26" LCD TVs: Are They Ready for Prime Time?

Sharp Aquos LC26GA3E / LC26GA4E

Sharp is not a regular on these pages, but we chose to test the LC 26 GA3, and it's a good thing we did, as you'll find out below. At an average street price of $1,650 (1,720 euros) it offers a finish comparable to that of the Sony KLV-26HG2, with better quality and more possibilities.

Note that in the United States, the model available is the LC26GA4E. This is the same unit with the same specifications, it just has the speakers in a different location.

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Sharp Aquos LC26GA3E
Diagonal measurement26"
Native resolution1280x768
Brightness450 nits
Latency14 ms
Colors16.2 M
H/V Viewing angles170/170
Connectivity2 Peritel, cinch, S-Video, YUV, DVI
PC connectivity and convergenceVGA/ DVI
Average price$1,650 (1,720 €)

Design And Finish

The Aquos LC 26 GA3 television set has a dual-element design, with the panel forming one element and a speaker bar running across the bottom of the panel forming the other. The finish is just as good as on the Sony set, and the entire unit is done in aluminum tones. The screen is fixed to a solid aluminum base that makes a very fine impression. The feet, also aluminum, provide good stability. At the top of the base is a sheathed aluminum handle that's supposed to be for carrying the unit. However, given its weight, the handle is more or less symbolic - you'll probably need both hands to move this set to another room in the house. Still, the overall looks are a real design success.

Ergonomics: All The Options

Physically, the ergonomics of the Aquos LC 26 GA3 are well thought out. The panel has adjustable tilt, which is rare on an LCD TV, and it also has a pivoting base. These functions mean you can really orient the set to suit your needs.

Sharp has also built in a system for adapting the brightness to the ambient light, and we have to admit it works fairly well. A small sensor is built into the shell that measures the brightness of the room and adapts the TV's brightness to suit. A nice touch.

The shovel-like shape of the remote control is a little odd, but you get used to it. Still, it's not as nice as the one that comes with the Sony.

The on-screen display gives the user control over absolutely everything. In this area, Sharp has taken a professional approach to high-definition television. The user can choose the tint of each color and also the saturation, sharpness, and even the panel's latency.