Review of the Sharp LC-55UB30U 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV – (LC-65UB30U, LC-50UB30U, LC-43UB30U Versions)
Among Sharp’s rather excellent line of Aquos 4K ultra HD TVs, the UB30 line of which the LC-55UB30U is a part offers a mid-grade list of features while delivering all of the most crucial specs for a robust 4K ultra HD viewing experience in an LED/LCD TV without frills like HDR and radically enhanced color. In other words, the LC-65UB30U gives you a great 65 inch screen size, all of the essentials for “basic” 4K home entertainment and also adds in a few minor extras without going the whole nine yards in the specialize features department. The LC-55UB30U and LC-43UB30U are just the 55 inch and 43 inch version respectively.
That said, this is however not at all a bad 4K UHD TV and as a larger starter model it’s more than good enough for the needs of many budget-minded users. It’s not common for a name brand 65 inch 4K UHD TV to sell for the price of the LC-65UB30U and this is a mark in its favor since what it delivers isn’t at all bad despite also not being particularly exceptional.
To summarize, from our general impression of not just this but several other Sharp 4K TVs, this is one company that is remarkably good at delivering a robust but no-frills level of 4K home entertainment quality in its displays without selling it at a very high price. The LC-43UB30U fits this general description well, particularly in its screen specs.
What we really most simply like about the Sharp UB30U is the simple fact that this TV, like a number of Sharp 4K counterparts in the same class, manages to deliver a generally really good level of color vibrancy, contrast and dark tones in its display despite being what you’d definitely call a budget 4K model.
For starters, the color rendition of the UB30U is genuinely good. While it doesn’t quite meet the levels of color vibrancy or accuracy we’ve seen in Samsung’s more affordable SUHD 4K TVs with quantum dot color or Sony’s lower priced UHD TVs with Triluminos Display (another version of advanced color enhancement technology), the conventional LED/LCD UB30U still delivers better color than a majority of other normal LED 4K TVs in its class and this is a major win for this model and the Sharp brand.
However, color isn’t everything in a 4K TV display and a model that nails this while screwing up contrast and dark tones is not a real winner in our book but here too, the LC-55UB30U does things right once again and also gives the user some very nice inky black tones, meaning a sharper overall contrast and a far more enjoyable, accurate picture quality. This is something we really love about this TV and its cousins. In fact, it’s rather surprising to see such good contrast in a TV with such nominally basic UHD display specs.
Next up, there is the HD and SD upscaling technology of the LC-43UB30U. Once again, Sharp nailed this down wonderfully and with this TV model, we see a quality of upscaling for HD content that is downright superb while even upscaling of the finer details in much trickier SD content also manages to look remarkably good. We’ve seen considerably more expensive LG 4K TVs which can’t pull this crucial feature of an 4K TV off yet Sharp has done a great job in this category.
Finally, while this is hardly something to call a major highlight, we also like the fact that the LC-50UB30U, which is a 2015 4K TV model, comes with a genuine glass display panel. While you’d think this should be pretty much a standard feature in any ultra HD TV worth its salt, a number of 2014 Sharp 4K TV models came with Plexiglas screens and we’re glad to see that Sharp got rid of such a miscalculated design characteristic.
3.5 - 76 Reviews
As for its weaknesses, the Sharp 65UB30U does indeed have a few that are worth mentioning, though none of them take away from it to the point where they become total deal breakers.
First of all, the remote for this model is something we definitely didn’t like. It’s flimsy, plastic and doesn’t quite have the same highly ergonomic or very user-friendly design we’ve seen from remotes for some other TV models like LG with its Magic Remote or Samsung’s 4K TV remotes. Furthermore, we also noticed that the direction pad circle on the top of the remote and the little buttons along the bottom all felt slightly wiggly. This is nothing major but it detracts from the user experience in an annoying way. Finally, we also don’t like the absence of smart functionality in Sharp’s remote for this TV. It looks like a smart remote with its circular direction pad but it lacks all of the cool essentials of smart control, such as voice search, gesture control or even a cursor control function.
