Sharp Elite PRO-60X5FD Review Archive$5,999.00
Behold: a $5,999.00 price tag.
The Sharp Elite PRO-60X5FD (MSRP $5,999) has lived a storied life. Calling this TV the "Sharp Elite" is technically correct, but you need to look at its website very closely in order to figure out that Sharp even makes this: the fine print at the bottom of the site states that this TV is indeed a product of the Sharp Electronics Corporation, but it also mentions that the "Elite" name is trademarked by Pioneer. What's the deal?
In the mid-2000s, Pioneer manufactured a series of plasma TVs with the Elite moniker and TV reviewers loved them. Although pricey, these plasmas supposedly achieved incredibly deep black levels. In 2008, Pioneer unveiled their magnum opus: the Kuro Elite, named after the Japanese word for "black." This plasma made a name for itself at trade shows by showing a black image that was darker than some LCDs turned off. Unfortunately, 2008 was a bad time for the economy and many consumers could not afford to shell out $6,000 on a television. Pioneer got out of the TV business in 2009 and sold their plasma patents to Panasonic.
Fast-forward to 2011, when Sharp released the Elite series. If Pioneer sold their patents to Panasonic, why are they allowing Sharp to use the Elite brand name? Those patents they sold to Panasonic were for plasma technology, which Sharp does not dabble in. The Elite PRO-60X5FD is an LED-backlit LCD television, which may seem strange because the biggest selling point for the Kuro Elite was its space-like blackness, something that LCD TVs are not known for. We can confirm that, with a black image displayed, the Elite PRO-60X5FD can get so dark that you might think the TV is off. We can also confirm that this is with no auto-dimming enabled.
Does a seriously deep black level automatically make a TV great? No, it does not. In order to prove this, we ran our usual tests on the Sharp Elite PRO-60X5FD using our calibration methods and then ran the same tests using the Elite Pure mode, which tries to mimic the performance of the Pioneer Kuro Elite plasma TVs. Since there is no Elite Pure mode in 3D, we used the Movie THX settings for those tests.