Sharp LC-42B20E review

Against its peers, Sharp's LC-42B20E is average despite a complete spec' and reasonable motion handling Tested at £800.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

Against its peers, Sharp's LC-42B20E is average despite a complete spec' and reasonable motion handling


  • +

    Slimline design

  • +

    complete spec

  • +

    bright colours

  • +

    reasonable motion handling


  • -

    Lacklustre sound

  • -

    little to get too excited about in terms of picture performance

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If you're new to the AV world, you could be forgiven for thinking a Sharp set wasn't going to find itself towards the top of the pile.

But remember that, not only is the Japanese company a behemoth on the world stage, it was also a pioneer of LCD technology – so write the company off at your peril.

And while we're on the subject of ‘pioneers', it's worth pointing out that when the TV manufacturer of the same name decided to add LCD screens to its existing, class-leading plasmas (before pulling out of TV manufacture completely), it was Sharp that Pioneer turned to for assistance.

So that's the big intro out the way, let's see how the Sharp stacks up.

Slim, but well equipped

While it doesn't boast a stick-thin design, it does offer an impressively slimline frame.

The necessary technology is all here, too, the Full HD panel supporting 1080p/24fps video via any one of its three HDMI connections. Sharp gives the user plenty of processing tweaks to play with, although we chose to turn most off or at least down to low.

As we take-in some delightful daytime TV, we're slowly but surely annoyed by the sluggish tuner, which can take a good few seconds to skip channels or navigate the EPG.

The thin, lacklustre sound does little to placate us. The quality of picture is okay, though it's not up to the standard of the best here, displaying instability and struggling to draw straight edges.

Blu-ray leaves us unmoved
Up the stakes with some Blu-ray content and again we're left fairly unmoved. While Casino Royale can look great at times, with bright colours and reasonable motion-handling, blacks lack definition and there's not the attention ?to detail and subtlety to the picture others have. Naturally, DVD is a similar story.

This set may be towards the bottom of the price market but it's not the cheapest set we've tested and, while not disgraced, it is one of the weaker all-round TV models in its class.

If you find a knock-out deal and can live with a set that's, to be frank, second-rate, then the Sharp could do a job. For everyone else, we suggest you're best looking elsewhere.

Listen to our March 2009 TV Supertest podcast to find out more about this TV.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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