We've tested over 20 LG TVs in the last two years. LG releases a lot of TVs every year, probably more than any other manufacturer. 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.
The best LG TV we've tested is the LG CX OLED. There are a few OLEDs in LG's 2020 lineup, such as the lower-end LG BX OLED and the higher-end LG GX OLED, which doesn't come with a stand and is designed to sit flat against the wall. However, most of their OLEDs offer very similar picture quality and features, so in terms of price and availability, the CX provides the best value. Like any OLED, it can individually turn off pixels, resulting in an infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity. This makes it an ideal choice for watching movies in dark rooms as blacks appear deep and inky. It offers great gaming features with its FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR) support, very low input lag, and near-instant response time that makes motion look clear and crisp.
Unfortunately, like any OLED, it has the risk of permanent burn-in. This should only be a problem if you constantly watch the same content with static elements, such as the news, or if you use it as a computer monitor. However, we don't expect it to be an issue for those who watch varied content. It delivers a good HDR experience as it displays a very wide color gamut and gets fairly bright in HDR to make highlights pop. It also has wide viewing angles, which is great if you want to watch sports or TV with friends or family in a wide seating arrangement. This is one of the best TVs we've tested and most people should be satisfied with it.
If you're worried about the permanent burn-in damage you may face with the LG CX OLED, then consider one of LG's LED options. The LG NANO90 is the best LG TV with a 4k LED panel that we've tested. It's a well-rounded TV that has nice features and like most of their LEDs, it comes with an IPS panel. It has a 120Hz refresh rate and variable refresh rate support to reduce screen tearing while gaming. Input lag is low, it has a quick response time, and there's a Black Frame Insertion feature to clear up motion blur. It removes judder from any source and it interpolates motion up to 120fps, known as the 'Soap Opera Effect', and both of these try to improve the appearance of motion.
You get fairly wide viewing angles with this TV but that comes at the cost of its low contrast ratio. It has a full-array local dimming feature, but it doesn't perform well and blacks still appear closer to gray. Even though it has impressive reflection handling, it may be best to avoid very well-lit environments because it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare. It displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, but sadly, some highlights and vivid colors may not stand out how they should in HDR. On the upside, it displays chroma 4:4:4 if you want to use it as a computer monitor, and there's no risk of long-term burn-in. It's a good TV for an upper-mid range option, making it one of the best LG TVs we've tested.
The best LG TV in the budget category we've tested is the LG UN7300. It's the replacement of the LG UM7300 and offers decent overall performance that most people on a budget should be happy with. You can find the 55 inch TV for cheaper, but the larger models will cost you a bit more. It seems that LG sells two versions with either an IPS or VA panel, and they don't make it clear which panel you purchased until you receive it. In our case, we received an IPS panel on the 55 inch TV, which provides fairly wide viewing angles and a low contrast ratio. If you get a VA panel, expect a much higher contrast ratio and narrow viewing angles.
Its performance is what you expect in a budget-friendly TV. It's limited on features, and it doesn't get very bright, but luckily, it has excellent reflection handling if you place it in a bright room. It upscales lower-resolution content well, and comes with LG's WebOS, allowing you to download a bunch of apps. It's also good for gaming because it has a fairly quick response time and really low input lag, but the TV's 120Hz flicker may cause duplication in motion. Sadly, HDR content doesn't look all that different from SDR content because it doesn't display a wide color gamut. Regardless of these issues, this is a decent TV that won't cost you much.
Samsung TVs will, on average, have a better picture quality than most LG LED 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 are better than Samsung's offerings in almost every aspect. They do come at a definite price premium, though, compared to the mainstream Samsung models.
Sony doesn't offer as many models in their range. They offer both VA and IPS type LCD TVs. In 2019 Sony released a few more very good OLED models. 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 that are useful for wider living rooms, they aren't the only ones in this space, and competition will often outperform them. LG were the pioneers of OLED, and they still offer the best TVs on the market, but unfortunately, this isn't representative of their entire product range.
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 letters correspond 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.
For example: UN = 2020 4K TV; LM = 2019 1080p TV.
For their OLED line-up, the model numbers start with a letter, followed by a number that represents the year (8 = 2018, 9 = 2019, X = 2020). For example: CX = 2020 OLED TV; B9 = Entry-level 2019 OLED TV; E8 = High-end 2018 OLED TV.
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's visually very similar to the version that first launched, it's a lot more stable and responsive and is probably the smart platform least prone to slowdowns.
WebOS hasn't changed much since it was first introduced, but it is still one of the best looking platforms around. It's colorful, and its animations are both intuitive and beautiful. Everything feels responsive and snappy, and you are rarely left waiting for something to happen.
WebOS has one glaring issue: 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. The worst is that there isn't a good way to disable them from within the TV itself.
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 Video, and YouTube are all installed by default, but the range is continuously expanding. Overall, LG TVs have one of the widest selections of apps available on any smart platform.
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't really do is turn the TV off and adjust the volume.
WebOS 4.0, included in the 2018 line of OLED and Super LED TVs, added a new voice control processor with ThinQ AI. The system is able to perform advanced searches similar to Siri on the AppleTV. It can identify actors in movies, search for sports scores, even find pictures in your favorite cloud service based on keywords. It can also communicate with a multitude of smart home connected devices, including lights and thermostats. These new TVs are also able to interact with Google Home or Amazon Alexa-connected personal assistants.
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's nicely sculpted and very comfortable to hold.
There are many more buttons on this remote than on Samsung’s, but they're clearly labeled and make it quicker to pick up the remote and use – no tutorial or manual required.
LG’s remote app, called LG TV Plus, offers quick access to most of the TV's controls and is compatible with all LG smart TVs. It isn't as advanced as some of the other remote apps, but it does stream content from your phone or tablet to the TV. It can launch apps and change inputs directly, without having to use a navigation button to navigate the on-screen menus.
There aren't many issues with LG WebOS. The previous version had some performance issues, with occasional hiccups and frequent dropped frames in animations. For the most part, these issues have been fixed, and the latest version, performs extremely well, but the interface can still hang sometimes.
LG undeniably offers top-shelf products with OLED TVs. The technology is now quite mature and is quite definitely the best for most people. Unfortunately, these processes don't reflect the rest of their TV range. While every LG smart TV comes packaged with their excellent WebOS platform, the displays' performance 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 opposite from their OLED offerings, some might say.