Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sharp LC42XL2E

42in LCD
Excellent all round performer let down by a few minor glitches.
HD Ready: yes
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Rating: 88%


With a slim (7.5cm) frame finished in black, with a glass bezel around the outside of the screen the LC42XL2E is an indication that Sharp is taking style much more seriously.


With 100Hz processing and 10-bit panels, Sharp's top of the range LC-42XL2E offers some additional features over the entry level LC-42X20E. 100Hz processing doubles the number of frames displayed on-screen for smoother pictures while 10-bit panels increase the number of available colours.

Screen: 42in 16:9
Sound System: Nicam
Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Contrast Ratio: 2,000:1
Brightness: 450cd/m2
Other Features:100Hz processing, TruD, RGB plus, TruSurroundXT.
Sockets: 3 HDMI, 2 Scart, S-video, component video, composite video, PC input.

A 'Full HD' native resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 on the LC42XL2E along with Sharp's 'Underscan' mode enables 1080-line sources (Sky TV, 1080i etc) to be shown in their pure, native fashion. 'Underscan' employs a one-to-one pixel mapping system to exactly match input to screen resolution.

The LC42XL2E has the ability to display films at their intended 24fps (frames per second) rather than the standard (for TV) of 25fps. LCD TV's without this feature will automatically speed up a film very slightly to compensate.

Sharp's TruD picture processing engine has evolved with some tweaking to remove the smear effect or jerkiness on fast moving images as well as enhancing detail and contrast.

The four-wavelength background lighting system (RGB plus) has been designed to ensure that colours are reproduced more accurately.

Acoustically, an on-board SRS sound system is powered by a digital amplifier and two 15-watt speakers.


The high point of the Sharp LC42XL2E's performance can be seen with the excellent black levels it manages to achieve. Blacks are truly black, with good detail visible on even the darkest scenes.

As you would expect, High Definition (HD) material looks superb. Sharp have built a solid reputation for producing some of the most capable LCD TV's in this respect, with picture sharpness and fine detail a match for any flat panel.

What Sharp have not done so well in the past is produce LCD TV's that perform well with Standard Definition (SD) sources. Judging by the Freeview performance of the LC-42XL2E however, this looks set to change. Inevitably, with such a large screen things are not perfect with an element of noise creeping into the picture, but for a 42in screen with the lowest SD quality source, Sharp have made excellent progress. This screen is now a viable day to day Standard Definition display, and even more so with a better quality satellite or cable source.

The only really negative aspect of what is a largely competent performance is colour. No amount of tweaking could produce a colour that we were truly happy with. Whatever the setting, colours seemed over saturated or a little washed out.

The acoustic performance is average with no great perceivable benefit coming from Sharp's proprietary surround sound system.


A fine all round performer frustratingly let down by a few minor glitches.

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