The LG SJ9500 is a high-end 4k LED TV with a wide viewing angle thanks to its use of an IPS-type LCD. Its input lag is low for gaming, and its WebOS smart features are very intuitive. It has a decent overall picture quality and a better than average brightness, but its low contrast and non-uniform blacks make it less suitable in a dark room.
The design of the LG SJ9500 is excellent. The TV looks great, with an interesting curved stand and premium feel. The TV is thin, so looks good when wall mounted. There is some basic cable management down the rear of the stand, and most of the inputs are easy to access if placed close to a wall.
The rear of the TV is very similar to the UH9500 of 2016, with a brushed metal finish and the same input locations. Most of the inputs are out the side of the TV and easy to access if wall mounted.
The LG SJ9500 LED TV has a better than average picture quality. When set in a dark room, the ordinary contrast ratio tends to make blacks to look more grayish than really deep blacks, giving dark scenes a washed out look. When set in a bright environment, the SJ9500 fares much better, as the low contrast ratio effects are less apparent and also because it has a very good SDR peak brightness and good reflective capacity, which can fight glare and deals with reflections pretty well. The gray uniformity is below average and unfortunately for sports fans, some dirty screen effect is visible. On the other hand, the viewing angle is passable, which means it can be a good TV for big sports event gathering, as people, no matter where they are sitting, are going to have a similar picture quality. Finally, HDR could be better even if it as a great wide color gamut, as the HDR peak brightness is ordinary and the local dimming is awful.
The LG SJ9500 contrast ratio could be better, but it is fairly decent for an IPS TV, which tends to have a lower contrast ration than VA TVs. With a contrast ratio of around 1500:1, when set in a dark room, blacks won't be very deep and will look grayer than really black and dark scenes will look a bit washed out.
Fortunately, if the TV is set in a room with moderate lighting, the effect of a low contrast ratio is less noticeable, and for this reason, the LG SJ9500 is better suited for this kind of room environment.
The local dimming on the SJ9500 is bad and is very similar to the local dimming of the 2016 UH9500. The local dimming of the SJ9500 is implemented on vertical zones, and it is clearly visible in our video, as large vertical blooming follow the moving highlight, leaving the rest of the screen darker.
Another issue also shows up in our video, and it is the darkening of the smaller highlight, which is a problem, as the local dimming should not darken the highlight, since this may ruin the HDR effect of movie, where the highlight is supposed to be very bright in comparison to the rest of the screen.
Since the local dimming is really bad, we suggest to turn it off, or at least maybe set it to low or medium instead of the maximum setting, so that the negative effects are less apparent.
Good SDR peak brightness, good enough even for a bright room. Unfortunately, the TV's local dimming makes dark scenes even darker by dimming everything, including the highlights, because the local dimming isn't granular enough. Overall, the TV isn't quite as bright as last year's UH9500, and falls behind many of its current competitors like the Sony X930E and the Samsung MU9000.
Decent HDR peak brightness. The TV's crude local dimming still does manage to make highlights brighter in dark scenes, as shown in our smaller window tests, at the cost of noticeable blooming. However, our real scene brightness test shows that highlights in most HDR scenes won't be shown nearly as bright as the intended 1000 or 4000 cd/m². This is in contrast to last year's LG UH9500, which had a much brighter real scene test but actually dimmed highlights in dark scenes. Overall, the brightness is quite behind competing Sony TVs like the X930E and a little behind the Samsung MU9000 and MU8000. If users find HDR content too dim, turning up the 'Dynamic Contrast' setting will make most of the scene brighter, although it won't affect the extreme highlights.
The SJ9500 gray uniformity is ordinary. Large vertical bands are visible, with some darker band toward each side of the TV and some brighter near the center. A large warmer spot is also visible on the right lower corner. Sports fan will be a bit disappointed, as dirty screen effect is visible, especially when watching hockey or football.
The 5% gray uniformity is much better than on the 50%, as not much can be noticed at all.
Mediocre viewing angle; fairly typical for a TV with an IPS panel, far better than most TVs with VA panels, but far worse than TVs with OLED panels. The black level remains constant which is great, but the brightness and colors degrade significantly when the TV is viewed at moderate angles. Still, this TV is a good fit for a room where people often sit to the side of the TV and view it at an angle.
The black uniformity of the SJ9500 is poor. When the local dimming is completely turned off, some flashlighting can be seen near each corner and some inequality covering the upper part of the screen.
When the local dimming is set to maximum, the black uniformity is greatly affected. Since the local dimming is implemented over vertical zones, covering the totality of the screen, when our black uniformity test image is displayed, a large blooming zone is visible near the center cross of the image, leaving both sides completely dark. This show very well the limitation of the local dimming of the SJ9500.
