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LG SJ8500 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Reviewed Jun 20, 2017 at 10:56 am
LG SJ8500 Picture
7.5
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: Not at the latest test bench
6.6
Movies
8.0
TV Shows
7.6
Sports
8.2
Video Games
6.4
HDR Movies
7.7
HDR Gaming
8.1
PC Monitor
This TV was replaced by the LG SK8000
Type LED
Sub-Type
IPS
Resolution 4k

The LG SJ8500 LED 4k TV is a good smart TV with decent picture quality and better than average viewing angles. It gets decently bright in HDR, and it can display a wide gamut of colors without gradations. Its input lag and motion blur are both notably low, making it a good choice for gamers. Unfortunately though, its blacks aren't very deep and its uniformity of both greys and blacks is quite poor overall.

Our Verdict

7.5 Mixed Usage

Good TV for a mixed usage. The SJ8500 is pretty versatile and has some decent picture quality. Its wide viewing angle makes it a good choice if you have viewing positions to the sides of the TV.

See our Mixed Usage recommendations
6.6 Movies

Mediocre TV for movies in a dark room. The SJ8500 suffers from important black uniformity issues causing dark scenes to have pale blotches and a dirty look. The blacks themselves also aren't very deep and look gray in a darker viewing environment.

See our Movies recommendations
8.0 TV Shows

Good for watching TV shows. The SJ8500 works well for afternoon watching since it handles reflections well and has a wide viewing angle. The WebOS 3.5 platform is also excellent, making accessing content very easy.

See our TV Shows recommendations
7.6 Sports

Good TV for sports watching. The SJ8500 has excellent handling of motion and little motion motion blur. Its screen uniformity leaves a bit to be desired though, causing corners and edges to darken a bit. There is no major blotches though, which is good.

See our Sports recommendations
8.2 Video Games

Great TV for playing video games. The SJ8500 has very low input lag and motion blur, making it suitable for even more competitive gamers.

See our Video Games recommendations
6.4 HDR Movies

Good TV for HDR movies. The SJ8500 can display a wide range of colors without any major gradations. Unfortunately though, it could be brighter, and it doesn't have a very effective local dimming feature.

See our HDR Movies recommendations
7.7 HDR Gaming

Good TV for HDR gaming. Input lag is low, and the brightness boost gives a decent effect.

See our HDR Gaming recommendations
8.1 PC Monitor

The SJ8500 is suitable for use as a PC monitor. It supports the essential resolutions, as well as 1080p @ 120hz making a good choice for PC gaming. Its wide viewing angle helps as well.

See our PC Monitor recommendations
  • 7.5 Mixed Usage
  • 6.6 Movies
  • 8.0 TV Shows
  • 7.6 Sports
  • 8.2 Video Games
  • 6.4 HDR Movies
  • 7.7 HDR Gaming
  • 8.1 PC Monitor
Pros
  • Wide viewing angle
  • Very responsive for gaming
  • Can reproduce a wide range of colors
Cons
  • Blacks are blotchy and lack contrast
  1. Update 3/12/2018: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Update 11/10/2017: LG's new Active HDR feature (Dynamic Contrast: Low) improves the EOTF considerably, so we recommend enabling it. Unfortunately Active HDR doesn't work in Game or PC mode.
  3. Update 8/10/2017: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.

Check Price

Test Results

Design
9.5
Design
Style
Curved No

The design of the SJ8500 is very similar to the UH8500 from 2016. It has the familiar arc stand which looks great, and sleek borders. It is quite thin when viewed from the side and will certainly stand out in any room. Unfortunately there are some practical limitations as the inputs may be difficult to access if placed close to a wall and the cable management is sub-par.

Design
Stand

The stand is very similar to the UH8500 and UH9500 from 2016, with the addition of 'Super UHD' branding. It supports the TV quite well, but does wobble if knocked.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 9.8" x 33.0"

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x300

The rear of the TV is also very similar to the 2016 UH8500. The cable management is notably worse though, as the cable guide has been replaced by a single hook. The inputs have also been rearranged slightly which unfortunately means that many of the inputs are difficult to access if placed close to a wall.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.39" (1.0 cm)

The borders are thin and look good, at about two thirds of the thickness of the UH8500 from last year.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.56" (6.5 cm)

The TV has an average thickness, although it appears thin because these protrusions are near the base of the TV.

Design
Temperature
Maximum Temperature
97 °F (36 °C)
Average Temperature
88 °F (31 °C)

The TV runs fairly cool, only getting a little warm to the touch in a few places on the back and on the bottom edge, where the edge lit LEDs are. Fortunately the bottom edge is where most of the vents are.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

The build quality of the SJ8500 is decent. The rear of the TV is all plastic, but doesn't have too much flex.

