Sharp LC-70LE857U Review (LC70LE857U)
70" AQUOS LCD/LED 240Hz Quattron HDTV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
Sharp's LC-70LE857U is a 70 inch monster of an LED TV. It is the direct replacement for the LC-70LE847U series from last year. This is the top of the line LED TV until you get to the 4K UHD TV that Sharp plans to introduce in the summer of 2013. This model has a robust feature-set as Sharp continues to strive to succeed in the super large LED TV ballpark. It has a new dual core processor to help with multitasking the Smart TV options. It has the 4th yellow pixel to make it a Quattron panel and a 240Hz refresh rate for speed during fast action, important for a large screen like this. Active 3D rounds out the features. The design is a nice metal framing bezel that yells refinement called the Aluminum Diamond Cut series.
Picture Quality Rating: 8.6/10
This years Quatton panel from Sharp has a bit better side angle viewing and depth perception than last years. It's still not a strong suit of the LC70LE857U, but it's better. The picture is still what I could describe as on the flatter side – less 3-dimensional. A good calibration works wonders here. In general, we're not big fans of the semi-matte type screen over the clear coat variety. The matte finish does provide some anti-reflection but can actually add to the glare. Black levels continue to improve and from front and center the black bars top and bottom of 16:9 content look black.
This shot of the 857U series is a good example of the the realistic color rendition. Also notice the silver stand and silver bezel
Brightness and Peak Whites
A strong suit of this TV is its Brightness levels and this will no doubt catch your eye in the stores. This is especially helpful in large very bright room atmospheres so keep that in mind. You can definitely use those powerful LED side lights in that situation. The brightness of this TV is one of the most standout features and does a lot of make it worth some attention.
Colors are reproduced to look very natural, but tend to fall on the slightly flatn side of things. That could mean there is not enough gray-scale going on with image processing since contrast and black levels look fine.
240Hz — De-judder Mode
The 240Hz helps with 3D, fast action and sports and those are its best benefits. It's a good idea to turn off the Film Mode when watching movies, or other film-type based content as it creates what some call the “soap opera” effect, but is better described as an overactive processor and backlight eliminating too much background blur. It can make a picture look artificial. If there is ever a problem with the way the image looks, look in the menus to see if this is the culprit.
There is dedicated game mode on the LC70LE857U which is super hyped to enable the 240Hz panel to process that fast action gaming.
3D Active Viewing
While you will not get the 3D viewing quality of the latest LG LED TVs, 3D viewing is good on the LE857U. 3D viewing has the best results from a front and center position with little to no room light or window light in front or on the sides. Otherwise, you will likely get some nasty flickering from the 3D glasses. This really limits its usefulness in the end. This years AN-3DG40 Bluetooth 3D Glasses are much lighter and thinner than last years and 2 pairs come in the box with the TV which is nice because they run around $50 per pair. From side angles you lose some of the depth perception of 3D images. From front and relatively near the center the picture looks good in 3D. Colors are greatly enhanced and the 3D effect is nice on this TV which has an otherwise slightly flat picture.
2D to 3D Conversion
Though this feature is included, it's not a strong point and adds little depth.
This shot is a good example of the contrast and black levels. It really does give off a flat appearance
Features Rating: 8.2/10
Smart Central TV (Sharp's Smart TV)
The small Smart Central button on the remote places you directly in the Internet TV settings in the LC70LE857U. The menu that pops up initially includes Vudu HD Movies, You Tube, Hulu Plus, Cinema now, Aquos Advantage Live (support), Vudu Apps, Netflix, and then scrolling right one time provides access to a web browser, FilmFresh, Skype, USB Media Input, and Home Network (which changes depending on your favorites selections).
Here is a full review of Sharp Smart Central Smart TV
Appearance and Design
The LC-70LE857U is an upgraded model and as such, receives the attractive Aluminum Diamond Cut framing bezel. The frame is about .5” in width and the design is very nice – understated with nothing flashy but very nice.
Remote and Menu Function
The long slender remote control has some very tiny buttons such as the Input button located just to the rigtht of the small channels control. It takes a little getting used to finding the small buttons. Even the 5-way controller arrow keys are small which makes browsing and toggling between choices a little slower than normal. Interestingly, the Sharp remote recognized the Sony Blu-Ray player and was able to turn it on and control playback. The menu categories run across the top of the screen and then down the right hand side for breakdown choices leaving a large area for the content you are watching. The system is not attractive but work well.
Sharp has one of the highest if not the highest reliability rating. They are quality built products and Sharp seems to be more conscientious than other manufacturers about making sure they work for the long haul.
Audio/Sound Quality – Not so great
I suppose Sharp thinks you will be using a home theater system or sound bar with this TV since the 70LE857U size choices are so large. I guess they are right in most cases but it would be nice to have the option. As with many LED and Plasma TVs, Sound quality is tinny and muddled and the TV struggles to separate voice from background/music. Peak volume is also an issue.
Value Rating: 8.9/10
This is what Sharp is shooting for, your mindshare on the very large TVs with good value and the LC-70LE857U is a strong value at around $2899, but quite a bit more than the $1999 of the 60 inch unit. Sharp is definitely charging a premium for the lack of competition in the large size. But you need the 240hz and better picture in the 70 inch size. They definitely succeed at the very large sizes as there are few competitors in a reasonable price range. Competition is from the Vizio M701d and less so from the lower quality Sony KDL-70R550A. There are no plasma TVs above 65 inches for this year.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
|Having reviewed and written about Television Technology for over 10 years, Wiley never tires of researching the newest qualitative trends related to the technology. Most people do not get excited about possibilities behind the latest video engine...Wiley does. Read more about Robert|