LG SM9000 TV Review

Tested using Methodology v1.5
Updated Jul 29, 2020 at 12:18 pm
LG SM9000 Picture
7.5
Mixed Usage
Value for price beaten by
: no price info
6.8
Movies
7.9
TV Shows
7.7
Sports
8.1
Video Games
6.6
HDR Movies
7.7
HDR Gaming
8.4
PC Monitor
Type LED
Sub-Type
IPS
Resolution 4k

The LG SM9000 is a good 4k IPS TV with an excellent design. This TV has great gaming features, with excellent low input lag, a good response time, and support for HDMI Forum's variable refresh rate (VRR) technology. It has wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate when viewing from the side, making it ideal for wide seating arrangements. Unfortunately, like most IPS TVs, it doesn't look as good in a dark room, as it can't display deep, uniform blacks. Even though this TV doesn't get very bright, it's still a good choice for fairly bright rooms because it has impressive reflection handling.

Our Verdict

7.5 Mixed Usage

The LG SM9000 is a good TV for most uses. It looks good in a medium-lit room and has good wide viewing angles for watching sports or for use as a PC monitor. Unfortunately, like most IPS TVs, it doesn't look as good in a dark room, so it's not ideal for watching movies.

Pros
  • Excellent low input lag.
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Impressive reflection handling.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Poor black uniformity.
6.8 Movies

The LG SM9000 is an okay TV for watching movies. It can play 24p movies judder-free, which is great, and it has a great motion interpolation feature. Unfortunately, it doesn't look very good in a dark room, though, as, like most IPS TVs, it can't display deep, uniform blacks in a dark room, and the local dimming feature doesn't help much.

Pros
  • Removes 24p judder.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Poor black uniformity.
7.9 TV Shows

The LG SM9000 is a very good TV for watching TV shows during the day. It has wide viewing angles and impressive reflection handling, so there shouldn't be any issues using it in a bright room. There's also a huge selection of streaming apps on LG's WebOS platform, which is great for cable-cutters.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Impressive reflection handling.
Cons
  • Doesn't get very bright.
7.7 Sports

Good TV for watching sports. The LG SM9000 has wide viewing angles, great for watching the big game with a group of friends, and it has impressive reflection handling. It also has a good response time, so fast-moving objects look clear, with little blur trail. This TV has an okay peak brightness, but might not be bright enough for all rooms.

Pros
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Impressive reflection handling.
Cons
  • Visible dirty screen effect.
8.1 Video Games

The LG SM9000 is great for video games. It has an excellent low input lag and a good response time, although some people may notice duplication in motion. It supports HDMI Forum's VRR technology and it has a black frame insertion feature to improve the appearance of motion. Sadly, it's not ideal for dark-room gaming because of its low contrast ratio.

Pros
  • Excellent low input lag.
  • HDMI Forum VRR support.
  • Good response time.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Poor black uniformity.
6.6 HDR Movies

Just okay TV for watching movies in HDR. Unfortunately, like most IPS TVs, it has disappointing contrast and poor black uniformity, so it doesn't look as good in a dark room. Although the LG SM9000 has a local dimming feature, it's ineffective at improving dark-room performance. On the other hand, this TV can display a great wide color gamut for HDR content.

Pros
  • Great wide color gamut.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Poor black uniformity.
7.7 HDR Gaming

The LG SM9000 is good for HDR gaming, mainly due to its great gaming performance. It has a good response time, excellent low input lag, and VRR support to reduce screen tearing. It displays a great wide color gamut for HDR content, but it doesn't get bright enough to truly bring out highlights the way they're supposed to.

Pros
  • Excellent low input lag.
  • HDMI Forum VRR support.
  • Good response time.
Cons
  • Low contrast ratio.
  • Poor black uniformity.
8.4 PC Monitor

The LG SM9000 is an impressive TV for use as a PC monitor. It supports most of the common input formats and can display chroma 4:4:4 properly. It has a good response time, so fast-moving objects have little blur, and it has low input lag for a responsive desktop experience. This TV also has wide viewing angles, so the image remains accurate, even when you're sitting up close.

Pros
  • Excellent low input lag.
  • Wide viewing angles.
  • Impressive reflection handling.
  • Supports chroma 4:4:4.
Cons
  • Visible dirty screen effect.
  • Doesn't get very bright.
  • 7.5 Mixed Usage
  • 6.8 Movies
  • 7.9 TV Shows
  • 7.7 Sports
  • 8.1 Video Games
  • 6.6 HDR Movies
  • 7.7 HDR Gaming
  • 8.4 PC Monitor
  1. Update 7/29/2020: Updated review for accuracy.
  2. Update 7/27/2020: Retested the VRR range.
  3. Update 5/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.5.
  4. Update 2/21/2020: Converted to Test Bench 1.4.

