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 TV we've reviewed in 2020 is the LG CX OLED. This is one of the two entry-level OLED TVs in their 2020 lineup. The other one, the LG BX OLED, is currently only available in the United States, while the CX is available internationally. Like most OLED TVs, it delivers stunning picture quality, and since it's able to turn off pixels individually, it produces an infinite contrast ratio and perfect black uniformity. It has great out-of-the-box color accuracy, so unless you need perfect color accuracy, you likely won't need to get it calibrated unless you want to. It's also loaded with gaming features like FreeSync variable refresh rate (VRR) support, a Black Frame Insertion feature, a near-instant response time, and low input lag.
Unfortunately, like any OLED TV, it has the risk of permanent burn-in, which we expect only to be a real issue if you constantly watch elements with static displays, like the news, or if you use the TV as a PC monitor. It doesn't get very bright either, but it still performs well in moderately-lit rooms because it has outstanding reflection handling. If you want to watch TV with the entire family or a large group of friends, this TV has wide viewing angles, great for wide seating arrangements. Lastly, it supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and HDR content looks good because it displays a really wide color gamut and has excellent gradient handling. All in all, this is the best LG TV we've tested so far.
If you're worried about the permanent burn-in risk associated with OLED TVs, you should look into an LED TV. The LG NANO90 is the best LG TV in their 2020 LED lineup that we've tested so far, and it offers good overall performance. Like most of LG's LED TVs, it uses an IPS panel that has a low contrast ratio and fairly wide viewing angles. This means it's best to use in wide seating arrangements, and even though it has a full-array local dimming feature, it doesn't improve the contrast all that much, and blacks still appear gray. Gamers should enjoy this TV's quick response time, low input lag, and 120Hz refresh rate. The TV should also receive FreeSync support in a future firmware update, so we'll update the review once we're able to test it.
Sadly, the NANO90 doesn't get bright enough to combat glare, but it has impressive reflection handling if you still want to use it in a bright room. It displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, but it doesn't get bright enough to truly bring out highlights. That said, this TV upscales lower-resolution content well without any issues, it removes judder from any source, and it interpolates motion up to 120Hz, known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'. The LG NANO81 and the LG NANO85 are lower-end TVs that don't perform as well as this one, but they're cheaper. Overall, most people should be happy with the NANO90, making it the best LG TV with an LED screen we've seen so far.
The best LG TV in the budget category we've tested so far is the LG UN7300. It's the replacement to 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 under $500, but the larger models will cost you a bit more. It seems that LG sells two versions of the UN7300 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, except a much higher contrast ratio and narrow viewing angles.
This TV's 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, the UN7300 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.