The LG 65SK9500 Super UHD TV is a 4k IPS TV with great performance. The picture quality is good, but the TV is better suited to bright rooms with wide seating as blacks appear gray in dark rooms. The image remains accurate when viewed at an angle and the TV has full-array local dimming but it doesn't work very well and results in blooming. It supports a wide color gamut for HDR and also has very good motion handling with a excellent response time.
The design of the LG 65SK9500PUA is excellent. It resembles last year's SJ9500. It comes with a metallic curved stand and premium feel. The back is plain and the inputs are accessible from the side if it is wall mounted. The build quality is great and there are no gaps or loose ends. Unfortunately, there is only very basic cable management and the stand prevents you from placing the soundbar directly in front of the TV.
The LG 65SK9500PUA stays relatively cool. There are a few warm spots on the back but not warm enough to cause any issues.
The LG 65SK9500 has a very good picture quality with decent native contrast ratio. As with most IPS panels, in dark rooms, blacks will look more grayish. It has a full array local dimming that manages to improve contrast a little. It is much brighter than last year's SJ9500, and small highlights are boosted well rather than dimmed like last year. Although it has an IPS panel, the viewing angle is mediocre; it is still better than VA panels, but worse than OLEDs. It also has great reflection handling and thus is a good choice for a variety of room types. The gray uniformity is decent, but there is some dirty screen effect present when watching sports.
The native contrast ratio on the LG 65SK9500 is decent, but blacks will look more grey than black when viewed in a dark room. This is less noticeable in a brightly lit room.
Contrast improves when local dimming, is enabled but again blacks will fade in dark environments.
The local dimming feature of the LG 65SK9500PUA is not very good. It reacts promptly to moving highlights, and dimming zones do turn on and off on time. The dimming algorithm is not too aggressive and thus clouding around highlights is obvious. It is quite similar to the performance of the SK9000 but slightly smoother.
We recommend setting it initially to High, but if the sudden brightness changes become unpleasant then Medium or Low can be a better choice.
The TV has excellent SDR peak brightness, bright enough for most rooms. Highlights are a little dim, most likely due to the poor local dimming.
This is brighter than the LG SK9000, which is beneficial for those in bright rooms with glare.
Very good HDR peak brightness. Very small highlights are displayed with good brightness and real scenes are quite bright. This is an improvement from last year's SJ9500 and from SK9000 where highlights were dimmed. However, the brightness is still far from the target 1000 cd/m² to fully appreciate HDR content.
The gray uniformity of the LG 65SK9500PUA is decent and very similar to the SK9000. In brighter scenes, the screen is a little darker on the sides compared to the center. Some dirty screen effect is present when viewing sports. This is not noticeable though on darker scenes.
The viewing angle is decent. It is better than most TVs with VA panels, but worse than TVs with OLED panels. Colors and brightness shift when one moves off of the center. This TV is an okay choice for a wide room where people will frequently be watching from the side.
The black uniformity is mediocre for this LG SK9500. There is clouding all over the screen and only the corners look black. However, things are considerably better when local dimming is enabled. The clouding is only apparent around the center of our test cross.
Great reflection handling on the LG 65SK9500PUA. The semi-gloss finish does diffuse reflections slightly and provides a very similar performance to the SK9000. This should be fine for most rooms, but reflections may be distracting in a very bright room or if sunlight falls directly on the TV.
It is bright enough to overcome most glare and it is our best outdoor TV. However, since it isn't meant for outdoor installation, it is important to properly protect it from the elements with a proper enclosure.
The out-of-the-box color accuracy is very good. The most accurate results were obtained with the Expert (Dark Room) picture mode. Color dE was good, but white balance dE was slightly higher and some people might notice some gray inaccuracy. The color temperature was warmer than our target and, giving everything a slightly red/yellow tint. This was a surprise since it was a change from the out-of-the-box color temperature we measured on the SK9000 which was cold.
Gamma was slightly lower than our target and this might cause some shadows to be darker.
The post-calibration colors of the LG SK9500 are excellent. White balance is almost perfect, color dE was good too. Gamma is very close to our target, shifting a little off target at the low end of our inputs, and color temperature is almost spot-on.
You can see our recommended settings here.
The TV is able to display a wide color gamut as it has a very good coverage of the P3 color space.
In the Cinema picture mode the HDR EOTF overshoots the target PQ curve at low stimulus levels, which will cause many shades in HDR scenes to be too bright. If users still find HDR content too dark, setting the TV's Dynamic Contrast setting to Medium raises the EOTF and brightens most HDR scenes. On the other hand, the EOTF in Game mode follows the target PQ curve very well.
