Running the Android TV OS, this Sharp smart TV is a great option for budget big screen buyers. There are caveats, specifically its average HDR peak brightness and poor latency, but for everyday viewing it doesn’t disappoint.
Offering more finesse than you might expect for the price, the Sharp FN2 Series is something of a return to form for the long-serving TV brand.
It doesn’t push the envelope in performance, but that’s not really the point. This is a high-value flatscreen that combines solid picture quality, with a reliable Android TV platform.
With access to Google Play, all streaming services of note are available, and usability is good. This Sharp set also comes with a surprisingly potent Harman Kardon sound system.
Design & Features
Thin bezel, wide feet
Android 11 smart TV
The 55-incher (UK model) on test here has a smart but anonymous look, with a thin bezel and widely placed feet that screw into the base. I had to use a long AV bench to accommodate it, but it looked fine once installed.
Check your furniture first or, alternatively, you can wall mount the FN2. This TV is a good candidate for that, tipping the scales at just 15.6kg, a consequence of its rather plasticky build.
Steve May / Foundry
Rear connectivity comprises four HDMI ports, one with eARC, a digital optical audio output, twin USB (V2.0) jacks, an AV minijack input, and Ethernet (if you prefer that over built-in Wi-Fi). One unusual extra addition is an SD card slot, for playing back digital snaps and the like.
The set has a Freeview Play terrestrial tuner (in the UK), as well as a satellite alternative, which is useful if you happen to have an unused dish feed to hand, and CI card slot.
It comes with a slim remote control that’s easy enough to use. It’s distinguished by a prominent navigational pad and dedicated buttons for Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube and Freeview Play.
Steve May / Foundry
The key feature of the FN2 Series is its Android TV smart OS, here in version 11 guise. This offers a full screen of curated content, via dedicated channel and service rails, be it from catch-up TV services like iPlayer and ITVX, or the likes of Netflix.
As part of the Android feature bouquet, you also get Chromecast streaming built-in, as well as Google Assistant voice interaction.
Good Average Picture Level
Limited peak HDR brightness
When it comes to image quality, there are highs and there are lows.
The set ships with Eco as its default picture setting, and this certainly doesn’t do the panel any favours. Once you’re up and running, channels tuned in, my advice is to immediately switch to the Standard picture preset. This gives a significant, and easy to appreciate, boost to brightness.
I left the set in this mode for most content, as it offers a sweet spot in terms of contrast and dynamics. Other picture options include Movie (which like Eco I found rather too muted for comfortable viewing), Vivid, Sport and User (adjustable).
Another attraction of the set, at least from a home cinema point of view, is the provision of Dolby Vision, which when used with Dolby Vision content (standard on Netflix and Disney+ 4K shows), delivers the best possible HDR performance from this panel.
When watching Dolby Vision programmes, the presets alter to Dolby Vision Bright, Dolby Vision Dark and Dolby Vision Vivid. I found Bright the best option here.
Reflecting this model’s budget nature, peak HDR brightness is limited. I measured it at around 400 nits, with both 5% and 10% patches. This isn’t enough to lift specular highlights, or deliver the kind of image depth that HDR is noted for.
That said, its average picture level with SDR content is actually quite impressive. It presents a uniformly bright image that works well both in daylit rooms and darkened dens.
HD and native 4K content appear admirably sharp, courtesy of Sharp’s dual-core Ace Pro Ultra picture engine, however, SD channels and old DVDs look fuzzy and are best avoided.
I wasn’t surprised to discover that the FN2 Series doesn’t support 4K 120Hz gameplay. It’s a standard 60Hz panel, and the HDMI ports are v2.0 – but there is a dedicated Game mode. However, latency is poor; I measured input lag at 50.8ms (1080p/60fps) in Game mode.
If fast-moving, competitive shooters are your style, then a screen with superior input lag would be a better option.
Harman Kardon sound system
DTS Virtual: X
12W stereo output
While the set’s picture prowess comes with some qualifications, the FN2’s audio offering is above average for the price point. You might be forgiven for thinking this TV will sound anemic, but that’s not the case.
It’s actually surprisingly full-bodied, courtesy of a stereo system designed by Harman Kardon. It has sufficient volume (12W total) and mid-range weight to do justice to dramas and even action movies, when heard in an average-sized living room.
The set can also bitstream Dolby Atmos from streaming services out to an external soundbar or home cinema system, over eARC.
Steve May / Foundry
While there may only be a stereo speaker configuration built-in, there is the option of DTS Virtual:X processing. This subjectively enlarges the soundstage, for a more cinematic experience.
There’s also Truebass, a low-frequency enhancer, but I found the latter rather heavy handed and boomy.
Price & Availability
The Sharp FN2 Series is available in four screen sizes, all available now. Choose from 43-, 50-, 55- and 65in models priced at £329, £369, £399 and £529 respectively.
On my test bench is the 55in version and you’ll find model numbers in the UK as FN2KA and FN2KL. You can buy it from the likes of Richer Sounds, RGB Direct and Marks Electrical.
The same Sharp range is available in the US, albeit with a slight model number tweak: 43FN2EA, 50FN2EA, 55FN2EA and 65FN2EA. Price is yet to be announced.
For more cheap options, check out our best budget TVs chart.
For a budget-friendly 4K flatscreen, the Sharp FN2 Series impresses.
Not too much cash will get you a razor-sharp image and a subjectively high average picture level.
Sure, peak HDR brightness is limited, but with Dolby Vision content, it still looks cinematic, and the provision of Android TV and (in the UK) Freeview Play, ensures that most all catch-up and streaming services are available.
The obvious caveat is its poor input lag performance. If gaming is your passion, especially fast-paced games, then I suggest you look elsewhere.
That said, if you want a no-fuss telly for the lounge or as a second screen in the house, it’s more than up to the job.