Out of the box, when set on the most accurate picture setting ('ISF Expert Dark Room', 'gamma BT.1886', and 'Warm1' color temperature), the overall accuracy is decent. With a white balance dE of 3.44, most enthusiasts could notice the inaccuracy. The color accuracy is a bit better, as a color dE of 2.43 should only be noticeable by professionals who regularly work with calibrated TV. As for the gamma, 2.24 is not far from our desired target, but the curve is not really flat, with a small dip in the darker and brighter end.
For most people who will not calibrate their TV, those setting should be used, as it is with those settings that we measured the best accuracy, but note that it differs slightly from what we measured before from other LG TVs, on which the gamma 2.2 setting with the Warm2 color temperature usually give us a better result.
After calibration, the accuracy is excellent. The white balance was corrected to have a dE of only 0.11, which is excellent and almost not noticeable for anyone. The color accuracy was also improved, to have at the end a dE of only 1.12 which is almost at the limit where it becomes not noticeable (1.00). As for the gamma, only the very small errors in the lower IRE could not be corrected, but this is really not a problem, as the rest of the curve is very good and follow our target of 2.2 very closely.
You can find our calibration settings here.
Although not visible in this photo, areas of a single color have visible line artifacts. This is more obvious when using the TV as a PC monitor. It is a result of the pixel dimming algorithm, which results in visible rows as seen in this close-up image.
Great wide color gamut, among the best of 2017. Saturated colors in HDR content will be well represented. The TV's accuracy at showing intermediate colors is decent but not the best, as some colors like cyan and magenta don't follow their target lines, and fully saturated cyan turns green.
The TV's HDR EOTF in the Cinema and Technicolor picture modes follows the target PQ curve beautifully when LG's 'Active HDR' is enabled by setting 'Dynamic Contrast' to 'Low'. Turning 'Dynamic Contrast' up higher will make scenes even brighter, at the cost of picture accuracy, though it may be worth the cost when watching HDR in a bright room. The EOTFs in 'Game' mode and 'PC' mode also follow the PQ curve well, although 'Active HDR' isn't available in those modes.
Decent HDR color volume, only really limited by the color gamut. The TV's local dimming helps it show its wide color gamut at a range of brightnesses, though fully saturated red isn't shown as bright as it should be.
The SJ9500 gradient performance is excellent, as it can display our image without much banding. Some little irregularities are visible in the darker shade, but we did not notice problematic banding while watching movies.
The SJ9500 has an excellent result on our image retention test, which is much better than the 2017 UH9500. Note that on our test picture image, some really faint remnants of the Rtings logos are visible, but it was not enough to trigger a response from our image analysis software. When viewed in person, it was not really visible and it is also good to note that the camera does pick up a bit more detail than the human eyes.
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 looks great on the LG SJ9500. It has low motion blur due to a fast pixel response time, it can remove judder from nearly any 24p movie source, and it can use the soap opera effect to interpolate content to 120 fps for even smoother motion. Its one flaw is its backlight flicker, which is always present and becomes worse at lower backlight settings.
Great pixel response time, good enough for watching fast-moving content. Most of the blur in the picture is due to backlight flicker and persistence. There is still a short trail of response time blur following our moving logo, though, fortunately, it's very faint. There is a tiny bit of overshoot visible in the response time plots but it shouldn't be visible in person.
The TV, unfortunately, only dims the backlight by using PWM, and PWM is even visible when the brightness is at maximum. This means that the TV will always have 120 Hz flicker, and this flicker will become even worse at lower backlight settings. While this flicker does reduce persistence blur, it also adds double image artifacts as seen in the photo in the motion blur section, which is worse than persistence blur.
The SJ9500 lacks a black frame insertion setting to reduce the flicker frequency to 60 Hz avoid double image artifacts, although its 120 Hz PWM flicker does help to make motion look more clear.
The TV can use the soap opera effect to interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120 fps, which makes motion look much smoother. Unfortunately, there are visible artifacts when interpolating <60 Hz content and the backlight isn't synchronized to the panel so blur is even present when interpolating 60 fps content.
The SJ9500 can display 24p movies without judder when playing from 24p sources like DVD and Blu-ray players. It can also display 24p movies without judder when playing from 60p/60i source on the SJ9500 also play without judder.
To remove judder from 24p movies from 24p sources, the 'RealCinema' option needs to be turned on and the 'TruMotion' option set to 'User' with both sliders ('De-Judder' and 'De-Blur') set to 0, and it won't add soap opera effect. For 24p movies playing from 60p/60i sources, only the 'RealCinema' need to be turned on to remove judder.
The SJ9500 can properly display nearly any content, including HDR. It also has excellent low input lag, which should please almost any gamer.
