Sharp LC-70LE550U Review (LC70LE550U)
70 Inch, 1080p 120Hz LED TV
by Robert Wiley, Senior Editor
The Sharp LC-70LE550U is the largest entry in the 550U series for the 2013/2014 year. It is a bare bones model with a 120Hz refresh rate as the best picture quality feature. The inclusion of 3 HDMI inputs is promising for the home theater with many devices in use at once. With a price tag of around $2,000 the value becomes more apparent as there isn't much competition for this size class. Sharp has made this mid tier LED TV to be a strong value performer.
The Sharp LC-70LE550U 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.
120Hz Refresh Rate
The 70LE550U has a 120Hz refresh rate panel, so it is very well suited for live sports programming, fast action scenes, and video games. Those who are apt to notice motion blur and judder are going to see a better performance out of the 120Hz panel. A faster refresh rate like this smooths out a lot of the judder and sharpens the motion blur to create a clear image. This TV does come with a Game Mode for better even better gaming performance as well. Being as big as this TV is, it is good to see a panel like this one. A 70 inch 60Hz panel would be a tough sell. The 40 inch size of the same series is equipped with a 60Hz panel.
Side Angle Viewing
Side angle viewing on the LC-70LE550U 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 70LE550U 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. That makes this huge TV much better suited for a home theater sound system instead of relying on what is built in.
Appearance and Design
The appearance of the 70LE550U 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 USB port on the 60 and 70 inch sizes only functions as a way to update the firmware of the TV. With no Smart TV features, that means there is no way to get your personal digital library directly on to the TV.
The Sharp LC-70LE550U sells around the $2,000 mark. That provides a lot of screen space for the money. Screen space is about it though as there isn't much else going on here. Competition comes from the Sony KDL-70R520A and the Vizio E701i.
|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|