- Review Price: £357.00
Believe it or not, Sharp takes its name from one of its first inventions, the Ever Sharp pencil, (you know, one of those mechanically propelling pencils that carries its own lead/carbon rods). Well, that was developed way back in 1915 and a lot has happened since then.
One of the company’s strengths is its research into LCD technology. With four Japan-based factories under its LCD division, Sharp is obviously no lightweight in this market. According to the Sharp Laboratories of Europe Ltd website the company will replace all of its CRT television range in Japan with LCD versions by 2005, so Sharp is obviously very serious about LCDs.
First things first. The LL-T17D4 is available in two colours, namely ivory and black. Here, denoted by the letter ‘B’ in the model name, is the black version that, in my opinion, gives the unit a professional look. The chassis is put together well too, and feels sturdy to the touch unlike some of the creaking plastic designs I’ve tested in the past. The matt black finish does a good job of minimising any eye distracting reflections around the inner edge of the bezel, but it does tend to show up dust pretty quickly. That said, the dark colour offsets the display rather well despite the opinions of those that dish out the latest TCO ratings. In fact, after many hours of use the contrast between the black bezel and a white background did not induce any eyestrain for me.
Moving on, this 17in panel comes complete with what the industry terms as a ‘Z’ stand which didn’t feature on Sharp’s older LL-T17D3. This comprises two hinges at which the neck can move. One can be found at the interface between the panel and neck and the other meets between the neck and the stand. This gives a height adjustment of around 4.7cm, which can make all the difference to varying eye-levels and ultimately posture. Furthermore the upper hinge permits a tilt angle of approximately 20 degrees back and 5 degrees forward so it shouldn’t be hard to find a comfortable viewing position. Sharp has also been thoughtful enough to include a swivelling base that travels though a total of 90 degrees – not the widest, but nonetheless useful if you want to share the information on the screen with your neighbour.
At the rear of the LL-T17D4, you’ll find both a DVI-I and a D-SUB port so you’re connectivity options are only limited by the fact that Sharp doesn’t include a DVI cable.
At least all the ports point downwards making the option of wall mounting a real and flush prospect. A VESA rated 100mm interface is present too, so that an extendable arm can be used. As with many TFT displays available today the power adapter is integrated into the cabinet. This inevitably adds to the width of the panel’s casing, but on the other hand there’s no ugly power brick lurking on the desk or on the floor. Unlike other models the cables cannot be routed in any way, but at least when you look head on at the display the breadth of the stand’s neck hides them.
Sitting along side the D-SUB port is a 3.5mm mini jack that accommodates the bundled audio cable for transferring your PC’s sound through to the LL-T17D4’s built in speakers. Output from these speakers is reasonably loud but, as you might expect, there’s little to write home about in the lower frequency range. Still, the speakers are fine for speech and general sounds but not ideal for high-level entertainment. However, I do like the headphone socket conveniently mounted on the front of the facia next to the six adjustment buttons.