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.
Calibrating the LE660U was a frustrating endeavor. Although the TV is equipped with 2-point white balance and a full color management system, only the former actually affected the picture in a meaningful way.
I began calibrating the LE660U by disabling digital noise reduction, active contrast, and film mode. Most importantly, I disabled the TV's automatic light sensor, which automatically adjusts the TV's backlight based on ambient light.
I set the picture to its "Movie" mode, kept the color temperature at "Low," and dropped the backlight to -7. From there, I made informed adjustments to the TV's brightness and white balance.
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.
Because of its effect on picture detail, we consider a TV's contrast ratio to be the most critical aspect of its performance. We arrive at this figure by dividing its peak brightness (100 IRE) by its black level (0 IRE). One of the LE660U's saving graces is its contrast ratio, which pairs a sensational black level (0.041 cd/m2 ) with brighter-than-average highlights (244.3 cd/m2 ).
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.
A TV utilizes red, green, and blue light to create its picture. Ideally, these primary colors would all play their part in harmony without an over- or under-emphasis on any of them. Since neutral tones like black, white, and gray are comprised of all three primary colors, we measure each TV's grayscale to determine how evenly the TV is emphasizing its reds, greens, and blues.
Unfortunately, this is one area where the LE660U stumbles and can't seem to get back up, even after calibration. We represent grayscale error with DeltaE and consider a DeltaE of 3 or less to be ideal. The LE660U, however, sports an out-of-the-box DeltaE of 20.14. By making adjustments to the TV's 2-point white balance I was able to knock this down to 18.63, but these adjustments only affected the grayscale at 30 IRE and 80 IRE, leaving the rest of the grayscale to twist in the wind.
Taking a closer look at the TV's RGB balance is revealing, to say the least; the LE660U drastically over-emphasizes blue prior to calibration. After making informed white balance adjustments, green and red replace blue as the overachievers, and blue drops off the grayscale almost entirely between 50 and 70 IRE.
In testing the accuracy of a TV's color, we stack it up against the international standard for HDTV color as it's outlined in Rec. 709. A color gamut is a way to visualize the accuracy of both primary and secondary colors.
The LE660U produces one of the strangest color gamuts I've seen in quite some time. Prior to calibration, the LE660U can't help but skew two of its secondary colors towards blue. After adjustments are made to the TV's white balance controls, the LE660U instead skews cyan towards green and magenta towards red. The TV's primary color points—and yellow, for that matter—remain largely unaffected by the calibration process.
As previously mentioned, despite the fact that Sharp equipped the LE660U with a color management system, making adjustments to it doesn't seem to have any impact on the picture itself.
A TV's total viewing angle describes how far away from a direct, head-on angle someone can sit before a TV's picture degrades beyond 50% of its initial contrast readings. This is particularly important for TV's like the LE660U, which are big enough to entertain an entire room full of people.
Unfortunately, the LE660U sports a rather inexcusable viewing angle angle of just 14°, or ±7°. Essentially, this means that viewers have 7°-worth of real estate to occupy before the picture degrades significantly. This result is bad enough for any TV, but it's especially painful to see it derived from a mammoth, 60-inch panel.
A TV's gamma is a measurement of luminance distribution across its grayscale. If a TV gets too bright too quickly (or not quickly enough), it may crush the picture's detail, leaving textures and shadows looking blotchy.
We calibrate our TV's for a gamma curve of 2.4, which is considered ideal for darkened home theaters. A gamma curve of 2.2 is more appropriate for rooms with a modest amount of ambient lighting, a gamma of 1.8 is ideal for brighter rooms, and so on.
The LE660U doesn't feature a gamma slider in its menu software, but the TV's gamma is still affected by the calibration process incidentally. Compared to its eventual gamma curve of 2.14, the LE660U's pre-calibration gamma of 2.37 is better suited for dark rooms. That said, this TV will look better in an environment with a little bit of light, such as a living room or a den with windows.
Meet the testers
Senior Staff Writer@Reviewed
Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.See all of Michael Desjardin's reviews
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