on 16 January 2012
Too much to say and will probably miss allot, but will do my best to be concise with my review. Firstly I'd like to say that I have been reading reviews and following TV tech for the past 9 months trying to make a good buying decision as the head of my entertainment centre.
There is alot being said about LG and Samsung these days as they are the brands on the high street which have been marketed the most and have taken up the trend, whilst in contrast Sharp in typical Japanese fashion goes on quietly about its business. Ultimately though, no product is perfect especially with product development times now as short as 6-12 months, so the important decision "you" the buyer has to make is what flaws you are prepared to live with, which functions and gimmicks are not worth loosing sleep over taking into consideration that other complementing products in the home theater setup and provide a much better overall solution in most cases.
With that being said, this is my review and my pro's and con's about this TV. Now that I have had a few days to play around a little bit I now know I made the right decision and I coulnt be more pleased with what I got for my money.
Other have already mentioned features, etc. but a 3D 46" HDTV for 700 quid ;O of this quality is a STEAL!!!
OK, Pro's and Con's
3D (Movies and Gaming) - Shockingly Excellent! (No ghosting in sight, good brightness in a low light room, after the initial stress on eyes and mind, I have sat through 2 x 3Hrs sessions of 3D gaming and walked away with a smile and no headache.
HD (Movies, TV, Gaming) - As expected Excellent! (In game profile input lag is sufficiently low not to be noticed in fps games)
SD (TV) - Good! (The upscaler of the TV struggles to provide crisp picture with some programmes, but I have noticed that this is dependant on the program as different programs on the same channel can vary in quality. With that said, a good quality modern AV Receiver includes 1080P upscaling of SD material and thebuilt in scalers in this type of product can improve the image quality of SD material significantly over the TV's built in scaler).
Screen Uniformity - Good! (Screen uniformity of edge lit LED panels is an inherent flaw in the technology, despite this this TV does do better than most competitors in the same segment. The TV does have small flaws in this area which I will list in the cons section, but to be fair you have to be very fussy to notice and then only when the screen is black do you notice any of these).
Sound - Excellent! (for a thin LED TV the sound reproduction is surprisingly sufficient, of course it is no replacement for a dedicated setup but its more than sufficient for normal TV viewing and better than most in the same segment).
Picture Quality - Excellent! (this TV can cater for all tastes, you can have it burn your retinas, or after calibration have a naturally looking shapes,colours and skin tones. A bonus is the ability to switch off additional image processing including scanning backlight, motion interpolation, etc. which on some of the competing models in the Samsung/LG range cannot be disabled. Additionally, a 10 point colour adjustment is available if you like to dabble in that kind of thing).
Bundle - Excellent! (in the box comes included a Sharp WiFi dongle and a USB stick carrying the User Manual in PDF format. The box does not include a paper manual so please be aware that you will need to use the USB stick for help with the installation procedure or better yet you can download a full copy from the Sharp website as the one bundled in the USB is somewhat of an afterthought. The Bonus however is that you can have the TV connected to your home broadband in minutes straight out of the box).
The user Interface - Good! (some people have complained about this since on the surface it doesnt seem as user intiutive as an LG or Samsung, but anyone who has used a computer before should get along with the menu system in no time.
3D Spectacles - Excellent! (This TV uses active shutter technology and as such the Specs need to pair with the TV for 3D viewing but the process is made child's play by Sharp. The Specs are very comfotable and have attachments to cater for small and big nosejobs lol. Simply slide a little slider on the specs to 3D when asked to do so by the TV and away you go. The specs use rechargable batteries and can be charged from the TV's USB socket, PS3 or PC. A nice little touch is a 2D feature the specs and TV support, this allows for 2 player gaming on a single screen to be displayed in full screen for each user as opposed to split screen as has been customary for many years now......niiiiice! Simply slide the slider on the specs to 2D and away you go).
