I’m planning to move apartments sometime this summer and as such, I thought I buy some new gadgets for my new place. Top of the list is a Plasma TV. Having decided that, I decided I should look into selling my stuff so I wouldn’t have too much stuff to move. Given the limited space of apartments in Hong Kong, there isn’t much room for things like extra TVs. Given that I have a way-too-big 29” Sony Wega, I decided I had better look around for any potential buyers even though my move is not for another 2 months. Within less than a week of sending an e-mail around to everyone, I got a buyer. I couldn’t say, “please wait two months for delivery” so I sold it.
I told myself, maybe I could just go a few months without a TV. Yeah right! I didn’t want to get my Plasma TV now because I would just have to move it again in a few months. So I searched the store for a possible interim solution… hmm… what to buy? I knew I would be drawn to the LCD TVs that were out there – they are just too nice to ignore despite the price.
Remember theVooner’s Christmas trip to Tokyo where I drooled over the Sharp Aquos and the other LCD screens? Well they never made it to Hong Kong where I had hoped these beautiful models would eventually be ported over to. I give up trying to wait for them.
There are really only two major makers of consumer LCD-TVs available here in Hong Kong (and probably everywhere else), Samsung and Sharp. (There is also a Nakamichi LCD-TV but its weak resolution and high price does not make it a serious contender.) The Samsung ones are very nice looking, and they double up as PC monitors. But in truth, I already have 2 laptops and even if I did buy another PC, it too would probably be a laptop so I didn’t really need a screen for a PC. So it came down to pure aesthetics. And for that primary reason, I chose the Sharp. (The Sharp also has DVD component inputs, which helped seal the deal.)
[In truth, I have to admit I seriously thought about the Samsung because the 17” version is a very good size. But I just didn’t like the way it looked nor the way the TV pictures looked on the screen.]
There are three different models to choose from with Sharp. The 10” model is just too small, so I had to decide between the 15” and the 20”. There are also two versions of each size as well, one that has a computer RGB port but without a TV tuner, and another with a built-in TV tuner but without the RGB port. As I already explained, I didn’t want the computer monitor capability, and besides, the two versions are slightly different looking. I was initially set on getting the 20” LC-20A2. It’s really nice with the cool speakers on the side. But, it’s selling for about US$2550 and in my opinion, that’s a bit steep for just 20”. Especially when you consider that the 15” version is only US$1100. So I had to think about that for a minute.
I figured that this wasn’t going to be my primary TV anyway. I was after all going to get a Plasma TV in a few months. Plus, Hong Kong apartments are so small that I was probably going to be close enough to the screen that the extra 5” wouldn’t matter that much. I could mount this one on the wall at the bottom of my bed and at the very worst, it would be a really cool “2nd” TV. I could even buy another LC-15A2 and it would still be cheaper than the 20”. Two LCD’s would look pretty awesome! Buying the LC-15A2 instead of the LC-20A2 would also mean that I had almost US$1500 to go buy other stuff with.
So finally after debating for 30 minutes, I bought the LC-15A2 (you would think they would have come up with a nice fancy name for it though huh?).
When you initially look at the LC-15A2, it’s not as striking or as nice as the LC-20A2 with its speakers. But when you take your time to admire it, the TV starts to grow on you. Eventually, you’ll just want one. It’s extremely small and light as expected. The metallic front is pretty much like any other TV (like the Wega, for example), which looks very sturdy yet attractive. It’s much better than the standard cream-colored plastic shell on standard PC monitors/LCD monitors. When you unpack it from it’s box, it looks really neat. Of course it’s really light, and small. You just can’t get over the fact that it really doesn’t take up much room. What a change from before.
I immediately grabbed the wires from the back of my DVD player and started to plug it into the back of the LC-15A2. At first it didn’t work. So I had to go through all of the menus on the LCD, which I should add are very easy to navigate. Then I found the problem: I had to set the input to “Component”. That solved the problem and in no time, I was watching Gladiator.
The screen is very nice. Bright enough that it’s just like a regular CRT TV. You can adjust the usual things like contrast, color, etc. so you can have it just the way you like it. The angle of view is also very good. Initially, there were some issues about being able to see these things from an angle, but I don’t think that’s an issue anymore. One thing I really like is the fact that the screen is very matte black. The typical glass on most TV reflects way too much and you often either see a reflection of the ceiling light or yourself, while watching TV. Not so with the LCD, it’s not reflective at all. Picture clarity, detail, etc. is all really good.
The sound though is pretty disappointing. Of course, what do you expect from something so small? The front speakers are pretty pathetic. I guess I had hoped for more, but deep down I knew it wasn’t going to be great. To solve the problem, I hooked up my Altec Lansing speakers to the LCD and now it’s really jamming.
I know that this will eventually be a 2nd TV screen so for its purpose, it’s great. (Aside: it now looks like this will be a 3rd TV and I’ve decided to stick it on my new computer table next to my laptop.) It really is quite nice to look at. I will admit that I was initially mixed after two days and I was thinking of returning it to get the bigger 20” version. You do get the feeling once in awhile that it is a bit small, especially when you’re used to staring at a 29” TV. But after I thought about it, I decided to save the money and go buy something else. After all, this small LCD is really something that you would only buy if you have MONEY TO BURN. And I didn’t want to burn too much all at one go. I still believe that the LCD-15A2 is a much better deal than buying the 20” version. I’m sure though that the prices will eventually come down so you’ll be able to buy a bigger screen for much less.