The 37-inch, 1080p Sharp Aquos LC-37LE320E sits at the more affordable end of Sharp's range of LED-illuminated TVs. It's available for around £600 online, which is rather inexpensive by the standards of most 37-inch LED tellies. But is it any good?
Sharp's designers have come up with something a little different for this TV, which has an interesting two-tone black and white design. The front fascia is predominantly black with a metallic bar running along the bottom, while the rear of the set is finished in glossy white. The smoothly rounded corners and slim dimensions also add an extra degree of visual flair, making it a good-looking TV.
Unfortunately things are not quite so peachy when it comes to connection options. Whereas most sets of this size now come with four HDMI ports, this one makes do with three -- two are mounted on the rear and one at the side. You do get a set of component inputs, along with a pair of Scart sockets, but that's hardly any compensation.
Although there's a USB port on the side for digital media playback, there's sadly no Ethernet socket or Wi-Fi onboard, so the TV doesn't support Internet services such as iPlayer. This is a shame, because even low-priced TVs from the likes of LG now have these features onboard. That said the range of media formats supported for playback over USB is rather good, with DivX, Xvid and MKV files all playing back without any problems.
Another pretty major disappointment, though, is the absence of an HD tuner. The onboard Freeview tuner is standard-definition only, so you miss out on free HD services from the Beeb, ITV and Channel 4. When similarly priced sets from rivals such as LG and Sony are now including Freeview HD as standard, it's rather hard to swallow, but may not be an issue if you use a subscription TV service such as Sky or Virgin.
The programme guide for the Freeview channels is also disappointing, as it has a vertical layout that makes it that little bit more difficult to plan an evening's viewing. The EPG is sluggish as well, as to view upcoming programmes on a different channel, the TV actually has to first switch the tuner to that station.
On the picture quality front, the LE320 turns out to be a mixed bag. When working with HD sources such as movies on Blu-ray or HD broadcasts fed via a Sky HD box, the set produces impressively sharp images with strong, punchy colours. And while black levels aren't exactly best in class, they are perfectly acceptable, although you can see some haloing on the edges of the picture during darker scenes.
The 100Hz processing does a decent job of keeping motion blur down to satisfactory levels, but if you push the processing up to the higher settings it does start to introduce its own processing artefacts.
Unfortunately, the set is a less competent performer when working with standard-definition pictures such as those from the Freeview tuner. It loses too much colour accuracy, with fleshtone inconsistency a notable problem. Freeview images also tend to be poorly scaled, leaving them looking a bit rough around the edges.
Slim-line LED sets such as this one often struggle to produce really convincing audio and sadly that's also the case here. The set's small 10W speakers do have enough grunt to fill a reasonable-sized front room, and while they're fine for day to day fare such as game shows and soaps, their lack of bass means movies tend to sound rather flat and lifeless. This is definitely a set you'd be best to twin with a decent surround-sound setup if you want to make the most of your Blu-ray collection.
Overall, the Sharp LC-37LE320 is a little disappointing. Although the design is quite stylish and it produces decent HD pictures, we expected better standard-definition performance and the lack of support for online services is annoying.
Edited by Nick Hide