Sharp LC-60LE660U LED TV Review
It's good at two things: being large and cheap.
Meet the Sharp LC-60LE660U: With an original MSRP of $1,099.99, this 60-inch beast can now be had for as little as $850 online. While cinephiles are bound to wince at its picture, penny pinchers are bound to smile at its price tag.
However, the inclusion of Sharp's SmartCentral Apps—a somewhat abbreviated version of their SmartCentral platform—boosts its value considerably, but only for consumers who don't already have a means of streaming content into their living room.
Looks & Experience
No, but seriously: It's a big TV.
The LE660U's massive, 60-inch panel rests on a roundish, rectangular stand. The look isn't exactly sleek, but then again, Sharp is rarely the paradigm of style.
Its bezel is narrow enough not to distract from the picture, though when a TV is this big, it's difficult for any of its design elements to distract from the picture.
On the back of the panel you'll find three HDMI ports, combination component/composite inputs, an RF connector, digital and analog audio outputs, a USB port, and a PC input.
The LE660U's remote control is a little on the big side, but it's well-shaped and doesn't seem to have any problems in terms of responsiveness. In addition to a SmartCentral button, there's also a button specifically designated for the TV's Netflix app.
A word about the smart platform
The LE660U features Sharp's "SmartCentral Apps," a truncated version of the company's SmartCentral platform. As far as smart platforms go it's not exactly barebones, but outside of Netflix, Hulu, and Facebook, there's not much going on.
SmartCentral Apps takes the form of a chunky-looking menu bar on the bottom of the screen. From there, users can access their desired apps as well as the TV's USB port, provided a USB-powered device is connected.
The browser is about as clunky as you'd expect a TV's browser to be, but I've never met anyone who actually uses their TV's web browser. Unless you're one of those seemingly rare people, there's no need to sweat it.
The SmartCentral Apps experience feels clumsy and unremarkable, but lets be honest: Whether it's a Roku stick, a Chromecast, or a gaming console, you probably already have at least one other device that will provide you with a richer web-based experience.
However, if a sexy smart platform brimming with apps, games, and customization options is what you're after, the LE660U is probably not going to satisfy you. The benefit of a platform such as this is that, unlike other smart TVs, you're not paying for functionality you won't use.
Colors aren't supposed to look like that.
First, the good stuff: Motion on the LE660U is relatively smooth, with little-to-no juttering to speak of. The quick, high-energy rhythm of sports broadcasts, video games, and action films will come across well on the LE660U's giant screen.
The LE660U also gets very dark and very bright. Its impressive contrast ensures that the picture is rich with detail, which we consider to be one of the cornerstones of quality performance.
But despite its dark black level, the LE660U has a dark secret: Its color production is not very good. Prior to calibration—which you can read about more on the Science page—the TV produces colors so blue that even the untrained eye will notice something is amiss.
The LE660U's grayscale is damaged beyond repair; neutral tones will undoubtedly appear bluish, which means the darker, shadow-heavy scenes of a movie will never quite look the way they're supposed to.
Without getting too much into the calibration process, I will say this: Although calibrating the LE660U corrected its over-emphasis of blue, the problem was replaced with a severe over-emphasis of red and green. It seems as though nothing can be done about the LE660U's troublesome relationship with color.
Pull up a chair—just watch where you sit.
One of the most important things to consider when searching for a TV of this size is the TV's viewing angle, which describes how far away to either side one can sit before the picture degrades past the point of no return.
Ostensibly, consumers in the market for a 60-inch TV are planning on entertaining guests, sitting at off-angles, and otherwise enjoying the luxuries that accompany the purchase of a TV this big. It is therefore with a heavy heart that I shatter your expectations of the LE660U.
This TV's viewing angle cone is narrow, and I mean seriously narrow. Even if you're just four feet away from the center, the image gets murky, details vanish, and the experience becomes altogether disappointing.
So, what can we take away from all of this? First of all, if you're at all concerned about the quality of your Blu-rays when you're hosting movie night, it would be wise to explore alternatives. That said, if you want an affordable, 60-inch screen and you think you can live with a worse-than-average picture, the LE660U should suit you fine—just don't expect everyone in the room to share the same experience.
Before you buy the Sharp Aquos LC-60LE660U, take a look at these other televisions.
Did we mention it's big?
If you're in the market for a big TV with an adequate amount of smart features, the LE660U might be worth a look. Keep in mind, however, that you're not getting a heavy-hitting TV in terms of performance. Simply put, the area in which this TV excels is the "being 60 inches big" area.
Admittedly, I find this TV's niche to be a small one, and I think it's only going to get smaller over time. Frankly, most people already have an external device—be it a dongle, a gaming console, or a Blu-ray player—that offers streaming content.
Smart platforms are becoming more of a standard on high-end TVs, mostly because it seems absurd to manufacture a several-thousand-dollar-TV that doesn't include smart features. When it comes to mid-range and low-end TVs, however, it's more substantial of a selling point, and the inclusion of smart features can solely determine whether or not someone purchases the TV in question.
When I look at the LE660U, I see a TV for people who care mostly about size, smart features, and affordability—but mostly size. That said, if you're a stickler for performance, the Panasonic TC-60AS530U is available online for a hair under $800, and the series tested fairly well in our labs last year.
Here's the bottom line: The Sharp LC-60LE660U will treat your wallet nicely, but won't be so kind to your Blu-rays. It will, however, look very, very big in your living room, and for some people, that's all that matters.
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