Setting the 40LE831E up for review is impressively aided by the presence of such key calibration tools as a colour management system (with access to the six main colour components), various settings for the set’s motion processing and backlight, and a gamma adjustment.
The only irritating thing is the onscreen menus you have to use to get to these set up features. Press the Menu button and the picture shrinks to around two-thirds of its normal size so the menus can appear in a dual-axis format based around the top right corner of the screen. This works well in the sense that the picture remains unencumbered by onscreen clutter, but it doesn’t leave enough space for the menus, leaving them awkward to navigate.
Starting out the test phase with some 3D viewing, the 40LE831E proves just as accomplished as the larger model - other than the pictures not having as much impact because they’re 6in smaller, that is.
Again, the first thing we noticed was how little crosstalk there is in 3D pictures compared with Sharp’s 60in 3D débutante, the 60LE925E. You occasionally see a small ‘echo’ of really stark objects in the mid to far distance, but it’s never aggressive, and so it’s seldom distracting and crucially doesn’t become something you find yourself actively looking out for.
The main reason for this crosstalk success is that the LE831E screens deliver a ‘200Hz’ picture engine, courtesy of a real 100Hz scanning rate working in tandem with a scanning backlight. The result is the image content refreshes faster so there’s less chance of you seeing any residual traces of the previous eye's 3D frame - the thing that causes crosstalk.
Also striking is how punchy colours look despite the dimming effect of the 3D glasses. This is partly thanks to the screen’s impressive innate levels of colour saturation and brightness; partly thanks to the fact that Sharp’s glasses don’t knock as much light out of 3D pictures as many rival glasses do; and partly because Sharp has sensibly provided 3D-specific picture presets that kick in automatically when 3D content is detected.
These modes are clearly calibrated to counteract the colour and brightness impact of the 3D glasses, and so save you from having to mess about with the screen’s picture settings yourself every time you watch 3D.
It has to be said that the 40LE831E doesn’t provide quite such a powerful sense of the active 3D format’s full HD Blu-ray detailing as the 46LE831E, due simply to the smaller size of the screen. But 3D images certainly still look decently detailed and crisp.