Picture purists might cringe, but if you want a big screen that won't put too big of a dent in your wallet, the Sharp LC-LE650U will get the job done in a really big way. Despite some shortfalls, picture quality is very good compared to sets of the same screen size that sell at or near the same price. There's no 3D, but features are otherwise solid and include a couple of extras not found on sets from other manufacturers. Available models include the 60-inch Sharp Aquos LC-60LE650U (Est. $1,200) , 70-inchSharp Aquos LC-70LE650U (Est. $1,850) and 80-inch Sharp Aquos LC-80LE650U (Est. $3,500) .
Keep expectations reasonable. As long as you don't expect the Sharp Aquos LC-LE650U to perform like a big-screen TV with a $6,000 price tag, experts and owners say you should be pleased with what's on the screen. Grading on a curve, picture quality is somewhat better than like-sized LED TVs at similar prices, like the Vizio E701i-A3 (Est. $1,700) . Blacks are weak compared to some sets, but still better than what the Vizio can deliver. On the other hand, thanks to a matte screen and what DigitalTrends.com calls "retina-searing brightness," the LC-LE650U is a good performer under bright lights where the importance of deep blacks is conveniently minimized. A few critics pan the Sharp's color performance, but the majority says it's very good. The biggest issue is screen uniformity, which is no surprise in an edge-lit set with this much screen to light up. Some deem uniformity acceptable, others less so. Off-axis viewing is only mediocre.
Help on call. Sharp's SmartCentral suite is adequate, most reviewers say, but clearly less sophisticated and app-packed than similar suites from other manufacturers. The lack of Amazon Instant is a major deficit, but the interface is relatively snappy and easy to navigate and use. One plus is Aquos Advantage, which provides help on demand. Among other things, it offers live tech support through the TV, including the ability of remote representatives to directly access set settings to help with setup, troubleshooting and more. The LC-LE650U doesn't support 3D viewing.
How do you make a big, black screen disappear? By turning it into a work of art or a large photo when the TV is off, says Sharp via its wallpaper mode feature. Some artwork is built in, or you can load your own images. "It's a nice touch, and the muted backlight level makes the image look less like a TV left turned on and more like room decor," says CNET's Ty Pendlebury. Otherwise, styling is average. The bezel is thinner than in years past, but not so much so that anyone will mistake this set for some of the nearly invisible high-end, high-style offerings from Samsung, Sony and LG. The remote is a standard clicker with a few smart-feature oriented shortcut buttons. Connectivity is ample, but not noteworthy.
A bargain among big screens. Even though the Sharp Aquos LC-LE650U isn't the cheapest big-screen TV you can buy, it's close, and it performs at least a little better than its closest competition. Its smart platform isn't especially terrific, but that's offset by some Sharp-exclusive features, especially the Aquos Advantage help service. The wallpaper mode that lets this monster-sized set hide in plain sight when turned off is another plus in the value column.
CNET finds some image shortfalls, but says what's on the screen looks good compared to competing LED TVs. "The Sharp LE650 series sets the big-screen LCD TV value bar high with very good picture quality for the price," Ty Pendlebury says.
Review: Sharp LE650 LCD Review: Sharp's LE650 TV a Solid Value, Ty Pendlebury, April 1, 2013
Value is the big selling point for the Sharp LC-LE650U at PCMag.com, as well. Features are another plus that helps offset a picture quality that, while good, isn't top-shelf.
Review: Sharp LC-60LE650U, John R. Delaney, May 9, 2013
DigitalTrends.com's assessment of the Sharp Aquos LC-LE650U is similar. "You won't get inky blacks, deep shadow detail or spectacular contrast from this TV, but what you will get is excellent color, outstanding brightness and an interface that is a delight to use," says Caleb Denison.
Review: Sharp Aquos LC-60LE650U Review, Caleb Denison, June 13, 2013
Gizmodo.com posts one of the more positive reviews of the Sharp LC-LE650U, but also one of the least substantial. Still, Andrew Tarantola's opinions are clearly based on testing. Other than a narrow viewing angle, he finds little to complain about when it comes to this TV's performance.
Review: Sharp LC-60LE650U Lightning Review: Entry Level Shouldn't Look (or Sound) This Awesome, Andrew Tarantola, April 5, 2013
Josh Fields gives the Sharp LC-60LE650U a mediocre rating. Color accuracy is an issue, but lots of other positives are found. "While this TV isn't going to become a reference model, it is a great choice for those in need of a larger screen," he concludes.
Review: Sharp Aquos LC-60LE650U Review, Josh Fields, March 21, 2013
About 100 owners post comments on the 70-inch Sharp Aquos LC-60LE650U at BestBuy.com, and most are very happy. An impressive 98 percent say they'd recommend this TV to a friend, and only two users give this set less than 4 stars out of 5.
Review: Sharp - AQUOS - 70" Class (69-1/2" Diag.) - LED - 1080p - 120Hz - Smart - HDTV, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of September 2013
More than 50 reviewers share feedback on the Sharp LC-LE650 series in its three screen sizes of 60, 70 and 80 inches. Satisfaction isn't quite as high as at BestBuy.com, but the TV's rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 comes close.
Review: Sharp LC-70LE650 70-inch Aquos 1080p 120Hz Smart LED TV, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of September 2013