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Sharp Aquos LC-40LE600E 40in LED Backlit LCD TV review

John Archer



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Sharp Aquos LC-40LE600E 40in LED Backlit LCD TV
  • Sharp Aquos LC-40LE600E 40in LED Backlit LCD TV
  • Sharp Aquos LC-40LE600E 40in LED Backlit LCD TV
  • Sharp Aquos LC-40LE600E 40in LED Backlit LCD TV
  • Sharp Aquos LC-40LE600E 40in LED Backlit LCD TV
  • AQUOS LC40LE600E 40" LCD TV (Widescreen, 1920x1080, Freeview, HDTV)


Our Score:


For a brand that used to be at the forefront of LCD TV technology, Sharp has been very quiet lately. Ominously so, in fact. For not only have we not seen the brand producing as many new LCD TVs as we'd expect, but even when they have had new models, review samples have been consistently impossible to get hold of, despite repeated requests.

Today, though, it's starting to look as if Sharp's extended silence hasn't been, as we'd feared, an early sign of serious financial difficulties. Instead, with the arrival of the LC-40LE600E, the brand's protracted 'hibernation' appears more symptomatic of a brand treading water while awaiting the arrival of a Great White Hope. Or to be more precise, a Great White Dimming LED hope...

The 40LE600E is, you see, a genuine original to the UK market, offering direct LED lighting with white dimming for an unprecedentedly cheap price. And while it might not be quite as rip-roaringly perfect and revolutionary as I might have hoped, it's easily good enough to get Sharp well and truly back in the serious LCD TV game.

The complicated state of the burgeoning LED-backlit world means that before I proceed any further, I really need to go into a little technical background on what exactly is meant by the 40LE600E's 'direct LED lighting' and 'white dimming' technologies.

Direct LED lighting simply means that the LED light arrays that illuminate the 40LE600E's pictures are positioned directly behind the screen, firing straight through it, rather than being positioned around the edge of the screen as is the case with, say, Samsung's current LED models.

This is significant because - despite Samsung's admittedly persuasive arguments to the contrary - the direct LED approach is still widely reckoned to be the premium approach in terms of picture quality. Why? Because of the way it allows you to individually turn on or off different LED clusters, potentially allowing peak whites and pitch blacks to sit side by side on screen to produce the sort of contrast performance that standard LCD TVs can currently only dream about.

The white dimming element of the 40LE600E, meanwhile, means that the LEDs operate with pure white light output, with separate colour filters producing the image's final colouration, rather than outputting RGB colours at the LED source as happens with LED backlit models like Sony's X4500s and Sharp's own XS1E range.

This is arguably a compromised approach, since RGB dimming can produce a purer and more dynamic colourscape. But the reality is that white dimming appears to produce a perfectly adequate colour range if used well. In fact, our experience is starting to suggest that by being slightly more limited in colour range than RGB dimming TVs, white-dimming models actually produce colours that mesh more comfortably with our main video standards.

At this point, it's worth stressing that Sharp isn't the first brand to sell a TV that combines white dimming with direct LED lighting. But critically, with its £807 price tag, the 40LE600E is miles cheaper than any of its similarly specced forerunners, finally opening the direct LED door to a mainstream audience.


October 13, 2009, 1:48 pm

This is a perfect example, to all you readers out there, why you should always read the whole of a review before making a judegement (and commenting ;) ). Were one to simple look at the scores and read the verdict, you may think to pass this TV by. However, this TV actually perfectly fits my, and I'm sure many other people's, requirements perfectly. You see, I can't stand the other artifacts that result from adding motion compensation technology (like 100Hz) into LCD TVs. I also have no need for more than three HDMI inputs, nor online bits and bobs, or fancy speakers. I want a screen that produces great pictures, end of story, and for an LCD panel this sounds like it would be as good as I could get for the price. Of course, ideally I'd just get a plasma panel as they have far fewer motion problems in the first place but that's a whole other story. Anyway, just a few thoughts I felt like adding.


October 13, 2009, 5:24 pm

@Ed, you had to go and pour petrol on the fire and mention the plasma word ;) Though, I do agree with you. For £800 I would get a 42" 1080p plasma any day.....There, that should get the debate flowing!

Thomas 8

October 13, 2009, 5:51 pm

This is a lovely display. If you want style then go for the Samsung LED edge-lit displays. I rejected the Samsung because they don't have headphone jacks! If set correctly, the colour & contrast levels are very CRT like. White levels are amazingly 'white' compared to typical CCFL LCDs.

I have the 700E version although I can't tell the difference with it switch on or off. Perhaps it needs highly-animated images to work?

Would have been useful to have a PIP feature although I'm planning to install a PC TV card.

The EPG seems a bit busy but well formatted.

Overall, an excellent display but slightly pricey.


October 13, 2009, 7:11 pm

For me the main problem here is at ~£800 this competes directly with the cheaper Panasonic NeoPDP plasma sets and I just can't help thinking you're getting more for your money over in the plasma camp. That said, I don't think I've seen a side-by-side review of the newer technologies (Panasonic NeoPDP versus this Sharp's Backlit LED tech versus Samsung's edge-lit LED stuff) and it'd be really nice if a site such as, oh, say... this one could maybe get these newer, mid-range units together and give us a comprehensive overview.

