In the past, we've had a little moan about the lack of sensible names given to the inputs on Sharp's TVs -- generally they don't carry much information about what 'EXT1' actually is. Luckily, if you're using HDMI you'll now see the device name printed at the top of the screen. This is fantastic and Sharp has actually done a great job implementing this particular feature.
One of the first things we noticed about the 32XL8 was that the picture was quite sharp and detailed, even on Freeview programming. The downside to this is something we've criticised Sharp for in the past: the picture can sometimes suffer from de-interlacing artefacts, where you can see some jagged edges on moving objects.
To be fair, though, we can forgive such things, especially considering that overall the image on the XL8 is very impressive and does a good job of making Freeview look acceptable.
Obviously, gamers love 1080p screens for their ultra-high resolution, so we grabbed the PS3 and fired up Ridge Racer 7, a full 1080p game, to test it out. We weren't disappointed by what we saw at all. The TV had masses of detail, and if you're sitting close to it in a small room, it's quite a fantastic experience. The Sharp also has a refresh rate fast enough to make sure the action doesn't blur with fast motion.
Blu-ray movies, such as Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, looked great too. There's a rich colour on the Sharp that we really rather liked. The 1080/24p support also makes this a good TV for watching films, even though it's reasonably small.
Sound was also more impressive than we expected, with the two 10W speakers doing a good job of projecting speech and even low-end bass. Of course, there are always improvements to be had by using a sound bar for other external speaker systems.
Some people, mostly gamers, want to have 1080p TVs no matter what size. The simple fact is that there really isn't much difference between 720p and 1080p on panels this size. That said, gaming on this screen was a pleasure, and it will certainly please gamers who want to immerse themselves in some 1080p action.
There are cheaper 32-inch LCDs around, and an increasing number are 1080p capable, too. We think one of the best we've seen is the, which also adds the coolness of a two-sided Ambilight into the mix, another plus for gamers. But this Sharp is certainly worth a look.
Edited by Marian Smith