LG (Lucky-Goldstar) releases a lot of TVs every year, probably more than anybody else. Most of them are inexpensive, but they rarely offer good value compared to their competition. Over the past few years, LG has become known for their OLED and IPS LCD TVs. Their OLEDs are especially notable for being the first of their kind to be widely distributed.
Compared to other brands
- OLED. The best LG TVs are OLED, and they remain the biggest player in this market. OLED TVs from other manufacturers still use a good amount of LG parts for their TVs.
- Great Viewing Angles. Both their LED and OLED TVs generally have excellent viewing angles.
- Great Smart Platform. WebOS 3.5 remains the best Smart platform in 2017.
- Poor Contrast. Except for their high-end OLED models, most LG TVs won't have great blacks and therefore average picture quality.
- Poor Gray Uniformity. LG LED TVs often have worse than average uniformity.
- Poor Value. Their products are often weirdly placed in comparison to their competition and are consequently rarely recommended by us.
LG vs Samsung
Samsung TVs will, on average, have a better picture quality than most LG TVs. This is mostly thanks to their use of VA type LCD instead of LG's IPS, which trades contrast directly in front for wider viewing angles. This, of course, doesn't apply to LG's OLED series of TVs, which trump Samsung's offerings in almost every aspect. They do come at a definite price premium though.
LG vs Sony
Sony doesn't offer as many models in their range, but it isn't any narrower than LG's since it is a bit more diverse. They offer both VA and IPS type LCD TVs, and for 2017 they even have an OLED model. We've also found Sony's IPS TVs to usually have better screen uniformity compared to their LG counterparts.
Most LG TVs, unfortunately, don't offer the best value. While their IPS LCD offerings offer great viewing angles which are useful for wider living rooms, they aren't the only ones in this space, and competition will often best them. They were pioneers when it comes to OLED, and they still offer the best TVs on the market, but that, unfortunately, isn't representative of their whole range.
Best LG Smart TVs
LG has a large lineup that covers everything from the very cheap and small lower resolution TVs to the very high end with their OLEDs. The first letter corresponds to the resolution of the TV, the second letter in their model numbers correspond to the year of release and usually, the higher the number, the higher the price range.
- S* = Premium LED model
- *J = 2017
- *H = 2016
- *F = 2015
- U* = 4k
- L* = 1080p or below.
- C7 = Entry level 2017 OLED TV
- SJ8500 = 2017 High-end LED TV
- UH8500 = 2016 4K TV
- LF5500 = 2015 Low-end HDTV
Best LG 4k TV
The best LG TV we've reviewed is the C7 4k OLED TV. It offers exceptional picture quality thanks to its ability to display pure blacks. OLED TVs are capable of shutting off pixels individually, allowing for an effectively infinite contrast ratio. Pixels switch from one state to another instantly, so moving objects do not have long trails following them, making watching sports a bliss. Viewing angles are unmatched too, making this TV especially good for wide rooms. Combined with the updated WebOS 3.5 smart platform, this makes the C7 very difficult to beat.
Best mid-range LG 4k TV
LG's best mid-range offering is the UH8500 LED Smart TV. It retains the more expensive C7's ability to maintain its picture quality when viewed at an angle, making it a great choice for wider living rooms.
It sports the same, excellent smart platform that is WebOS (albeit the 3.0 version). Input lag is low, and motion is quite quick, making this a good choice for both gamers and sports fans. Unfortunately, the blacks aren't great in a darker environment, making it not the best choice for more movie-watching oriented buyers.
Best budget LG 4k TV
The best budget LG TV is the UH5500 4k LED TV. Unlike most LG LCD TVs, it offers good picture quality in a dark room thanks to its great contrast ratio.
While it doesn't have the wide viewing angles of other LG TVs, this LG smart TV still features the same WebOS platform that remains unmatched. Picture quality is much better than the average LG TV in this price range, and motion is decent as well. Overall, it offers a good package rarely found in this bracket and is a good buy, provided you can still find it.
LG's most expensive LED offering, supports 4 types of HDR and has a wide viewing angle. Available in a very large 86 inch size. Expect similar performance to 2016's UH9500.
