Sharp Aquos LC42D83X

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Sharp Aquos LC42D83X

Pros

  • Sharp picture, good colours, motion technologies well implemented, stylish design

Cons

  • Some minor contrast issues; a bit of calibration required to achieve a good picture

Bottom Line

A strong performer, the Sharp LC42D83X will impress with its great full high-definition picture and the design ensures it looks stunning even when powered down.

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With Blu-ray secure in its place as the king of next-generation media, the high-definition landscape has settled a little. People are now free to go and upgrade their setups without the worry of whether their choices will become obsolete next month or year, and the best way to start is with a high-definition TV. Sharp's Aquos LC42D83X is a member of the company's latest 1080p screen range and it provides a good balance of image quality, connectivity and aesthetics at a competitive price.

Sharp TVs have, on the whole, always produced impressive image quality and this unit is no different. With a native resolution of 1920x1080 it can display all forms of HD, from 1080p through to 720p, as well as standard definition.

We began testing in our usual manner, hooking up an Xbox 360 complete with HD-DVD drive and running our test disc Transformers. At full high definition this film looks nothing less than stunning and it was well rendered on this panel. Originally we watched with the screen set to Dynamic mode and here things look quite poor with a lot of noise and blown out colours. However, switching to the Film preset and tweaking things a little yielded great results.

Edges were sharp and crisp without being too bold and while there was still a small amount of graininess it wasn't problematic. Colours tended to be well balanced with a slightly cool cast while flesh tones were well recreated. This is important as the LC42D83X offers little in the way of colour calibration.

Its contrast handling was fairly good with a quoted dynamic contrast ratio of 10,000:1. Blacks, while not up to the same standard as some current generation plasmas, were competitive with similarly priced LCDs and detail in dark areas was quite well rendered.

The LC42D83X also comes with 100/120Hz playback and 24p support which helps improve smoothness and remove juddering. As most film is shot at 24 frames per second, when they are played back on standard screens that refresh at 60 frames per second they look a little unnatural. By having a refresh rate that is a multiple of 24 (i.e: 120) everything is viewed as it was intended. The image was definitely noticeably smoother on the Sharp, and there were none of the artefacts we spotted when using Sony's Motionflow technology.

In our standard-definition tests this screen rendered The Matrix very well. There were no scaling artefacts to speak of and noise was kept to a minimum. This disc is a bit more a trial in terms of contrast thanks to a lot of black outfits and dark scenes, which were all rendered decently if not outstandingly. Colour balance was also well handled which is impressive because this film can prove troublesome for a lot of displays.

We also hooked up a PC via VGA and saw some good results. VGA is never an ideal connection option as it often produces noise and interference and while we did see signs of that here it was kept to a minimum. Our DisplayMate Video Edition tests revealed some minor banding and a slight uniformity issue towards the corners of the screen but neither of these were too problematic. We'd recommend connecting via an HDMI capable graphics card if possible to get the best quality and highest resolution possible.

Another awesome thing about this model is its design. The gloss black bezel is curved at the bottom and extremely thin which looks fantastic. Some displays go a little over the top with extra frames and such, but Sharp kept it simple here and it works perfectly. Three HDMI ports are included, which is fast becoming the standard and they are backed up by a variety of other component, composite and VGA options. A HD digital tuner is also thrown in for good measure.

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