Sharp lc-40le831d

Sound

The slimmer a TV is, the weedier its sound, and that applies to the Sharp LC-40LE831E. The two 10W speakers in the underslung soundbar do a reasonable job with dialogue-heavy TV, but don't stand up to a movie soundtrack.

Various audio presets are provided, such as 3D Movie, 3D Standard, Normal and 3D Hall, but none offer enough bass. It's better to use the optical audio connection to hive-off sound to a home cinema amplifier, or a chunkier, powerful soundbar more worthy of the name.

Value

In a nutshell, this Edge LED-LCD TV is a serious HD TV screen for AV enthusiasts on a budget.

It doesn't have much in the way of online frippery, there's no iPhone app, and it has a user interface that's closer to Windows 98 than an iPhone, but despite all that it's much better value than most of its rivals. Why?

Well, it has top-class 3D TV that's far easier to watch than rival LCD TV sets in its price band, a fabulous 2D performance, enticingly natural colours, unbeatable brightness, Freeview HD... shall we go on?

Sharp lc-40le831d

Ease of use

While the remote control is a touch crowded, it's easy to use and hold, although we'd like to see a free iPhone/Android app provided – as most brands now offer.

This set's other digital talents are not in doubt; we managed to stream MKV and AVI files, among myriad other more obscure formats. That's in direct contrast to rivals that often struggle to meet their claims of comprehensive file support.

Compatibility is open only for video, though, with just MP3 and JPEG files supported for music and photos.

The Sharp LC-40LE831E's user interface as a whole is old fashioned, with little in the way of swish graphics. We also had some problems getting to know exactly which setting is accessed where; it appears to depend on which source is active.

We have no argument about the sheer breadth and depth of picture adjustments that can be performed. Sub-pixel control and gamma adjustments can be tweaked, as can the hue and saturation.

Calling up adjustments can interrupt what you're watching, which is a complaint we'd also level at the EPG. As it appears, the live TV channel ceases, although it offers much more at-a-glance information than most EPGs. We counted ten channels, with programme information provided over an impressive six hours.

There are also various filters and other choices, but it all ends up looking like a spreadsheet.