Our Verdict 
It’s not actually a bad TV, but the Sharp falls short of the standards set by the best in its class
For 
Slim design
bright scenes are fairly detailed
vibrant colours
good sound for a flatscreen
Against 
Poor usability
little black insight
lack of solidity to motion
Freeview suffers from instability
Reviewed on

You could be forgiven for considering returning this Sharp to the shop within the first half-hour of unboxing it.

After all, it's not very pretty to look at, the initial settings are overblown, the menus are ugly and get in the way when you try to calibrate the picture, and the manual is the size of an encyclopaedia.

Yup, if this was a date you'd be starting to wonder if you could fit out of the bathroom window. But give it a chance and although the LC-46X20E is unlikely to provide a red-hot romance, it might prove to be a steady, if unexciting partner.

Looks best with bright scenesThe Sharp does its best work with bright scenes. Playing the Blu-ray of The Fall, it does a fine job of recreating the outlandish outfits of our heroes as they languish on their desert island.

The picture's decently punchy and vibrant, and detail, though not earth-shattering, is quite reasonable.

More after the break

The problem comes when darkness or subtlety is required. The scenes in the gloomy hospital are short of insight, while the vibrant colour palette proves a poor reproducer of realistic skin tones.

Blu-ray motion isn't handled too well, either, with images moving smoothly, but without astounding solidity.

Motion impresses more on DVDDVDs fair better, with sharper moving edges and greater control over smear. However, blacks are still rather all-consuming, and although entirely bright scenes are punchy, the introduction of any shadow restricts the contrast and results in a rather dull picture overall.

Perhaps surprisingly, the Freeview tuner is a little more exciting, but it also suffers from more instability than rival sets, with a slow pan over London on BBC News 24 suffering with an unsightly degree of shimmer.

Where we can be complimentary is with audio. The Sharp is balanced and communicative in standard stereo, while the surround mode increases openness while maintaining directness of speech.

Of course, you'd be very unwise to choose your new flatscreen on the basis of how it sounds, and many rivals we've tested deliver a better picture