Anti-Glare - Excellent! (No flashy glass covers, the TV comes with a standard coating which makes it easy to view during the day when reflections can be a problem, this one although often overlooked was a BIG + point in my decision to buy).
Screen Clouding - Minor Issue here (there is some clouding or lighter blotches on a totally black screen which vary from set to set, but with the right backlight and picture adjustments this can be minimised so it is almost invisible, on top of that it is not even noticeable when viewing any sort of material on the TV.
Backlight Edge bleed - Minor Issue also (my set has some back light bleed from one side and bottom left corner of the TV, but again whilst this is noticeable on a totally black screen, during normal viewing it is invisible).
Dead Pixels - Boooo (I have one dead pixel out of the box, constantly on green, but to be fair its only noticeable when looking at it from 2 inches away, when viewed from 3 metres away it isnt possible to see, nevertheless since this unit is manufactured in JAPAN and I know how much emphasis the Japs put on quality control I am somewhat dissapointed).
User Input - OK (Yes the TV is a little slow to move across inputs or channels, but unless you are going to view Freeview or Terestial TV through this, in which case you shouldnt be buying this type of TV set anyway, it isnt really an issue).
EPG - No Comment (I use Virgin, so I have no use for this, but some owners have complained about the slow EPG and the ackward arrangement of the EPG. Again if you dont view Terestial or Freeview, then this will not even be used, so it will only be an issue in those cases).
Input/Outputs - Acceptable (This is the only area I wish Sharp would have done better, most of the HDMI inputs are on the side and since this is close to the edge of the TV, it is difficult to hide the cables without stress bending them. Another bug bear is the position of the USB slot for the WiFi Dongle, this is at the bottom and most inward of all of the sockets, which means that the TV will act as a significant obstruction to the WiFi signal unless your router sits right beside the TV set. Overall neither one is insurmountable but a little dissapointing in layout as you dont need to be a scientist to workout the practical issues that layout posseses).
Online Content - No Comment (To be fair I havent used it yet, had a look and the interface looks nice enough and is shared with the Phillips TV range, but some owners have complained about not offering enough content. Personally I feel that the defacto BluRay player and AV Reciever now come with these features bundled in and offer more content than most TV's on the market today, so I dont feel its a deal breaker if the TV lack soemwhat in this area, albeit for others this may well be a big dissapointment, my best advice is to try and make your own mind up on that front).
All in all, this TV (based on various other reports) kicks the back side of the Samsung 46D8000 in both 3D, HD and Colour accuracy, as well as being comparable in SD processing and upscaling. You may say so what, the answer is the Sammy is more than TWICE the price, and suffers with lackluster 3D performance, for a marketed 3D TV that is not acceptable in my opinion!!!
I'm very happy with my purchase despite the little flaws, and I feel that the expectation of perfection at this price point is being somewhat cheeky, even for a fussy old codger such as myself lol. If you can, buy from Sharp direct through their Afinity program and you get 1 pair of 3D specs for free, a second pair for £50 and the all important 5 year warranty for free ;)
In summary - QUALITY BARGAIN made in JAPAN, not in TAIWAN. Cant go wrong here!
I spent three months looking at various tv's, everything from Panasonic to LG. in the end I went for the Sharp. I read all the reviews online and whilst the Sharp didn't have many reviews, it did consistently get very good reviews and 'recommended' status.
Finally I managed to get a demo of one and was very impressed by the 2D playback as well as the 3D.
Feature wise, being able to record straight to a hard drive plugged directly into one of the USB Ports is great and of course playing back content via drive too.
The four HDMI ports take care of all the stuff I need to plug in such as Blu Ray Drive, PS3, Apple TV, etc. all works faultlessly.
Sound from the built in speakers is way above the standard slimline tellys that you get nowadays and it even has a small subwoofer built in at the back. So if you can't be bothered with getting a separate surround system, then you'll find it gives enough sound to fill a medium sized room.
Overall a great TV and an absolute bargain at under £800.