LG NANO81 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Reviewed Jul 28, 2020 at 07:56 am
LG NANO81 Picture
7.0
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Vizio M Series Quantum 2019
6.2
Movies
7.8
TV Shows
7.5
Sports
7.5
Video Games
5.9
HDR Movies
6.9
HDR Gaming
8.1
PC Monitor
Type LED
Sub-Type
IPS
Resolution 4k

The LG NANO81 is a decent overall TV with an IPS panel. It's a very simple TV that's limited on extra features as it doesn't support any variable refresh rate (VRR) technology or Dolby Vision. It has wide viewing angles, so it's a good choice for watching the big game with a lot of friends. Sadly, people who enjoy watching movies in the dark may be disappointed with its low contrast ratio, bad local dimming feature, and uniformity issues. It's a good choice for console gamers because the response time is decent and the input lag is incredibly low. Overall, it's a fairly well-built TV with an excellent design and a premium-looking center-mounted stand.

Our Verdict

7.0 Mixed Usage

The LG NANO81 is a decent TV for most uses. With its IPS panel, it's a good choice for watching sports with a group of friends or using it as a PC monitor. It has a low contrast ratio, poor black uniformity, and its local dimming feature is bad, so watching movies in the dark isn't a good choice. It doesn't have any VRR support and it has a 60Hz refresh rate, but casual gamers should appreciate the incredibly low input lag and decent response time.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Excellent reflection handling.
  • Incredibly low input lag.
Cons
  • Poor dark room performance.
  • Doesn't get very bright.
  • No VRR support.
6.2 Movies

The LG NANO81 is mediocre for watching movies. It has an IPS panel that has a low contrast ratio, and its local dimming feature is bad. It also has poor black uniformity, so dark scenes don't look good. Luckily, it upscales lower-resolution content well and removes judder from 24p sources like native apps.

Pros
  • Removes judder from native 24p sources.
Cons
  • Poor dark room performance.
7.8 TV Shows

Very good for TV shows. The LG NANO81 has excellent reflection handling, but it doesn't get very bright, so you should avoid placing it in really bright rooms. It has wide viewing angles and it upscales 720p content, like from cable boxes, without any issues. LG's WebOS platform also has a great selection of apps available to download.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Excellent reflection handling.
  • Upscales lower-resolution content well.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very bright.
  • Disappointing built-in speakers.
7.5 Sports

The LG NANO81 is good for sports. It has wide viewing angles if you watch games with a big group of friends. It has a decent response time, so fast-moving content doesn't have a lot of motion blur, and there's also almost no dirty screen effect. You should avoid watching sports in really bright rooms as it doesn't get very bright, but it has excellent reflection handling.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Excellent reflection handling.
  • Decent response time.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very bright.
  • Disappointing built-in speakers.
7.5 Video Games

The LG NANO81 is good for video games. It doesn't have any gaming features like VRR support and it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate. Regardless, it has a decent response time and an incredibly low input lag. It also upscales 1080p content very well, so it's a good TV for console gaming.

Pros
  • Excellent reflection handling.
  • Incredibly low input lag.
  • Decent response time.
Cons
  • Poor dark room performance.
  • No VRR support.
5.9 HDR Movies

Disappointing for HDR movies. The LG NANO81 doesn't support Dolby Vision, its color gamut is only decent, and it doesn't get bright enough to make highlights pop in HDR, so it doesn't look different from SDR content. It also has a low contrast ratio, a bad local dimming feature, and poor black uniformity. On the upside, it removes judder from native 24p sources.

Pros
  • Removes judder from native 24p sources.
Cons
  • Poor dark room performance.
  • Doesn't get very bright.
  • Somewhat limited color gamut.
6.9 HDR Gaming

The LG NANO81 is okay for HDR gaming, mainly due to its good gaming performance. It has an incredibly low input lag and a decent response time, but HDR content doesn't look good. Its color gamut is a bit limited and it doesn't get bright enough to bring out highlights. Also, it's limited to a 60Hz refresh rate and it doesn't have VRR support.

Pros
  • Incredibly low input lag.
  • Decent response time.
Cons
  • Poor dark room performance.
  • Doesn't get very bright.
  • Somewhat limited color gamut.
8.1 PC Monitor

The LG NANO81 is a great choice to use as a PC monitor. It displays proper chroma 4:4:4, which is important for reading text. It has wide viewing angles, so it's a good choice to place in a meeting room. It's not the best TV to place in bright rooms, as even though it has excellent reflection handling, it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Displays proper chroma 4:4:4.
  • Excellent reflection handling.
  • Incredibly low input lag.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very bright.
  • 7.0 Mixed Usage
  • 6.2 Movies
  • 7.8 TV Shows
  • 7.5 Sports
  • 7.5 Video Games
  • 5.9 HDR Movies
  • 6.9 HDR Gaming
  • 8.1 PC Monitor

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The LG NANO81 is an entry-level TV in LG's NanoCell series. It replaces 2019's LG SM8100 and sits below the LG NANO85. In Canada, it's sold as the LG NANO80, with a different stand. Its main competitors are the Samsung Q60T QLED, Sony X800H, and the Vizio V Series 2020.

