The 3 Best LG TVs of 2021 Reviews and Smart Features

Updated
Best LG TVs

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.

Updates

Best LG Smart TVs


  1. Best LG 4k OLED TV

    8.8
    Mixed Usage
    9.3
    Movies
    8.2
    TV Shows
    8.7
    Sports
    9.2
    Video Games
    8.6
    HDR Movies
    9.0
    HDR Gaming
    8.9
    PC Monitor
    Type OLED
    Sub-Type
    WRGB
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 48" 55" 65" 77" 83"

    The LG C1 OLED is the best LG TV we've tested with an OLED panel. It's similar to the LG G1 OLED, which has the new evo panel, but for the cost, it's worth getting the C1. Like all OLEDs, it has self-lit pixels that can turn off individually to produce a near-infinite contrast ratio and pitch-perfect blacks with no visible blooming. That makes it a great choice for movies or dark room gaming. It also has a nearly instantaneous response time that results in exceptionally smooth motion in sports and video games. More serious gamers should also appreciate its low input lag, variable refresh rate (VRR) support, and four HDMI 2.1 ports, allowing you to take full advantage of the 4k @ 120Hz capabilities of the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X.

    The biggest downside to OLED TVs is that they're susceptible to permanent burn-in if you display content with static elements, like a channel logo or game HUD, for very long periods of time. That said, it shouldn't be an issue if you watch varied content, and LG OLEDs come with a few settings to help reduce the risk. OLEDs are also limited in terms of brightness, but the C1 still gets fairly bright, so while it's not recommended for very bright rooms, it can still overcome glare in moderately lit settings. Despite its limited brightness, HDR content also looks great due to its near-infinite contrast and wide color gamut. All in all, this is one of the best LG TVs you can buy.

    See our review

  2. Best LG 4k LED TV

    7.5
    Mixed Usage
    6.9
    Movies
    7.9
    TV Shows
    7.9
    Sports
    7.7
    Video Games
    6.7
    HDR Movies
    7.8
    HDR Gaming
    8.5
    PC Monitor
    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    IPS
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 55" 65" 75" 86"

    The best LG TV in the LED category that we've tested is the LG NANO90 2021. It's LG's highest model in the 4k lineup, and so it gets a ton of features, especially for gamers. LG's LED options tend to have IPS-like panels, and this one is no exception. Thanks to its IPS panel, it has wide viewing angles if you want to use it in a wide seating area, but that means it has a low contrast so blacks look gray. It has a full-array local dimming feature, but it doesn't have many zones and performs poorly, so this TV isn't the best choice for dark room viewing. However, visibility shouldn't be an issue in bright environments because it has impressive reflection handling, and it gets bright enough to fight some glare.

    Unfortunately, even though it supports Dolby Vision, it's not good for watching HDR content either. It can't display a wide color gamut, and even though it has decent HDR brightness, its black uniformity is disappointing, and there's blooming around bright objects. On the plus side, the NANO90 2021 has a 120Hz panel with two HDMI 2.1 inputs, so you can play 4k games up to 120fps from either the Xbox Series X or PS5. Input lag is low, and it has a quick response time for a responsive gaming experience. It can also display chroma 4:4:4 at any of its supported resolutions, which is great if you want to use it as a PC monitor. Overall, despite its low contrast, it's one of the best LG TVs.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget LG 4k TV

    6.6
    Mixed Usage
    5.8
    Movies
    7.5
    TV Shows
    7.1
    Sports
    6.5
    Video Games
    5.6
    HDR Movies
    6.6
    HDR Gaming
    7.9
    PC Monitor
    Type LED
    Sub-Type
    IPS
    Resolution 4k
    Sizes : 43" 50" 55" 65" 70" 75"

    The best LG TV in the budget category that we've tested is the LG UP7000. It's an entry-level model that sits below the LG UP8000, which may be a bit too expensive for those on a budget. As expected, the UP7000 is pretty basic on features, but it still delivers an okay picture quality for those looking for something simple for watching TVs shows or sports. Like the LG NANO90 2021, the 65 inch model we tested has an IPS-like panel, but the 50 and 70 inch models have VA panels, so they're expected to have better contrast at the cost of viewing angles. The UP7000 comes with the same webOS platform as the other models, but it comes with a basic remote that doesn't have a mic for voice control. Still, there's a ton of apps available to download through the app store.

