The LG NANO90 2021 is a good overall 4k TV. It's at the top of LG's mid-range NanoCell lineup and is a slight improvement over the LG NANO90 2020. It's a good choice if you want to use it in a well-lit room because it gets bright enough to fight glare and has impressive reflection handling. Gamers should appreciate features like its 120Hz panel, HDMI 2.1 inputs, and variable refresh rate (VRR) support. It also has a quick response time and low input lag for gaming. It has an IPS panel with fairly wide viewing angles, but it's not as good as most IPS panels because the image starts to look darker when viewing from an angle. It also has low native contrast, so blacks look gray, and the local dimming feature crushes any bright highlights, so it doesn't improve the picture quality.
The LG NANO90 2021 is good for most uses. It performs best for watching shows or sports because it has fairly wide viewing angles, impressive reflection handling, and good peak brightness. It's also good for gaming thanks to its HDMI 2.1 and VRR support, low input lag, and quick response time. Sadly, it's just okay for watching movies, both in SDR and HDR, because it has a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look gray, and the full-array local dimming feature fails to improve the picture quality.
The LG NANO90 2021 is okay for watching movies. It has an IPS panel with a low contrast ratio that makes blacks look gray, so it's not good for viewing movies in dark rooms. It has a full-array local dimming feature, but it doesn't perform well and crushes any highlights. Luckily, the TV upscales lower-resolution content without issues and removes 24p judder from movies from any source.
The LG NANO90 2021 is very good for watching TV shows. It has impressive reflection handling and gets bright enough to fight glare, so visibility shouldn't be an issue in most rooms. It doesn't have any trouble upscaling 720p content, like from cable boxes. It has fairly wide viewing angles, but you may notice the image looks darker if you sit at an angle.
The LG NANO90 2021 is very good for watching sports. Fast-moving content looks good thanks to its 120Hz panel and quick response time. It's a great choice for use in well-lit rooms because it gets bright enough to fight glare and has impressive reflection handling. It has fairly wide viewing angles if you want to watch the big game with a few friends, but it's not suggested if you're going to watch it from wide angles.
The LG NANO90 2021 is good for gaming. It has gaming features most people are looking for like a 120Hz panel, VRR support, and HDMI 2.1 inputs. It has a quick response time for smooth motion, and the input lag is low. Sadly, it's not a good choice for dark room gaming because it has a low contrast ratio and the local dimming feature performs poorly, so blacks look closer to gray.
The LG NANO90 2021 is okay for watching HDR movies. Its IPS panel has a low native contrast ratio, so blacks look gray, and the local dimming feature crushes highlights. The HDR brightness isn't anything special, so content doesn't pop how it should. Also, it doesn't technically display a wide color gamut needed for HDR content.
The LG NANO90 2021 is good for HDR gaming. It has good gaming features like VRR support and a 120Hz refresh rate. It offers a responsive gaming experience due to its quick response time and low input lag. However, HDR content doesn't look good because it has a mediocre contrast ratio, poor local dimming, and low HDR brightness.
The LG NANO90 2021 is excellent to use as a PC monitor. It has fairly wide viewing angles, so the image remains somewhat accurate at the edges if you sit up close. It has low input lag, and it displays proper chroma 4:4:4, which is important for reading clear text when using it as a monitor. Visibility shouldn't be an issue in most well-lit rooms because it has impressive reflection handling and good peak brightness.
The LG NANO90 is an upper mid-range TV from LG's 2021 NanoCell lineup, replacing the LG NANO90 2020. In North America, it sits below the LG NANO99 8k and above the LG NANO80. The NanoCell TVs aren't the flagship LED TVs anymore because LG added a new Mini LED QNED lineup above it. We expect this TV to compete with the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED, Hisense U8G, and the Sony X85J.
The metal feet are less deep than those on the LG NANO90 2020, and they support the TV well.
Footprint of the 55" TV: 43.3" x 10.1".
The back panel is made of smooth metal and has a somewhat premium look. There's cable management through the feet and hooks on the TV, which helps keep your setup clean.
The LG NANO90 has good build quality. It's well-made throughout and feels solid. The back panel flexes in the middle and near the inputs, but it shouldn't be a problem for most people. The TV doesn't wobble at all, which is nice.
