As usual with LED technology, which is more capable than normal CCFL lighting of putting deep blacks alongside bright whites within the same frame, you’re looking at a pretty potent contrast performance. Sharp aggravatingly doesn’t give an exact manufacturer’s contrast ratio for the set, simply referring to it as 'Mega'. But from what I’ve seen of Sharp’s other LE600 and LE700 models, I wouldn’t expect the 52LE700E’s contrast performance to be anything less than excellent.
And so it proves. The set delivers the same inky, convincingly toned, rich black levels reported with Sharp’s other direct LED models, giving dark film scenes an immediacy and believability that no other non-LED LCD TV – and not even all plasma TVs – can compete with. And yes, with material like the black and white sequence at the start of Casino Royale or the vast majority of Mass Effect 2, the screen can also deliver punchy whites within the same frame as its convincing blacks. It’s worth stressing here, too, that the impact of the 52LE700E’s contrast efforts is given added weight by the 52in size of the screen.
The sense of unusual dynamism the 52LE700E’s contrast efforts introduce to dark scenes extends to the set’s colour reproduction, as it fires out a broad spectrum of tones with real aggression and full-on saturations. Unlike some previous generations of Sharp TV, though, this aggression doesn’t come at the expense of subtlety. In fact, thanks most likely to the 10-bit processing, the 52LE700E shows considerable delicacy in its dealings with colour blends, even when it comes to that trickiest of picture elements, the humble skin tone.