Sharp Aquos LC-46LE821E 46in LED-Lit LCD TV - Sharp Aquos LC-46LE821E

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And so we get to the moment of truth: does the yellow sub-pixel really profoundly improve the 46LE821E’s picture quality? Actually, you know, it kind of does…


As we’re feeling in a rather perverse mood, today, though, we’re going to start with the bad news about the TV’s pictures. Which is that its black level response could be better.


There’s a touch of thankfully low-level backlight inconsistency around (which increases considerably if you have to watch from much of an angle), but also black colours generally tend to look a touch grey. An effect that possibly ironically owes something to the way the yellow sub-pixel transmits the backlighting more easily than normal LCD panels.


However, let’s quickly set about justifying the 9 out of 10 score for picture quality we’ve awarded this TV by saying that there’s a big chunk of compensation for the slightly grey black levels in the form of much more shadow detail during dark scenes than we’re accustomed to seeing with LCD TVs – LED-lit or otherwise.


During dark shots like, say, the night-time images outside Bond’s hotel in the Bahamas in ”Casino Royale”, you can see all sorts of sundry low-level details in the darkest corners that just don’t come out on normal LCD TVs. This helps dark scenes look markedly more immersive, natural and three-dimensional – erm, in a non-3D kind of way! – than those of almost any other LCD TV we can think of right now.


Then, of course, there’s the 46LE821E’s colour response. Which really is a sight to behold. There are two different but equally important reasons for this. First, colours look fantastically vibrant and dynamic thanks to the image’s exceptional brightness – another asset of the extra translucency of each LCD pixel created by the addition of the yellow sub-pixel. And second, the spectrum of the colours the screen can show is much more expansive than we’re used to seeing on LCD and plasma TVs.


Not surprisingly it’s yellow- and gold-based colours that benefit most obviously from the quad pixel system. But colours right across the board tend to look more believable, subtle and expressive.


When we first started using the TV, we occasionally felt that some pictures actually started to look a touch too yellow. But some judicious play with the colour management tools reduced this issue – and in any case, we found ourselves ‘acclimatising’ to the effect over time. In fact, we grew to suspect that actually the 46LE821E was showing pictures correctly, and it was merely our lack of experience of seeing yellow introduced to pictures so purely that made them look initially slightly off-key.

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