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Sharp LC-32LE450U LED TV Review

My kingdom for a bargain

$275.95 at Amazon 32 in.
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Overview

With its pretty little price tag, the entry-level Aquos 450U from Sharp will have your billfold's heart aflutter. And talk about big contrast on a pint-sized TV! The 32-inch model we tested got much darker than we hoped—a capability you just wouldn't expect from a $290 display.

So is the 450U king of the budget-TV mountain? Sadly, no. Measly motion and crummy color bully this TV's picture quality quite a bit, pushing it right out of purchase consideration.

Form

Dressed in black (plastic)

The LE450U is entirely ordinary. A dinky, rounded stand sits glumly below, and a chunky rectangle balances on top. Everything is shrouded in black. In a word, the design looks cheap—which it is. One positive note? This 32-inch TV barely weighs a thing—less than 20 pounds with the stand—so I could effortlessly move it around by myself.

And as for connectivity, it's really not so bad. On the left side, facing out, users will find two HDMI hookups, one USB port, and a headphone jack. On the back, facing the floor (annoyingly), are shared composite/component ports, a PC audio in, a digital audio out, an antenna hookup, and a PC in.

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Features

Little price tags don't deliver the extras.

Again, since this is such a low-end item, users will find the feature set quite limited: We're talking child locks and sleep timers here. If you want 3D, content streaming, funky remotes, and other modern-day TV extras, you must prepare your billfold for a harder blow.

If you want modern-day TV extras, prepare your billfold for a harder blow.

The menu provides a very basic pack of settings to tinker with. Oddly, many of them do very little. For instance, Color Temperature consists of about four settings, but the variance between each is rather indistinct, and none solve the visible temperature errors anyway. The same goes for the Surround Sound mode—I literally couldn't detect a difference between the on and off positions! Luckily, there is an equalizer on hand to help with your 5-watt speaker woes. Wrapping things up, Contrast, Brightness, Backlight, and Sharpness are all included–but again, none of them are particularly responsive.

Comparable Products

Before you buy the Sharp Aquos LC-32LE450U, take a look at these other televisions.

Performance

Stupendous contrast pestered by color trouble

This is one dark little TV! For a 32-inch display that costs less than $300, we weren't expecting such stupendous blacks, especially for an LED. Not only this, but the 450U shines very brightly, too. Packed with contrast like this, a TV is well on its way to delivering beautiful, lifelike images.

The viewing angle is very narrow and motion performance is poor.

But color is the other key component, and the 450U just doesn't deliver. Frankly, during the remainder of the performance tests, the wheels fell off. Inaccuracy is the first problem: This TV's whites have an unpleasant blue tint; its reds are faded; its blues are too vibrant. From there, the troubles just keep coming. Medium and dark greys are polluted by visible color temperature errors, so shadows often have orange or blue tints. The viewing angle is very narrow and motion performance is poor (terrible blows to sports fans). Blurring and trailing pestered detailed, fast-moving objects during testing, and there are no special settings to offset these troubles.

Last Look

A bargain-bin TV that should probably just stay in the bin

Everyone loves a great value, but the 450U just isn't the deal of the day. I felt hopeful after running the first test and noting such excellent contrast—low-end LEDs don't usually deliver blacks this deep. But I smelled trouble, too. The 450U required quite a bit of calibrating, as it was too bright out of the box, and color temperature errors were clearly visible. In the end, the host of color errors, motion problems, and poor viewing angles really knocked this TV out of the running.

For $289.99, you can't expect the world, but performance problems this visible just aren't worth the trade-off in dollars.

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