Design
9.0
Design
Style
Curved No

The LG 65NANO81ANA has an excellent design and looks a lot like the LG NANO85 and the LG SM8600 in terms of its build and frame. It has the same center-mounted stand as the SM8600 that gives it a more premium look than the two-footed stand on the NANO85.

Design
Stand

The center-mounted moon-shaped stand is mainly plastic, except for the base underneath the stand, which is metal. The center part that connects to the TV is plastic and doesn't hold the TV very well as there's a lot of wobble.

Footprint of the 65" TV: 32.7" x 12.8".

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x300

The back is made out of a thin sheet of metal that almost feels plastic and it has a slightly-brushed textured finish to it. The back panel bends quite easily. Also, cable management is serviced through the stand, keeping your setup clean.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.43" (1.1 cm)

The borders are thin and aren't distracting.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.52" (6.4 cm)

With the stand, the LG 65NANO81ANA is fairly thick and you need a large table. If you wall-mount the TV, it won't stick out much.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

Decent build quality, very much like the LG SM8600. The stand wobbles a lot and the back panel has a lot of flex to it. Also, you can visibly see the screws and lines where the different parts of the TV are attached.

Picture Quality
6.5
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
1313 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
1355 : 1

The contrast ratio is okay; it's actually better than most IPS panels we've seen, but blacks appear closer to gray when viewed in the dark. There's a local dimming feature that only slightly improves the contrast ratio.

1.5
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Edge

The LG 65NANO81ANA has a bad local dimming feature. It has six edge-lit dimming zones and bright objects light up entire zones, so you can see where each zone starts and ends, which is distracting even during real content. Due to this issue, there are noticeable blooming and uniformity issues around subtitles and bright objects. On the upside, it doesn't crush scenes and objects transition between zones well. We recommended setting Local Dimming to 'Medium' as it's less distracting than on 'High'.

5.9
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
239 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
210 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
272 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
271 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
270 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
270 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
206 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
271 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
270 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
270 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
270 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.019

The LG 65NANO81ANA has a disappointing SDR peak brightness. This TV doesn't get very bright, not enough to combat glare in bright rooms. For the most part, its brightness remains consistent with varied content.

We measured the brightness after calibration in the 'Expert (Dark Mode)' Picture Mode, with Local Dimming on 'Medium', Backlight set to 'Max', and the Color Temperature set to 'Warm 2'.

If you don't care about image accuracy and want the brightest image possible, set the Picture Mode to 'Vivid' with the Local Dimming on 'High' and Backlight to 'Max'. We were able to get 504 nits on the 2% peak window test.

5.6
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
297 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
540 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
539 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
389 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
361 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
342 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
285 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
338 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
341 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
341 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
341 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.012

The LG NANO81 has disappointing brightness in HDR. It doesn't get bright enough to make highlights pop the way they're supposed to, so HDR content doesn't look all that much different from SDR.

We measured the brightness before calibration in the 'HDR Cinema' Picture Mode with Local Dimming on 'Medium', Backlight set to 'Max', and the Color Temperature set to 'Warm 2'. The brightest the TV got was with these settings, as seen in the 2% peak window test.

7.7
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
2.973 %
50% DSE
0.159 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.668 %
5% DSE
0.121 %

The LG 65NANO81ANA has good gray uniformity. The edges of the screen are slightly darker, more so near the corners. There's also very minimal dirty screen effect in the center, which is great for sports fans. The uniformity is much better in near-dark scenes, except there's visible backlight bleed in the bottom right corner.

7.6
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
32 °
Color Shift
55 °
Brightness Loss
34 °
Black Level Raise
70 °
Gamma Shift
46 °

Good viewing angles, which is expected from an IPS panel TV. It's better than other TVs in LG's 2020 LED lineup like the LG NANO90. The image remains accurate when viewing from the side, ideal for a wide seating arrangement.

4.4
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
2.515 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
4.803 %

Bad black uniformity for the LG 65NANO81ANA. Without local dimming, there's clouding and backlight bleed in the bottom right corner, and the screen appears more blue than black. With local dimming, the uniformity is even worse, as the center cross lights up the two dimming zones in the center, and the left and right dimming zones are the only zones truly turned off.

8.8
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Glossy
Total Reflections
2.4 %
Indirect Reflections
0.2 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
2.2 %

The LG 65NANO81ANA has excellent reflection handling. Even with direct sunlight on the TV, the reflections don't get too distracting.

