The 37-inch GD8E from Sharp is part of its Aquos range and offers an elegant mid-range solution for the modern user. The minimal but effective design makes for an attractive addition to a living room, and a built-in DTV tuner means that you can enjoy a higher quality signal without the need for additional equipment.
The GD8E is HD ready with a single HDMI port to accompany the more standard Scart and composite inputs, a VGA port allows you to connect a laptop or PC.
Image quality for the most part is excellent, particularly with an HD signal, and the screen excels in ambient or well-lit conditions showing a vibrant picture and sharp colours. With the lights out you do have to fiddle with the image controls to compensate, blacks seemed a little washed out in this more pure environment but for the most part you can tune the backlight and 12,000:1 contrast ratio to enhance the image fairly quickly.
The set offers Nicam stereo and Dolby surround sound, which you’ll want to take advantage of it you’re set up with HD receiver or DVD player. Sound quality is good without being outstanding, we did notice the bass suffering in some instances if you turn it up a few notches. A distinct rattle was evident at higher volumes so the set would benefit from being hooked up to a proper surround sound speaker set with a decent subwoofer.
An effective interface makes the myriad of controls for tweaking video and audio as straightforward as possible, and has the added advantage of overlaying the menu over the picture so you can preview results of any changes straight away.
Sharp lists an online price of £1500, about average for a 37-inch display today, but if you look around online you can save a hefty amount. At the time a writing a number of distributors were listing the panel for under £1000, making the GD8E a decent priced screen in anyone’s eyes.
Despite its minor foibles the GD8E is an excellent panel that falls in line with the high display and build quality we’ve seen in many of Sharp’s recent offerings. Bearing in mind you pick it up online for under a grand it comes highly recommended.