Sharp TV 2016 Reviews & Prices – Ultimate Buying Guide for Sharp 4k TVs
In essence, most of Sharp’s 4K UHD TVs are what we’d call budget models which offer some decent to very good picture quality as a bonus. The more expensive Sharp 4K models also happen to pack in some very nice features even if they don’t quite come close to comparing effectively with top shelf models from Samsung, Sony or LG. In other words, Sharp is a very decent go-to brand if you want to get started with 4K that offers quality but don’t quite feel like spending a fortune on all the possible trimmings.
And like we said, the extras in Sharp 4K UHD models aren’t what we’d call superb. Their smart TV platform is decidedly inferior to that of LG or Samsung 4K models and special features like HDR, fancy 3D technology and quantum dot color aren’t on the menu with Sharp like they are on high-end models from Sony or Samsung.
However, Sharp’s main 4K TVs and particularly their top-shelf 4K Ultra HD models are indeed fairly solid performers and have quite a bit to offer for most viewers who want to save some money and don’t need really fancy 4K TV-related features on their hands.
Furthermore, we should note that Sharp is a brand whose 4K television models from 2015 will be the last ones sold under the brand name. This is the case because the company has now sold their North American production plant to the lesser known but rising brand Hisense and as of this year 2016, Sharp model TVs won’t be sold in the Americas. Instead, Hisense will manufacture what are in effect their replacements under a different brand name and with some very different features.
Here at 4K.com we’ve reviewed a total of three main different types of Sharp 4K ultra HD TVs. These consist of the UB30U series, the UE30U series and finally the flagship UH30U Series. These essentially make up all of Sharps 4K ultra HD TVs and the company itself was selling these as its main models in 2015, before selling off their North American production to Hisense.
While all of Sharp’s TVs lean more towards the more economical end of the spectrum (even the flagship model), when compared to some of the truly remarkable 4K televisions from top brands like Sony, Samsung and LG with its extraordinary OLED models, Sharp’s flagship UH30 puts together quite an impressive package of features and specs along with some massive size options of either 70 or 80 inches for a robust 4K ultra HD home entertainment package. This 4K TV can be compared in terms of quality to models like Samsung’s JS7500 4K UHD TV or possibly Sony’s X850C 2015 Bravia television, but without the benefit of HDR technology.
The Mid-range Sharp 4K TV model is the UE30U and it’s available in 60, 70 and 80 inch versions, with all of the features found in the economical UB30U Series and most of the features that come with the top shelf UH30U TVs. The UE30U is roughly comparable to Vizio’s higher-end M-Series 4K TVs in the larger size ranges and could also be compared to some of the most economical Sony and Samsung 4K TVs like Sony’s X810C or Samsung’s JU6700 4K UHD TV.
Finally, there is Sharp’s highly economical but still very decent UB30U Series 4K TV, available in 43, 50, 55 and 65 inch models. These TVs offer the bare bones of K4 ultra HD display technology but manage the same level of connectivity as their more expensive counterparts. Furthermore, they can effectively be compared to low-end Samsung models like the JU6400 or Vizio’s smaller 4K UHD TVs in the M-Series and D-Series lines.
All Sharp 4K UHD TVs go under the general brand label of “Aquos”, which is somewhat similar to Sony’s labeling of all their 2015 and 2014 4K TVs as “Bravia” models.
In basic terms, Sharp is a great go-to 4K TV brand for price savings that still offer some great quality. Their flagship 4K TVs are some of the absolutely most affordable on the market today and even beat Vizio’s highly competitive M-Series 4K TVs in terms of pricing, while offering a superior smart TV platform and some great display specs. For those of you interested in truly deep savings on a fully connected and visually decent 4K TV, the economical UB30U and mid-range UE30U Sharp televisions are virtually unbeatable in the value they offer for their price.
SmartCentral is Sharp’s basic smart TV platform which is found mainly in the economical UB30U 4K TV models from the company. Unlike the other main Sharp UHD televisions, SmartCentral doesn’t come with the inclusion of the additional Android TV interface and as such it can loosely be compared to the Vizio Smart platform found in the latter company’s M-Series and D-Series 4K UHD TVs.
