Other noteworthy features of the 42XL2E include an ‘advanced’ film mode that adjusts the set’s progressive scanning to suit film as opposed to video sources; various thematic image presets (including a ‘fast response’ game mode); an ‘OPC’ mode that can adjust the picture settings in response to the ambient light conditions in your room; and an optional Active Contrast feature that can tweak the backlight output to deliver deeper black levels during dark scenes.
I was rather pleased to note, too, that the 42XL2E’s HDMIs can actually recognise what’s attached to them. For instance, the set automatically labelled my Sky input as a PVR, my Xbox input as ‘Xbox 360′, and my PS3 input as ‘PS3′. Clever.
Unleashed on Sky’s recent HD broadcast of ”Blood Diamond” and the PS3 version of ”Racedriver: Grid”, the 42XL2E performed really rather well. For starters, there’s plenty of sharpness and detail in ”Blood Diamond’s” impressive jungle photography, and you can even make out the texture in the concrete tracks of ”Racedriver”.
What’s more, this general sharpness remains even when there’s quite a lot of motion going on in the picture – such as during the army assault on the RUF diamond operation in ”Blood Diamond”, or during the frantic jostling of the first couple of hundred yards of your average ”Racedriver” event.
The 42XL2E’s motion clarity must be down at least in part to Sharp’s new 100Hz engine – an engine which, thankfully, does not spoil its motion clarity achievements with nasty side effects like its predecessor did. Nice one, Sharp.
The 42XL2E also enjoys vibrant colour tones that do good justice to the sumptuous designs of ”Racedriver’s” cars, as well as looking decently – though not outstandingly – natural throughout ”Blood Diamond’s” varied lighting conditions.
More good news concerns the 42XL2E’s black levels, which are certainly the deepest Sharp has managed, and among the deepest we’ve seen anywhere. The result is that we don’t have to squint through nasty grey mist while watching, say, the night-time ‘party’ scenes after the RUF have stormed Freetown.