Feature creep can be a problem when buying any new gadget, and it is especially prevalent when among televisions. You may think you just want something that can display a picture, but most companies want to sell you TVs with doodads that do little to enhance picture quality.
Even some of the features that do promise better picture quality can potentially make it worse. Take, for example, Sharp's Quattron technology. The company has touted its four-color Quattron LCD technology since 2010, but it has so far failed to catch the public's imagination. This generation's Trinitron it isn't.
The LE757U is Sharp's cheapest Quattron-toting television, but at a minimum $300 premium over the sets below it, this is one feature that doesn't make sense. The LE757U delivered worse picture quality, with lighter black levels and less accurate color, than the cheaper LE650 without Quattron. As the only bonus feature apart from 3D, Quattron isn't an appealing upsell in this case. While my initial instinct at this price and a 60-inch size is to recommend the Panasonic ST60 plasma, if you want a big-screen LED LCD both the LE650 and the Vizio E series are better values than the LE757U.
Series information: I performed a hands-on evaluation of the Sharp LC-60LE757, but this review also applies to the other screen sizes in the series. All sizes have identical specs and according to the manufacturer should provide very similar picture quality.
|Models in series (details)|
|Sharp LC-60LE757||60 inches|
|Sharp LC-70LE757U||70 inches|
|Sharp LC-80LE757U||80 inches|
The LE757U series is one of Sharp's sleekest-looking sets yet. The company has managed to shave a bit more off the bezel of the already slim LE650. The LE757U series features a smooth aluminum bezel that is noticeably classier than the plastic bezel of the cheaper model. The triangular power LED is still there in the center of the bezel but it's a shade subtler than before. The base of the Sharp is a simple, non-swiveling plastic affair and the TV squats low and close to the tabletop it's perched on.
The remote is a long wand that houses all of the buttons you'll need, including a "tweaker's-favorite" Menu button front and center. Shortcut buttons to the SmartCentral smart TV page, Netflix and three more that can be customized to jump right to apps of your choice round out what is a fairly handy clicker.
Apart from a new SmartCentral page, Sharp's menu system is identical to those of previous years. Navigation is top-loaded and scrolls left to right, and it is fairly easy to find the things you need.
|Key TV features|
|Display technology||LCD||LED backlight||Edge-lit|
|Smart TV||Yes||Internet connection||Built-in Wi-Fi|
|3D technology||Active||3D glasses included||Two pairs|
|Refresh rate(s)||240Hz||Dejudder (smooth) processing||Yes|
The Sharp is edge-lit and sadly doesn't feature any form of local dimming, but the panel itself does use one of the company's own Quattron LCDs. Sharp debuted its four-color Quattron technology in 2010 and it is still the only manufacturer to use a yellow pixel, but not the only one using four colors. LG's OLED uses a version of four-color with the addition of a white pixel, and the difference between the two technologies is that LG's aims to reproduce the RGB color space while Sharp claims it can create a larger color space -- larger than any available source, but it's interpolated, or "invented," by the TV itself.
The TV also features active 3D playback with two sets of glasses in the box. Sharp is a licensee of the Full HD 3D standard and so you can choose to use any of the compatible glasses, like Samsung's $20 El Cheapos, if you need more.
Smart TV: In 2012 only select Sharp models enjoyed the full smart TV suite, but this year it has been rolled out to the entire range -- with the exception of the 50-inch 6 series. The LE757U gives access to Hulu Plus, Pandora, and a Web browser in addition to old favorites like Netflix. It offers a typical number of apps, with Samsung, Sony and Roku at the top. Check out our big chart for the full rundown of every manufacturer's TV apps.
The LE757U, like other Sharp TVs, allows you to view the SmartCentral service in two different ways. Hit the SmartCentral button and you'll see the marquee clinging to the bottom of the screen with a few select apps. Hit it again and you'll get the full-screen interface divvied up into categories -- video, music, games, and so on.
Sharp's Web browser includes a "virtual mouse" function that uses the remote cursors, but it's not as responsive as more direct methods like LG's Magic Motion or the touch pad on some Panasonic and Samsung remotes. It should be used only when other browsers, whether on a PC, phone or tablet, are unavailable.
Picture settings: The TV offers the usual settings for a TV of this price, with a Color Management System offering fine-tuning of color reproduction and a 10-point grayscale for altering the color balance from black to white.
Connectivity: You have stuff to plug into a television, and the Sharp is able help you out by providing four HDMI (including one MHL-compatible) ports and two -- count 'em, two! -- composite inputs, as well as two more USB ports and only a single component input. Both wireless and wired data connections are available as well.
Let's face it, most TVs these days would look pretty good sitting in your lounge, but our job is to sort the good-enoughs from the greats. If you're paying the same amount of money why not get the best picture available?