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LG NANO90 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Updated Nov 09, 2020 at 08:28 am
LG NANO90 Picture
7.5
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED
7.0
Movies
Value for price beaten by
: Sony X900H
7.7
TV Shows
Value for price beaten by
: Sony X800H
7.8
Sports
Value for price beaten by
: none
8.3
Video Games
Value for price beaten by
: Samsung RU9000
6.7
HDR Movies
Value for price beaten by
: TCL 5 Series/S535 2020 QLED
7.9
HDR Gaming
Value for price beaten by
: Samsung RU9000
8.3
PC Monitor
Value for price beaten by
: none
Current deal: The LG NANO90 75” has dropped by $500 on Bestbuy.com. See all Black Friday deals on TVs.
Type LED
Sub-Type
IPS
Resolution 4k

The LG NANO90 is a good overall TV in LG's NanoCell series. It has an IPS panel with fairly wide viewing angles, but that comes at the cost of a low contrast ratio and mediocre black uniformity. It has a full-array local dimming feature which improves the contrast a bit, but its performance is quite disappointing. Gamers should appreciate its great response time, low input lag, and 120Hz panel. It has variable refresh rate (VRR) support and should receive FreeSync support in a future firmware update. Although it doesn't get very bright, it has impressive reflection handling, so you shouldn't have any issues placing it in moderately-lit rooms. Sadly, HDR content doesn't look very good because it doesn't get bright enough to truly bring out highlights.

Our Verdict

7.5 Mixed Usage

The LG NANO90 is a good overall TV. With its IPS panel, it provides fairly wide viewing angles, which is ideal for watching TV shows, sports, or using it as a PC monitor. It's also great for gaming because it has a quick response time, low input lag, and VRR support. It has a low contrast ratio and mediocre black uniformity, so it's not a good choice for watching movies or gaming in the dark. HDR content doesn't look great either, as it doesn't get bright enough to bring out highlights.

Pros
  • Fairly wide viewing angles.
  • Excellent low input lag.
  • Impressive reflection handling.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Doesn't bring out highlights in HDR.
  • Doesn't get very bright.
7.0 Movies

The LG NANO90 is decent for watching movies. Due to its IPS panel, it has a low contrast ratio. Luckily, it has a full-array local dimming feature that improves the contrast, but it doesn't handle transitions between the dimming zones well. This TV upscales 1080p content well and it can remove judder from any source.

Pros
  • Removes judder from any source.
  • Full-array local dimming feature.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Mediocre black uniformity.
7.7 TV Shows

The LG NANO90 is good for watching TV. It has fairly wide viewing angles, so you get an accurate image when viewed from the side, which is good if you tend to walk around while watching your favorite show. It has impressive reflection handling but doesn't get bright enough to combat glare in a well-lit environment. Also, it upscales lower-resolution content without any issues, such as from cable boxes.

Pros
  • Fairly wide viewing angles.
  • Impressive reflection handling.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very bright.
7.8 Sports

The LG NANO90 is very good for sports. It has a quick response time that results in smooth motion, and there's a Black Frame Insertion feature to improve clarity. It has fairly wide viewing angles and performs well in moderately-lit rooms because of its impressive reflection handling, but it doesn't get very bright. It doesn't have any issues upscaling 720p content from cable boxes.

Pros
  • Fairly wide viewing angles.
  • Impressive response time.
  • Impressive reflection handling.
Cons
  • Visible dirty screen effect.
  • Doesn't get very bright.
8.3 Video Games

The LG NANO90 is great for video games. It has a great response time, a Black Frame Insertion feature, and a really low input lag. It's not ideal for dark-room gaming because it has a low contrast ratio, but in bright rooms, it has impressive reflection handling. Currently, it has HDMI Forum VRR support, but FreeSync should come in a future firmware update.

Pros
  • Excellent low input lag.
  • Impressive response time.
  • Full-array local dimming feature.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
6.7 HDR Movies

The LG NANO90 is okay for HDR movies. It supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, displays a wide color gamut for HDR content, but it doesn't get bright enough to truly bring out highlights. It also has a low contrast ratio and mediocre black uniformity, so it's not ideal for watching movies in the dark. However, it has a full-array local dimming feature that improves the contrast.

Pros
  • Removes judder from any source.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Doesn't bring out highlights in HDR.
7.9 HDR Gaming

The LG NANO90 is very good for HDR gaming, mainly due to its great gaming performance. It has a very low input lag and its quick response time results in minimal motion blur. It has VRR support but doesn't support FreeSync, but that should come in a future firmware update. Sadly, HDR content doesn't look good on this TV because it doesn't get bright enough to bring out highlights.