The LG NANO90 has a mediocre contrast ratio, which we expect from an IPS panel. Blacks look gray when viewed in the dark. The local dimming feature doesn't improve the contrast much with our test pattern because it seems to turn all the dimming zones on. However, it improves the contrast in real content; we measured a full-white and a full-black screen and got a contrast of 52250:1. This number isn't representative of real content either but confirms that the local dimming can turn off the LED backlighting with a full-black screen.
The LG NANO90 has good SDR brightness, a nice improvement from the LG NANO90 2020, but it's not as bright as the LG QNED90. It gets bright enough with real content to fight glare in most rooms. Brightness varies just a bit between our different test windows, and small highlights are dimmer than the rest due to frame dimming.
We tested SDR brightness after calibration in the 'Expert (Dark space, night)' Picture Mode with Color Temperature set to 'Warm 50', LED Local Dimming to 'Medium', and Panel Brightness to its max.
If you want the brightest image possible and don't care about image accuracy, we reached 1047 cd/m² in the 10% window in the 'Vivid' Picture Mode.
The LG NANO90 has a poor local dimming feature. It's full-array with 32 dimming zones and we tested it with LED Local Dimming set to 'Medium'. While the local dimming on the LG NANO90 2020 made everything brighter, it crushes everything on this year's model. It over-darkens scenes and causes bright highlights to lose details. There are uniformity issues throughout because there's blooming, which is distracting with subtitles. Fast-moving objects don't transition between the dimming zones well, and it's obvious when a zone turns on and off. Overall, while the local dimming can help improve the contrast, it worsens the picture quality. The LG QNED90, with its Mini LED backlight, has a much better local dimming feature.
The local dimming performs the same in the 'Game Optimizer' Picture Mode as outside of it. The color temperature is cooler in the 'Game' mode, so colors look a bit more vibrant, but the overall image looks the same.
The HDR brightness is decent. It gets brighter than in SDR, and it's an improvement from the LG NANO90 2020, but it's still not enough to make highlights pop. It gets brightest when small-to-medium-sized highlights stay on the screen for a short period, but they quickly lose their brightness the longer they stay on the screen. Once again, really small highlights are dimmer because of frame dimming. The EOTF doesn't follow the target perfectly as most bright scenes are over-brightened.
We tested it in the 'Cinema' HDR Picture Mode with Panel Brightness and Contrast at their max, LED Local Dimming set to 'Medium', and Color Temperature on 'Warm 50' with all other image processing disabled.
We couldn't achieve a brighter EOTF plot, but if you want the highest luminosity possible at the cost of image accuracy, then use the 'Vivid' Picture Mode with LED Local Dimming on 'Medium' and everything else at their default settings. We measured 1309 cd/m² using these settings in the 10% window.
The HDR brightness in the 'Game Optimizer' mode is the same as outside of it. The minor differences in measurement are due to variance between testing runs, and you won't see any difference with your eyes.
The LG NANO90 has okay gray uniformity. The edges of the screen are visibly darker all around, and there's dirty screen effect in the center, which could get distracting during sports. However, uniformity is improved in near-dark scenes. Keep in mind that uniformity can vary between units.
The black uniformity is disappointing, but this can vary a bit between units. Without local dimming enabled, the entire screen looks purple due to the low contrast. Even with local dimming enabled, the uniformity is worse because there's intense blooming around the center cross.
The LG NANO90 has okay viewing angles, but it's nothing special for an IPS panel. The image quickly starts to look darker as you move off-center, and it looks inaccurate at wide viewing angles. It should be fine for watching stuff with a few people around, but probably not suggested for large viewing parties.
The LG NANO90 2021 has impressive reflection handling. It handles even intense light pretty well, and combined with its good peak brightness, glare shouldn't be an issue in most settings. It looks like it has a different coating from the LG NANO90 2020 as light looks more purple when reflected off, similar to the LG C1 OLED.
The out-of-the-box accuracy is terrible. Although this can vary between units, we noticed similar behavior on the LG C1 OLED. We measured it with different equipment and kept getting the same results. White balance and colors are way off; yellow colors look more white than the actual color white. Gamma is awful, and all scenes are too bright, especially brighter scenes. Color temperature is also on the cool side, giving the image a blue tint. Also note that we disabled LED Local Dimming for the measurements.
We also tried measuring the accuracy in the 'Filmmaker Mode' Picture Mode and got slightly better, but similar, results. However, we don't suggest using this because it disables some settings:
Accuracy after calibration is fantastic. Any remaining inaccuracies to the white balance and colors are nearly impossible to spot. Gamma follows the target almost perfectly, and the color temperature is closer to our 6500K target.