6.6
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
3.96
Color dE
2.83
Gamma
2.35
Color Temperature
7838 K
Picture Mode
Expert (Dark Room)
Color Temp Setting
Warm 2
Gamma Setting
2.2

The LG 65NANO81ANA has alright out-of-the-box color accuracy. The colors are fairly accurate but the color temperature is very cold, giving the image a blue-ish tint. The white balance is off and the gamma doesn't follow the curve well, as most scenes appear darker than they should.

9.1
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.28
Color dE
1.11
Gamma
2.19
Color Temperature
7182 K
White Balance Calibration
22 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
No

The LG 65NANO81ANA has outstanding color accuracy after calibrating. Any remaining inaccuracies are difficult to spot without the aid of a colorimeter and the gamma follows the target almost perfectly. The color temperature is cold when displaying an image with 5% and 10% stimulus levels, which affects the scoring for the color temperature. The temperature is closer to the 6500K target with all the other stimulus levels we tested.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

The LG 65NANO81ANA upscales 480p content, like from DVDs, without any problems.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content, such as from cable boxes, is upscaled without any noticeable artifacts.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content, like from Blu-ray players or native apps, looks almost as good as native 4k content.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

The LG NANO81 displays native 4k content perfectly.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

This is a 4k TV that doesn't support an 8k signal.

Picture Quality
Pixels

This TV uses a type of IPS panel similar to the panel on the LG NANO85.

7.4
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
81.51 %
DCI P3 uv
89.92 %
Rec 2020 xy
59.20 %
Rec 2020 uv
67.28 %

Decent color gamut. It has impressive coverage of the DCI-P3 color space used in most HDR content, but it has limited coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 color space.

For the most part, the EOTF follows the curve fairly well until it rolls off, except most scenes are slightly too bright. In 'Game' mode, it performs exactly the same, as you can see in the here.

If you find HDR too dim, set Local Dimming to 'High', Dynamic Contrast to 'Medium' and enable the Dynamic Tone Mapping. The image is noticeably brighter as you can see the EOTF here.

6.2
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
70.6 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
35.0 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
53.6 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
26.2 %

Mediocre color volume. Due to its low contrast ratio and limited color gamut, the LG 65NANO81ANA doesn't display colors at different luminance levels well, and it can't display dark, saturated colors.

7.6
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.113 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.115 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.095 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.180 dE

The LG 65NANO81ANA has good gradient handling. There's noticeable banding in all colors, especially with dark green and gray. In real content, enabling Smooth Gradiation helps smooth out gradients, and set it to 'Low' if you don't want to lose too much detail.

10
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 4 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 6 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 8 min recovery
0.00 %
IR after 10 min recovery
0.00 %

There are no signs of temporary image retention, even immediately after displaying our high-contrast static test image for 10 minutes, which is great.

10
Picture Quality
Permanent Burn-In Risk
Permanent Burn-In Risk
No

Although some IPS panels can suffer from temporary image retention, this doesn't appear to be permanent as seen in our long-term test.

Motion
7.2
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
5.7 ms
100% Response Time
16.9 ms

The LG 65NANO81ANA has a decent response time, slightly worse than the LG NANO85, which has a 120Hz refresh rate. There's overshoot in darker transitions and some motion blur with fast-moving content.

6.0
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
240 Hz

This TV uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to dim its backlight. It flickers at 240Hz in 'Filmmaker', 'Expert (Bright Room)', and 'Expert (Dark Room)' picture modes. In any other picture mode, including 'Game', it flickers at 120Hz.

5.4
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
No
Min Flicker for 60 fps
120 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
No
120 Hz for 120 fps
N/A
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
120 Hz

Unfortunately, this TV doesn't have a black frame insertion feature to improve the appearance of motion. The backlight flickers at 120Hz in most modes.

Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
No

The LG 65NANO81ANA interpolates motion up to 60fps, known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'. It looks decent overall and smooths everything out in slower scenes, but it doesn't stop interpolating in action-packed scenes, causing visible artifacts.

See our settings page for the motion interpolation settings.

8.0
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
24.8 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
0.0 ms

Due to the TV's slower response time, there's not much stutter on this TV when displaying lower frame rate content. This is similar to the Samsung TU8000.

7.8
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
No
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
No
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

The LG 65NANO81ANA can remove judder from native 24p content, such as from native apps, but like most 60Hz TVs, it can't remove 24p judder from 60p/i signals. To remove judder, enable Real Cinema.

0
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
60 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
HDMI Forum VRR
No
FreeSync
No
G-SYNC Compatible
No
4k VRR Maximum
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
No VRR support
1080p VRR Maximum
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
No VRR support
1440p VRR Maximum
N/A
1440p VRR Minimum
No VRR support
VRR Supported Connectors
No VRR support

The LG 65NANO81ANA doesn't support any variable refresh rate technology.

Inputs
9.2
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
10.6 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
110.9 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
10.1 ms
4k @ 60 Hz
10.1 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
10.1 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
10.2 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
99.0 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
99.0 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
N/A
1440p @ 120 Hz
N/A
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1440p with VRR
N/A
4k with VRR
N/A
8k with VRR