Do have to agree with Ed though, I wish manufacturers produced no-frills models. I've got a HDMI-equipped Denon amp feeding all my signals via a single HDMI cable and, of course, taking care of audio too. What I really want is a simple panel without tuners, ethernet, USB etc etc of the quality you'd normally get at, say, £1,000 but with a couple of hundred off for the lack of extras. Lovely.


October 13, 2009, 7:47 pm

if only panasonic would hear BOFH_UK's pleas, and make a panasonic z1, without the unnecessary wireless box, and speakers, and (for me, personally) be painted anodized green. with a fish tank screen saver, and costing no more than £800.


October 13, 2009, 9:13 pm

@BOFH_UK and ilovethemonkeyhead; amen to that as unfortunately the only other option is the high end route offered by panasonics professional range of plasmas and planars lcds


October 13, 2009, 10:55 pm

@ffrankmccaffery (boy that's tricky to type correctly!) - ah yes, the high end of panasonics range, the only TV's on the market that come with a pre-paid organ 'donation' bag in the box... :D Thing is, I've got to believe that there's a reasonable market for a mid range stand-alone panel right now. Not, possibly, something that they're going to sell in-store but as an internet-only item for those looking for the best possible picture for the money when you've already got a TV receiver, Blu-Ray deck and decent sound system? Surely that'd shift some units?

Actually, one thing from the review that I meant to comment on and forgot - could TV manufacturers also start includng a couple of user defined presets mapped to a single button? More and more of us route everything in via a single HDMI lead, this makes it a massive pain in the arse when you need to shift to, for example, a 'game' mode. The only thing I use my TV remote for now is putting it in and out of standby, that's it. It's so annoying having to grab it and work through a few layers of menus to hit 'game', especially if I've just put on a blu-ray movie, turned the lights on, got the popcorn ready and realised, as soon as the film actually starts, that I've forgotten to turn game mode off again...


October 14, 2009, 2:23 pm


I completely agree with your described TV - in fact, my ideal TV would be a large, excellent-quality panel with a remote: basically a monitor with IR receiver. I don't want inbuilt speakers, because any savvy cinema fan will have a separate sound system, inputs can be handled by an AV receiver (which you can buy with the money saved by not including this circuitry on the TV) and I personally don't care about tuners though that's probably a rarity.

As to your settings problem, have you considered getting something like one of the Logitech Harmony remotes {like the http://www.trustedreviews.c...} to handle all of that automatically at the touch of a single button?


October 14, 2009, 8:29 pm

"It's also a relief that the 40LE600E looks largely free of direct LED's haloing problem, where the relatively low number of LED arrays versus pixels in the picture can lead to bright picture elements spreading across more of the picture than they're supposed to."

Isn't this problem related to Local Dimming rather than LED lighting ? Since the LE600 does not have Local Dimming, it would make sense that it doesn't have this problem ^^.

Good review though, I'm definitely considering buying a 40LE700... I Hope the 100Hz will reduce the motion blur.


October 14, 2009, 9:46 pm

Adding to my earlier comment i dont think its really only us niche buyers that are in favour of pure display panels. Over half the televisions i see are fed through a external tuner box from either sky, virgin media or another make. For them too the built-in tuner is redundant. As for speakers im sure this current obsession amongst manufacturers for thinness is limiting the quality of speaker cones the can be fitted inside the chassis.


October 15, 2009, 4:53 pm

I recently saw the LC40LU700 (LC40LE700?) in Richer Sounds. It was on the same wall as Samsung LED/Plasma, LG Plasma and a 50in Full HD Pioneer Kuro. I know it was inevitable, but I personally though that the Sharp blew the Pioneer Kuro out of the water in basic terms of outright picture quality. The Sharps black levels were really deep and consistent, the definition put the Pioneer (and nearly all Plasmas) to shame. I was told that the 100Hz and Blu-ray 24fps film mode were switched to on. Motion was silky smooth. No fast camera panning problems here.

We were looking for a new 40in/42in TV. We did look at Panasonics 85/800 series plasmas in 2008, but money was a bit tight then otherwise we'd have taken the plunge. We're very disappointed with Panasonics latest S/G/V series plasmas. Lack of Full HD definition, poor white levels (everyone talks about black levels, but brilliant white <shirts> are equally important). Plasmas are notoriously bad at pure white reproduction, but many plasma fans don't like to talk about this! Not pink, green or red, but brilliant white (and black) is required. The 40L*700 appeared to reproduce a very natural colur palette!

Plasmas, compared to LCDs, constantly undermine full HD at 42in and 50in. What's the point of having full HD, when the plasmas just dilute all that extra definition?

With this Sharp 40in 700 series, it looks like we have a TV that has overcome all the previous LCD, Plasma and LED shortcomings. It's also got two RGB/S-Video Scarts for legacy equipment and a component input too alongside 4 HDMIs, PC and USB inputs!


November 7, 2009, 10:59 pm

viewed the LC32LE700 series recently at curry's. They kindly hooked up a blu-ray player for me - after some discussion - and that's when I decided against this particular model. The image was full of noise - like digital camera noise - it looked awful. The shop assistant said it was the cheap HDMI cable. I liked the colours and the blacks where obviously superior to the rest. Pity.

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