Outstanding low input lag, low enough to please nearly any gamer. Normally, only the 'Game' picture mode has low input lag, but in 'PC' mode all picture modes have low input lag. 4:4:4 color is only shown properly in PC mode, but this is usually only a concern for PC use anyway. Overall, the input lag is one of the best we've tested in 2017; a little better than most Samsung TVs and LG's own OLEDs, and much better than most Sony TVs.
All common resolutions are supported. 4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 color is only supported when 'HDMI Ultra HD Deep Color' is enabled for the port used. 4:4:4 color is only shown properly when the input's label is set to 'PC' (aka PC mode). 1080p @ 120 Hz is actually an officially supported mode in the TV's EDID, which is surprising but welcome.
The LG SJ9500's sound reproduction abilities are about average for a TV. It won't have any major issues with clarity, but it can't match the experience provided by a surround sound system or even a simple pair of bookshelf speakers.
Decent frequency response. The SJ9500 tracks our target quite well and offers a room correction feature that calibrates the TV's sound output to reduce the effects of the room's acoustic properties. Its low-frequency extension is better than average, but it does have a significant amount of dynamic range compression at higher volumes.
Poor distortion performance. While THD is quite low even at maximum volume, the SJ9500 produces a lot of IMD at higher levels, possibly due to the compression algorithms used as well as the aliasing present at higher frequencies. This is notably different from LG SJ8500.
The SJ9500 runs LG's WebOS smart interface, which is fast to navigate, has lots of apps and has a great remote. The interface is split into three sections: apps, settings and inputs, each with its own button the remote, quick menu and full menu. This structure makes the interface quick to navigate but it may be confusing to first-time users. The TV's smart remote is one of the best and has a pointer that follows its movement like a Nintendo Wii remote, which lets users select menu items directly and saves time.
The WebOS interface is split into three parts: settings, inputs, and apps. Each has its own button on the remote, quick menu and full menu. The quick menus list some commonly used items to save time, while the full menus give a wealth of deeper options. This split layout makes the interface quick to navigate, but it can be confusing for first-time users.
The TV comes preinstalled with most of the popular apps like Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube. Many more apps can be downloaded from the LG Content Store, which has a larger selection of apps than most smart platforms but not quite as many as Samsung or Android TV.
The SJ9500 comes with LG's excellent Magic Remote, which has some useful smart features and clever design touches. Although the remote is large, it isn't too heavy, and the remote's underside is contoured so the thick lower section fills your hand, while the upper section is thin and light, making the remote very ergonomic. The remote's standout feature is its pointer, which causes a cursor on the screen to follow the remote's movement like a Nintendo Wii remote. This allows users to select menu items directly, which saves time. The remote also has a microphone for voice search, but it can only search for content and apps or search the internet.
The LG TV Plus app has a few useful features such as casting files from a smartphone or tablet but lacks some other common features like text entry.
We tested the 65" (65SJ9500), the only size available at the moment.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their LG 65SJ9500 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.
The SJ9500 is a good TV overall, but its picture quality doesn't hold up to the competition in its price range.
The LG SJ9500 is somewhat better than the LG SJ8500. The LG SJ9500 has better SDR peak brightness, which is important when you watch TV shows in a bright room. Also, the LG SJ9500 has a slightly better gradient and better black uniformity for HDR, which is great when you watch HDR content. The LG SJ8500, however, has lower input lag when you play HDR games, and better 4k input picture as its pixel dimming algorithm does not display the artifacts shown on the single color areas of the LG SJ9500.
If you enjoy watching movies in a dark room, then the LG B7A is a better choice, but if you will be watching a lot of static content like news, then the LG SJ9500 is better. The LG B7A has perfect blacks that improve the picture quality in a dark room. Also, the LG B7A has slightly better viewing angles and somewhat better reflection handling, which is great for wide seating arrangments and rooms with many light sources. On the other hand, the LG SJ9500 has marginally better input lag, which is great for video gaming and does not have the permanent burn-in risk OLED TVs have.
The LG SJ9500 is a better choice if you have a large room with wide seating due to its wide viewing angles. For a dark room with seating directly in-front, however, the Samsung MU9000 is better. The LG SJ9500 has slightly better input lag both in SDR and HDR and this is great for gaming. On the other hand, the Samsung MU9000 has significantly better contrast ratio and somewhat better black uniformity that looks great in HDR movies in a dark room. Also, it has better SDR peak brightness and reflection handling, making it a better choice for TV shows and sports in a bright room.
If you have a large room with wide seating arrangements, then the LG SJ9500 is a better choice, but for a dark room with seating directly in front, then the Sony X900E is better. The Sony X900E has significantly better local dimming, better contrast ratio, and better black uniformity, which is great for watching movies of HDR content. On the other hand, the LG SJ9500 has lower input lag, which is great for gaming, and because of its better viewing angles, you can use it as a PC monitor without worrying about the image deteriorating at the sides of the screen.