Sharp LC-50LE650U Review (LC50LE650U)
50 Inch, 1080p, Smart TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
The primary differences of the LC-50LE650U and the other entries into the 650U series is the lack of the Aquos LED display. The Clear Voice feature in the sound menu and 1 USB port have also been lost. The LE650U still has the same 120Hz panel but doesn't have any features like 240Hz AquoMotion or 3D compatibility.
- Attractive and sleek design
- Smart TV provides the essential apps for streaming content
- Web Browser is good but hard to find
- Value for the size of the screen is an area Sharp excels
- Side Angle Viewing Contrast Degradation
- Lack of Depth from Matte-type screen finish/Flat Picture
- No 3D
Picture Quality: 7.9/10
As noted on several Sharp LED TV models in our reviews, side angle viewing quality is the major weakness we note with these TVs. There is also a lack of natural depth in the picture that we don't see in higer end LED TVs. The picture ends up looking somewhat flat. There LC-50LE650U is particularly good is from front and center in brightly lit rooms with lots of windows or lighting. If that is your situation, this TV will be excellent. The LED backlighting provides very good brightness and color accuracy is pretty strong. HD sports action looks good despite the lack of depth. Other positives are the very thorough menu system and the Smart Central Internet TV Apps which cover the needed essentials in Internet TV programming through the built in Wifi connection. Black levels are decent but do fade rapidly at side angles. On the less positive side, we were not impressed by the side viewing angles on the TV as the LC-50LE650U loses color saturation from the sides.
This shot from a fast action sequence shows how the 650U series handles fast action. The motion blur performance is great but notice how detail gets washed out in the bright areas
While this mode is fine for watching normal cable or broadcast TV, it does not perform well with DVDs or Blu-Ray discs. It's a de-judder mode that removes judder for movies but also removes too much of the natural background blur that is supposed to be there. So we recommend turning it off for film based content. Otherwise, you get the dreaded “soap opera kitchy cardboard cutout” effect during films as background blur is eliminated. When you turn it off, you will likely notice some judder effects for a slight time until you get used to it. Ironically, you may want to leave the feature on for live action sports or other live fast motion programs as it delivers a smoothing quality.
A vivid colorful shot from the Blu Ray of Days of Thunder on the LE650U
To adjust the important Film Mode setting: Click menu, picture settings, scroll down to the Advanced Settings option at the bottom, scroll down again to the bottom to click on Film Mode. The TV comes with the setting on. For any kind of film based material you will want to turn it off.
Features Rating: 7.5/10
Smart TV, Wifi
Sharp's built in Wifi comes in handy in the LC-50LE650U to connect to the Smart TV Internet options for 2013. There is a dual core processor to allow you to watch TV, while toggling among Smart TV options. The processor also speeds the Smart TV functions somewhat.
The small Smart Central button on the remote gets you directly to the Internet TV settings. 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. That last one is the favorites section which will change per your choice.
Vudu Apps — Provides links to TV shows such as TrueBlood, CNBC, Nova, Discovery, flickr, CBS Nightly News, Facebook.
Remote and Menu Considerations/Setting the Film Mode
The 50LE650's long thin remote with small non-backlit keys
The long thin remote control has some very small 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 too small which makes browsing and toggling between choices a little slower than normal.
Appearance and Design
For all intents, you will have a difficult time initially making out the difference between the LE650U and the more expensive models with its very thin charcoal frame. But this model has a plastic bezel frame where those are Aluminum. They are both matte type finish black so it's hard to tell.
The Sharp LC-50LE650U gets the inputs right with 4 HDMI ports. Most home theater setups won't need more than that. That would cover the cable or satellite box, a gaming console, a blu-ray player, and a streaming device. The 50 inch size only features 1 USB port instead of the 2 that the larger sizes have.
Sharp has finally realized that with very large TVs you need more volume so they have upgraded this model with 20W speakers – a welcome addition. The Clear Voice feature has been left out on this one as well. The feature helps to pull voice out of the overall sound a bit more. This tends to help with certain programming. Not a terrible loss, but some may miss it.
Value/Bang for the Buck: 8.5/10
This is what the LC-50LE650U is all about especially by dropping the 3D options. The price ends up at an excellent less than $900 point. It's amazing that you can get 50 inches of quality viewing with the added value of Smart TV for that. There is lots more competition in the 50 inch size this year than last with the Samsung UN50F6300 models and the LG 50GA6400 Google TV. But the main competition for this Sharp is the Vizio E500i.
Overall Rating: 7.9/10
|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