Sharp has begun to roll out its 2012 line of LCD TVs. The new 6 Series is one of the lower-priced series, and it includes screen sizes of 52, 60, and 70 inches. We have not performed a hands-on review of the 70-inch LC-70LE640U, but here is an overview of its features. This 1080p LCD lacks the 3D capability, Quattron Quad Pixel Plus 2, and 240Hz technology that you’ll find in the step-up 7/8/9 Series, but it does offer 120Hz technology to reduce motion blur and an edge LED lighting system, which allows for a cabinet depth of 3.5 inches and weight of 79.4 pounds. The LC-70LE640U does not include local dimming to more precisely adjust the LED zones to improve black level and contrast. The TV features built-in Wi-Fi and access to Sharp’s newly redesigned SmartCentral Web platform, which includes Netflix, VUDU, Facebook, CinemaNow, YouTube, Twitter, and the AQUOS Advantage Live program that provides instant access to live customer support. A Web browser and DLNA media streaming are also available.
The connection panel includes four HDMI inputs, as well as one component video input, one PC input, and one RF input to access the internal ATSC and Clear-QAM tuners. All four HDMI ports are side-facing for easy access. Dual USB ports are available for media playback, and an Ethernet port is available for a wired network connection. The LC-70LE640U offers RS-232 for integration into an advanced control system.
The TV includes a solid assortment of picture adjustments, including: eight picture modes; an adjustable backlight and an automatic brightness sensor called OPC; five color-temp presets, plus RGB gain controls to fine-tune white balance; a six-point color management system; gamma adjustment; and digital noise reduction. The LC-70LE640U’s 120Hz Fine Motion Enhanced technology has two options: 120Hz High and 120Hz Low, both of which add varying degrees of frame interpolation to produce smoother movement with film sources. The TV has four aspect-ratio options for SD content and four options for HD, with a Dot by Dot mode for viewing 1080i/1080p images with no overscan.
On the audio side, the setup menu lacks preset sound modes but offers treble, bass, and balance controls, as well generic surround, auto volume, bass enhancer, and clear voice functions. Finally, the Power Control menu includes power-saving settings to reduce power consumption, as well as an Audio Only option lets you turn off the video signal when you’re only listening to an audio source.
Read about the high points and low points of the Sharp LC-70LE640U on Page 2.
• The LC-70LE640U has a 70-inch screen and a 1080p resolution.
• The edge-lit LED design allows for a slim cabinet and good energy efficiency (it is EnergyStar-certified).
• 120Hz technology is available to reduce motion blur and film judder.
• LCDs can be very bright, which makes them a good choice for a brightly lit viewing environment.
• The TV has plenty of connection options and a decent amount of picture adjustments.
• Sharp’s SmartCentral Web platform has been redesigned to be more intuitive and customizable. It includes Netflix, VUDU, CinemaNow, and YouTube, and the TV supports a wired or wireless network connection. A Web browser and DLNA media streaming are available.
• This HDTV thankfully has an RS-232 port.
• This set lacks 3D capability.
• Edge-lit LED-based LCD TVs can suffer from brightness-uniformity issues, and this TV lacks local dimming to improve black level and uniformity.
• LCD viewing angles are not as good you’ll find with a plasma TV.
• Despite needed improvements, Sharp’s Web platform still isn’t as robust as some of its competitors. It lacks an app store to add new services, and it doesn’t include Smart Search to make it easier to find content across your various sources.
• Sharp is the only major TV manufacturer that doesn’t currently offer an iOS/Android control app. The company has announced plans for an AQUOS Beamzit app that will allow you to send media content from an iOS/Android device to a Wi-Fi-enabled Sharp TV, but it’s not available as of this writing.
Competition and Comparison
Compare the Sharp LC-70LE640U with its competition by reading the reviews for the Toshiba 65HT2U, Westinghouse VR-6025Z, Sharp LC-70LE732U, and Samsung UN65C6500. Learn more about LED/LCD HDTVs by visiting our LED HDTV section.
Last year, Sharp earned our “Best LCD-LED HDTV” award for its 70-inch LC-70LE732U, primarily for its game-changing size/price combination. The new LC-70LE640U basically picks up where that model left off, with an MSRP of $3,299 and a street price around $2,500 or less. The new model omits the four-color Quattron technology found in the 732U, but that’s a non-issue for me, as I don’t think Quattron really brings that much to the table (as I discovered when I reviewed the LC-60LE925UN. Otherwise, the LC-70LE640U offers most of its predecessor’s features, including built-in Wi-Fi, streaming VOD, 120Hz technology, four HDMI inputs, and RS-232. This isn’t just a bare-bones budget display; the LC-70LE640U wraps the features that many shoppers crave in a large-screen package.