The LC-70LE73U isn't missing any major picture-adjustment options. We'd appreciate the ability to tweak dejudder beyond the two presets, but we'll take a color management system, especially one that works as well as Sharp's, over that extra any day. We like that the OPC ambient light sensor is prominently displayed in the main picture menu, and that Netflix and Vudu allow full picture control.
|HDMI inputs||4||Component video inputs||1|
|Composite video input(s)||2||VGA-style PC input(s)||1|
|USB ports||2||Ethernet (LAN) port||Yes|
|Other: RS-232 remote control port|
The Sharp's bay has all the necessary connectivity options, and we appreciated not having to use breakout cables for the analog jacks, as is the case with many thin LCDs and plasmas these days.
The Sharp LC-70LE73U is one of the better-performing LED-based LCDs of the year, beating all of the edge-lit 2011 LED models we've tested with the exception of the Samsung UND6400 and LG LW5600. Its full-array LED backlight deserves much of the credit: while it doesn't deliver the black-level benefits of local dimming, it does improve uniformity compared with edge-lit models. That backlight also appeared to improve black levels and color in dark areas compared with Sharp's edge-lit 60-inch model.
The Movie setting of the LC-70LE73U is the most accurate out of the box, with a relatively linear grayscale and gamma. 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, cyan, and yellow color points are quite a bit outside the HD color standard, which is typical of such modes on other TVs.
During our calibration, Sharp's color controls were able to bring those color points back into line, although green and blue ended up undersaturated and the grayscale was still a bit minus-red in the midrange. Overall however the LC-70LE73U set up quite well, and there was little detriment (or advantage) we could spot related to the extra yellow pixel.
For our image quality tests we checked out "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1" and compared the Sharp with the lineup of TVs below.
|Comparison models (details)|
|Vizio XVT3D650SV||65-inch edge-lit LED|
|Panasonic TC-P65VT25||65-inch plasma|
|Sharp LC-60LE830U||60-inch edge-lit LED|
|Vizio XVT553SV||55-inch full-array LED with local dimming|
|Samsung UN55D8000||55-inch edge-lit LED with local dimming|
|Samsung PN59D8000 (color reference)||59-inch plasma|
Black level: The LC-70LE73U turned in a solid performance in this area, delivering better black levels than the 65-inch Vizio and 60-inch Sharp, though falling a bit short of the Samsung UND8000 and Vizio, and shorter still of the plasmas. Voldemort's darkened meeting room in chapter 2 provided a good example; the 70-incher held its own against the LCDs in black areas like the letterbox bars, as well as the deep shadows behind the guests and in Snape's robe.
Shadowy areas like Snape's hair and the drapes were revealed in full detail, though they were a tad bright compared with the Vizio XVT553SV and Panasonic. On the other hand, the LC-70LE73U's slightly bright gamma made some areas, like the faces of Hermione and Harry in chapter 17 (1:19:12), seem a tad washed-out compared with our reference. The difference wouldn't be visible without a direct comparison, however.
Color accuracy: The LC-70LE73U's performance in this category was fairly good overall despite some issues. Skin tones were a strength, as evinced by Ginny's natural appearance in chapter 5. While her skin did appear a tiny bit paler than our reference, the difference would again be difficult to discern outside of a side-by-side comparison. More obvious was the less saturated look of green and blue, for example in the grass and sky of chapter 15 (1:31:10); lack of saturation in some scenes was the Sharp's biggest color weakness.
We appreciated that the black on the LC-70LE73U was less blue and more accurate than on the edge-lit sets, although still bluer than on the Vizio XVT553SV and the plasmas.
Video processing: The LC-70LE73U'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 downside to leaving it on 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.
Note that we expect that the 240Hz refresh rate of the LC-70LE733U and LC-70LE734U will improve motion resolution to 1,000 or more lines--although as usual we don't expect the increase from 120Hz to cause visible improvement in most 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: While the LC-70LE73U's screen didn't stay quite as uniform across its surface as the Vizio XVT553SV or the plasmas, it beat out the other edge-lit displays in this area. Corners and edges were about as bright as the middle, and the brighter spots in the midst of the edge-lit 60-inch Sharp's screen were not present on the full-array 70-incher.
We did notice slight variations in brightness that appeared as darker horizontal and vertical bands, but they were only obvious during camera movement in bright scenes. In general the bands were minor and not nearly as obvious as on the Samsung UND8000 and Vizio XVT3D650SV.
From off-angle the Sharp was the best LCD in our lineup, since its black areas didn't become as blue-tinged as the edge-lit displays and it didn't show the off-angle blooming of the Vizio XVT553SV. In bright scenes it washed out at about the same rate as the others as we moved farther from the sweet spot in front of the screen.
It's worth noting that with such a large screen fewer seats are potentially outside the ideal viewing angle, although of course that advantage varies depending on the number of seats and distance from the screen.
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 with glossier screens like the Samsung LED and Vizio XVT3D650SV, but for bright rooms matte screens are clearly superior in our book.
Another major strength of the Sharp in bright rooms is light output--it can get much brighter than any plasma. On its Dynamic picture setting we measured 90.66/115.3 Fl (window/full raster patterns), compared with 55.81/10.29 for the Samsung PN59D8000 and 49.02/12.04 for the Panasonic TC-P65VT25 in their equivalent settings. If you have a very bright room and the TV has to compete with a lot of ambient light, the Sharp's brighter picture is clearly superior. On the other hand, for moderately bright rooms the plasmas' disadvantage won't be as obvious.
PC: 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 sync function (located at System Options>Input Terminal Setting>PC Input).
Power consumption: Most recent Sharp TVs score well in our power consumption tests, and the biggest one is no exception. It used a mere 0.07 watt per square inch, which isn't the lowest we've seen but is still very good. Despite being 70 inches, the LC-70LE732U manages to use less power than a 46-inch plasma--never mind the 59- and 65-inchers. Note that while we only tested the 732, we expect the 733 and 734 to use almost exactly the same amount of power, so we're including the 732's power consumption results with the latter reviews.
|Black luminance (0%)||0.0082||Good|
|Near-black x/y (5%)||0.3205/0.3443||Average|
|Dark gray x/y (20%)||0.3128/0.3301||Good|
|Bright gray x/y (70%)||0.3114/0.3285||Good|
|Before avg. color temp.||6,541||Good|
|After avg. color temp.||6,568||Good|
|Red lum. error (de94_L)||0.1465||Good|
|Green lum. error (de94_L)||1.2782||Good|
|Blue lum. error (de94_L)||0.329||Good|
|Cyan hue x/y||0.2285/0.3284||Good|
|Magenta hue x/y||0.3247/0.1519||Good|
|Yellow hue x/y||0.4206/0.4996||Good|
|1080p/24 Cadence (IAL)||Pass||Good|
|1080i Deinterlacing (film)||Pass||Good|
|Motion resolution (max)||600||Average|
|Motion resolution (dejudder off)||600||Average|
|PC input resolution (VGA)||1,920x1,080 pixels||Good|
|Sharp LC-70LE732U||Picture settings|
|Picture on (watts)||137.17||151.79||N/A|
|Picture on (watts/sq. inch)||0.07||0.07||N/A|
|Cost per year||$30.12||$33.33||N/A|
|Score (considering size)||Good|