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Christmas Gift Guide

Overview

As wide as a reviewer is tall

Profile

Connectivity

Smart TV

Smart TV continued

Remote

Stand

Design

Settings menu

Greyscale adjustment

Picture quality

It's no secret why you're here; the lure of an 80-inch flat-panel television is too great for anyone to resist. Being the first one on the market, the Sharp LC-80LE632U is bound to attract a lot of attention, and despite some of its more obvious flaws, I think that it's a size I want to see more of. Building a television this size is an expensive undertaking, and you're inevitably paying a premium to be one of the first.

The downside is its less than impressive picture quality, namely poor black levels and inaccurate colors. The 80-inch LC-80LE632U is actually the same (high!) price as the 60-inch Sharp Elite, which delivers a better picture in nearly every way. But even given the barrow full of gold you'll need to purchase this monster, and some of its foibles, the sheer size of the LC-80LE632U cannot help but blow many viewers away.

Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
At 80 inches diagonal, the LE632 is equivalent to a person 6 feet, 8 inches in height.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Despite its prodigious girth and full-array backlight, the LE632 still somehow remains slim.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Four HDMIs, two USB ports, and onboard wireless are the highlights.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The Sharp Apps key brings up a pop-up bar that includes Vudu and Netflix.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
Aquos Net includes links to Web content from Twitter and MSN.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The remote isn't backlit, and the position of the Aquos Net and Apps buttons is either a boon or a hindrance (you keep hitting them accidentally).
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
For the price, the 132-pound bulk of the TV precludes it from including a fancy swiveling stand--you're paying for the panel here.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The Sharp keeps things simple with a piano-black bezel. Also note the Wi-Fi logo--no expensive dongles for this TV!
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The Sharp is sensibly laid out and easily accessible; it has one of the better settings menus out there.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
The Sharp offers two levels of grayscale adjustment, but LG's 2012 TVs offer 20!
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
At this price the Sharp is basically a "cost no object" purchase, but its picture quality doesn't behave like one. Poor black levels and inaccurate color means that while everything may seem rosy, the pictures lack the punch of TVs a fraction of the price. Even its stablemate, the 70-inch 732, is capable of better pictures at less than half the cost. Still, there's something intangible about the Sharp's huge image that left me a little in awe. Being able to fill my vision with screen means program material, especially high-quality sources like Blu-ray, becomes more immersive and enjoyable in nearly every way.
Caption by / Photo by Sarah Tew/CNET
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