See our recommended settings here.
The LG NANO90 displays a perfect 4k image, and there aren't any obvious problems.
The LG NANO90 2021 uses a proper IPS panel but with a BGR sub-pixel layout. This doesn't affect the overall picture but may have an effect on the way text is displayed. Read about it here.
The LG NANO90 has a decent color gamut for HDR content. It's technically not considered a wide color gamut according to our testing standards because it doesn't meet the 67% Rec. 2020 uv coverage, but it's not far off. Luckily, it has excellent coverage of the DCI P3 color space used in most HDR content. Due to the bad color accuracy, tone mapping is also off. This results in the image looking cooler than expected, but it still looks good overall.
Due to the lack of wide color gamut, the color volume is just okay. It struggles to display dark colors because of its low contrast but does a better job with brighter colors.
The gradient handling is excellent. There's banding in the grays and greens, but it's not very noticeable. Setting Smooth Gradiation to 'Medium' or 'High' helps reduce any banding, but that comes at the cost of losing fine details.
There are some very minor signs of image retention after displaying a high-contrast static image for 10 minutes. It's hard to notice, it disappears quickly, and this can also vary between units.
While some IPS panels like this have some temporary image retention, this doesn't seem to be permanent as the IPS panel in our long-term test appears to be immune.
The LG NANO90 2021 has a great response time. You may still notice some blur trail behind fast-moving objects, but motion still looks good overall. There's some minor overshoot in most transitions, but it's nothing to worry about.
This TV uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to dim its backlight. The flickering starts when the Panel Brightness is set to anything below its max, but the frequency is so high that you shouldn't notice it. However, it flickers at 120Hz in the 'Game Optimizer' Picture Mode.
The LG NANO90 has a Black Frame Insertion feature to try to improve the appearance of motion. It works for both 60fps and 120fps content, but it can create some image duplication. Keep in mind that the BFI score is based on the frequency at which the TV can flicker and not the actual performance.
See here for the settings that control the BFI feature.
There's a motion interpolation feature for lower frame rate content, known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'. It can interpolate 60fps up to 120fps, and it can interpolate 30fps up to 60fps, but it can't do it up to 120fps, which explains the blurriness of the top photo. With real content, the motion interpolation feature doesn't look that good. There are a few artifacts and motion blur with anything that's moving. It even stops interpolating altogether during busy scenes.
See here for the settings that control the motion interpolation feature.
Despite the quick response time, lower frame rate content doesn't stutter that much. If it bothers you, you can try enabling the motion interpolation feature.
The LG NANO90 2021 can remove 24p judder from any source. For it to work, simply enable Cinema Screen.
The LG NANO90 has native FreeSync and HDMI Forum VRR support to reduce screen tearing. On our unit, we set the AMD FreeSync Premium to 'High' to get the full refresh rate range with FreeSync because setting it to 'Wide' limits it to 60Hz. Although it's not officially certified to be G-SYNC compatible, we found it works with our RTX 3080 graphics card, but it doesn't work with any 1000 Series card. Enabling the VRR setting also disabled the LED Local Dimming, TruMotion, Noise Reduction, and Smooth Gradation settings.
The LG NANO90 2021 has incredibly low input lag as long as it's in the 'Game Optimizer' Picture Mode. LG introduced a new Prevent Input Delay setting to their 2021 TVs, and setting it to 'Boost' reduces the input lag by about 3ms for 60Hz content compared to the LG NANO90 2020. However, it doesn't affect anything with 120Hz content. Sadly, enabling the motion interpolation feature in 'Game' mode greatly increases the input lag, so it's not suggested for gaming.
The LG NANO90 TV displays any common signal up to 4k @ 120Hz. It displays proper chroma 4:4:4 on any supported resolution, which is important reading fine text when using it as a PC monitor. For it to work, set the icon for the input you're using to 'PC' in the Home Dashboard. For full-bandwidth signals, set HDMI Deep Color to '4k'.
The LG NANO90 2021 doesn't have any issues displaying content from either the PS5 or Xbox Series X. It has Auto Low Latency Mode that automatically switches the TV into 'Game' mode when a game from a compatible device is launched. For it to work, simply enable Game Optimizer in the General Settings page.
