Overview

Last year Sharp made a splash with ads featuring Star Trek's Mr. Sulu--George Takei--comically extolling the virtues of a technology called Quattron. With the memorable "Oh, myyy" tagline, the spots attempted to convince TV buyers that the technology, which adds a fourth yellow sub-pixel to the standard array of red, green and blue, improved color fidelity. Despite covering the launch in-depth we never reviewed one of those 2010 TVs, but after spending some time with the 2011 version, represented by the LC-LE830U series, we're a bit less impressed than Sulu was.

If you calibrate the LC-LE830U series properly--something we do with every TV we review--the yellow pixel has no major impact, positive or negative, on picture quality. What will have a negative impact for critical viewers are the set's lighter black levels and sub-par screen uniformity. We appreciate some aspects of its performance, as well as a feature set with Wi-Fi and best-in-class product support, but in the end the LC-LE830U does little to stand above the tough competition in the edge-lit LED-based LCD TV category.

Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Quattron up close

Sharp's main differentiating feature is Quattron, a proprietary modification of the panel design used by nearly all LCDs (both LED-based and otherwise), plasmas, monitors, projectors, smartphones, and so on. All 1080p TVs have 1,920x1,080 pixels, which are typically composed of three subpixels, one each for red, green and blue, that combine to form color. Quattron adds a fourth subpixel, yellow. You can check out our "Oh, myyy!" slideshow from 2010 for more information on the technology, which is largely unchanged this year.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Side view

Sharp thinned the TV's dimensions to 1.6 inches deep.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Corner detail

A relatively slim bezel helps keep the Sharp compact, but its looks are a bit generic.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Stand detail

The low-profile stand allows the TV to swivel.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Remote control

Thinner and longer than most clickers, Sharp's wand is plagued by lack of backlight and insufficient differentiation between the mostly too-small keys.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Favorite apps buttons

One great feature, however, is the trio of programmable buttons that provide instant access to your favorite apps.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Inputs

The HDMI, USB, and a few other ports are mounted along the side and bottom of the input area.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Main menus

The menus appear to the top and side of the TV image, shrinking it but not obscuring anything.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Menu explanations

Explanations pop up when you select a menu item.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Color Management System

Sharp's color management system lets a calibrator dial in more accurate color despite the extra yellow pixel.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Aquos Advantage Live

Aquos Advantage Live is Sharp's excellent live help feature, which we described in 2009.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Glossary

Sharp's excellent onscreen help section includes a full user menu, FAQ and even a glossary of terms.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Aquos Net

The main Aquos Net interface needs work. It occupies half the screen and widgets live in that "console," an arrangement that works fine but doesn't accommodate custom widget sizes. Worse, the widgets can be hard to find; the main "Add widgets" menu only lists a portion, while the Aquos Network houses some more. The design seems outdated, the menus are crowded and there's no obvious way to rearrange or customize widgets placement in the console.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Netflix interface

Sharp gets the newer Netflix interface with search and a browsing grid.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Apps

The main Apps menu appears as a strip overlaid along the bottom of the screen, and in addition to the streaming options it provides a shortcut to Aquos Net (with widgets like news, weather, photos and traffic) Aquos Advantage Live and USB and DLNA access.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Picture Quality

The Sharp LC-LE830U series wasn't among the better edge-lit LED-based LCDs we tested this year, but you can't blame the extra yellow pixel for that. Instead, fault lies with its lighter black levels and uneven screen uniformity, as well as extremely blue tinge near black. We appreciated its solid video processing, however, and color accuracy in bright areas after calibration was very good to excellent.
Updated:
Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:
Hot Galleries

CNET's Holiday Gift Guide

'Tis the season for a gadget upgrade

Check out these 8 tablets you'll want to bring home for the holidays.

Hot Products