Picture Quality
6.6
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
1379 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
1423 : 1

The native contrast ratio of the SJ8500 could be better. For an IPS TV, this is in the higher ranking, but it is nowhere near what most of VA TVs usually have. With this low native contrast ratio, when set in a dark room, this means that blacks won't be very deep and will look more grayish than really black. As a result of this, dark room performance really takes a hit and dark scene end up looking washed-out rather than really dark.

If set in a bright room, the effect of a low native contrast ratio will be less noticeable and this is some of the reason that IPS TVs are more recommended for room with a lot of light.

When the local dimming is turned on and set to maximum, the contrast ratio goes up a little bit but is still far from what you would get from a good VA TV.

1.5
Picture Quality
Local Dimming
Local Dimming
Yes
Backlight
Edge

The local dimming feature of the SJ8500 is bad and is not better than on most other edge-lit TVs. When compared to the 2016 LG UH8500, the local dimming does behave very similarly, without much appreciation over the last iteration. Looking at our contrast ratio test, we see that it can't really make the contrast that much better.

Most of the time, you should turn on the local dimming to high, since it can help a bit make black a bit deeper, but if you notice the luminosity screen changing too much by itself, you can set the local dimming to medium or low. In the case that you really find it annoying, simply set the local dimming off.

6.6
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
215 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
246 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
275 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
277 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
277 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
278 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
245 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
274 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
276 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
276 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
276 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.008

Okay SDR peak brightness, fine for a dim room but in a well lit room the TV may appear too dim. The brightness stays fairly consistent, only dimming a bit during very dark scenes like our 2% white window test. The real scene brightness is measured near the edge of the screen, which isn't as bright as the center. Overall the SJ8500 isn't as bright as the UH8500 from last year, though there's less dimming of dark scenes. A plot of brightness over time is shown here.

6.0
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
243 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
531 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
609 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
496 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
364 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
295 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
522 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
210 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
278 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
292 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
294 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.051

Mediocre HDR peak brightness. The TV's local dimming brightens highlights in dark scenes fairly well, as shown in our smaller window tests. However the real scene brightness is quite low for HDR highlights, nowhere near as bright as many of its competitors or the UH8500 from last year. The brightness also cycles dramatically when shown a still image, as seen in this brightness plot, however this shouldn't be a problem when watching moving content.

6.7
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
5.590 %
50% DSE
0.202 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.674 %
5% DSE
0.110 %

The overall gray uniformity of the SJ8500 is decent. Dirty screen effect is minimal and not too annoying while watching sports like football or soccer, which is good. The standard deviation is high and most of the uniformity issue come from the side of the TV being darker than the center. The bottom and top are a bit brighter, but it is not too much noticeable when compare to the darker sides.

When it come to the 5% gray uniformity test picture, nothing really come up beside some faint brighter spots where there was some major flashlighting on the black uniformity test picture. But it is not too much a problem on this test here, since the uniformity of the 5% gray is much better.

6.2
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Shift
21 °
Brightness
27 °
Black Level
75 °

Mediocre viewing angle, better than any VA TV but not as good as OLED and some other IPS TVs. The black level remains virtually unchanged at an angle, but colors shift and brightness decreases when viewed from only a small angle. Still, this viewing angle makes the TV suited for a room where people often view the TV from the side.

3.6
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
3.075 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
5.078 %

The black uniformity of this LG TV is bad. Some flashlighting and clouding issues can be seen near each corner of the screen which affects greatly the uniformity of the screen when displaying a black image. Black uniformity issues are usually a bit more present on IPS TVs, but the SJ8500 is definitely worse than most of them.

With the local dimming feature turned on, most of the flashlighting issues that were visible in the corners are not visible anymore, but a large vertical blooming zone is now visible where the white cross is in the middle. This is mostly due because the local dimming zones span over a vertical zone that goes from the bottom to the top of the screen.

Note that once again here, we do not measure the black level, but the uniformity of the screen.

8.7
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
3.4 %
Indirect Reflections
0.5 %

The SJ8500 is good at handling reflections. It has a semi-gloss finish which diffuses reflections a bit, reducing their intensity. This is a similar result to the UJ7700 and should be fine for most rooms, but very bright glare may present an issue.

6.7
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
3.82
Color dE
3.95
Gamma
2.35
Color Temperature
6245 K

Out of the box, the accuracy is good, but not as good as the 2016 UH8500. The white balance is on the warm side and the dE is high enough so that TV enthusiasts could notice it. The gamma is a bit high too and the curve is not tracking our target too closely.

When it comes to the color, the color dE is a bit high too and enthusiasts could notice it. Most of the color are a bit off, with only the blue and cyan being a bit more off than the rest, but overall it is not that much a problem.

On a side note here, when we say that enthusiasts could notice it, we mean that a person that already calibrated or use a calibrated TV could notice some little imperfection. For most people, that are simply buying a new TV to replace an older TV, this level of imperfection is still very little and most of the new TV are usually far better than any older TV when it come to color accuracy.

