, even at the TV’s corners. This is a real relief given the problems we had with this flaw in our recent review of Toshiba’s 40WL753 edge-LED set.
Blu-ray material sometimes looks pleasingly sharp and detailed too, and standard definition isn’t too ugly considering there doesn’t seem to be much processing devoted to tidying it up. That said, while standard def doesn’t look too noisy for the most part, this may be because the 32LE210E is hiding the noise behind a slightly soft overall tone.
Recordings made from the Freeview tuner to a USB stick do, at least, not look any softer or noisier than the original broadcasts.
Having seen past the 32LE210E’s strong first impressions to spot the gentle softness issue with standard definition material, our eyes also start to pick out a few other concerns. The worst of these revolves around motion, which causes noticeable blurring and resolution loss on the 32LE210E even when watching otherwise crisp HD material. Ah, 100Hz, where are you when we need you?!
Also troubling at times are the set’s colour tones. For while the potent approach to colour is certainly eye-catching, it also seems responsible for a few rogue tones. Skin tones in particular can sometimes look too pink or orange – and no amount of tinkering with the very limited settings available managed to get things completely right. Which obviously makes the lack of any colour management tools all the more poignant.
A final picture issue for some households will be that the screen is very viewing angle dependent. Start to watch it from any more than 30 degrees or so from straight on and the picture’s contrast plummets.
Sonically the 32LE210E joins many other recent Sharp TVs in being distinctly underwhelming. A pretty severe lack of raw power and dynamic range leaves all but the most basic audio mixes sounding compressed, muddy and frequently a little distorted, with full-on action sequences sounding almost laughably unconvincing.
For a while, the cute-looking 32LE210E had us thinking it had all the makings of an excellent, good-value 32in TV, despite not having an HD tuner. But the longer we lived with the set, the more a slightly uncomfortable colour performance together with rather feeble audio and some noticeable motion issues dented our enthusiasm.
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