While this should be great news, though, the effect is taken too far. For actually on the 32RD2E moving objects seem quite preternaturally sharp and fluid, standing out from backgrounds in a way that makes the picture look distractingly odd. In fact, the potency of Sharp’s 100Hz effect actually made us feel slightly queasy over time – a sensation we really only want to feel when watching a something like Hostel or Wolf Creek, not an episode of the Tellytubbies!
There’s another problem, too, that reinforces the sense that moving objects are somehow divorced from the picture as a whole: edge shimmering. For instance, as the Locust advances towards us during another tense session on Gears of War on the Xbox 360, their extremities seem to glimmer and glitch, presumably as the processing engine struggles to keep up with the rapid changes in image content. The more motion there is in a shot, the more obvious this problem becomes.
Other slight irritants we noted with our test sample were a tendency for the set not to automatically default to the correct widescreen format for different sources, even when using the HDMI sockets, and the rather extensive time it takes for the set to switch between standard and high definition mode.
Look past its 100Hz ‘glitches’, though, and you’ll see plenty of goodness in the 32RD2E’s pictures. For instance, while the 10000:1 contrast ratio claim never looks less than extremely optimistic, black levels are really very good by LCD standards. The dark corners of the Nostromo ship in Alien really look quite black, with relatively little sign of LCD’s common ‘greying over’ issue.
This Sharp’s colours are likeable too. They’re every bit as bright and rich as we’ve come to expect from LCD screens, but crucially also hold onto enjoyably natural tones, even during tricky dark scenes.
One final strength of the 32RD2E concerns its fine detailing talents, as ultra-sharp HD fodder such as pretty much any scene on the HD DVD of Mission: Impossible III positively bristles with clarity and definition. Not that the 32RD2E only likes HD, mind. It also leaves standard definition pictures looking sharper than most.
The 32RD2E’s audio is more than adequate, as its impressively small speakers pump out plenty of power and detail, as well as enough frequency range – even at the bass end of things – to make films sound immersive and clear.
Were it not for the 100Hz problems, the 32RD2E’s pictures would really be very good. However, not only can you not turn the 100Hz processing off and so can’t avoid its attendant problems, but it’s also the TV’s main raison d’etre and so a feature you’re clearly paying extra for. In other words, we’d suggest you’re better off either spending a similar amount of money on a 100Hz TV that works more subtly, or else, frankly, spending less on a good 32in LCD that doesn’t bother with 100Hz at all.