Sharp LC32GP3

Review

posted 12/18/2008 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
One Page Platforms: AV
Gameplay Tests
In addition to just watching video, I put a lot of gameplay hours into the Sharp GP3, as playing games on the GP3 is what this TV was designed to do best. The majority of the testing was done with the Xbox 360 versions of Rock Band, Rock Band 2, The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion and Grand Theft Auto IV. However, I did sneak in some MotorStorm on the PS3 recently and was also impressed.

The GP3 features Sharp’s “Vyper Drive”, which from what I understand is a game mode that essentially maximizes the image quality and the time it takes to react between the TV and 1080p compatible consoles. I do not believe it works with an analog console (PS2 or Nintendo Wii) or if you are not using the Xbox 360 or PS3 with the output set to 1080p. I did not attempt to hook either console up with anything less than using the HDMI and 1080p format, as it did not make sense to review a $1,200 gaming TV with anything less than its maximum quality. The Vyper drive worked extremely well in eliminating any possible lag between the console and TV in all the gameplay testing I performed, especially in Rock Band. The only time the TV wasn’t in synch with a console came when I attempted to manually calibrate the Rock Band drums. It was comical how awful I made the lag after the manual calibration, as it went from less than 3 to over 90. My recommendation is to just let Vyper Drive do the work and stick with the basic LCD Television option for calibration within the game.


The biggest impact besides the Vyper drive is how well games from the next generation platforms look in full 1080p. The jump from 720p/1080i to 1080p is not as drastic as from analog to HD, but the additional pixels make all the difference. In Rock Band, the details of not just the fret lines, but also the background animations are very noticeable. I also liked how much better the water moved in Oblivion, Niko’s running and the physics in general in GTA IV and how the dirt was altered during a race in MotorStorm. These specific items were but a few of the improvements I noticed with the Sharp LC32GP3 vs traditional 720p LCD, not to mention the better overall details and sharpness of about every game I played.

Gaming is what the Sharp LC32GP3 was designed to do, and it does it extremely well. Despite having a listed 6ms response time and no 120Hz technology, the TV was flawless during game play testing. The images, motion and colors were the best I have seen on similar 32” class LCD TVs to date and thoroughly exceeded my expectations. The assignable gaming input and Sharp’s Vyper Drive system complete the package and allow the Sharp LC32GP3 to provide one of the best gaming experiences found on any LCD TV on the market.

Miscellaneous Items of Note
• Comes in Red, White or Black
• Easily wall-mountable
• Performance Exceeds published specs
• Initial Channel Search is lengthy and produces false positives
• Dust clings to the glossy cabinet finish

Pros Cons
Inputs Galore Tad Pricey
Vyper Drive No 120Hz
Picture Brute of a Remote
Look and Feel  

Testing Methodology
Items utilized in the testing of the Sharp LC32GP3 included, but not limited to:

Xbox 360 Elite, PlayStation 3, out-of the-wall cable, Off-air antenna, DirecTV Satellite and Scientific Atlantic HD-DVR.

The Conclusion
The Sharp LC32GP3 is one of the best LCD TVs that can be purchased for not only gaming, but all TV applications. The TV images it renders are some of the nicest looking of TVs I have reviewed, and the aesthetics of the cabinet keep the unit looking great whether it is on or off. The Vyper Drive does a great job of eliminating any lag from consoles to TV and having an assignable HD connection dedicated to gaming (with a dedicated source button on the remote) is priceless.

The only knock is the cost compared to similar sized televisions as $1,299 (it can be found for under $1000 now) may price the TV out of the range of the intended audience. However, there are few 32” LCD models available with 1080p and those do not offer the gaming enhancements and stylish cabinet designs found with the GP3. Therefore the price can easily be justified for the superior gaming and video performance it provides in this class of TV. Going forward with their Gaming Series of televisions, I would like to see Sharp begin to offer the gaming enhancements and upgraded cabinet designs in a 37” or 42” class model as well.


A
The Sharp LC32GP3 is the best LCD-based gaming television I have come across to date due to its Vyper Drive, assignable gaming input and full 1080p ability. It performs flawlessly whether gaming, watching HD content or just catching an old-school analog show. Although the price point may scare off some of the potential audience, it is well within limits for the features and superior performance the GP3 provides compared to other 32” models.



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