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Sharp Aquos LC-19D1E review: Sharp Aquos LC-19D1E

The 19-inch Sharp LC-19D1E LCD TV is beautifully styled, remarkably cheap and boasts the best pictures we've seen at the sub-£250 end of the TV market. HD Ready and with a feature set not far removed from those of Sharp's big-screen models, this is a near perfect second-room TV

Alex Jennings
3 min read

Now that we've all got big old HD Ready TVs in our living rooms, we're increasingly turning our flatscreen-loving attentions to second, and even third rooms. The result, naturally, is something of a renaissance for the small-screen TV -- a renaissance that the 19-inch, HD Ready, LCD Sharp Aquos LC-19D1E seems well-positioned to exploit.


Sharp Aquos LC-19D1E

The Good

Extremely cheap; best pictures we've seen at the budget, portable end of the market; delicious design.

The Bad

Only one HDMI input; pictures aren't very bright; stupidly small on-screen menus.

The Bottom Line

While some manufacturers seem to treat the small-TV market with disdain, Sharp has really gone to town on the Aquos LC-19D1E. This little TV looks and behaves as if it's had every bit as much care and attention lavished on it as Sharp's bigger models, even though it's being sold for relative peanuts

At roughly £200, if you scout around online, the LC-19D1E is, remarkably, the second big-name, 19-inch TV we've seen in a week to comfortably come in under the £250 barrier, the other being the Toshiba Regza 19AV505DB. This gets the LC-19D1E off to a great start in these cash-strapped times.

Our early enthusiasm grew once we clocked the set's aggressively stylish looks, led out by one of the slimmest bezels we've seen. What's more, while our version had a fetching, high-gloss, black livery, you can also get the TV in white, if you fancy something more iPod-like.

It's also good to find a D-Sub PC port among the LC-19D1E's connections, especially given the conspicuous lack of such a jack on the 19AV505DB. The LC-19D1E also scores over the Toshiba model by including an S-Video port among its sockets.

Other headline specifications, given the LC-19D1E's price, are a built-in Freeview tuner and a dynamic backlight arrangement, via which the TV has a good-looking contrast ration of 7,500:1. But there are also an amazingly high number of options for you to mess with in the LC-19D1E's menus.

A 'film mode', for instance, is on hand to manipulate the TV's progressive-scan functionality to suit film rather than video sources. Plus there are well-considered 'movie', 'game' and 'PC' image presets, and even a colour-management facility that lets you adjust the saturation, hue and brightness of the six main colour constituents. In many ways, the LC-19D1E's feature count is not all that far removed from those of Sharp's big-screen models.

Happily, the good feeling generated by the LC-19D1E so far is enhanced by its pictures. In fact, they're far and away the best pictures we've seen at the sub-£250 end of the TV market. The set's 1,366x768-pixel resolution means it can show HD Ready images at 720p.

Especially pleasing is how relatively little blurring and smearing is generated by moving objects as they traverse the LC-19D1E's screen. This, additionally, helps you appreciate the screen's sharpness when showing high-definition material. Seriously, if you're one of those people who think HD only makes a difference on really big TVs, the LC-19D1E will make you think again.

All of this talk of HD glory, however, shouldn't disguise the fact that the LC-19D1E is also a good handler of standard-definition material -- the stuff that's likely to be its bread and butter, given its second-room focus.

If there's one area, above all others, where the LC-19D1E scores over the 19AV505DB, it's black level response. Even the darkest scenes in the darkest movies are dealt with well, thanks to how little greyness the LC-19D1E shows over parts of the picture that should look black.

Finally, as is so often the case, the LC-19D1E's good black levels are accompanied by rich, accurately toned colours.

As with the 19AV505DB, it's impossible not to wish that the LC-19D1E had more than one HDMI input.

It's also impossible not to wish that the LC-19D1E had better on-screen menus. Those you get are so ridiculously small that you'll need 20/20 vision and a seat only a couple of feet from the screen before you'll be able to read everything they're telling you comfortably.

Turning to that generally outstanding picture performance, the LC-19D1E does have one area where there's room for improvement: brightness. Claiming a light output of just 300cd/m2, there's no doubt that the LC-19D1E's pictures might struggle in a room rich in sunlight, such as a conservatory. But we wouldn't envisage any problems in a typical office or bedroom environment.

We also spotted a very occasional colour tone slip, usually involving objects that are supposed to be red looking fractionally orange.

So long as it's not for a conservatory, the Sharp Aquos LC-19D1E is pretty much the perfect second-room TV. After all, it's cheap, performs magnificently well by 19-inch standards and looks fantastic. In fact, now we come to think of it, maybe the LC-19D1E would also work rather well in a third and fourth room as well...

 Edited by Charles Kloet