Pros
  • Excellent low input lag.
  • Impressive response time.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Doesn't bring out highlights in HDR.
8.3 PC Monitor

The LG NANO90 is a great choice to use as a PC monitor. It displays chroma 4:4:4 with a 1080p or 4k resolution, which is important for reading text. It has fairly wide viewing angles, so the edges of the screen don't look washed out if you sit too close. It has impressive reflection handling, but it doesn't get bright enough to combat glare in a well-lit environment.

Pros
  • Fairly wide viewing angles.
  • Excellent low input lag.
  • Displays proper chroma 4:4:4.
Cons
  • Visible dirty screen effect.
  • Doesn't get very bright.
  • 7.5 Mixed Usage
  • 7.0 Movies
  • 7.7 TV Shows
  • 7.8 Sports
  • 8.3 Video Games
  • 6.7 HDR Movies
  • 7.9 HDR Gaming
  • 8.3 PC Monitor
  1. Update 11/9/2020: Updated review for accuracy and clarity.
  2. Update 8/17/2020: Fixed an error about materials used.

Video

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The LG NANO 9 Series is an upper-mid range 4k LED TV in LG's 2020 NanoCell series. It replaces the LG SM9000, and it sits above the LG NANO85/NANO86 and below LG's 8k Series. The LG NANO91 in Europe appears to be the same TV but with a center-mounted stand. Its main competitors are the Sony X800H, Samsung Q70/Q70T QLED, and the Hisense H8G.

Design
8.5
Design
Style
Curved No

The LG NANO90 has an excellent design that's different from 2019's LG SM9000. It looks a lot like the LG NANO85 and it has thin bezels on three sides. It has two wide-set feet as its stand, somewhat of a downgrade from the stylish center-mounted stand on the SM9000. Overall, it's a simple-looking TV that doesn't stand out much.

Design
Stand

The stand is different from its predecessor, the LG SM9000. Instead of a center-mounted stand, it has two feet that sit at the edge of the TV, so you're going to need a wide table to place it on. There's enough space to put a soundbar in front of it too.

Footprint of the 75" TV: 56.9" x 14".

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 600x400

Update 08/17/2020: We confirmed the back panel is made out of metal, and not plastic, as we previously stated. The review has been updated.

The back is made out of smooth metal and it has a simple design. There are downward and side-facing inputs, and there are hooks on the feet that serve as cable management.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.39" (1.0 cm)

This TV has thin borders that aren't distracting.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 1.85" (4.7 cm)

The LG NANO90 is fairly thin and if you wall-mount it, it won't stick out much, if at all.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

Update 08/17/2020: We confirmed the back panel is made out of metal, and not plastic, as we previously stated. The review has been updated.

This TV has a decent build quality. It's made out of metal and plastic that feels cheap and there's nothing premium about it. Still, the overall build is solid and the TV is held together well. There's not a lot of wobble, especially for a TV of this size. Lastly, the inputs flex a bit, but this shouldn't be an issue for most people.

Picture Quality
6.3
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
1068 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
1676 : 1

The contrast ratio isn't bad for an IPS panel TV, but this may vary between units. It's similar to other LG TVs we've seen in the past, but it's not as good as the LG NANO85. Still, blacks appear closer to gray, which is noticeable in a dark room. It has a full-array local dimming feature that improves the contrast ratio.

5.0
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Full-Array

The LG NANO 9 Series has a full-array local dimming feature, but it's quite disappointing. When there are small, bright objects moving across the scene, the dimming zones don't transition quickly and you see the transitions happening, which could be distracting. Also, since it's an IPS TV with a low contrast ratio, blacks still look gray. On the upside, it handles subtitles well as there isn't noticeable blooming. We recommend setting Local Dimming to 'Medium', but even with this setting, there are still issues as small light sources don't pop at all, and it crushes dark scenes.

6.5
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
264 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
420 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
519 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
396 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
330 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
294 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
203 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
252 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
272 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
287 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
294 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.023

The LG NANO 9 Series has just okay peak brightness in SDR, very similar to the LG NANO85. It quickly loses brightness when large, bright areas cover the screen, which is likely caused by its Automatic Brightness Limiter (ABL).

We measured the peak brightness after calibration on the 'Expert (Dark Mode) Picture Mode, with Brightness and Contrast set to 'Max', and Local Dimming on 'Medium'. The brightest the TV got was with these settings, as seen in the 10% peak window test.

