Sony GXD-L52H1 review: Professional display

We review the Sony GXD-L52H1, a 52in display from Sony's professional HDTV range.

The L52H1's knack with sharpness and detail also serves it well with still images, be they scanned artworks or digital photographs - provided, at least, that the content of these still images is predominantly bright and colourful.

For predictably, the L52H1's extreme brightness comes at the cost of a pretty uninspiring black level response. Dark parts of pictures or video footage look rather washed out and grey, as well as exhibiting a real lack of shadow detail.

To be fair, you can improve matters considerably if you use the set's Standard preset, nudge the brightness and backlight settings down, and run the screen in one of its Eco modes. Plus, of course, the brighter the environment the screen is going to appear in, the less obvious its black level shortcomings will appear.

But there's another problem to report in this area too, since the L52H1s contrast, together with its brightness and colour saturation, also drops off severely if the screen is watched from any sort of angle at all.

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The L52H1 does manage to handle video colour tones rather better than we'd expected, though, given its lack of black level quality and aforementioned penchant for PC colourscapes. We liked the video conferencing setting tucked away in the onscreen menus too, for the way it cleverly spots and brightens faces, so that you don't miss any subtle, potentially deal-making/breaking facial expression changes.

Video pictures additionally prove strikingly free of LCD technology's tendency to blur video motion, thanks in no small part to a little CineMotion application tucked away within the screen's onscreen menus. It's a pity though that the motion clarity processing does cause some sporadic stutter and twitching, particularly during camera pans.

In the end, there's no doubt that when the L52H1 is good, it's very good indeed. It's just a shame that the screen is only really at its best with very specific bright, largely static display material, and struggles at times with the sort of video content that more sophisticated customers might be looking for it to run.

Verdict

Although the L52H1 sure knows how to make an impact, it only delivers this impact with a fairly limited type of source material. If you can work within these limitations, then the L52H1 has the features and quality to be a great addition to your business. But we can’t quite shake the feeling that a screen with a price tag north of £4k should perhaps be slightly more flexible in what it’s comfortable showing.

Display technology: LCD Dimensions: 1281(w) x 764(h) x 152(d)mm Native Resolution: 1,920x1080 Connectivity: Built in as standard – Composite Video(BNC), S-Video (mini-DIN 4), Component video (HD15)/HDMI, Stereo mini x 3, LAN (RJ45)/RS232/S-Control, composite video output, stereo mini output; VIA OPTIONAL ACCESSORT BOARDS – BKM-FW50 Digital Signage Board for display of images and video clips. Enables download of content via an IP conection and control via a web browser; BKM-FW21 Monitor Control Adaptor (straight cable), BKM-FW16 HDSDI input/output Adaptor (with audio); BKM-FW15 HDMI input Adaptor (x2 inputs); BKM-FW11 Component/RGB input adaptor with BNCx5 connectors Features: picture in picture and picture and picture modes, multi-display configuration support, network integration and control, portrait or landscape configuration, Backlight control system, CineMotion processing, Video Conference mode PC compatibility: VGA, WVGA, SVGA, XGA, WXGA, WXGA+, SXGA, SXGA+, WSXGA+, UXGA, WUXGA Video compatibility: NTSC, NTSC 4.43, PAL, PAL 60, PAL-N, 1080/60i (but no 24p) Power usage: 380W Contrast ratio: 800:1 Brightness: 500 cd/m² Gradation: N/A

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