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

John Archer

By John Archer

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

User Score:

Sharp has sensibly decided to shout about the technological shift it's making with the 40LE600E by giving it a rather swish new black and silver design.

I was a little concerned, perhaps, by how light the TV felt as I set it on its stand; it certainly feels as if a fair bit of cheap and cheerful plastic has gone into its chassis. But I guess the striking lightness of the TV at least makes it less demanding on your wall if you're thinking of hanging it up.

More disappointing though, is how few features the 40LE600E carries beyond its key LED engine. There's no online functionality of the sort now being offered by most of its big-name rivals. Nor can you access multimedia files stored on a PC, or even USB sticks. Even the most entry-level LCD TVs around tend to at least offer USB JPEG playback.

The 40LE600E's provision of three HDMIs rather than four or even five looks a little miserly by today's standards, too.

The only really notable picture processing system, meanwhile, is a Film mode that works on reducing judder in fast-moving backgrounds. This isn't bolstered by any 100Hz processing, and there doesn't appear to be anything particularly interesting going on processing-wise in terms of colour reproduction or sharpness, either.

Of course, though, it's inevitable that Sharp will have had to sacrifice something somewhere to make its direct LED engine available so affordable. And in any case, in many ways the 40LE600E's picture performance does a cracking job of making you forget about the odd missing feature.

Particularly easy on the eye is the 40LE600E's contrast range. At the dark end of the image spectrum, black colours are reproduced very convincingly, with practically no evidence of the blue/grey undertone we've so often witnessed with Sharp's non-LED LCD TVs.

It's a relief, too, to find that dark scenes seem to possess plenty of fine detail, showing that the screen's local dimming technology is astute enough not to push so hard for inky black levels that it 'forgets' to render bright elements in mostly dark areas.

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. Sure, there's a little bit of misty shadowing every now and then when a really bright image element sits right alongside a really dark one, but these moments are rare and subtle enough not to seriously upset. Especially when in my opinion you'll be too busy goggling instead at the fact that such bright and dark elements can co-exist so dynamically at all on an LCD screen.

The 40LE600E also makes its LED lighting count with its colour response. Tones across the colour spectrum enjoy a really startling intensity that makes many ordinary LCD screens look muted by comparison - especially when it comes to colourful elements in otherwise dark scenes, where ordinary LCD TVs would have to remove much of the brightness from the image in order to realise a decent black level response.

More good news finds the 40LE600E's colours not going into a tonal tailspin when you're watching standard definition, as used to be the case with Sharp's ordinary LCD TVs.

Ed

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.

Guest

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.

BOFH UK

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.

ilovethemonkeyhead

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.

ffrankmccaffery

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

BOFH UK

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...

TechVegan

October 14, 2009, 2:23 pm

@BOFH_UK:


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.com/...} to handle all of that automatically at the touch of a single button?

BlueScreenJunky

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.

ffrankmccaffery

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.

niftynigel

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!

ndav

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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