The color volume is decent. However, the LG 65SK9500 is unable to produce deep, dark blacks due to its not so great contrast ratio. Color volume is worse than last year's SJ9500.
This LG 65SK9500PUA has very good gradient. Some medium banding is evident in many places, and some more major banding can be seen in red and blue.
In HDR, setting the MPEG Noise Reduction to Low reduces banding.
The LG SK9500 IPS TV does present some image retention. After the 10 minutes burn-in scene, as we can see on our test picture, the image retention is easily noticeable, but after 2 minutes of recovery, the retention is non-noticeable.
While IPS panels can have some temporary image retention, there doesn't appear to be any risk of permanent burn-in as seen in our long-term test.
The LG 65SK9500PUA has very good motion handling. It has an excellent response time, resulting in fluid motion and a short motion trail and low stutter with 24 and 60 fps content. The TV has good black frame insertion, and it can drop flicker frequency to 60Hz, which makes fast paced motion clear when watching sports or playing video games. It has excellent motion interpolation to smooth out low fps content and can display movies without any judder.
Very fast pixel response time, great for fast-moving content like sports and video games. Most of the blur in the photo is due to backlight flicker and the trail following the moving logo is fairly short, which is good.
The LG 65SK9500PUA uses PWM to dim the backlight. This helps clear the motion slightly but also results in duplications following fast-moving objects as seen in the motion blur box photo.
In order to dim the picture the backlight starts flickering at any Backlight setting other than 100. People sensitive to flicker should consider a nearly flicker-free alternative, like the Sony X900F or the LG C8.
The BFI function of this LGSK9500 is very good. To enable BFI in the Tru Motion menu set Motion Pro to on. This will flicker the backlight at 60Hz and will improve the blur. At the same time, the luminosity will increase so you will not notice any dimming. With 120 Hz content, the BFI options are grayed out as the TV is already flickering at its native frequency.
The LG 65SK9500 has excellent motion interpolation. Its native 120Hz panel can interpolate lower frame rate content up to 120 fps. It is nearly perfect during slow-moving shots, and it has a pretty conservative algorithm as it stops interpolating as soon as there is too much motion. Very few artifacts were seen during testing.
To activate Motion interpolation, in the TruMotion menu, enable De-judder to interpolate 30Hz content to 60Hz. Enable De-Blur to interpolate 60Hz content to 120Hz.
The stutter of this LG SK9500 is decent. The fast response time will create some stutter in slow fps content, but you can always use the motion interpolation to correct this. There is also some persistent motion blur that will reduce stutter.
The LG 65SK9500PUA is judder free when you set Real Cinema to on, no matter if the 24p signal is native or is coming through 60p or 60i. This is excellent for those who are sensitive to judder when watching 24p movies.
The LG 65SK9500PUA doesn't support any variable refresh rate features.
The LG SK9500 LED TV has excellent low input lag. The input lag is low on any supported resolution even in 4k with HDR enabled that was a problem in some previous models like the SK9000. It supports chroma 4:4:4 and 1080p @ 120 Hz, great for use as a PC Monitor, but there is no support for 1440p resolution. Input lag is slightly higher when chroma 4:2:0 is used in HDR, although this shouldn't be an issue.
Outstanding low input lag that will keep any gamer happy. In PC mode all picture modes have the same low input lag, so we recommend Expert (Dark Room).
4:4:4 color is only shown properly in PC mode.
When Chroma 4:2:0 is used in HDR there is an extra 120 Hz frame (8.3 ms) of input lag. Please refer to the SK8000 input lag box review for a more detailed explanation.
The most common resolutions are supported on the LG 65SK9500 although 1440p is not supported.
4:4:4 Chroma is only properly displayed when the input icon is set to PC (aka PC mode).
When in PC Mode with HDR enabled, the TV does not properly support 4:4:4 color and colors appear washed out.
In PC Mode, Sharpness at 0 means no added sharpness.
Similar inputs to the LG SK9000.
Update 02/27/2019: While the TV doesn't support Atmos passthrough via a Dolby TrueHD carrier signal (common in Blu-ray disks), it is advertised as supporting Atmos passthrough via Dolby Digital Plus, which is the Atmos format used by some sources like Netflix; our testing confirmed this passthrough on the LG C8. We expect this to be true for the LG SK9500.
The sound quality of the LG SK9500 is above-average. This TV gets quite loud, has a decent amount of body and punch to its bass, and is able to produce clear dialogue. However, it doesn't produce any thump or rumble in the sub-bass region, and its room correction system wasn't able to adjust its sound to our test room. For a better sound, dedicated speakers or a soundbar is recommended.
