DESIGN & BUILD
This TV has a very basic design. Its casing and the large non-adjustable stand are finished in glossy black plastic. The 70LE836E isn't the slimmest telly on the market right now either, measuring 8.9 cm thick. Instead of using Edge LED backlighting, with LEDs around the edges of the screen panel, the LC-70LE836E has Full LED backlights, with LEDs spread over the whole rear surface of the screen. However, there's no sign ofa local dimming function to vary the intensity of the backlighting zone by zone.
The LE836E comes with Sharp's Aquos Net+ Internet services (via Ethernet or the Wi-Fi adapter supplied). Services include VOD, catch-up TV and various apps (Facebook, YouTube, etc.). You can also access your own content via a local network or the USB port, which is compatible with NTFS-formatted peripherals and has DivX Plus HD certification. However, we didn't notice much difference compared with the last version of Sharp's integrated media player, except that Mov files are now supported. Generally speaking, other manufacturers offer more comprehensive integrated media players.
The remote control supplied is functional and has plenty of shortcut keys. However, it's starting to look a little out-dated.
A close-up of the screen's sub-pixels shows that this TV comes loaded with a Quattron panel. Sharp's Quattron panels have a yellow sub-pixel in addition to the standard red, blue and green sub-pixels.
After changing the settings (see inset, "Our Recommended Settings"), the onscreen image is perfectly natural. Colours are accurate (average Delta E = 2.5) and the grey scale is calibrated well with just a very slight blue overtone (7070 K instead of 6500 K).
Unfortunately, contrast drops when you switch off the "Expanded" colour gamut range (see inset), falling from 4000:1 to 2260:1. The black therefore isn't as deep and the white isn't as intense. The black remains sufficiently deep for watching this TV with a low level of mood lighting. However, the it may look a little washed out if you watch a movie in pitch darkness.
With its Full LED backlighting, we were expecting to see more uniform display quality in the LE836E. Average variation over the screen reaches 18%, which is disappointing for a Full LED TV. In fact, some Edge LED models do a better job. It's therefore pretty hard to imagine that there are actually LED backlights distributed evenly across the whole screen panel.
As is often the way with LCD TVs, viewing angles are tight in the LE836E. From 45°, the screen panel's performance scored just 1.9/5 in our tests, as dark greys get 300% darker and whites gets 50% lighter. Plasma screens to a better job here, with no variation in brightness when viewed from an angle.
The LE836E has a responsive screen panel. We measured an average ghosting time of 10.5 ms, which is above average compared with other TVs we've reviewed (12 ms). Gamers take note, however, that the 66 ms input lag could prove penalising.
Traces of clouding (white blotches in dark parts of the picture) are visible in the corners of the screen. But, once again, you'll only notice this when viewing in a pitch dark room.
The "dirty screen effect", on the other hand, could prove slightly more problematic. Here, dark blotches on the screen make a light image look grubby. This effect is visible in light onscreen images, even in a well-lit room. Note that we've accentuated the effect in the photo above for illustrative purposes.
Like all of Sharp's 3D TVs, the LC-70LE836E uses active-shutter 3D technology rather than passive 3D. Note that no 3D glasses are supplied. The glasses we were sent to test the TV with were Sharp's older model (AN-3DG10). These are heavier and bulkier than the more recent glasses.
The new 3D glasses (AN-3DG20) are lighter, more comfortable and have a more subtle design. However, they're a little bit pricey at around £50 a pair.
We found that 3D image quality wasn't quite on par with the competition in the 70LE836E. The image often suffers from crosstalk (images for the left and right eyes overlapping onto one another, causing the image to double up). The 3D experience therefore wasn't as good as we had hoped. In this field, Samsung does a better job.
Our 3D test cards as seen through 3D glasses (Top: Sharp LC-70LE836E / Bottom: Samsung UE40ES6710):
Seeing as this TV has such a bulky casing, we were hoping the audio quality might be slightly better. However, bass tends to lag behind and high frequencies are prone to distortion. It's therefore well worth investing in a home cinema speaker set to go with the LC-70LE836E.
POWER USE & NOISE
Power use isn't too bad in this TV, although there are more economical models on the market. When running, we measured power use at 209 W, which makes 155 W/m² for this 70" screen. That's decent but, in comparison, the Sharp LC-60LE636E uses just 100 W/m². With the TV on standby, power use is so low it's negligible.