9.4
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.15
Color dE
1.39
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6504 K

The calibration process of the LG SJ8500 was done without problem and the whole calibration session was done very fast, as with other LG TVs, thanks to the 2 and 20 points calibration. The white balance dE was brought down to a negligible 0.15, which is excellent. As the result of this correction, the gamma is now tracking our 2.2 target and the curve was also flatened.

The color space management provided by LG on the SJ8500 was very helpful to get the dE from 3.95 to 1.39, which is an excellent result. The white point, that was a bit off before calibration is now right spot on and most of the color are also tracking much more closely their targets.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

Upscaling of low quality content such as DVDs is good. Like other LG TVs, some halo artifacts can be seen along straight lines but this isn't too bad.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content such as cable is upscaled well. Details are preserved.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

Full HD content such as Blu-rays look good. The image remains detailed and clear.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

No issues can be seen with native 4k content and the image is sharp.

7.7
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
83.66 %
DCI P3 uv
90.20 %
Rec 2020 xy
62.41 %
Rec 2020 uv
71.02 %

Good wide color gamut, though not as wide as high end TVs. The TV falls a bit short at reproducing fully saturated red and blue, and quite short for saturated green. However, nearly all modern TVs struggle with greens. On the bright side the TV is fairly accurate at showing the colors it's able to, so most colors in HDR content will be shown accurately.

The TV's EOTF follows the HDR PQ curve remarkably well, except at the extreme low end, where it actually turned off the screen when shown 5% and 10% grey slides. It doesn't do this for colored 10% slides, as seen in the color volume test. This likely won't be an issue for normal content, as this is a very extreme case. This EOTF was measured in the 'Cinema' picture mode, the EOTFs for 'Game' mode and PC mode are here and here, and are also fairly accurate. The 5% and 10% grey slides were not turned off in PC mode.

Update 11/10/2017: LG's new Active HDR feature (Dynamic Contrast: Low) improves the EOTF considerably, so we recommend enabling it. Unfortunately Active HDR doesn't work in Game or PC mode.

6.9
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
78.9 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
39.3 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
60.0 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
29.6 %

Mediocre color volume. The TV's color gamut narrows significantly for very dark colors, and its black level is not very good because of its IPS panel. This color volume is similar to last year's UH8500, but a little worse for dark colors.

not tested
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit

The SJ8500 performs well in our gradient test and no banding that is normally seen on an 8-bit panel can be noticed here. Overall, this is a good result and is a bit better than what was seen on the 2016 UH8500. Some little imperfections can be seen in the dark blue and green, but besides that, it is a very smooth gradient.

Update 03/08/2018: The gradient test was overhauled for Test Bench 1.2, but we're unable to retest our SJ8500 (it broke, see our Additional Review Notes); because of this the SJ8500's gradient test has been removed from its scoring, without bringing any penalty or benefit.

8.8
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.43 %
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 %

The SJ8500 does present some image retention, but it is faint and goes away relatively fast. When compared to the 2016 UH8500, which have a very strong retention, where even the color of the logos of the burn-in scene could still be noticed, now on the SJ8500 you can only see a faint shadow of the logos. Also on the UH8500, the retention lasted for more than 4 minutes, as now on the SJ8500, it is gone before 2 minutes of recovery.

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.

Picture Quality
Pixels

The chevron shape of the IPS pixels is visible when viewed from close up.

Motion
8.3
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
6.0 ms
100% Response Time
14.3 ms

The response time is great, so only a short trail can be seen following fast-moving objects. This is similar to the UH8500 from 2016.

4.0
Motion
Flicker-Free
Flicker-Free
No
PWM Dimming Frequency
120 Hz

The TV uses PWM at 120Hz to dim the backlight, starting at 100/100 backlight setting. Lowering the setting shortens the duty cycle, while amplitude remains nearly constant down to very low backlight settings. Backlight PWM helps clear up motion slightly, but results in duplications following fast-moving objects, visible in the motion blur box.

6.0
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
Yes
Min Flicker for 60 fps in Game Mode
120 Hz

Like with other 2017 LG TVs, there is no option to reduce the flicker frequency to 60 Hz, although its 120 Hz PWM flicker does help to make motion look clearer.

10
Motion
Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation (30 fps)
Yes
Motion Interpolation (60 fps)
Yes

The SJ8500 has a 120Hz panel and can interpolate lower frame rate content. There are some bugs in the interpolation which causes more stuttering than usual, especially with our full-screen pattern. To enable motion interpolation (also called the soap opera effect) set 'TruMotion' to 'User'. For a 30fps source increase 'De-Judder' and for a 60fps source increase 'De-Blur'. The 120Hz panel can produce a strong soap opera effect like the UH8500 from 2016.

