Picture settings: Five tweakable picture modes, a gamma slider, a full color management system and both two-point and 10-point grayscale controls make the 745U match the adjustability of LG and Samsung, and outdo that of Sony and most Panasonics. Unfortunately both the CMS (unusually for Sharp) and the 10-point system didn't work well. New for 2012 is the ability to tweak the strength of dejudder, but it just goes from really smooth to even smoother.
Connectivity: I have no complaints on this front. Four HDMI ports is plenty, and the analog connections (one component, two composite, one VGA for computers) are as complete as I'd expect. A pair of USB ports, one facing the side and one the bottom, rounds out the package.
I was frankly surprised that the 745U didn't deliver as good of a picture as the less expensive 640U I tested earlier. The higher-end Sharp showed a lighter shade of black, worse uniformity, and less accurate color overall, with marginally better shadow detail being its only advantage over the cheaper set. Its matte screen is a plus for bright rooms but on the flipside 3D was just so-so.
Click the image to see the picture settings used in the review and to read more about how this TV’s picture controls worked during calibration.
|Comparison models (details)|
|Sharp LC-60LE640U||60-inch edge-lit LED|
|Panasonic TC-P55ST50||55-inch plasma|
|Sony KDL-55HX750||55-inch edge-lit LED|
|55-inch edge-lit LED|
|reference) (||59-inch plasma|
Black level: Watching the dark "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," the LE745U didn't produce as convincing a shade of black as most of the other TVs in the lineup. In dark scenes, like the view over the sleepy snowbound town at the beginning of Chapter 8 for example, its letterbox bars and shadows appeared lighter than nearly all of the others; the only exception was the Sony HX750.
The difference in perceived contrast or "pop" -- a product of deep black levels -- between the two Sharp TVs was significant despite their nearly identical 0 percent black measurements (see the Geek Box below). The cheaper 640U looked noticeably better in this and other very dark scenes, thanks to its darker letterbox bars and shadows. Yes, the difference narrowed in brighter scenes as usual, but the 745U never looked better than its line-mate in terms of black level.
Details in shadows on the 745U were solid, with little crushing or overly-bright highlights to speak of. This is the one area where it held a slight advantage over the 640U. The black robes of Snipe and the students in Chapter 10 (35:20) looked natural, for example; better than the PND8000 and slightly better than the 640U, both of which showed some crushing of detail.
Color accuracy: The 745U again fell short of the cheaper 640U in this area, with slightly blue-looking skin tones and a bit less saturation than its line-mate. The bluish cast was most obvious in darker areas, such as the shadows in the pillars and marching statues in Chapter 11 (42:32) In brighter areas, like the faces of the two ladies in the same scene, the difference between the two Sharps was difficult to discern. Compared to our reference Samsung the bluish look was even more apparent, as was the less-impressive saturation and richness to color. That said the 745U's color wasn't bad even given the issues we experienced during calibration (see the notes above).
Video processing: The 745U performed basically the same as the 640U in this category, which is to say not very well. Unlike last year's models such as the 1080p/24 film cadence in my test. Instead, the deck of the Intrepid from "I Am Legend" showed either the choppy stutter of 2:3 pull-down or the too-smooth look of dejudder. The former occurred when I set Film Mode to either Off or Advanced (0), while any of the other Advanced values caused dejudder to kick in., both 2012 Sharps were not capable of passing the correct
Despite the presence of 11 smoothness settings, the adjustable dejudder basically toggled between Off (at 0) and Really Smooth (+1 or higher). We'd like to have seen a greater range of visible effect, such as Samsung's system provides, or even a single setting that keeps some judder, like Sony's Standard setting.
One video processing bright spot was the Sharp's ability to preserve its full-motion resolution -- about 600 lines in this case, typical for a 120Hz TV -- without introducing dejudder.
Uniformity: Like the 640U and most other edge-lit sets the 745U suffered from irregular brightness across the screen. I noticed a brighter corner on the lower-right of the letterbox bar and, in very dark scenes like the walk through the tunnel in Chapter 9 (31:41) , faint blobs of brightness in the shadows on the middle-left of the screen. These kinds of irregularities looked worse on the Sony HX750, but the ones on the 640U were less noticeable.
Seen from off-angle the 745U preserved black levels better than the Sony HX750 but not as well as the Sony HX850, and I saw a corresponding color fidelity shift toward blue that was worse than on the 640U. Aside from the initial difference in black level, which affects just about everything, I'd say the two Sharps behaved the same when seen from a seat cushion or two to either side.
Bright lighting: The Sharp's matte screen was very good at rejecting reflections from ambient light, matching that of the 640U and surpassing both Sony LCDs with their brighter reflected light. It didn't preserve black levels as well as the glossy Sony HX850's screen, however. The 745U was still better than both plasmas in bright rooms, although the difference between it and the ST50 was surprisingly small.
In short, the Sharp 745U is a mediocre 3D performer. In the crucial area of crosstalk only the ST50 performed worse in our lineup, although the HX750 was about the same. The 745U showed an obvious ghostly outline around many objects in "Hugo." During one of my favorite test sequences, for example, the outlines were particularly obvious and distracting around Hugo's hand as it reached for the mouse (5:01) and the tuning pegs on the guitar (7:49).
Sharp's glasses seemed to darken the image more than most of the other sets, obscuring some of the details in shadows. That issue should be easy enough to fix with a tweak of the brightness control, however -- note that all of our observations were done in the default settings of the Movie (3D) picture mode.
Sharp didn't send us a pair of current 3D glasses in time for review so we used the company's AN3DG20EL specs, the same ones that came with the Elite review sample (Sharp told us they're the same as the AN3DG20B models). They're not as light as the or specs -- not to mention the LG's -- but easier to wear than the bulky Sonys and much sturdier than the Samsungs.
Note that this review originally published with an incomplete Geek Box and no calibration chart. These sections were updated on June 13, 2012.
|Black luminance (0%)||0.006||Good|
|Near-black x/y (5%)||0.2873/0.3035||Average|
|Dark gray x/y (20%)||0.3111/0.3253||Average|
|Bright gray x/y (70%)||0.3113/0.3256||Average|
|Before avg. color temp.||6937||Poor|
|After avg. color temp.||6508||Good|
|Red lum. error (de94_L)||8.4347||Poor|
|Green lum. error (de94_L)||1.7429||Average|
|Blue lum. error (de94_L)||27.1046||Average|
|Cyan hue x/y||0.2211/0.3214||Good|
|Magenta hue x/y||0.3206/0.15||Good|
|Yellow hue x/y||0.4337/0.5192||Poor|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Pass||Good|
|1080i De-interlacing (film)||Pass||Good|
|Motion resolution (max)||600||Average|
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)||600||Average|