The frequency response of the LG 65SK9500 is decent. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 76Hz, which is above-average. This means that this TV won't produce any thump or rumble, but will have a decent amount of body and punch to its bass. The response above the LFE point is quite well-balanced, which is important for producing clear dialogue. Also, this TV can get quite loud, but will produce some pumping and compression artifacts under maximum load. However, its room correction system (Magic Sound Tuning) wasn't able to remove the modes of our test room around 200Hz.
The distortion performance of the LG 65SK9500PUA is above average. At 80dB SPL, the THD performance is above-average. At maximum volume, although there is a rise in THD, it's still within decent limits, especially since this TV gets quite loud.
The LG SK9500 runs the latest version of LG's smart operating system, webOS. It has a good selection of built-in apps, and the LG content store provides access to many more third-party apps. However, it is not as good as the Google Play Store found on Sony TVs. The remote is well equipped and well built, however, the design is not as premium looking as on other high-end TVs, but works well. The voice control functions are very powerful, work nicely, and can interface with many other devices.
The webOS interface is very similar to the SK9000, with the improved search functionality. The menu is very fast and responsive.
We did not see any ads during testing. However, we have found ads on other 2018 LG TVs as shown here, so we assume all 2018 LG TVs have ads.
The LG 65SK9500PUA comes with most of the popular apps preloaded including Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu and YouTube. There is the LG app store where you can get many more.
The remote is identical to the one found on all high-end LG TVs like the C8 and SK9000. It provides quick access to the most common functions of the TV. It can also be used as a pointer which is the fastest way to navigate the menus and even has a scroll wheel integrated in the d-pad.
The remote also works for voice commands and the TV understands basic commands such as changing inputs, opening YouTube, searching Netflix, etc... But it can not change the settings i.e 'Change backlight to 5' won't work.
It can also be used for setting a sleep timer and for more advanced searches, looking up weather or answering basic searches. Some searches are answered by LG's proprietary ThinQ AI; others were answered by Google Assistant, similar to Sony TVs like the X900F.
The LG TV Plus app offers quick access to most TV features and controls. It also has the ability to stream multimedia from your phone or tablet directly to the TV. It does not work for text entry.
The remote app can be used to perform a voice search, but it does not understand voice commands like the remote.
We tested the 65" (65SK9500), the only size available at the moment.
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their LG 65SK9500 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.
The LG SK9500 is slightly better than the LG SK9000. The LG SK9500 has slightly better response time, which is great if you watch sports, and better contrast ratio and black uniformity that produce marginally better blacks while watching movies. The LG SK9500 can get brighter, and this is good as you can watch TV shows in a slightly brighter room.
The Sony X900F is better than the LG SK9500. The Sony X900F is better for watching movies or HDR content right in front, as it has better native contrast ratio, better local dimming along, and better black uniformity. The Sony X900F also has a faster response time, which is great for watching sports. The LG SK9500 has an IPS panel that gives better viewing angles, and this is good for wide seating arrangements and a lower input lag that makes it very responsive for playing video games.
If you've got a bright room with wide seating, then the LG SK9500 is a better choice as it has better viewing angles and can handle reflections better and this is important when watching sports or TV shows. For a dark room, however, with seating directly in-front, the Samsung NU8000 is better. The better contrast ratio and better black uniformity allow it to display deeper blacks in a dark room and thus you will enjoy movies and HDR movies more on the Samsung NU8000. Finally, it supports FreeSync VRR, which is great for gamers.
The LG C8 is significantly better than the LG SK9500. The LG C8 has perfect blacks, which is great if you watch movies or HDR content in a dark room and better viewing angles to accommodate wide seating arrangements. The LG C8 also has better reflections so you can place it a bright room and a faster response time which is great for fast action. On the other hand, the LG SK9500 has a lower input lag for video games and does not have the permanent burn-in risk.
The Samsung Q7CN is a bit better than the LG SK9500, unless you will be watching from the side, in which case the LG is a better choice due to the wider viewing angles. When sitting directly in front, the Samsung Q7CN has deeper blacks in a dark room due to the higher native contrast ratio and better black uniformity. The Q7CN also has better gray uniformity and is better at handling bright room reflections. Finally, the Samsung Q7CN is a better choice for HDR gaming due to the lower input lag and support for the FreeSync variable refresh rate.
The LG SK9500 is better than the Samsung The Frame 2018, unless your main viewing area is in a dark room. The SK9500 uses an IPS panel, which has much wider viewing angles but a worse native contrast ratio. The SK9500 is brighter, and better suited for a wide, bright room. The Frame uses a VA panel which has a much better contrast ratio and better uniformity. The Frame has some features that should please most gamers, including FreeSync VRR support and auto game mode.