In basic terms, SmartCentral is pretty bare bones, with little in the way of complex features, no 3D and motion controls and it also fails to deliver a great deal of user friendliness. There are built-in media apps for Vudu, YouTube and Netflix among others but broader web browsing is quite limited.
Controls for SmartCentral are managed via a basic button remote which comes with none of the fancier features that we’re increasingly seeing in name brand 4K TVs. Thus you won’t get the benefit of a mouse pointer or motion controls and even a numeric keypad is excluded in Sharps basic clicker.
Android TV is the SmartCentral addition tacked onto the UH30U and UE30U mid-range and premium Sharp 4K TVs and it’s a considerable improvement over that basic SmartCentral platform on the UB30U. Though the Android TV platform of Sony’s 2015 4K televisions is definitely superior in terms of functionality and apps access to Sharp’s version of Android TV, we still like this platform and think it offer some great user friendliness as well as very robust access to streaming media apps and navigation features. Furthermore, because we’re talking about a Google smart platform, there is also access to Google Play Games and Google Cast.
Finally, unlike the overly simple button remote that comes with the basic SmartCentral 4K platform, the Android TV smart OS also includes much better Sharp Smart remote, which is superior to its Sony Android TV counterpart but not quite as good as the smart remotes found with premium Samsung and LG 4K TVs.
Sharp’s Revelation Upscaler is a truly excellent piece of technology across the board, whether we’re talking about one of Sharp’s more economical or flagship 4K TVs, and this is very important. Upscaling technology is what makes sure non-4K content on a 4K TV looks better than it would in an HDTV by expanding it across the extra pixels with special algorithms, and since native 4K entertainment is still scare on the ground (though likely not for long), upscaling is crucial as a part of the added value that 4K display technology offers.
In the case of Revelation Upscaler, Sharp really nailed the quality down right. Full HD content upscales superbly on any of their TVs and even SD and 720p HD content manages to look better than it normally would, particularly if it was well mastered by the original content producers. While we’ve seen even better upscaling on Samsung and Sony TVs in particular, Sharp definitely competes well and in our opinion outdoes even LG’s non-OLED 4K TVs in the quality of the Revelation Upscaler.
AquoMotion is Sharp’s version of Motion Rate and the other motion processing technologies all of the major brands use to artificially inflate the native refresh rates of their TV screens. In the case of Sharp, a bit of dishonesty still prevails and AquoMotion 240, despite its impressive sounding number, is only offering an actual native refresh rate of 60Hz. As for AquoMotion 480 and 980, what it offers is really a refresh rate of just 120Hz. This latter rate is only available in the premium UH30U Aquos 4K TV from Sharp and the 480 or 960 numbers add little in the way of real actual enhancement.
For those of you who are fans of sports and fast-paced 4K video entertainment, The UH30U is definitely the superior choice due to the 120Hz refresh rate and given the TV’s wonderful price of just under $2,000 even for the 70 inch model, the value offered is definitely worth considering.
AquoDimming is the contrast enhancement technology sharp uses in its mid-range and premium 4K TVs. This feature is both disappointing and pleasing, and before you ask how this could be: On the one hand AquoDimming, as per Sharp’s own description, doesn’t actually provide real local dimming in which individual LEDs on a full-array, direct backlight or Edge-Lit backlight display deactivate for specific and deeper areas of dimness and the resulting high contrast. Instead, AquoMotion seems to work by using digital processing to enhance the contrast effect on the screen even with an absence of numerous specific dimming zones.
In the Sharp UH30U, the effect created by this technology does indeed work quite well since the premium TV offers a wider range of diming zones. However, in the UE30U, AquoDimming can sometimes fall a bit flat. The low-end UB30U doesn’t offer this feature. What we do like about Sharp TVs across the board is the quality of their contrast, so whether AquoDimming is responsible or not (it’s hard to tell), the company did something right behind the screen since even the cheapest models offer some remarkably good contrast.
