Sharp LC52LE820X LED television

Sharp LC52LE820X review: An LED television with Quattron technology.

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Sharp LC52LE820X
  • Sharp LC52LE820X
  • Sharp LC52LE820X
  • Sharp LC52LE820X
  • Expert Rating

    3.25 / 5

Pros

  • Excellent black levels and contrast levels

Cons

  • The extra yellow sub-pixel makes some colours look unnatural, reflective panel, no IPTV via Ethernet, no 3D support

Bottom Line

The Sharp Quattron LC52LE820X is a great TV when it comes to contrast, black levels and displaying fine image detail, but its colour needs some tweaking. We're disappointed by its lack of extra features like 3D and IPTV, though.

Would you buy this?

The Sharp LC52LE820X is a 52in, LED-backlit LCD television that uses Sharp's Quattron technology. Quattron adds a yellow sub-pixel to the normal red, green and blue sub-pixels in an attempt to let the TV display more vivid colour. We're not sold on this technology, but the television does offer excellent black levels and detail in high contrast scenes. Unfortunately it lacks the Internet connectivity and 3D features of similarly priced TVs from competing brands like Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic.

Sharp LC52LE820X: Design, connectivity and features

The design of the Sharp LC52LE820X reminds us of an Apple iPad in landscape orientation. The TV has smooth rounded corners and dark bezel around a grey panel; it looks attractive but it's nothing original. The television is solidly constructed, with a cylindrical swivelling stand and thick glass base. We like the illuminated chevron in the middle of the lower bezel — it's a nice design element that stops the television from looking bland.

The Sharp LC52LE820X has a similar connectivity specification sheet to other high-end LED and plasma televisions. Four HDMI ports will take care of all the digital video devices any average home is likely to have, and VGA, composite and component video are also included. There's also a single USB port on the LC52LE820X's side and a wired Ethernet port — but no wireless connectivity.

There's no 3D support and no IPTV video-on-demand features built in to the Sharp LC52LE820X. This is surprising in a year where almost every other LCD or plasma television released by Panasonic, Sony, LG and Samsung has Internet features. Given the number of times we've quickly jumped on to YouTube to watch a music video during a commercial break, we think it's a feature that will be sorely missed on this television model — especially when it's competing with the Samsung Series 7 (UA55C7000) LED TV, LG 55LE7500 LED TV and Sony BRAVIA KDL-46HX800 LED TV.

Sharp LC52LE820X: Picture quality, contrast and colour

We were a bit iffy about Sharp's supposedly revolutionary new Quattron technology when it was announced; we've never had any problems with the colour accuracy and vibrancy of 'regular' LCD and plasma televisions. Without getting too technical, a normal LCD or plasma television uses three sub-pixels in each pixel, one for each of the red, green and blue colours recorded by the imaging sensor in a video camera. RGB is the standard used for broadcast television, DVD and Blu-ray, but Sharp has decided that it's not good enough and has added a fourth sub-pixel with a yellow colour. Sharp alleges that Quattron televisions "improve colour expressiveness and picture quality" even when displaying regular RGB content shot on RGB cameras and destined for RGB televisions. We're not convinced...

We had the Sharp LC52LE820X set up next to a Samsung Series 7 3D plasma television and took turns displaying a range of content on each after a small amount of calibration. Apart from the expected small differences in each television's display of colours, we didn't find the Sharp LC52LE820X to display any incredible difference in colour vibrancy. During most tests we actually found the Samsung TV displayed more accurate and lifelike colours. The default modes of the Sharp LC52LE820X can look overly vivid and rob detail from saturated areas of the screen — we opted to use the Movie mode as it offered the most reasonable colour representation.

The Sharp LC52LE820X is definitely able to produce vibrant colour with impressive contrast and deep black levels. Since it's a backlit LED panel rather than an edge-lit one (used in slimmer LED televisions), individual LEDs are able to be dimmed or turned off to produce deep black levels while maintaining detail in dark and bright areas of the screen. If you're watching high quality movie content with lots of especially difficult-to-display bright and dark scenes — The Blu-ray version of The Dark Knight is a great example of this — it's important to get a television that can display as much of this information as possible. The Sharp LC52LE820X does an excellent job.

Sharp LC52LE820X: Environmental policy and conclusion

Sharp's environmental policy details its commitment to minimise its environmental impact.

The Sharp LC52LE820X does a great job of displaying footage from Blu-ray movies and other 1080p content, but we can't help but be disappointed by the lack of extra features given the reasonably high price tag. We may not be fans of 3D at this point in time, but to see it missing when competitors like the Samsung Series 7, Sony BRAVIA KDL-46HX800 and LG 47LX9500 LED television have 3D included is a definite disadvantage for Sharp. The lack of even basic IPTV features is another blow.

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Read more on these topics: sharp, LED TV, home entertainment, Quattron
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