Since HDMI 3 is also the ARC input, you may only be left with one HDMI 2.1 input (HDMI 4) if you need to connect a receiver.
All HDMI inputs are side-facing, making them easier to access if you wall-mount the TV.
The LG NANO90 supports eARC, allowing you to pass high-quality, uncompressed audio to a compatible receiver over an HDMI connection. It supports Dolby Digital audio formats, but not DTS. For it to work, set the HDMI Input Audio to 'Bitstream' for the input you're using, Digital Sound Output to 'Auto', and enable HDMI e-ARC Support.
The LG NANO90 2021 has a decent frequency response. It has a well-balanced sound profile that makes dialogue sound good. In our testing, any frequency above 11KHz sounded awful, but most content won't reach this high pitch anyways. There's a decent amount of bass with a bit of thump, but it's still not as good as a dedicated subwoofer.
The distortion performance is disappointing. There isn't too much distortion at moderate listening levels, but it gets more noticeable when playing content at its max volume. However, this depends on the content, and not everyone may hear it.
LG redesigned the webOS in 2021, and you get a full home page with all your apps instead of the banner that was at the bottom on previous versions. It's easy-to-use, and the menu navigation feels fairly smooth. We didn't notice any bugs during testing.
Like most modern TVs, there are ads on the home page. They even have a dedicated 'ads page' where you can shop for all of their advertised products.
LG's app store has a wide selection, and the apps run smoothly.
LG's popular Magic Remote has been redesigned in 2021. Instead of the curved shape we've become used to in the past years, it's now flat with more quick-access buttons to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and the app store. It has the same functions as past Magic Remotes as you can use it with its traditional buttons or use the motion-controlled pointer, like a Wii remote. Through the built-in microphone, you have access to both Google Assistant and Alexa, and you can ask it to change inputs and search for content, but you can't ask it to change settings.
There's a single button underneath the middle of the TV to turn it On/Off, change inputs, adjust the volume, or switch channels.
We tested the 55 inch LG NANO90 2021 (55NANO90), and for the most part, we expect our results to be valid for the 65 inch (65NANO90), 75 inch (75NANO90), and 86 inch (86NANO90) variants as well. Keep in mind that the LG NANO90 2020 uses similar model codes, but the one way to differentiate between the two is that the 2020 model ends in UNA while the 2021 model has UPA. In Europe, it's sold as the LG NANO91 and has a center-mounted stand instead, but we expect it to perform the same.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their LG NANO90 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we'll update the review. Note that some tests, like gray uniformity, may vary between individual units.
The unit we tested was manufactured in April 2021 and you can see the label here.
The LG NANO90 2021 is a good overall 4k TV. It has gaming features most people should appreciate, like HDMI 2.1 and VRR support. However, it's not a good choice for dark room gaming, and there are better options available with improved contrast, like the Sony X90J. Even if you need wide viewing angles, something like the Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED has better local dimming with a similar panel type.
The LG C1 OLED is much better than the LG NANO90 2021, mainly because they use different panel types. The C1 has an OLED panel that results in a near-infinite contrast ratio for perfect blacks, and there's no blooming around bright objects. It also has wider viewing angles, which is great if you have a large seating area. The C1 has a quicker response time, but each TV has the same gaming features with a 120Hz panel, VRR support, and HDMI 2.1 inputs. On the other hand, the NANO90 has an LED panel that gets brighter and doesn't have the permanent burn-in risk associated with OLEDs.
The Sony X90J is better than the LG NANO90 2021, but they have different panel types. The Sony has a VA panel with a much better contrast ratio and superior local dimming, so it's a better choice for dark room gaming. Even for HDR content, the Sony gets much brighter, so it makes highlights pop. On the other hand, the LG has an IPS panel with wider viewing angles. It also has more gaming features out of the box like VRR support, but that should come in a future firmware update for the Sony.
The Samsung Q70/Q70A QLED and the LG NANO90 2021 are both good TVs that use different panel types. The Samsung has a VA panel with a much better contrast ratio, and even though it doesn't have local dimming like the LG, it's still a better choice for use in dark rooms. The LG doesn't get as bright as the Samsung, but it has much better reflection handling. The LG has an IPS panel with wide viewing angles, so it's a better choice for wide seating arrangements. They're both very good for gaming as they each have a 120Hz panel and VRR support, but the LG is G-SYNC compatible, which the Samsung isn't.