6.2
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
409 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
468 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
643 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
524 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
423 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
380 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
226 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
313 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
353 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
370 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
379 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.032

This TV has unremarkable peak brightness in HDR. Once again, the LG 9 Series loses brightness with large areas, as seen in the difference in brightness in the 10% and 100% peak window tests. This TV doesn't get bright enough to truly bring out highlights in HDR.

We measured the peak brightness before calibration on the 'Cinema' Picture Mode, with Brightness and Contrast set to 'Max', and Local Dimming on 'Medium'.

If you want the brightest image possible, use the 'Vivid' Picture Mode with Local Dimming set to 'Medium'. We were able to get 692 nits on the 10% peak window test, but even this peak brightness only lasted a few seconds before it dropped to about 320 nits.

6.7
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
6.422 %
50% DSE
0.200 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.503 %
5% DSE
0.096 %

The gray uniformity is just okay, but this may vary between units. The edges of the screen are visibly darker and there's some noticeable dirty screen effect in the center, which could be distracting while watching sports. The uniformity is much better in dark scenes.

6.8
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
26 °
Color Shift
45 °
Brightness Loss
30 °
Black Level Raise
70 °
Gamma Shift
28 °

The LG NANO90 has okay viewing angles. This isn't as good as most IPS TVs, as the image quickly loses brightness when moving off-center. However, you still get a fairly accurate image when viewing from the side so it's a decent choice for a moderately-sized room.

6.1
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
1.765 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
2.386 %

The black uniformity is mediocre, but this may vary between units. Without local dimming, there's clouding throughout and visible backlight bleed in the corners, especially at the bottom left, which is a bit hard to see in the picture. With local dimming on, the entire screen is more black but there's more blooming around the center cross.

8.4
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
3.3 %
Indirect Reflections
0.8 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
2.6 %

This TV has impressive reflection handling. It performs well in moderately-lit rooms, and even with direct light on it, the reflections don't get too distracting. You shouldn't have any problems placing the LG NANO 9 Series in a bright room.

7.1
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
4.23
Color dE
2.65
Gamma
2.25
Color Temperature
6292 K
Picture Mode
Expert (Dark Room)
Color Temp Setting
Warm 2
Gamma Setting
2.2

The out-of-the-box color accuracy is decent, but this may vary between units. Most colors are a bit inaccurate and the color temperature is a bit warmer than the 6500K target, giving the image a red/yellow tint. Sadly, white balance is off and gamma also doesn't follow the curve very well, so most scenes are too dark.

9.5
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.36
Color dE
0.97
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6684 K
White Balance Calibration
22 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
Yes

After calibration, the LG NANO 9 Series has outstanding color accuracy. Any remaining inaccuracies aren't visible without the aid of a colorimeter. The gamma also follows the curve almost perfectly. Sadly, the color temperature is a bit too cold, giving the image a blueish tint.

See our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

480p content, such as from DVDs or old video game consoles, is upscaled without any issues.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

This TV upscales 720p content, like from cable boxes, well without any artifacts.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p content looks almost as good as native 4k content.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

The LG NANO90 displays 4k content perfectly, without any issues.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

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

Picture Quality
Pixels

The LG NANO90 uses a BGR sub-pixel layout, different from the LG SM9000. This doesn't affect the overall picture but may have an effect on the way text is displayed. Read about it here.

7.9
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
86.18 %
DCI P3 uv
93.41 %
Rec 2020 xy
63.33 %
Rec 2020 uv
71.18 %

The LG NANO 9 Series has a very good wide color gamut, similar to the LG SM9000 and a bit better than the LG NANO85. It has excellent coverage of the commonly-used DCI P3 color space but it has limited coverage of the wider Rec. 2020 color space. The EOTF follows the curve well until it rolls off at its peak brightness, but most scenes are still a bit over-brightened. The EOTF in 'Game' mode is very similar.

If you find HDR too dim, set the Picture Mode to 'Vivid', Local Dimming to 'High', and both Brightness and Contrast to 'Max'. This results in a noticeably brighter image, as seen in this EOTF.

6.9
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
78.1 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
36.4 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
59.8 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
27.8 %

The LG NANO 9 Series has alright color volume. Due to the low contrast ratio, it can't display dark colors well and like most LED TVs, it can't display bright blues.

7.2
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.130 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.123 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.103 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.188 dE

The gradient handling is decent, but sadly, not as good as the LG SM9000. There's noticeable banding in red and even more so in gray. Enabling the Smooth Gradiation doesn't affect the test pattern but it makes real content look better.

