Review: Sharp Aquos LC-40LE830

 
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Published: April 28, 2011 11:00 PM
By Pierre Anzil / Pierre-Jean Alzieu
Sharp is now on its third generation of Quattron TVs, which use four types of pixel—red, green, blue and yellow—instead of the usual three.  The latest update sees the arrival of support for 3D, a display that's said to be 20% more responsive, a 200 Hz mode, Net TV, PVR features and time-shifting.  Let's take a closer look.

Build Quality and Design

For the most part, the LE830 picks up where earlier versions left off.  It uses Sharp's Quattron display, but the individual pixels are said to be 20% more responsive, something we'll investigate in more depth later on.  It's backlit using LEDs around the edge of the frame.  The latest version of the screen is 6 mm thinner than the last, and now measures just 3.3 cm.  There are plenty of new features too, including support for 3D with on the fly 2D-to-3D conversion and motion interpolation with a 200 Hz mode via 100 Hz refresh rate and a backlight scan.  The USB port offers support for PVR (recording TV programmes) and TimeShift (pausing live TV).

For DLNA networks, the LE830 has support for Net TV, the shared platform from Philips, Sharp and Loewe, and can also play files from your home network or from storage devices connected to the USB port.  Its media player is compatible with drives formatted using NTFS and also sports the DivX Plus HD label.  Unfortunately, we couldn't see that many differences with the previous version of the media player.  Only MOV files are supported, but Sharp's competitors offer much broader multimedia support.

40LE830E
The glossy screen picks up reflections
 
40LE830E Inputs at the bottom (left), on the side (below) and at the back (main photo)

40LE830E
Menu
40LE830E
Profile

Image Quality

By default, the television is in 'Standard' mode, and it doesn't take an imaging professional to work out that the colour reproduction is absolutely disastrous.  A closer look reveals that the gamma curve is uneven and the colour temperature is far too blue.  We suggest you switch to 'Film' mode as soon as you can and turn off the extended colour space which contributes to the poor colour reproduction.

LC 40LE830E de cali
Colour reproduction in Film mode: average deltaE: 2.8

With that done, the picture becomes more natural.  The colours not only look more accurate but our equipment revealed an average deltaE score of 2.8.

LC 40LE830E contraste mesure
Average contrast ration in Custom mode: 1576:1

On the other hand, turning off the dynamic backlighting, which can help improve the picture, means the contrast ratio falls from 2400:1 to 1576:1, which results in blacks that look less deep.  Viewing angles are narrower than is normal on an LCD, which is saying something.  We could only give the LE830 1.1/5 in this particular test: once you're more than 20° away the centre line, yellow and red reflections become visible in darker areas of the screen and the colours begin to lose their impact.

The AquoMotion 200 filter doesn't do a particularly great job of smoothing out fast moving objects in films, and instead gives them a rather unpleasant camcorder look.  We suggest you only use the 'Scanning backlight 200' mode, which adds a blank frame in between every other coloured frame by momentarily turning off the backlighting to simulate a 200 Hz refresh rate.  That reduces the amount of retinal persistence, which means the ghosting is less noticeable.  HD films look absolutely great.  Upscaling SD content, as is so often the case, leaves a little to be desired with a slightly blurry result.  A Blu-ray player will do a much better job.

Clouding

About 90% of the TVs we test with Edge LED backlighting suffer from clouding, but not so the LE830.  That give it a chance of catching up with the Samsung D7000 and D8000: both models have better contrast, colour reproduction and viewing angles in 2D, but suffer from a bad dose of clouding.

Ghosting and Input Lag

Responsiveness
Le830 rem mesure
 Light
Background
Dark
Background
Average
This graph shows the ghosting time, measured in ms, that the TV takes to entirely remove the previous frame. The shorter the time, the more fluid moving images will appear

As Sharp promised, the LE830 has a very responsive display.  We measured a ghosting time of just 8.5 ms, which bodes well for 3D.  For gamers, on the other hand, the bad news is that an input lag of 66 ms makes it hard to keep up.

 

Image Quality: 3D

This TV is our first chance to test Sharp's attempts at on-the-fly 2D-to-3D conversion.  Like most of its competitors, the results aren't great, and you don't really get the impression you're watching in three dimensions.  You're better off sticking with Blu-ray 3D discs, even if you don't have that many.

With real 3D content, the quality is good.   Objects seem to leap out of the screen and you get a real sense of depth of field.  Better still, the responsive Quattron panel means there's virtually no evidence of crosstalk, the irritating interference between the video streams designed for the left and right eyes.

40LE830E
40LE830E

 With a perfect result, we shouldn't see any trace of the 'R' frame on the left, and, vice versa, none of the 'L' frame on the right. For the time being, only plasmas from Samsung and Panasonic get this right.

So you can get stuck into 3D straight away, Sharp has decided to include the transmitter inside the TV itself, and a pair of active glasses come with the LE830.  They're bulky and heavier than usual which makes them uncomfortable to wear.

Audio Quality

As well as being particularly sensitive to clouding, LED TVs also tend to have poor quality sound because of how thin they are.  The LE830 is something of an exception to that rule, and even goes as far as having genuine bass.  However, because the whole thing is configured to produce an overpowering sound, we have to give it three, rather than four, stars.

Energy Consumption

One area where LED backlighting has an uncontested advantage is in lowering energy consumption.  We measured energy consumption of 1 W on standby and 80 W when switched on.  The LE830 clearly deserves its five stars here.
4/5 Sharp Aquos LC-40LE830 DigitalVersus 2011-04-29 00:00:00

Pros

  • Attractive results in 2D and 3D
  • Accurate colours: average deltaE of 2.8
  • No clouding on the unit we tested
  • Matte display largely immune from reflections
  • Low energy consumption: 80 W

Cons

  • Narrow viewing angles
  • Slightly disappointing contrast ratio (1576:1)
  • Not much crosstalk but more visible than on a plasma
  • Media player not up to scratch
  • Mediocre remote with no backlit buttons

Conclusion

It's third time lucky for Sharp's Quattron technology on the new LE830, which avoids almost all of the mistakes made by its predecessors. There's a great picture in both 2D and 3D, and while the contrast ratio might seem a little weak, at least there's no clouding.

OUR SCORE 4/5
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