7.6
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
27.4 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
2.4 ms

The LG SJ8500 is good at displaying 24p movies and 60Hz content without stutter. The response time of the LCD helps to blur the transition between frames, producing smooth motion even on wide panning shots.

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 SJ8500 can display 24 movies without judder playing from 24p sources like DVDs or Blu-rays and also from 60p/60i sources like cable boxes. This is great results, especially for people that are sensitive to judder.

To remove judder from any sources, the 'Real Cinema' option from the 'Picture Options', must be turned on. We found that this option was able to remove judder from 24p movies without problems. During our testing, we also experimented with the 'TruMotion' option and we found out that while set to 'User' with both sliders ('De-Judder' and 'De-Blur') set to 0, the SJ8500 was also able to remove judder and this without adding any soap opera effect. So either option could be used to remove judder.

0
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
No
4k VRR Maximum
N/A
4k VRR Minimum
N/A
1080p VRR Maximum
N/A
1080p VRR Minimum
N/A
VRR Supported Connectors
N/A

The SJ8500 has a 120Hz panel but doesn't support a variable refresh rate, which is typical of most TVs.

Inputs
9.6
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60Hz
15.0 ms
1080p @ 60Hz + HDR
14.9 ms
1080p @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
40.2 ms
4k @ 60Hz
15.1 ms
4k @ 60Hz + HDR
15.0 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
15.1 ms
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + 8 bit HDR
15.0 ms
4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode
57.0 ms
4k With Interpolation
98.6 ms
4k @ 120 Hz
N/A
4k with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
N/A

Outstanding low input lag, good enough for even competitive gamers. Normally only the 'Game' picture mode has low input lag, but when the input's icon is set to 'PC' all picture modes have the same low input lag and display proper 4:4:4 color (though some settings are disabled). This input lag is a huge improvement over last year's UH8500.

We are unable to test the 120Hz input lag as our SJ8500 is no longer in our lab (see here).

8.3
Inputs
Supported Resolutions
1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
1080p @ 120Hz
Yes (native support)
1440p @ 60Hz
No
4k @ 30Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 60Hz
Yes
4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4
Yes
4k @ 120Hz
No

All common resolutions are supported. 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 color is only supported when 'HDMI ULTRA HD Deep Color' is enabled for the port used. 4:4:4 color is only displayed properly when the input's icon is set to 'PC' (aka PC mode). With webOS update 3.6 LG has fixed the PC mode HDR issue, so now 4:4:4 color is properly displayed in HDR content in PC mode. 120 Hz is listed as a possible resolution on a PC, so no custom resolution is needed.

Inputs
Side Inputs
Inputs
Rear Inputs
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
Dolby Vision
Yes
HLG
Yes
3D
No
5.1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
Yes
5.1 Passthrough ARC DTS
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
Yes
5.1 Passthrough Optical DTS
Yes
HDMI 2.0 Full Bandwidth
Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
HDMI 2.1 Full Bandwidth
No
ARC
Yes (HDMI 2)
USB 3.0
Yes (1)
HDCP 2.2 Yes (HDMI 1,2,3,4)
CEC Yes
MHL No
Variable Analog Audio Out No
Wi-Fi Support Yes (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz)
Sound Quality
7.3
Sound Quality
Frequency Response
Low-Frequency Extension
71.27 Hz
Std. Dev. @ 70
3.02 dB
Std. Dev. @ 80
3.00 dB
Std. Dev. @ Max
6.29 dB
Max
93.8 dB SPL
Dynamic Range Compression
6.26 dB

Using the magic remote and LG's 'Magic Sound Tuning' feature, the SJ8500 produces a decent frequency response. it still suffers from a great amount of compression at higher volumes, but it is fairly balanced and won't have issues such as inaudible dialog.

7.3
Sound Quality
Distortion
Weighted THD @ 80
0.034
Weighted THD @ Max
0.535
IMD @ 80
1.05 %
IMD @ Max
15.25 %

The SJ8500's distortion, while better than average is nothing remarkable. THD is notably decent at high volumes, which is unusual.

Smart Features
8.5
Smart Features
Interface
Smart OS WebOS
Version 3.5
Ease of Use
Easy
Smoothness
Average
Time Taken to Select YouTube
2 s
Time Taken to Change Backlight
8 s
Advanced Options
Many

The TV's interface is split into three sections: settings, inputs and apps. Each has their own button on the remote, a quick menu with commonly used entries, and a full menu with advanced options. This makes the interface fast and easy to navigate, but the separated nature may be confusing to first time users.

0
Smart Features
Ad-Free
Ads
Yes
Opt-out
No
Suggested Content in Home
Yes
Opt-out of Suggested Content
No

There are ads in the recommended sites of the web browser, in voice search results and in the LG Content Store. There is no way to opt out of them.

8.0
Smart Features
Apps and Features