Frankenfight: Cheap, 32-inch HD LCDs

LCDs have plummeted in price over the last year, so much so, that if you are willing to sacrifice a bit of quality and maybe go generic, you can snag a 32-inch HD for under $1000, and often far less. But you aren't like the rest of the cheapos out there, grabbing the first bargain LCD you see. You are a cheap aficionado who wants the absolute best...for whatever pittance you are willing to pay.

We took PCMag's and CNET's top four rated LCDs in the price range (by Westinghouse, Vizio, Viewsonic and Sharp) and let them duke it out battle royal style in the Frankenreview.

Frankenfight: Cheap, 32-inch HD LCDs

Frankenfight: Cheap, 32-inch HD LCDs


Design
Winner: Sharp
"Sharp dropped the silver coloring..."
"I took a moment to admire the display's all-black styling, which features a gloss-finished bezel inset within a matte-finished frame..."
"...the oversized power button would be easy to locate and operate with your eyes closed."


Inputs
Winner: Sharp
"...including two HDMI ports, two component-video connections, and a single RF input that feeds the TV's analog (NTSC), digital (ATSC), and Clear QAM (unencrypted digital cable) tuners."
"...the biggest omission is a dedicated PC input...no mention of using one of the HDMI inputs with PC sources, although dedicated users can probably find a way."

Frankenfight: Cheap, 32-inch HD LCDs


Features
Winner: Vizio
"... boasts a versatile picture-in-picture control. One option lets you view standard-def—but not high-def—inputs in a smaller window while using the PC input for the main screen.
"There are four aspect-ratio modes available for both HD and standard-def sources."

Display

Frankenfight: Cheap, 32-inch HD LCDs


Winner: Sharp
"...summed up with one word, wow."
"...Sharp was able to coax a relatively deep color of black compared to other LCDs we've reviewed recently."
"...has superior representation of color and dark detail."
"Color tracking was admirably linear too compared with the Westinghouse and ViewSonic 32-inch models."
"its less-saturated color was visible...reds are too garish in comparison with other colors."
"...picture was almost perfectly calibrated right out of the box."

Overall Winner: Sharp

Frankenfight: Cheap, 32-inch HD LCDs

We were surprised that the Sharp's black levels and contrast ratios held up to TVs far more expensive than those compared here. So while the Sharp may be the most expensive in the competition, it not only looks to be a good TV for under $1,000, but a decent TV in general.

Runner Up: Vizio
For $250 less than the Sharp, you get a PC-input and a decent display save for some color temperature problems...just utilize HDMI and avoid component inputs. If you are sub $700 cheap, we can forgive you for choosing the Vizio.

Sharp LC-32D40U Specs:
LCD TV
TFT active matrix
Image aspect ratio - 16:9
Series: Aquos
Width: 32.3 in
Depth: 10.7 in
Height: 25.6 in
Weight: 43 lbs

Video System
Resolution: 1366 x 768
Image contrast ratio - 1200:1
Viewing angle: 176 degrees
Brightness: 450

Television Features
Backlight life: 60,000 hour(s)

Connections / Cables / Slots
Input/Output connections: 2 x HD component input (RCA phono x 3), 2 x HDMI (19 pin HDMI Type A), 1 x S-Video input (4 pin mini-DIN), Audio line-in, 3 x Composite video input (RCA phono)


CNET Westinghouse

CNET Vizio
CNET ViewSonic
CNET Sharp
CNET Sharp 2
PCMag Westinghouse
PCMag Vizio
PCMag ViewSonic
PCMag Sharp