RGBW style pixel arrangement. Similar in design to the SJ8500.
LG Smart Features
LG's WebOS smart platform hasn't changed much over the years, but that's quite a good thing. A few years ago, it was, by and large, the best solution. While competition has tightened up since then, incremental and polishing updates allowed it to remain at the top. While it is visually very similar to the version that first launched, it is a lot more stable and responsive and is probably the smart platform least prone to slowdowns.
LG’s magic remote found on higher-end models offers motion-controlled point and click functionality, which makes navigating menus a lot simpler. It isn't the smallest remote we've seen, but it is nicely sculpted and very comfortable to hold.
There are many more buttons on this remote than on Samsung’s, but they are clearly labeled and make it quicker to pick up the remote and use – no tutorial or manual required.
It is a bit more plasticky than say, the new all metal remote found on Samsung's QLED TV or the metal-backed variant of the Sony remote, but it still feels solid in the hand.
WebOS hasn't changed much since it was first introduced, but it is still one of the best looking platforms around. It is colorful, and its animations are both intuitive and beautiful. Everything feels responsive and snappy, and you are rarely left waiting for something to happen.
The main menu comes up when the TV is started or when you press the home button. Here you can find listed in the bottom every app you have installed.
When pressing the home button, a few buttons appear at the top right. The first one brings you to an MP3 player, so you can listen to some music played on top of a slideshow. The second one leads you to inputs, and the last one gives you access to a few quick settings such as picture modes, aspect
Down that list of quick settings is how you access the advanced settings, where more picture settings can be found, as well as network, channel, and more advanced sound settings.
The LG content store delivers just about every app one would look for on a smart TV, as well as direct rental of films. Essentials such as Netflix, Amazon
LG WebOS TVs support all major formats through USB playback, and they do so without any major bugs. 4k HDR files played nicely, even in more demanding encoding formats. OLED models make for a great holiday picture viewing experience.
The web browsers found on smart TVs are used more often than we'd expect, and most of them offer a really poor experience compared to most other connected devices. All major streaming services offer good apps now, so their value is decreasing, causing them to stagnate a good amount.
WebOS, while not being the best for raw performance, is definitely ahead of the pack for usability. It scores a meager 700 on the Peacekeeper test, but it passes HTML 5 support better than any other browser we've tested.
What's most important though is the intuitiveness of the experience. Every other TV browser requires you to use the arrow keys on the remote to navigate your cursor, which is painfully slow and reminiscent of 10-year-old smartphones. With LG WebOS TVs that use the magic remote, you can simply point the motion controlled remote where you want to click and navigate much more effectively. It's a totally different experience compared to competing platforms, and it is legitimately usable.
WebOS TVs that come with LG's "magic remote" have voice control. There's a big microphone button in the center of the remote that, once pressed, prompts the search interface. It's useful for searching for content since it goes through most of your apps and allows you to even search for actors. Unfortunately though, it doesn't have very in-depth control of the settings, like what you find on Samsung TVs, so you can't adjust the brightness without leaving what you're watching. The only thing you can really do is turn the TV off and adjust the volume.
Another cool feature that comes with the microphone in the remote is the ability to tune the TV's speakers to you room. In sound settings, enable the "Magic Sound Tuning" feature and go through the calibration process. We've found that this feature measurably helped the sound quality, and it is definitely a notable feature.
We haven't found many issues with WebOS 3.5, but one thing glaringly remains; the inclusion of advertising sprinkled around the operating system. While we've yet to see them on the main screen, they're just about everywhere else. Voice search, app store, web browser, all of them will sometimes show ads in their user interface. Worst is that there isn't a good way to disable them from within the TV itself.
LG undeniably offers top shelf products with the OLED TVs. The technology is now quite mature and is quite definitely the best for most people. Unfortunately, these prowesses do not reflect the rest of their TV range. While every LG smart TVs come packaged with their excellent WebOS platform, the performance of the displays often leaves a lot to be desired. They do have consistently great viewing angles, but that comes to the cost of having mediocre picture quality in a dark room. Quite the contrast from their OLED offerings, some might say.