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 that we've tested with an OLED panel is the LG CX OLED. Since LG is known for their OLED offerings, they tend to pack these models with features, and this one is no exception. Most OLEDs offer the same picture quality, and the CX sits between the entry-level LG BX OLED and the higher-end LG GX OLED, but in terms of performance and price, the CX offers the best value. Like any OLED, it produces perfect blacks and has wide viewing angles if you want to use it in a wide seating arrangement. In terms of HDR content, it has excellent gradient handling, displays a very wide color gamut, and has decent HDR peak brightness, but it still may not be enough to deliver a true HDR experience.
Unfortunately, it can suffer from permanent burn-in, which is the major downside to an OLED TV. This could be problematic if you constantly watch the same content with static elements, like the news, but we don't expect it to be an issue for those who watch varied content. Gamers should appreciate this TV's variable refresh rate (VRR) support, near-instant response time, and very low input lag. It's also a great choice for the new gaming consoles as it has HDMI 2.1 support, allowing it to display 4k @ 120fps games. All things considered, this is the best LG TV that we've tested with an OLED panel.
The best LG TV that we've tested with an LED panel is the LG NANO90. LED TVs don't suffer from burn-in like OLEDs, so you can easily leave it on your favorite news channel all day without worrying about damaging the pixels. The NANO90 is the flagship 4k LED model in their 2020 lineup, and they have 8k models like the LG NANO99 8k above it, but considering there isn't much 8k content available right now, it's not worth getting the NANO99. The NANO90 has many of the same gaming features found on the LG CX OLED, such as VRR and HDMI 2.1 support, and low input lag. It also has a great response time and a Black Frame Insertion feature to clear up motion blur.
This model has an IPS panel, which sadly means it has a low contrast ratio and mediocre black uniformity. It has a full-array local dimming feature, but it performs poorly, and even though it improves the contrast a bit, blacks still look gray when viewed in the dark. HDR content doesn't look anything special because of this, and it doesn't get bright enough to make highlights pop either. It's also not the best choice for use in well-lit rooms either because it has low peak brightness, but luckily, it has great reflection handling. Regardless of these issues, if you want an LED LG TV, this is one of the best LG TVs that we've tested.
The LG UN7300 is the best LG TV in the budget category that we've tested. It's a step down from the LG UN8500, which is the highest-end budget model, but the UN7300 is available in a wide range of sizes and provides better overall performance. It seems that there are two versions of this TV available, one with an IPS panel, which is labeled as 'Real 4k IPS' on the box, and the other with 'Real 4k Display' has a VA panel. Our 55 inch unit has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles and a low contrast ratio, but if you get the one with a VA panel, it should have a much better contrast ratio and narrow viewing angles.
Unfortunately, this TV doesn't deliver the best HDR experience because it fails to display a wide color gamut, doesn't get bright enough to make highlights pop, and the gradient handling is just decent. It's limited to a 60Hz panel, and unlike the higher-end models, it doesn't have VRR support. It still has a low input lag and a decent response time for gaming, but you may notice image duplication with fast-moving content due to the backlight's 120Hz flicker. It doesn't have any trouble upscaling lower-resolution content and has excellent reflection handling if you want to use it in a bright room. All in all, this is one of the best LG TVs we've tested.
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.
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.
With the exception of their OLED, 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 are the pioneers of OLED, and they still offer the best OLEDs on the market with many gaming features.
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.
Starting from 2018, WebOS 4.0 added a new voice control processor with ThinQ AI. The 2020 models have version 5.0, which is very similar to past versions. 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. Some lower-end versions come with this Magic Remote, but the entry-level models have a basic remote without voice control, such as the remote on the LG UN7000.
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.
Feb 19, 2021: Updated text for clarity.
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.