Likewise can be said about the TV itself to a certain extent. The LC-55UB30U looks good but it doesn’t come with the silvery aluminum bezel trim that some of the better Sharp Aquos models we’ve seen do include- Instead, what you get is a fully plastic body and a black plastic bezel as well. This in turn increases the feeling of a somewhat flimsy, slightly cheap looking 4K TV. And while obviously this model isn’t on par with something like a Sony 2015 Bravia model 4K TV or a Samsung SUHD, we’d expect a bit more robustness in its physical design.
Next up, there is the Smart TV platform of the UB30U. While it isn’t a bad piece of interface software, it’s not quite as user friendly as we’re seeing become the standard in many 2015 4K TVs. The LC-55UB30U lacks the added Sharp Smart TV features like Android TV and access to the vast Google Play apps marketplace found in higher-end models from this brand. Instead, you just get the basic Smart Central OS design and in terms of usability, it lags way behind a smart TV platform like WebOS 2.0 for LG 4K TVs or Samsung’s Tizen OS for all of its new 2015 TVs.
Finally, we also found that the inputs, particularly those most useful for gaming, lag a bit behind the kind of speed we’ve seen in many competitor 4K TVs. Thus, gaming and especially 4K gaming on this particular model is going to be a bit of a frustrating experience.
The Sharp LC-55UB30U has its share of connectivity and smart TV user-friendliness defects but then we can’t expect too much perfection from a more budget oriented 4K TV. However, despite these defects, we still highly recommend this model as a starter 4K UHD home entertainment system. Why? Because it absolutely delivers on what really counts most and that is in display specs. The visual quality of the LC-55UB30U is excellent for both native 4Kcontent and upscaled sub-UHD content, and this is what we love for the low price this model sells for.
Screen size:LC-65UB30U 65 diagonal inches. LC-43UB30U - 43 inches, LC-50UB30U - 50 inches, LC-55UB30U - 55 inches.
Smart TV: Yes, WebOS 2.0
HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
SD/HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate with 240Hz AquoMotion simulated refresh
Screen Lighting: Edge-lit LED backlighting with Local dimming
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
Remotes: standard Sharp Button Remote
Connectivity: 4 x HDMI 2.0 ports, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, RF in, Component in, Composite, Ethernet, Digital Audio Out, Ethernet, 1 X MHL (HDMI port 3)
Sound: 10W+10W 2ch down firing speakers digital sound processing
Dynamic Contrast Ratio: over 1 million with native contrast ratio of above 3800:1
TV weight without/With stand: 63.93 lbs/ 67.24 lbs
Dimensions without stand: 57.72” x 33.29” x 2.83” inches/ With stand: 57.72” x 34.88” x 15.11” inches
Processor: Quad Core
Sharp’s UB30U is a bit low on truly innovative highlights like those we’ve seen in a number of other 2015 name brand 4K TV models. It even lacks some of the more advanced features of other higher-priced Sharp Aquos UHD TVs for this year. One example of this being a lack of the THX certification that rigorously helps enhance the picture quality of the best Sharp Aquos models we’ve seen or heard of. However, a couple of things are worth mentioning once more for the Sharp UB30U:
For starters, we’ll say it again, the quality of this TVs upscaling engine for SD and HD content even more so is remarkable. There are 4K LED TVs on the market that handle upscaling even better than Sharp’s 4K UHD TVs seem to but they are few and far between. Even more economical models do a great job here and the LC-55UB30U delivers great results. This is a crucial feature to have in a content landscape that still offers only a small amount of fully native 4K UHD movies and programming. Your 4K TV of choice has to be able to upscale at least HD content so that it’s worth more as a purchase than a mere HDTV. This applies particularly to LED/LCD TVs –which lack the extraordinary value features of pixel-precise dimming and perfect black found in OLED TV technology—and the UB30U delivers the upscaling goods despite its low price.
