LCD TV makers have always charged a premium for LED backlighting. In fact, the first LED-based LCD TV Sharp released, the inch-thick XS series, debuted last year at a cool $11,000 MSRP for the 52-inch model. LED has become a lot more mainstream since then, and so have Sharp's ambitions for the well-marketed backlight technology. The Sharp LC-LE700UN series encapsulates that progress toward the mass market: it's the least-expensive LED-backlit LCD available today, it measures the standard 3-odd inches thick, and as a result, its owners will have a tough time convincing visitors that it's anything more than a normal, CCFL-based LCD.
This Sharp uses different LED backlight technology from any of the other "LED TVs" available today, and perhaps as a result its picture quality has no major advantage over non-LED-based LCDs. On the other hand, it sips power more sparingly than any other TV we've reviewed, and its solid feature set is highlighted by a unique selection of widgets and superb built-in support options. The Sharp LC-LE700UN series will appeal to people on a moderate budget who still want the energy efficiency of an LED-backlit LCD.