Sharp LC-70LE735X LED TV

Sharp's huge 70in LED TV has great picture quality

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Sharp LC-70LE735X
  • Sharp LC-70LE735X
  • Sharp LC-70LE735X
  • Sharp LC-70LE735X

Pros

  • Good price
  • Huge screen size
  • Good picture quality

Cons

  • Almost no extra features
  • Only 100Hz
  • No local dimming

Bottom Line

Sharp’s massive 70in LC-70LE735X makes for a great cinema experience paired up with a Full HD Blu-ray movie. It’s a high quality panel with good LED backlighting (with no local dimming, though) and can be easily adjusted to suit a bright or dark room. Extra features like video-on-demand are sparse, but if you’ve got a new Blu-ray player this won’t be a hindrance.

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The Sharp LC-70LE735X may be the second best model in Sharp’s 2011-12 LED TV line-up, but it has the distinction of being the largest screen that the company makes. It’s also the biggest TV available in Australia — at 70in it’s 5in larger than the second-placed 65in Panasonic VT50 (set to be released in June for $5999).

Sharp LC-70LE735X: Design, setup, and specifications

The Sharp LC-70LE735X is big. Think about it this way: a ‘big-screen’ 55in TV has a screen that’s less than two-thirds of the size of the LE735X’s 70in. The TV measures 1613mm wide and 1008mm tall, but impressively is only 89mm thick at its bulkiest point.

You’ll need a wide entertainment unit to accomodate the Sharp LE735X, or a wide wall on which to mount it. Similarly, we think the optimum viewing distance for a 70in screen is about 4.5m away — 175in, or two and a half times the diagonal screen size — so you’ll need a large living room.

The bezel of the LC-70LE735X is around 4cm thick on the top and sides, and about 9cm on the lower edge, which hides two 10W speakers. This might seem thick compared to the wafer-thin 5mm of the LG 55LM9600, but since the LE735X’s screen is so large it’s not noticeable or distracting.

The Sharp LC-70LE735X is finished in Sharp’s usual businesslike dark grey plastic along the lower edge, but the rest of the bezel is a low-gloss black. Sharp’s styling hasn’t really evolved significantly since the days of the AQUOS D53X in 2008, but we definitely don’t think the LE735X is ugly; the TV is simple and quietly attractive.

Sharp doesn’t sell a wall mount that’s compatible with the LC-70LE735X, but you can pick up a third-party alternative for as little as $20.

The Sharp LC-70LE735X is surprisingly easy to set up. The stand is no-nonsense and only requires eight screws to hook up. You’ll need to have a buddy on hand to help you lift the TV into place, though: the LE735X is a solid 42.5kg with the stand attached.

The LE735X has a range of connections that are pretty standard for 2012. There’s four HDMI inputs, wired Ethernet, VGA, one component and two composite A/V groups, and finally three USB ports for playing media files (picture, audio and video files including JPEG, MP3, MKV, MP4) or for connecting an optional Wi-Fi adapter.

Sharp LC-70LE735X: Performance and picture quality

The Sharp LC-70LE735X’s 70in screen is a Full HD 1080p LCD, backlit by a full array of LEDs. This setup is the best approach currently available to lighting an LCD panel, although the LE735X doesn’t use the local dimming feature available in the premium LE835X.

The lack of local dimming holds the LE735X back from displaying super-bright whites alongside super-dark black areas, but the TV is still able to display good contrast in difficult scenes. The screen’s automatic brightness adjustment (darkening the screen when the scene you’re watching is dark, and boosting brightness in bright scenes) works well with a huge range of adjustment — the range of adjustment can even be adjusted — and its tendency to keep the screen slightly dark rather than slightly bright provides impressively deep black levels.

Whites aren’t as impressive due to no localised brightness boosting — they’re definitely not bad, just not as punchy as on a calibrated plasma or local-dimming LED — but colour performance is generally good. Sharp’s yellow fourth sub-pixel, which the company calls Quattron technology, doesn’t really do a great deal to change the colour qualities of the TV, apart from providing a boost to gold and yellow areas once the Quad Pixel Plus mode is activated. The Sharp LC-70LE735X tends towards accurate, slightly muted colours rather than punchy and over-saturated tones — this look is our preference due to the extra detail visible in high quality video.

We chose the Movie preset as the best mode in our darkened testing setting, but Standard makes a good compromise for lighter rooms. The settings are able to be tweaked with a wide range of values, including individual hue and saturation for each colour. Film drive modes including 24p support mean that the LC-70LE735X handles DVD, Blu-ray or compressed video content at appropriate frame rates.

Sharp’s 100Hz Fine Motion Advanced motion interpolation feature has been around for several years now, and it’s included on the LC-70LE735X. It’s one of the better 100Hz modes we’ve seen, and although 200Hz or higher can look smoother and more pleasing we’re still happy with the motion performance of the LE735X. We were able to make the TV stumble on wide panning shots in Planet Earth on Blu-ray where it introduced some flickering, but it handled the fast motion of The Dark Knight’s fight scenes and a Formula 1 race broadcast on One HD without any apparent problems. The LE735X should do a good job with all but the most demanding videos.

On our test unit, the LED backlight of the Sharp LE735X was almost perfectly uniform. We noticed a very minor dim area in the centre of the screen, but we were only able to see this after displaying an entirely black background at maximum brightness in a completely darkened room. It wouldn’t be noticeable during any kind of regular day-to-day viewing, and we are inclined to think that it’s a variation with our sample.

Unlike the higher-end LE835X, the Sharp LC-70LE735X doesn’t support 3D. We’re not bothered by this — frankly, it’s nice to see a good TV that doesn’t include 3D support as a selling feature — but it may turn off some buyers, especially those who are looking for 3D in as large a screen size as possible.

Sharp LC-70LE735X: Sound quality and extra features

The speakers of the Sharp LC-70LE735X are acceptably good but not great. We were impressed by the stereo setup of the LG LM9600, which uses five speakers and a subwoofer, but the Sharp LE735X makes do with two speakers with 10 Watts of power each. There are various audio tweaks like a virtual surround mode, Clear Voice and bass enhancer, but we were happy with just raising treble and bass on the two-point equaliser.

The LE735X uses its USB ports to play movies, photos or audio from flash drives or USB HDDs, but an optional Wi-Fi adapter (or the built-in Ethernet) connects the TV to the Internet. Web features are minimal with a Web browser and YouTube access the stand-outs, so if you want video on demand you’d be best off pairing the Sharp LE735X with a capable Blu-ray player from a video-on-demand-friendly company like Samsung or LG.

You can also use the USB for time-shifting live TV, but we weren’t able to record programs for later viewing.

Sharp LC-70LE735X: Conclusion

Sharp’s huge-screen LE735X is impressive when it comes to picture quality — and really, that’s what matters for a TV. We think it could have been better with the addition of local dimming but it does a good job nonetheless. Extra features are light on the ground but these can be augmented by buying a Web-ready Blu-ray player.

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S Gerrard

1

Today a red vertical line appeared on my Sharp 70". I googled the problem and the outlook does not look promising. It is less than 12 months old and stories I have read about the same problem seem to indicate that I will be on my own with this one. I will call Harvey Norman tomorrow and see what happens.

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