Haier LE46B1381 LED TV Review
The Haier LE46B1381 is a very basic 1080p LED television.
The LE46B1381 (MSRP $979) is a 1080p display from Haier. This model boasts LED backlighting, three HDMI ports, and a 120Hz motion processing function. It is very basic, lacking advanced features like 3D imaging and internet connectivity. Some consumers may be shopping for a good, old-fashioned HDTV like this one. The straight-forward features sound acceptable, but our test results should have you looking at other models.
Basic looks and basic connections are the name of the game.
Haier is employing some LED lights to make the LE46B1381 super slim. Less than two inches in depth, this TV looks good from the side, but the bezel running around the screen is pretty bold. This black frame bezel takes up a good amount of visual space and detracts from the purpose of LED slimness. All together, it’s a rather average looking television with a tight little profile.
For connections, there is an L-shaped cutout with a standard set of port connections on the back-left side of this Haier. The ports are broken into two sections, with the newer digital ports along the bottom of the L, and the analog connections on the side. On the bottom, there are three HDMI ports and a USB connection, which should allow for hookups to many newer devices.
Smart TV Features
A simple menu without many options
The menus are crazy simple. They appear as a large gray box in the center of the screen. There are a few tab headers with options within each. With no advanced features of any kind—no internet, no 3D, not much in the way of video processing—the settings are very basic. In fact, after you calibrate once, you may never need to go back in to the menu.
Since the menu interface is in the center of the screen, it is hard to see how much individual adjustments affect the picture. However, there are not that many adjustments to make so this should not be a huge problem.
There is one curious aspect to the menu: a tab called Lock, which was mysteriously locked. The menu tells us you need a password to enter this menu. The default password is 0000, but we were never asked to input a password, rather the Lock menu was grayed out and we couldn’t even select it. If you can access this menu, you can lock shows with a given MPAA rating.
Plasma-rivaling black levels
We recorded a very deep black level on the Haier LE46B1381, which rivals some plasma screen models which are known for getting deeper black levels than LCDs. This comes with a caveat, because we noticed some auto-dimming. When the screen showed mostly black, we saw the LED backlights turning down. So, if the screen is mostly black, the LE46B1381 will show a very low luminance because the backlights are dimming.
While the colors were surprisingly accurate on the LE46B1381, this TV had trouble displaying them smoothly. The transition from black to the primary colors was rough on the LE46B1381 and it ended up missing some transitional colors. The worst part about the Haier LE46B1381 is the awful color temperature, which makes certain grey values have a red tint.
When it comes to motion, there were some artifacts to mention. When a display adds elements to a picture that should not be there, like jagged edges, they are called artifacts. We saw jagged lines form on straight edges of objects. Jagged lines will show when an object does not move in unison. Instead, parts of it move while others catch up. These jaggies result when a processor cannot refresh the screen fast enough, from top to bottom, to move an object all at once. The jagged edges increased as the difficulty of our tests increased, degrading image quality. Overall the result is just average motion performance.
This Haier cannot do anything consistently well.
The Haier LE46B1381 is a very basic 1080p LED television. You cannot access the internet, nor can you watch 3D images with this TV. Lacking advanced features can often be a boon to a television, making it easy to use and cost much less, as you're not paying for features you may rarely use. Unfortunately, that is not the case here.
Aside from the dark black level, there isn't much to like about this TV. Every supposed benefit comes with severe drawbacks. The LED lights make for a thin profile, but this TV is far from fashionable, what with its unsightly wide bezel. The contrast ratio is strong, but only because of an auto-dimming feature that cannot be turned off. The LE46B1381 produces a set of colors that are fairly accurate, but the color temperature is inconsistent. There is a great USB media port with an easy-to-use interface, but the physical location of this port makes it almost inaccessible.
The worst aspect of this television is that certain grey values reproduced with a reddish hue instead of pure grey. This became so obvious to us after we saw it the first time that it was really distracting. There is much to be said for a bargain TV, but it’s not a true bargain if you come to regret the purchase because of poor quality. Sadly, we cannot recommend this television to anyone.
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