Secondly, the LC-65UB30U is remarkably good at delivering rich deep blacks and a consequently great level of contrast. Many lower-priced ordinary LED/LCD TVs we’ve reviewed in the past drop the ball on this spec and we’ve particularly noticed some serious dark tone deficiency in LG’s non-OLED 4K TVs. The LC-50UB30U doesn’t suffer from this problem and is instead a great budget model for excellent contrast levels.
Finally, we thought the TV’s wallpaper mode was a neat little decorative highlight of the UB30U. When turned off, the TV displays a series of ultra-high resolution images of nature and other lovely scenes for your passive enjoyment. Thus, it has a sort of decorative furniture value that many other flat screen TVs lack with their dead black screens.
3.5 - 76 Reviews
As we’ve already discussed more than once in this review, the visual specs of the Sharp 55UB30U are truly excellent and constitute what in our opinion is this TV’s strongest value point. For the highly affordable budget price tag that the LC-50UB30U is selling for, you get your hands on levels of color vibrancy, contrast, dark tone rendering and upscaling technology which often aren’t even found in rival 4K UHD TVs that sell for significantly more.
Of particular note is the level of contrast in this model and at just over 3800:1 it matches or exceeds what a majority of conventional LED/LCD 4K TVs on the market offer. In more technical terms, this model’s peak tested brightness of just over 300 cd/m2 and darkest black level of just 0.07 cd/m2 provide a superbly broad range between darkest dark and brightest bright = excellent, rich contrast.
What makes the contrast work even better is the fact that the LC-50UB30U’s local dimming technology delivers remarkably good precision for existing as it does inside an edge-lit 4K TV. Usually, local dimming works its best magic in TVs with full-array LED backlighting (FALD) but this TV’s edge-lit version is definitely superior to the average we’ve previously seen in other models.
Finally, color levels in the UB30U are remarkably vibrant and accurate, with an ability to deliver some great saturation and richness but without overdoing it in any one particular color spectrum direction. The result of all this and the other above visual specs is a display quality that is excellent in our books and this is the most important single characteristic of any 4K UHD TV.
Connectivity-wise, the Sharp LC-43UB30U offers all the standard features that you’ll need for a maximal normal 4K ultra HD viewing experience from practically all available online and external media sources.
Full web connectivity and HEVC/VP9 video codec compression compatibility is on hand for fully accessing streaming 4K content from a wide range of sources like Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and YouTube while HDCP 2.2 content copy protection is present in all of the TV’s HDMI 2.0 ports. Furthermore, the LC-43UB30U offers both Ethernet and WiFi internet connectivity options.
On the other hand, one thing we didn’t quite like about the UB30U was the slight ingrained lag of its connection ports, particularly where gaming on the TV is concerned. Input lag on this TV under normal settings is a very slow 165 milliseconds while adjusting the connectivity settings for Sharp’s “Game Mode” still only improves things to a still slow 75 milliseconds. This we definitely didn’t like in the UB30U’s HDMI 2.0 ports.
The Sharp LC-65UB30U 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD TV is currently selling on Amazon.com for $1,497.00. This is a great price for a 4K TV of this size and display quality. Furthermore, it’s a major drop in the original $2,000+ price tag it came with when it first came out on sale. The 43-inch LC-43UB30U retails for $449.99, the 50-inch LC-50UB30U retails for $599.99, the 55-inch LC-55UB30U retails for $819.99.
3.5 - 76 Reviews
To summarize briefly, the LC-50UB30U rules at delivering visual specs but is a weak TV in terms of input lag issues with its connectivity and a plastic body/remote control design that just feels flimsy. We also didn’t like the low user-friendliness of the Smart Central 3.0 platform, or its lack of Android TV or built-in access to Google Play.
• Excellent contrast levels
• Superb content upscaling engine
• Great connectivity specs
• An above-average display quality
• Great price
• Flimsy TV and remote control designs
• No smart remote functionality
• Weak smart TV platform
• Slight input lag with HDMI 2.0