Sharp is a brand that I associate with good quality, affordable television sets. I have a 10-year old Sharp LCD TV that is still in good working condition and, two years ago, when I needed to get a replacement for the dining room TV, I went out and bought a Sharp LED TV. So when Sharp invited me to visit their showroom to review the new Sharp Aquos Quattron Pro HD TV, I gladly accepted.
At first glance, the Sharp Aquos Quattron Pro
LC-80LE960X is impressive, with its ultra brilliant LCD display encased in a shiny metallic chassis atop an oval frame base. Without the base, which has a footprint about 18 inches deep, the screen itself is only 1.33 inches at its thinnest part.
Behind the TV’s left edge are physical controls for power, menu, input, channel, and volume—convenient for when you can’t find the remote. Also in the rear are the various ports for video-in, HDMI, USB, etc.
The remote control is the usual keypad type with miscellaneous buttons for the different functions; no touchpad or motion sensor tricks on this one.
This HD TV is proudly named for the key technology that makes it stand out: the Quattron Pro drive, that is capable of processing both full HD or ultra HD content to reproduce picture quality that, Sharp claims, offers a viewing experience “Beyond UHD.” The secret here is Sharp’s proprietary 4-primary color technology that adds an extra color, yellow, to the conventional RGB color palette. Thus, where a standard 3-color screen produces 6 million subpixels, the Quattron Pro converts this to 16M subpixels.
Cinephiles will be happy to note that the Aquos Quattron Pro has a THX Certification, given only to TVs “capable of reproducing the image accuracy, quality, and consistency of a professional
post-production movie studio.“
User Experience: 3.5/5.0
The analyst who gave me the product briefing brought along a magnifying loupe to demonstrate the superior detail of Sharp’s Quattron Pro RGB+Y panel over the standard RGB display panels employed by competitors. Through the lens, you could indeed see that the sub-pixels are finer and brighter.
However, just using my normal “nose to the screen” test for picture detail and resolution, up close to the Quattron Pro screen, you could clearly see the “weave” of the image pixels, signifying that it is not quite up to 4K definition. Maybe this is splitting hairs too much as, when you take even just a step back, the “weave” is hardly discernable, and you appreciate the brilliant color clarity and fine details of the video images.
The LC-80LE960X has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. During the test, I was able to connect it to my smartphone via Miracast, but had a problem getting an internet connection. Smart TV features are limited to web browsing, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Picasa. It does not appear to have Skype functionality as both the app and camera are missing. Sharp does not mention this model’s processor specifications, nor the operating system platform. When I asked, I was informed that the firmware is not upgradeable.
I thought it was clever of Sharp to introduce an HD TV with 4K-upscaling capabilities to compete against the latest 4K UHD TVs being launched by other brands. Given that TV broadcasts are still analog, and most video content is still just 1080p, getting an expensive UHD TV is not yet advisable at this time. With the Aquos Quattron Pro, you get the equivalent of UHD picture quality even without UHD content.
What would have been the clincher to this argument was a more affordable price point to undercut its UHD competition. I was, therefore, taken aback by the PHP 459,998 retail price on the 80-inch model. Considering other products offered at this level, it might be difficult to find a compelling reason to choose the Aquos Quattron Pro over similarly-priced but higher-spec’d TVs.
Despite the frenzied introduction of 4K UHD TVs in the market, there is, as yet, not much 4K content available. Sharp allows you to enjoy an almost ultra-HD viewing experience even for HD content through its Aquos Quattron Pro line of HD TVs.
Also published in GADGETS MAGAZINE August 2014 Issue.
Reviewed by Maribelle Alba