There's nothing major missing from the Sharp's bay, and we appreciated not having to use breakout cables, as is the case on many thin LCDs and plasmas these days.
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.
The Movie setting of the LC-LE830U is the most accurate out of the box, but it was still a bit subpar compared to the competition, with a minus-blue grayscale and quite a bit brighter than we'd like to see. Also, Movie's default color gamut is Expanded, which Sharp tells us is designed to show off the effects of the extra yellow pixel. In Expanded green and yellow color points are quite a bit outside the HD color standard, which is typical of such modes on other TVs.
Thanks to Sharp's excellent color management system, our calibration was able to bring those color points back into line and get generally excellent results, although the grayscale was still a bit off, especially in the middle range, and there was little we could do to help the blue-tinged lower end.
For our image quality tests we checked out the Blu-ray of "The Town" using the following comparison TVs.
|Comparison models (details)|
|65-inch edge-lit LED|
|46-inch edge-lit LED|
|Sony KDL-46EX720 series||46-inch edge-lit LED|
|47-inch edge-lit LED|
|Vizio XVT553SV||55-inch full-array LED|
|Panasonic TC-P50ST30 series||50-inch plasma|
|Pioneer PRO-111FD (reference)||50-inch plasma|
Black level: The depth of black on the LC-LE830U measured at the bright end of our Average range (see the Geek Box below), and looked brighter (worse) than those of any other display in our lineup. The difference was most visible in dark scenes, such as the nighttime harbor cruise in Chapter 3 (29:30). The letterbox bars, night sky and water, and black jackets, for example, all appeared visibly lighter than the others. We tried engaging Active Contrast but the only impact it had was to crush shadow detail.
Details in shadows, such as the shoulder of Clair's jacket and the highlights in her hair (31:04) were more obscure than on most of the other displays, a result of darker gamma in near-black areas.
Color accuracy: As we mentioned above we achieved a solid color calibration regardless of the extra yellow pixel, which seemed to have little impact. Skin tones in bright scenes, for example the face of Clair in the cafe in Chapter 5, looked relatively accurate, if a bit bluer and slightly less saturated than our reference--an effect of the lighter black levels we suspect. .
The Sharp's worst aspect in this category was an overwhelming blue tinge in black and near-dark areas. The effect is common among LED-based LCDs, but for whatever reason much more noticeable on the LC-LE830U than on any of the other sets in our lineup. .
Video processing: The LC-LE830U's dejudder (smoothing) processing is controlled by the Film Mode setting. Both Advanced (High) and Advanced (Low) introduce dejudder, while Off yielded the correct 1080p/24 film cadence.
The Motion Enhancement control affects motion resolution and we saw no detriment to leaving it in the High setting, which hit about 600 lines, as opposed to Off, which measured between 300 and 400. Engaging this setting to maximize motion resolution didn't introduce dejudder, so we could leave it on and still get true film cadence without smoothing--a rarity among non-Samsung LCDs. As usual it was nearly impossible to discern blurring in any mode with normal program material.
Sharp says its Quad Pixel Plus can use the extra yellow subpixel to smooth diagonal lines slightly, but to our eye it was impossible to discern any difference between the On and Off positions from a normal seating distance. .
We were curious whether the big-screen Sharp LCD would show the same kind of smearing we saw on the Vizio XVT3D650SV, but checking the same scenes we didn't see it nearly as badly. .
Uniformity: The screen on the LC-LE830U was, along with that of the Vizio XVT3D650SV, among the worst in our lineup at showing even brightness across its surface. Perhaps other Sharp samples, or smaller sizes in the series, will be better, but our manufacturer-supplied 60-incher was poor.
A brighter spot in the middle of the screen was visible in numerous dark scenes, while the edges, in particular along the bottom, also appeared brighter than the rest of the screen--an effect that showed up strongly in letterbox bars. We also saw vertical bands of uneven brightness, which were especially visible in flat fields like skies and during camera movement.
Update June 21, 2011: Since this review published Sharp visited CNET and showed us a different LC-60LE830U sample that had somewhat better screen uniformity, although the edges and corners were still brighter compared to the middle. As usual these issues can vary from sample to sample, so the improved uniformity of a second manufacturer-supplied sample will not otherwise alter this review.
From off-angle the Sharp lost black level and color fidelity (becoming bluer-tinged) at about the same rate as the Samsung and Sony, and kept black level (but not color) marginally better than the LG and Vizios.
Bright lighting: The matte finish on the screen of the Sharp really helped in bright lighting situations, reducing the brightness of reflections in a way that was especially appreciable on the large screen. There was some small sacrifice in black levels compared to glossier screens like the Samsung and Vizio XVT3D650SV, but for bright rooms matte is clearly superior in our book.
PC: (updated June 21, 2011) The Sharp accepted and displayed a 1,920x1,080-pixel analog VGA source with no problem and delivered full resolution, with no softness and only minor edge enhancement, once we used the auto synch function. Our original report mentioned softness and imperfect resolution, but that was because we mistakenly failed to use auto synch.
Power consumption: In terms of watts per square inch, the LC-LE830U is among the best TVs we've tested. Sharp says that the extra yellow subpixel contributes to its miserly power use, but whatever the reason, this is one efficient television.
|Black luminance (0%)||0.0193||Average|
|Near-black x/y (5%)||0.2651/0.255||Poor|
|Dark gray x/y (20%)||0.3125/0.3274||Good|
|Bright gray x/y (70%)||0.3128/0.3293||Good|
|Before avg. color temp.||6277||Poor|
|After avg. color temp.||6405||Good|
|Red lum. error (de94_L)||0.6653||Good|
|Green lum. error (de94_L)||0.6653||Good|
|Blue lum. error (de94_L)||1.1414||Good|
|Cyan hue x/y||0.2213/0.3241||Good|
|Magenta hue x/y||0.3228/0.1525||Good|
|Yellow hue x/y||0.4167/0.4985||Good|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Pass||Good|
|1080i De-interlacing (film)||Pass||Good|
|Motion resolution (max)||600||Average|
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)||600||Average|
|PC input resolution (VGA)||1,920x1,080||Good|
|Sharp LC-60LE830U||Picture settings|
|Picture on (watts)||118.52||107.47||N/A|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.08||0.07||N/A|
|Cost per year||$26.04||$23.02||N/A|
|Score (considering size)||Good|