Sharp LL-172G-B review

Price when reviewed

Sharp’s 17in TFT range has been on our A List for several months, so we were eager to see how the excellent LL-172G-B shaped up against new competition. Side by side on the test bench, the Sharp immediately stands out for its style and features, and not just in this price bracket.

Sharp LL-172G-B review

The brushed-metal stand is sturdy and offers a decent degree of swivel, plus a height adjustment of 70mm. Just note that it isn’t free-moving – a quick-release lever holds it in place where you want it. Cables dangle rather ungracefully out of the rear, but Sharp provides some cable clips to hold the signal, power and audio wires vaguely in place. We were pleased toÊsee DVI-I, D-SUB and audio cables in the box, and the integrated PSU is another bonus.

At the front, the black bezel is quite slim at 18mm and there’s a stylish silver control bar beneath it. This sports a useful headphone jack, OSD and volume controls. The integrated speakers are the only real shortfall, proving useful for Windows sounds but little else. The OSD is surprisingly well featured, though, and there’s a dedicated mode-switching button that cycles through presets like office, sRGB and vivid.

When it comes to quality, colours are faithfully reproduced (resulting in a good score in the colour spectrum test) and, technically speaking, we saw little discernable banding in the intensity ramp test. This is good news if you want to manipulate digital photos – as long as you set up your screen properly for your work area, the colours you print should be similar. Also, the lack of banding means that subtle changes in the shades of one colour will be correctly displayed.

Backlighting, and thus purity, was supremely even and there was virtually no backlight glow on dark screens. As with most TFTs, the top and bottom end of the colour range was slightly compressed: the monitor was unable to distinguish subtly different dark greys or bright whites. This was no worse than with most others on test, and there’s always gamma correction for upping the brightness – but reaching it using the OSD is a lengthy process. In movies and games, the Sharp showed better than adequate contrast (using Vivid mode), and no lag or ghosting. Viewing angles were impressive too.

If you demand technical excellence, you might be disappointed. But at this price, the quality, style and features can’t be beaten. The fact that Sharp came top in our recent Service & Reliability survey for TFTs is the icing on the cake.

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