We've reviewed over 15 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 4k TV is the LG B9 OLED. Like any TV in their OLED lineup, there's no backlighting and it can switch off individual pixels, so it displays perfect blacks. It displays a wide color gamut and has good color volume for HDR content, but unfortunately, it only has decent HDR peak brightness so it can't bring out vivid colors the way it should. Along with its perfect contrast ratio, it has outstanding viewing angles, so you can place this TV in a wide seating arrangement and not lose any image accuracy. A bonus of getting an OLED TV over an LED TV is their perfect contrast ratio and great viewing angles. With LED TVs, different panels perform differently, as VA panels have a better contrast ratio but poor viewing angles, while IPS panels generally have great viewing angles and a poor contrast ratio.
Gamers will enjoy the incredibly low input lag and the near-perfect response time, but with such a fast response time, content appears to stutter. Luckily, there's a black frame insertion feature to help reduce motion blur. Unfortunately, as is the case with all OLED TVs, it has a risk for permanent burn-in, so you shouldn't use this TV as a computer monitor with its static displays, but it shouldn't be a problem with varied content. Also, if you place this TV in a bright room, it does an excellent job at handling reflections, so even with direct sunlight, the reflections shouldn't be too distracting.
The best LG 4k LED TV we've tested so far is the LG SM9500. If you're worried about permanent burn-in risk and prefer having an LED TV, it delivers a good picture quality. It has fantastic out-of-the-box color accuracy, which is good news if you don't want to get your TV calibrated. It supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and since it can display a wide color gamut and has excellent HDR peak brightness, colors look vivid and highlights pop in HDR content.
As is the case with IPS TVs, the viewing angles are good for use in wide seating arrangements, but the contrast ratio is decent and the black uniformity is poor, so it doesn't perform well in dark rooms. However, in bright rooms, it has great reflection handling and can get very bright, so it will still perform well in rooms with direct light. This is also a fantastic gaming TV since it has a native 120Hz refresh rate and supports HDMI Forum variable refresh rate technology for a nearly tear-free gaming experience, but currently, it only works with an Xbox One. Motion also looks great with fantastic response time, plus it can remove judder from all sources.
Overall, if you're looking for an LED TV instead of an OLED, this is a good choice, making it the best LG 4k LED TV currently available.
The best budget LG TV is the LG UM7300. This LCD TV uses an IPS panel and is good for most uses, with remarkably low input lag, wide viewing angles, and great reflection handling. Unfortunately, it can't get as bright as higher-end models like the LG SM9500, and it's too dim to show off small specular highlights when viewing HDR content. It's also lacking local dimming, and due to its IPS panel, it has a mediocre contrast ratio, with blacks that appear slightly gray in a dark room.
On the upside, it can display fast-moving content with little blur thanks to its fast response time, and its image remains accurate when viewed from the side, making it a good choice for watching sports with a large group of people. Like most LG TVs, it also has a very low input lag, making it a great choice for gamers. Overall, this is a good budget 4k TV that's best suited for an average-lit room, where it'll perform its best.
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 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.
For example: SM9000 = 2019 high-end LED TV; UM = 2019 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). For example: C9 = 2019 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 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.
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 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.
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 prowesses do not reflect the rest of their TV range. While every LG smart TV comes 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 opposite from their OLED offerings, some might say.