The Samsung Q80/Q80A QLED and the LG NANO90 2021 are good TVs with similar panel types. They each have IPS-like panels with wide viewing angles coming at the cost of low contrast. The Samsung is a better choice for use in well-lit rooms because it gets much brighter, but the LG has better reflection handling. They each have similar gaming features with a 120Hz panel and HDMI 2.1 support, but the LG works with G-SYNC, which the Samsung doesn't.
The Sony X900H is better overall than the LG NANO90 2021, mainly because they use different panel types. The Sony has a VA panel with a much higher contrast ratio and significantly better local dimming, so it's a better choice for watching movies in dark rooms. The Sony gets brighter, but the LG has much better reflection handling. Each TV has a 120Hz panel with HDMI 2.1 support; the LG has VRR support to reduce screen tearing, but that should come in a future firmware update for the Sony. Lastly, the LG has an IPS panel with wider viewing angles, so the image remains accurate when viewing from the side.
The LG NANO90 2021 and the LG NANO90 2020 are both good TVs. The 2021 model improves in some areas, like the peak brightness, gradient handling, and build quality, and it also has a redesigned interface. The 2020 model displays a wider color gamut for HDR content, but not by much. Overall, the picture quality between each is very similar, and it's unlikely you'll notice any differences.
The Samsung QN90A QLED is significantly better than the LG NANO90 2021. The Samsung is a high-end TV that uses Mini LED backlighting, so it gets extremely bright and delivers a more satisfying HDR experience than the LG. Even though the Samsung has a VA panel with a higher contrast ratio, it also has wider viewing angles than the LG, thanks to the 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology. Also, the Samsung has a quicker response time, but they each have the same gaming features with HDMI 2.1 and VRR support. However, the LG is G-SYNC compatible, which the Samsung isn't.
The Samsung Q80/Q80T QLED is much better than the LG NANO90 2021, but they use different panels. The Samsung has a VA panel with a much higher contrast ratio, and while the LG's IPS panel is supposed to have wider viewing angles, the Samsung still wins here because of its 'Ultra Viewing Angle' technology. Also, the Samsung gets brighter, making it a better choice for use in well-lit rooms or for watching HDR content. They have similar gaming features like a 120Hz panel and VRR support, but the Samsung has better motion handling.
The LG CX OLED is much better than the LG NANO90 2021, mainly because they use different panel types. The CX has an OLED panel that displays perfect blacks, thanks to its near-infinite contrast ratio. Also, there's no blooming around bright objects. Each TV has the same gaming features with a 120Hz panel and HDMI 2.1 inputs, but the CX has a near-instantaneous response time for smooth motion. On the other hand, the NANO90 has an LED panel that doesn't have the permanent burn-in risk associated with OLEDs, and it gets brighter.
The Hisense U8G is significantly better than the LG NANO90 2021 for most uses. The Hisense has significantly better contrast, a much better local dimming feature, and significantly better black uniformity, making it a better choice for dark-room viewing. The Hisense also has much better accuracy out-of-the-box, and it's brighter. On the other hand, the LG has better viewing angles, so it might be a better choice for a wide seating arrangement.
The Sony X950H is better than the LG NANO90 2021, but they use different panel types. The Sony is better for dark room viewing because it has a higher native contrast and better local dimming, so blacks look deep and inky. It also gets significantly brighter and displays a wide color gamut, so the Sony is a better choice for watching HDR content. On the other hand, the LG has an IPS panel with wider viewing angles. It's also better for gaming because it has HDMI 2.1 and VRR support, which the Sony doesn't have.
The LG NANO90 2021 is slightly better overall than the Samsung Q70/Q70T QLED, but they have different panel types. The LG has an IPS panel with wider viewing angles, while the Samsung has a VA panel with better contrast for improved black levels. The Samsung is better for watching HDR content because it displays a wider color gamut, and despite not having a local dimming feature, it has improved dark room performance. On the other hand, the LG is a better choice for watching shows or sports because it has much better reflection handling, and it has a much quicker response time for smoother motion.
The LG QNED90 is much better than the LG NANO90 2021. The QNED90 has a better local dimming feature thanks to the Mini LED backlight, and it has much better contrast with local dimming. The QNED90 is also brighter, but the NANO90 2021 has better reflection handling. Finally, the QNED90 we bought has much better accuracy out of the box, but this can vary between units.