Sharp LC-50UB30U Review
4K UHD Ultra HD Resolution TV (LED backlit LCD)
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
Sharp's most affordable 4K TV for 2015/early 2016 contains some nice upgraded features. The difference between the UB30 series and the higher end UE30 series is a backlit local dimming quality difference and lack of the Android TV platform. Importantly, the UB30 does have the front glass panel (rather than plexi-glass) that is one of the major recent improvements in Sharp's 4K TVs – providing a richer, deeper picture.
- Front and Center Viewing Contrast and Black Levels
- Upscaling of HD signals is excellent
- Upscaling of Standard Def signals very good
- Sharp Reliability
- Backlight uniformity in mid levels
- Gaming input lag
- Side Angle Viewing quality worse than most LED TVs
- Smart TV Interface not as user friendly
Picture Quality Rating: 87/100
There are several upgraded picture quality features aside from the glass front panel and its accompanying benefits related to deeper color, and picture depth. The most important is the Revelation Upscaler. Without the ability to upscale 1080p and lower resolution content well, you would not currently even want to purchase a 4K UHD TV because there is such limited 4K content available.
Sharp's UB30 series LED 4K TV uses LED edge lighting technology rather than the more expensive full-array backlighting. This type of lighting obviously has its drawbacks such as inconsistent backlight uniformity and weaker side angle viewing, but with the new glass front panel we believe the performance of the UB30 is better than previous models from Sharp. We did not note any problems with backlight uniformity, but this weakness normally develops over time in LED backlit TVs even with moderate Backlight settings.
Side Angle Viewing Quality
A continual thorn in the side of manufacturers of LED backlit LCD TVs (like this one), side angle viewing quality is OK but certainly could be better on the UB30. There is a slight haziness visible from side angles starting at around 15 degrees off-center.
Input lag is an issue that the most avid gamers will notice. Most video gaming content from our PS4 rendered smoothly to the eye though.
Features Rating: 79/100
Smart Central 3.0 (Sharp's Smart Internet TV)
Another cost saving measure on the UB30 is the Smart Central 3.0 rather than Android TV Smart TV menu. The small Smart Central button on the remote takes 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, Netflix, and then scrolling right one time provides access to a web browser, FilmFresh, Skype, USB Media Input, and Home Network. Home Network is the favorites section which will change per your choice.
If you prefer to use your Smart Phone or Tablet as your control option, it is probably available for Sharp's 3.0. As well, you can share content from the smart device with the screen without much trouble. Via the Smart device option, a QWERTY keyboard is available to speed search function. Much better than the 5-way control on the remote.
Vudu – Provides links to TV shows such as TrueBlood, CNBC, Nova, Discovery, flickr, CBS Nightly News, Facebook,
CNBC App that's free through the Vudu platform is basically clips from the TV show so a very worthy App. There is a list of stocks which can be edited and selected on-screen while watching the clips.Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Discovery – Short Clips from Discovery about 30 of them in all. Rating 2 out of 5.
Today – Clips of the Today that experienced an error and would not load.
Picasa – 1000 featured Photos on the big screen – unfortunately in 4:3 format so therefore not that great to make your TV a piece of wall art (the TVs aspect button will not stretch). Some of the photos are nice though. Rating 3 out of 5.
Appearance and Design
Sharp's Ultra Slim Bezel Frame is included on the UB30. Sharp does a nice job of keeping it simple as always and forgoes the curved screen for a good-looking efficient design with a very small frame footprint of around a half inch in black or charcoal gray.
We always like to mention this underrated quality category. Sharp has top quality reliability ratings and we expect this trend to continue in 2015/2016. What does it matter how good your picture looks if the darned thing poops out on you and develops a problem with the picture, sound, or remote function? Sharp's Japanese attention to detail yields best in class reliability – a point not to be ignored. We put Sharp and Sony tops in this category for consistently outperforming peers in panel life.
Value Rating: 86/100
Prices are a compelling part of these new Sharp TVs. The LC-50UB30 starts at $999. The Vizio M-series 4K TVs may be the closest comparison. Sharp's up-conversion technology is better and we feel you get an very quality package with the UB30 without paying up for features you may not use. If you're not much of a gamer and are using the TV from front and center, the UB30 is a great deal.
Overall Rating: 83/100
- 4 HDMI, 2USB
- Optical audio out
- Wi-fi built in
- HEVC/h.265; VP9 Codec for 4K native playback from StreamingSources
- Ultra Slim
- Quad-core processor
(A note about our reviews. Our professional reviewers begin our reviews with our initial impressions about quality of picture and features inclusion, then we add specifications, then value and pricing information, and finally strengths and weaknesses and ratings. When our reviews contain an overall rating, you know they are complete. Thank you for reading!)
|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|