Sharp is not, it would seem, a brand to be rushed when it comes to 3D. For having debuted its first ever 3D TV in October 2010, the impressive but flawed 60in LE-60LE925E, it’s only now that the brand has seen fit to follow that up with something more mass market.
That something is the LC-46LE831E: a more manageable 46in model we’ve found selling for the very reasonable price of £1,119.99 (though this doesn't include any of Sharp's AN-3DGD20-B 3D glasses as standard).
Making this price look all the more reasonable is the fact that the 46LE831E’s 3D talents are actually just part of its overall appeal. For starters, the edge LED set also boasts Sharp’s proprietary Quattron technology, which finds an extra yellow pigment being added to the red, green and blue ones used by every other LCD TV. The idea behind this is simple: the more colour components you make available to a TV for ‘mixing’ its picture’s colours, the more potentially accurate those pictures could look. Especially where yellows and golds are concerned.
Sharp also argues that the relatively transmissive nature of yellow compared with the other heavier primary colours (red, green, cyan, magenta and blue) enables its Quattron panels to be more efficient, as they don’t need as much power to deliver bright pictures. So proud of this is Sharp that it includes the set’s official Energy rating chart - complete with an A grade, of course - alongside the photo of the TV on its website, as reproduced on this page.
Sharp has additionally ramped up its multimedia talents for the 46LE831E. The brand’s AQUOS Net online service now includes open Internet browsing and will also deliver Skype following a firmware update in July.
‘Ring-fenced’ services, meanwhile, include TomTom, eBay, myalbum.com, cinetrailer, Daily Motion, Box Office 365 (subscription), the Cartoon Network (subscription), iConcerts, YouTube and the FunSpot game channel.
While the AQUOS Net presentation is tidy enough, though, its services aren’t nearly as wide-ranging as those now sported by most of Sharp’s rivals. The BBC iPlayer is particularly sorely missed. As with all online TV services, though, there’s plenty of scope for things to improve in the coming months.
Accessing the 46LE831E’s online features can be done via Ethernet port or, rather pleasingly, wi-fi, via a provided USB dongle. This USB dongle will occupy one of three USB ports on the set, with the other two able to either play music, photo or video (including DivX-HD) files from USB storage devices, or else record to USB drives from the set’s Freeview HD tuner.
Other key connections including four HDMIs, an SD card slot, a D-Sub PC port, and an RS-232 port that allows you to make the TV part of a wider home control system. The set carries DLNA support, too, for accessing files on networked PCs.
Aesthetically the 46LE831E is a winner. Its black bezel is extremely slim and very elegant with its little metallic trim, and the split bottom edge with its angled bottom half looks divine - especially with the rather cool little illuminated Sharp ‘swish’ logo in its centre.