Hi and welcome to this video in which I will review Sharp 55BL5EA Ultra HD 4K TV. This TV is part of Sharp’s first wave of Android TVs for the European market which consists of 3 series – BL2, BL3, and BL5 – all available in sizes from 40 up to 65 inches.
Tested TV is part of the BL5 series, but the performance of all three series is the same as is their price here in Croatia. Actually, the only difference is in the position and design of the status LED.
New Sharp TVs have Android TV operating system in version 9, with built-in Google Assistant, access to Google Play store, movies, music and games as well as Chromecast so you can easily stream videos from your phone on the big screen.
During my test I can confirm that the integration of Android TV was done correctly and that the result is very good – the system boots under 5 seconds, navigation is fast and I haven’t seen any app not responding or resetting itself.
The boot time and the new operating system is such an improvement over the old Aquos Net+ which was much slower, lacked apps and had stability issues. My only complaint goes to the settings menu where I noticed some options acting weird as shown in my separate videos.
The remote was also touched by almighty Google as there is now a Google Assistant button and built-in microphone, as well as dedicated buttons for YouTube and Google Play Movies. Netflix and Prime Video buttons are also here.
For some reason, only buttons in the center area of the remote have click sound and give a good feeling when pressed. The semi-glossy screen is surrounded by dark grey plastic bezel 13 mm wide on sides and 20 mm on the bottom.
On the backside, the upper half is made of metal and the bottom half is made of plastic. In the bottom area are all the connectors, threaded holes for mounting the TV on the wall and speakers. TV stands on two separate feet made of aluminum.
On the 55” model, the distance between the feet is 110 cm. TV has all the usual connectors plus some unusual ones. First, there are 4 HDMIs out of which three are in version 2.0 and support 4K at 60 frames per second.
You will also find here antenna and satellite inputs, common interface, Ethernet, Toslink and RCA analog inputs as well as 3.5 mm audio output. Finally, we have 2 type-A USB connectors and now we come to inputs we rarely see on TVs – facing to the side is one micro USB and next to it TF card slot for TransFlash / Micro SD cards.
Wireless options include built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and both were working well during the test. And now we come to the picture quality. I already covered different picture modes and settings in my separate video so if you want to learn more about that, check out links in the description.
BL5 series is based on a 60 Hz VA panel with native Ultra HD 4K resolution and support for HDR10 and HLG. Picture engine implemented is called ACE PRO ULTRA which promises powerful image optimization that analyzes and improves video signals for accurate colors, improved sharpness and reduced noise.
During my tests, TV was doing a good upscaling of SD and HD content, without ringing or stair-stepping effect and in that aspect is comparable to other TVs in this price category. Cadence detection of interlaced signals was also correctly done and BL5 managed to detect 24p movie content within such signals.
Noise reduction was effective when engaged and film grain was looking natural when this algorithm was turned off. As local dimming on hardware level is not available in this price category, it is really nice to see that global dimming was not implemented.
Global dimming is an effect that kicks in when the scene is very dark by reducing the LED backlight intensity so that blacks look more realistic. As a side effect, this darkens the entire scene and details are lost in the picture.
Samsung and other brands are implementing this even on much more expensive models so it is nice to see that Sharp is not following their footsteps here. Because of this, the picture was stable in every scene, even though screen uniformity was not perfect.
Coming to weaknesses of this TV – the biggest two are slow pixel response and inaccurate colors. The picture is not sharp in motion and this is visible even when watching movies. There are traces behind objects and you can see skin-bleed effect – red traces when human skin moves across the screen.
Motion gets worse as the scene gets darker as was visible in the Characters test of the FPD Benchmark disc. With a somewhat visible dirty screen effect, this TV is not ideal for watching sports. Regarding colors, even though you can improve them with calibration, they are not as accurate as on competitor TVs in the same price category.
If accurate colors are important to you, check my recommendations at the end of this video. HDR performance is as expected – not any better than watching SDR content. TV simply doesn’t have hardware or software capabilities to display HDR correctly.
It even doesn’t raise backlight to max when HDR is detected like on every other TV that I’ve tested. There is even an option to turn off HDR, but that makes the picture undersaturated and dull. Best to ignore this option.
Viewing angles are limited so it is recommended to sit directly in front of the screen to avoid washed-out colors and low contrast. Due to the semi-glossy screen, reflections are visible in the same amount as on other TVs in this price category.
Sound quality is good for the TV of this class after you do some tweaks in the sound menu. You can learn more about that in my separate video. TV supports HDMI ARC and Bluetooth, so you can greatly improve sound quality by connecting it to an external audio system.
For this test, I used Audioengine A5+ stereo speakers which sound amazing and deliver a nice, neutral sound that is a pleasure to listen to. With 33 ms input lag and blurry picture in motion, Sharp BL series is not ideal for gaming, unless you are not demanding and just want to play games on the big screen.
Static resolution is good as with support for full color resolution 4:4:4, this TV can also be used as a monitor. To conclude, Sharp did a good implementation of Android TV platform. Tested member of BL5 series was working fast and stable and from this perspective, it is a good TV.
It does have a few unique features, such as micro SD card reader and a dedicated YouTube button on the remote and overall build quality is good. Picture quality could be better and this is where competitors offer more.
As an alternative to this TV, I recommend Samsung RU8000 series with Tizen OS, 120 Hz screen and much better picture quality. If you want wider viewing angles, then the LG SM82 series in the same price category is a good choice.
And that’s the end of this review. Big thanks to company Ronis for sending me this TV and Audioengine speakers for testing. Please check their website at ronis.hr. Thanks so much for watching and if you like subscribe to my channel for more videos like this.
Cheers and see you soon!