Notable Review: Sharp Aquos 80 inch Smart TV

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(Originally published on notable.ca)

I’ve written umpteen reviews on a very wide array of products, from phones, to tablets, to gadgets of all kinds and more. However, never before this had I ventured into the world of smart TVs. While many of you may look at me and say, ‘c’mon, man, what’s the big deal’, I look back at you with a scolding glare and respond ‘a lot’. TVs have come a long way from the days of the standard tube and since CES 2013 – with the Sharp Aquos 3D TV catching all the eyes – have evolved from the battle of the highest resolution LCD/Plasma screen to being about who can put out the most cost-effective 4K TV. But that’s another write-up entirely.

For now, we are going to talk about the gorgeous, ostentatious monster that is the 80” Sharp Aquos Smart TV and why it’s intended for a certain buyer only and not worth the cost for anyone else.

So let’s get right into it and talk specs:

– 80” (measured diagonally) LED Flat-Panel
– Width: 71-55/64″
– Weight: 152.1 lbs
– 1920x1080p (vertical pixel resolution)
– Smart Capable (instant access to NetFlix, Skype, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter)

Is an 80” TV really necessary for a young professional?
Unless the setting is perfect, absolutely not; when we talk 80”, our minds don’t grasp just how large it actually is in person… at least mine didn’t. Eighty inches is over 6.5 feet wide against the wall. To put that in perspective, imagine (roughly) if Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade (6’4” and change) laid down horizontally against the largest wall in your condo – it would look ridiculous and you would likely trip on him a few times trying to enter the room.  That’s exactly what happened to me sans Dwyane Wade.

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You can see from the above image (side note: you haven’t watched Breaking Bad until you’ve watched it in 80” HD) that the TV literally overlapped the doorframe by about 3.5 inches.Not to mention, the glare from natural light, blinds up or down, was unavoidable. The only time I could watch TV and enjoy it was at night. As for resolution, I was sitting about 10’ from the TV and had no issues with clarity due to the unbelievable pixel density. But that’s the only reason why.

Is it really that smart?
Listen, I am not knocking what a smart TV can actually do, because it’s actually cool for what it is, I am just going to say ‘smart’ isn’t as smart as one would expect, or think, for that matter. Smart often insinuates intuitive, something that the Sharp Aquos isn’t; the menu is clunky and takes time to get used to (especially connecting to a wireless network); unlike a smartphone, the TV doesn’t learn from frequent commands/gestures and thus act in accordance to make life easier; and, regardless of an internet connection, I had to manually check for available updates. The TV didn’t notify me regularly.

For what it’s worth on a positive note, Sharp’s built-in “Smart Central” hub was very easy to navigate and use for all my favourite social channels.

So, who is the 80” Sharp Aquos Smart TV made for?
Without a doubt, a TV of this size is made for two very specific environments: an office (boardroom for presentations to a large group of people or waiting room for news-watching use) or a house/condominium with a media room that has a wall to support this kind of TV and the space to comfortably watch it from.

Otherwise, although an amazing toy that we dream about owning as kids, it isn’t something practical for a 20-something to be dropping $5k on. Not only because $5k is a lot of dough, but because it isn’t 4K, and, obviously, that’s the way of the future.

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