    Unfortunately, it's limited to a 60Hz panel and doesn't support any VRR technologies, so serious gamers may not enjoy it. It has an okay response time, but there's image duplication with fast-moving content due to the backlight's 120Hz flicker frequency. Our unit has poor color accuracy, it doesn't display a wide color gamut, and it has low HDR peak brightness, so it can't deliver a true cinematic viewing experience. Thanks to its IPS panel, it has wide viewing angles and a low contrast ratio, but there's no local dimming feature to improve the picture quality in dark scenes. If you're looking for a simple 4k TV that won't cost much, you should be happy with this.

    See our review

Compared to other brands


  • OLED. The best LG TVs are OLED, and they remain the biggest player in this market (see our article: LED vs OLED).
  • Great viewing angles. Both their LED and OLED TVs generally have wide viewing angles.
  • Great smart platform. webOS 6.0 remains one of the best smart platforms in 2021.
  • Low contrast. Aside from their high-end OLED models, most LG TVs won't have great blacks, meaning they'll have average picture quality.
  • Uniformity issues. LG LED TVs often have worse than average gray uniformity.
  • Poor value. Their products are often weirdly priced in comparison to their competition and are consequently rarely recommended by us.

LG vs Samsung

Samsung TVs have, on average, 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.

LG vs Sony

Sony is a direct competitor with LG since their lineup also has LED and OLED models. LG's OLEDs have many more gaming features and generally cost less, but Sony's LED options usually have VA panels, making for a better dark room experience.

Except for their OLEDs, most LG TVs don't offer the best value. While their IPS LCD offerings offer wide viewing angles that are useful for wider living rooms, VA panel competition often outperforms them in terms of overall picture quality. LG is the pioneer of OLED, and they still offer the best OLEDs on the market with many gaming features.

Lineup

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.

  • QNED* = Premium model with Mini LED backlighting
  • NANO* = Premium LED model
  • U* = 4k
  • L* = 1080p or below
  • *P = 2021
  • *N = 2020
  • *M = 2019

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 (9 = 2019, X = 2020, 1 = 2021). For example: G1 = 2-2021 Gallery Design; CX = 2020 OLED TV; B9 = Entry-level 2019 OLED TV.

LG Smart Features

Besides aesthetic changes, LG's webOS hasn't changed much over the years, which is 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. LG updated the platform in 2021 to include a full home page instead of the banner that was found in past models. 

Interface

LG Smart Interface

For a long time, webOS hadn't changed much in design since its introduction, but it was completely overhauled in 2021 with the release of webOS 6.0, and it's 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. The redesign replaces the menu ribbon of previous versions with a smart hub, complete with various widgets. Despite the new look, it still has the same smooth functionality and features that made it one of the best smart platforms.

Ad-free

LG Ads

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.

Apps & Features

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 like 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.

Voice Controls

WebOS TVs that come with LG's Magic Remote have voice control. The remote was redesigned in 2021, but it has the same functionality as past years. 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.

  • Changing inputs
  • Launching apps
  • Complex requests, e.g., "Search Netflix for Marco Polo."
  • Basic online searches, including "What time is it?" or "How's the weather in New York?"

Starting from 2018, WebOS 4.0 added a new voice control processor with ThinQ AI. The system can perform advanced searches similar to Siri on the Apple TV. 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. Newer LG TVs can also interact with Google Home or Amazon Alexa-connected personal assistants.

Remote

LG Smart TV Remote

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 it – no tutorial or manual required. Some lower-end versions come with this Magic Remote, but the entry-level models have a basic remote without voice control, like the remote on the LG UN7000.

Remote App

LG Smart TV Remote App

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.

Known Issues

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.

Recent Updates

  1. Jul 19, 2021: Replaced the LG NANO90 2020 and the LG UN7300 with the newer LG NANO90 2021 and LG UP7000; updated Smart Features section for webOS 6.0.

  2. May 20, 2021: Replaced the LG CX OLED with the LG C1 OLED as 'Best LG 4k OLED TV'.

  3. Feb 19, 2021: Updated text for clarity.

Conclusion

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.

Test results

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