SPECTROS Rich Color Display
Sharp’s SPECTROS technology is a sort of color enhancement feature that’s only found in the premium UH30U 4K TV and in our opinion it works well without offering the sorts of spectacular colors and realism you’ll find in premium Sony, Samsung and particularly, LG OLED 4K TVs. SPECTROS does not use quantum dot technology to enhance color but it does offer some very decent vibrancy and realism, particularly under Sharp’s “THX Mode”.
When price, specs and other features are all taken into account, Sharp’s TVs are actually winners in terms of their display quality. These TVs, even the premium UH30U, don’t offer nearly as fine a display quality as what we’ve seen in Samsung’s premium SUHD 4K TVs or Sony’s top-shelf Bravia models like the X940C, and they don’t at all compare to the sheer quality of LG’s OLED 4K TVs but on the whole, particularly for the price they sell at, The three main Sharp 4K TV series are superb choices. We’d actually go as far as to consider them superior to Vizio’s larger M-Series 4K TV models in many ways.
Contrast in the Sharp 4K TV models is good to great across the board (even in the low-cost UB30U) and color palettes looks quite decent. Furthermore, as we’ve already mentioned, the Revelation Upscaler does a fine job for all types of noticeably sharpening most sources of non-4K content, particularly Full HD video.
Finally, in terms of color, the Sharp TVs perform decently to well. The low-end UB30U offers up a more or less decent level of color gamut and the UH30U does fairly well thanks in part to SPECTROS technology. However, none of Sharp’s models can really compare to the quality offered in Samsung SUHD TVs or the better Sony Bravia models from the X850C upwards, with their Triluminos Display.
Connectivity in Sharp’s 4K UHD TVs is generally great. HDMI 2.0 is available via four different ports and USB connections are also plentiful. Furthermore, all of the 4K TVs by the company offer HEVC (H.265 compression) for 4K video sources like Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video among others. VP9 for YouTube 4K video content however isn’t included to our knowledge so 4K videos from YouTube won’t be available through a Sharp 4K TV itself.
As for web browsing, the mid-range and premium brands offer this option through their Android TV platform and it works almost as well as what we’ve seen in Sony’s Android TV system for their 2015 televisions.
Comparison with other Brands
On the whole, Sharp’s UB30U, UE30 and UH30U 4K TVs (along with select other sub-models like the UD27U) all compare very nicely to low-priced and mid-range 4K TVs from the other major brands. Even the best that Sharp has to offer isn’t on par with the kind of display and general home entertainment quality you’ll find in top-shelf Sony, Samsung and Panasonic LCD/LED TVs but then again, Sharp’s models sell for much lower prices and for those prices, they offer great value. The alternative brand which compares best to the Sharp 4K TV series would be Vizio’s M-Series and the two are quite closely matched in terms of display specs while the Sharp Aquos TVs offer superior smart TV performance.
The largest and priciest of the Sharp Aquos 4K TVs from 2015 is the 80 inch UH30U, which sells for an amazingly affordable $4,297.00 on Amazon.com. For an immense name brand 80 inch 4K UHD TV, this is a nearly unbeatable price. The next size down for this premium model is the 70 inch UH30U at an also very affordable $1,897.00.
As for the most affordable of the Sharp Aquos 4K TVs, the UB30U, the cheapest model offers a 43 inch display and costs just $539.99. A more reasonably large 55 inch model of the UB30U goes for just $915.99.
All the rest of Sharp’s Aquos TVs in the UB30, UE30 and UH30 Series sell for prices between the two above extremes.
Positives, Negatives and Final Opinion
Overall, we recommend the Aquos models given their price, specs and features. These are definitely not the kinds of superb premium TVs you’ll find from top-shelf televisions like Samsung’s excellent SUHD 4K models or those of Sony, LG and Panasonic but they’re not at all bad and in some ways like upscaling quality and contrast, they downright excel. Overall, any of the Aquos models would make for great starter 4K TVs for the more budget conscious who still want some premium quality.
- Superb contrast across the board
- Decent color saturation
- Very affordable even at giant screen sizes
- Excellent upscaling engines
- Android TV works great
- Solid connectivity (except lack of web browsing in UB30U)
- Mediocre local dimming technology
- Lack of enhanced colors for Wider Color Gamut
- No HDR in any models
- SmartCentral in UB30U offers very limited functionality
- Low quality button remote control