9.6
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.13 %
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's some very minor temporary image retention immediately after display our high-contrast static image for 10 minutes. This could vary between units and it has nothing to do with the permanent burn-in associated with long-term exposure to static images.

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

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.

Motion
8.3
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
4.4 ms
100% Response Time
10.1 ms

The LG NANO 9 Series has a great response time. There's some overshoot in the darker transitions, but overall, motion looks smooth. This is a significant improvement over the LG SM9000.

9.9
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
960 Hz

The LG NANO 9 Series is flicker-free only when the backlight is at 100% brightness. Otherwise, it flickers at 960Hz, which is so high that it shouldn't be noticeable for most people. The backlight flickers at 120Hz when TruMotion is enabled and at 60Hz with the Black Frame Insertion feature enabled.

10
Motion
Black Frame Insertion (BFI)
Optional BFI
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps
60 Hz
60 Hz for 60 fps
Yes
120 Hz for 120 fps
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
60 Hz

The LG NANO90 has a Black Frame Insertion feature to help improve the appearance of motion. It flickers at 120Hz with TruMotion enabled in 'Game' mode, and it flickers at 60Hz, with the Motion Pro setting enabled. The BFI feature doesn't actually doesn't clear up motion blur as much as other TVs.

Find out more about the NANO90's Black Frame Insertion feature here.

Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

The LG NANO90 can interpolate motion up to 120fps, known as the 'Soap Opera Effect'. To turn it on, set De-Judder and De-Blur to 'Max' in the TruMotion settings. It does an okay overall job with motion but in action-packed scenes, there are some artifacts. However, it's not very distracting and shouldn't be noticeable with most content.

6.8
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
31.6 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
6.6 ms

Since the LG NANO 9 Series has such a fast response time, there's some stutter as each frame is held on longer. You can reduce the amount of stutter by enabling the motion interpolation feature.

10
Motion
24p Judder
Judder-Free 24p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60p
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via 60i
Yes
Judder-Free 24p via Native Apps
Yes

The TV can remove judder from any source, such as Blu-ray players or native apps. To remove judder, turn on Real Cinema.

not tested
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
HDMI Forum VRR
Yes
FreeSync
No
G-SYNC Compatible
No
VRR Supported Connectors
HDMI

The LG NANO90 has a high 120Hz refresh rate. Currently, it supports HDMI Forum VRR and it's also supposed to support FreeSync in a future firmware update, so we'll update the review once it comes out and we're able to test it.

Inputs
8.7
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
14.7 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
97.8 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
14.8 ms
4k @ 60 Hz
14.7 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
14.7 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
14.7 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
85.9 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
78.0 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
5.5 ms
1440p @ 120 Hz
5.4 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
22.9 ms
8k with VRR
N/A
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Yes

The LG NANO 9 Series has an excellent low input lag, as long as you're in 'Game' mode. It has an 'Auto Low Latency' mode that detects when a compatible gaming console is connected, and automatically switches to 'Game' mode to ensure the lowest possible input lag. For this to work, turn on Instant Game Response.

If you want to use it as a PC monitor and get the lowest input lag possible, set the input icon to 'PC' and use 'Game' mode.

9.6
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 60 Hz
Yes (forced resolution required)
1440p @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
4k @ 60 Hz
Yes
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120 Hz
Yes (native support)
8k @ 30 Hz or 24 Hz
No
8k @ 60 Hz
No

This TV supports most common resolutions, including 4k @ 120Hz on HDMI inputs 3 and 4. It can display proper chroma 4:4:4 at all resolutions except 4k @ 120Hz, but we tested it with an HDMI 2.0 source. We recently acquired an HDMI 2.1 source and we'll retest this once when we can. To get chroma 4:4:4, set the input icon to 'PC' from the home dashboard. For full-bandwidth signals, enable HDMI ULTRA HD Deep Color from the settings menu.

Inputs
Input Photos
Inputs
Total Inputs
HDMI 4
USB 3
Digital Optical Audio Out 1
Analog Audio Out 3.5mm 0
Analog Audio Out RCA 0
Component In 0
Composite In 1 (incl. adapter)
Tuner (Cable/Ant) 1
Ethernet 1
DisplayPort 0
IR In 0
SD/SDHC 0
Inputs
Inputs Specifications
HDR10
Yes
HDR10+
No
Dolby Vision
Yes
HLG
Yes
3D