Sharp LC-40LE550U Review (LC40LE550U)
40 Inch, 1080p 60Hz LED TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
The Sharp LC-40LE550U is the value full HD series for 2013. All of the bells and whistles are missing to bring the price way down to a very reasonable level. Less than $500 doesn't get you 3D playback, a fast refresh rate, or smart TV features. There is a lot of strong competition for this size class this year from LG and Samsung, but price becomes the main concern with their TVs.
The Sharp LC-40LE550U implements a matte screen finish which dictates how the overall picture quality is going to turn out. The LED backlights are powerful and bright, so peak whites and bright colors are not a problem on this TV. Adjusting the picture settings is required to get the best picture quality out of this TV, with the Backlight setting being one of the most important. The matte screen doesn't handle in room light very well by casting a lot of reflections back at the viewer. This type of screen also has somewhat of a flat image. The depth and light flow through are just not as engaging as some other TVs we have tested this year. For the price, this Sharp offers strong picture quality from front and center.
60Hz Refresh Rate
The 40LE550U has a 60Hz refresh rate panel, so it may not be the best dedicated sports or gaming TV on the market. The problem lies with motion blur and judder. Those who notice it are going to see a big reduction in picture quality. A faster refresh rate like 120Hz, is going to smooth out a lot of the judder and sharpen the motion blur with a clear image as the result. This TV does come with a Game Mode for better gaming performance. That mode is aimed toward input lag, not judder and motion blur. In the end, the 40 inch size is going to get away with this better than larger TVs. Meaning it will be harder to notice. That's why the 60 and 70 inch versions of this TV has received 120Hz panels.
Side Angle Viewing
Side angle viewing on the LC-40LE550U gets slightly hazy at around 20 degrees off center. This goes for horizontal as well as vertical viewing angles. At that point we begin to notice a loss of contrast and color saturation. It is a weak point of the LE550U and LED TVs in general, but there have been improvements across the board.
Speakers and Sound Quality
The 40LE550U features 2 downward facing 10 watt speakers. They enable the TV to push out much more room filling volume than before. The quality is not the best as it tends to sound tinny and muddled with content that features a mix of music, sound fx, and voice tracks.
Appearance and Design
The appearance of the LE550U is very basic, but with a bit of an eye pleasing quality. The thin bezels are the most attractive part of the look. The sides and top have a .5 inch of black plastic bezel while the bottom is a little wider for the Sharp logo, power light, and remote receiver. The deepest part of the TV houses the speakers and is 3.5 inches. Not the thinnest out there. The basic square shaped stand is the same black plastic as the frame.
This Sharp LED TV features 3 HDMI inputs and 1 USB port. 3 is just the right number as 2 can get a little crowded for video game consoles, blu-ray players, streaming boxes, laptops and more. This is great because the TV doesn't have a way to stream video content itself.
The Sharp LC-40LE550U fits right into the value category for the bare bones full HD LED TVs. At around $500 there is some really strong competition from names like Samsung and LG. The UN40F5000 and the 42LN5300 to be exact. They are both a bit more expensive, but offer very strong picture quality.
|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|