On paper, the Sharp Aquos LC-60LE636E sounds too good to be true. Being able to get a 60-inch screen from a respected brand for £1,300-2,600/$2,000-4,150 pretty much rewrites the big-screen pricing rule book.

The screen isn't nearly as basic with its specification as you might expect either, managing to include extensive picture calibration tools, 100Hz processing, multimedia playback from USB sticks and DLNA PCs, and even a degree of online functionality.

It looks very pretty too, putting to shame the bland plasticky finishes of your typical budget TV.

For much of the time, the Sharp Aquos LC-60LE636E's performance merely underlines its up-front appeal, with colourful, bright, punchy and sharp pictures that it's hard to believe are really coming from such an amazingly cheap screen.

It even sounds good, despite being impressively slim.

However, tragically much of its excellent work is undone by a single but aggravating flaw: noticeable and distracting backlight consistency during dark scenes.

We liked:

The Sharp Aquos LC-60LE636E's price is so low for such a big screen that it's almost unbelievable.

With that in mind, its performance is remarkably good, too, for much of your viewing time, with dynamic colours, a rich black level response, plenty of sharpness and even some potent audio. The set's a nice looker for such a big unit, too.

We disliked:

The chink in the Sharp Aquos LC-60LE636E's otherwise formidable armour is the appearance of pretty obvious backlight consistency flaws when watching dark scenes. This can be quite distracting when you see it, and is impossible to calibrate away.

Sharp's online service is pretty limited compared to most rivals, too, and some aspects of its operating system could be better.

Verdict:

Sharp's new policy of offering huge screens for peanuts prices has nearly got off to an extraordinarily positive start with the Sharp Aquos LC-60LE636E. It's better looking than it's got any right to be for a budget 60-inch TV. It's got more features than it has any right to have for its money. And in many ways it even produces much better picture quality than it has any right to.

What a pity, then, that film fans in particular will find their movie nights troubled by the set's backlight consistency flaws.

Also consider:

There really aren't any other 60-inch TVs that come close to the price of the Sharp Aquos LC-60LE636E.

If you want the ultimate in big-screen TV picture quality, though, and you have deep pockets, you could go for the Panasonic P65VT30 - especially since this is currently getting quite heavily discounted (to around £2,800/$2,600) because Panasonic's new 65-inch models are incoming.

If you'd rather go for a 55-inch model with stunning looks, cutting edge features and a generally excellent performance (provided you're careful how you set it up), then you couldn't do much better than the new Samsung UE55ES8000. But again, you'll need the best part of £2,500/$3,900 to bag yourself one of those.

For a really cheap alternative to the Sharp, you could consider a TV such as the 55-inch Kogan KULED551HDAA, which is now on sale for just £749 (about $1,200). But please be warned that you'll have to accept some fairly significant picture quality compromises with this cut-price offering.