The 40LE700 also manages to deliver a bold, richly saturated colour palette that’s markedly more natural in tone than anything we’ve become used to seeing from Sharp’s normal LCD TVs. HD pictures contain plenty of that lovely detailing that makes the format so loveable, and HD pictures can look crisp, too – provided there’s not too much motion around.
For sadly, despite carrying a 100Hz engine, the 40LE700 falls prey rather noticeably to motion blur. This is particularly apparent during standard definition viewing, but even HD action sequences aren’t immune to it. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be an action scene; any kind of fast motion within the frame, such as someone turning their face, can lead to obvious resolution loss in the moving area.
The 100Hz engine does reduce the extent of this blur compared with Sharp’s step-down LE600E LED models, but it certainly doesn’t completely remove it – not by a long chalk. What’s more, it doesn’t do its business quite as efficiently as some of the best rival 100Hz/200Hz systems when it comes to side-effects, at least if you run it in conjunction with Sharp’s ‘Film Mode’ feature set to either of its Advanced levels. In this configuration there’s clear flickering around edges, at times, as well as the occasional stutter. Thankfully these side-effects are far less apparent if you put the Film Mode into its Standard setting.
One other smaller issue I have with the 40LE700’s pictures is blooming, where the relative paucity of LED light sources compared with the number of pixels in the picture can mean that the local dimming sometimes can’t get local enough, resulting in slight haloes around very bright objects when they appear against dark backgrounds. This inadequate localisation issue may also contribute a little to the sense of softness noted during motion-packed bright scenes.
At this point I really do have to say that when the 40LE700’s pictures are good, they’re outstanding. Check out the key card game sequences in ”Casino Royale”, for instance; here the level of black response, dynamism, sharpness and colour accuracy is really something to behold on an LCD/LED TV at this price, and there’s relatively little motion around to catch the TV out. But this just makes it all the more upsetting when the dreaded motion blur sets in during any sort of action scene or shot.
The 40LE700’s audio is rather more straightforward than its pictures, in that it’s a typical flat TV ‘fair to middling’ affair with adequate volumes and some decent treble clarity, but a pretty impoverished bass end and rather cramped mid-range.
Despite confidently reaffirming direct LED backlighting’s talents with black level and contrast, and delivering occasionally excellent HD images, the Sharp LC-40LE700E ultimately proves that direct LED lighting isn’t itself enough to guarantee a TrustedReviews Recommended badge. You’ve also got to nail the other stuff – particularly LCD’s response time/motion blur problem.