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55" 55SM9000PUA
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65" 65SM9000PUA
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75" 75SM9070PUA
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86" 86SM9070PUA
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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Market Context
Market Context
Market Context

The LG SM9000 is one of LG's top 4k LED TVs from 2019 and is the replacement to the LG SK9000. The SM9000 is nearly identical to the LG SM9500, but has a less powerful local dimming feature, and isn't as bright. The main competitors are the LG SM9500, LG SM8600, and VA TVs like the Sony X950G, and the Vizio P Series Quantum 2019.

Design
9.5
Design
Style
Curved No

The LG 55SM9000PUA has an excellent design, nearly identical to the LG SM9500. It has a central stand and the back of the leg can be used for cable management, which is convenient. It has a sleek and modern design, the TV is very thin, and it looks great wall-mounted.

Design
Stand

The stand of the TV is simple, with a similar design to the LG SM9500 and LG SM8600. Due to the curved feet, it might not be possible to place a very large soundbar in front of the TV.

Footprint of the 55" TV stand: 33.1" x 10.4".

Design
Back
Wall Mount VESA 300x300

Some of the inputs are back-facing, but the most commonly-used inputs face to the side, which is great as they're still accessible when wall-mounted. The back of the stand is hollow, and can be used for cable management.

Design
Borders
Borders 0.43" (1.1 cm)

The TV has thin borders that aren't distracting.

Design
Thickness
Max Thickness 2.48" (6.3 cm)

The LG 55SM9000 is very thin and looks great wall-mounted. It's about the same thickness as the LG SM8600.

7.0
Design
Build Quality

Decent build quality. The stand wobbles quite a bit, more so than 2018's LG SK9000. Also, the screen sits on top of the borders, which makes the TV fragile when carrying it around.

Note that we had to exchange our TV twice, as the first two units we purchased were physically damaged in the box. We don't know if this is at all indicative of an issue with LG, or if it's isolated to that particular retailer, so we didn't include this in our scoring.

Picture Quality
5.9
Picture Quality
Contrast
Native Contrast
942 : 1
Contrast with local dimming
968 : 1

Disappointing contrast ratio, which is expected from an IPS panel TV. Blacks appear closer to gray when viewed in the dark, and even though it has a local dimming feature, it doesn't improve the contrast ratio by much.

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

Update 07/22/2019: The 75" and 86" versions of the LG SM9000 have the more advanced Full Array Dimming Pro found on the SM9500. We didn't find much difference between the Full Array Dimming on this TV, and the "Pro" version found on the SM9500.

This TV has a full array local dimming feature, but unfortunately, it's mediocre. It has fewer zones than the LG SM9500, and there's a lot more blooming. When displaying small, bright objects, the TV overcompensates and dims them too much. Zone transitions are slightly more noticeable as well.

The 'High' setting crushes small objects even worse, so we recommend the 'Medium' setting.

6.9
Picture Quality
SDR Peak Brightness
SDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
344 cd/m²
SDR Peak 2% Window
150 cd/m²
SDR Peak 10% Window
260 cd/m²
SDR Peak 25% Window
300 cd/m²
SDR Peak 50% Window
320 cd/m²
SDR Peak 100% Window
332 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 2% Window
149 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 10% Window
259 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 25% Window
299 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 50% Window
319 cd/m²
SDR Sustained 100% Window
331 cd/m²
SDR ABL
0.051

Okay peak brightness, but the LG SM9000 is significantly less bright than the LG SM9500. Small windows are aggressively dimmed by the TV, as shown by the significant decrease in brightness with the 2% window. This is especially noticeable in dark scenes with small, bright highlights.

We measured the peak brightness after calibration, using the 'ISF Expert (Dark Room)' Picture Mode, with Backlight set to '100', LED Local Dimming set to 'Medium', and Color Temperature set to 'Warm2'.

If image accuracy isn't as important to you, the 'Vivid' Picture Mode is brighter. We were able to momentarily reach 1069 nits with the 10% window using the default settings of the 'Vivid' Picture Mode and LED Local Dimming set to 'Medium'.

6.4
Picture Quality
HDR Peak Brightness
HDR Real Scene Peak Brightness
437 cd/m²
HDR Peak 2% Window
458 cd/m²
HDR Peak 10% Window
915 cd/m²
HDR Peak 25% Window
579 cd/m²
HDR Peak 50% Window
448 cd/m²
HDR Peak 100% Window
427 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 2% Window
164 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 10% Window
310 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 25% Window
372 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 50% Window
409 cd/m²
HDR Sustained 100% Window
425 cd/m²
HDR ABL
0.059

Mediocre peak brightness and it doesn't get bright enough to truly bring out highlights. When displaying small bright objects, the TV gets bright but quickly fades, as you can see by the difference between the 2% peak, and 2% sustained measurements.

We measured the peak brightness before calibration, using the 'Cinema HDR' Picture Mode, with Backlight set to '100', LED Local Dimming set to 'High', and Color Temperature set to 'Warm2'.

If image accuracy isn't as important to you, the 'Vivid' Picture Mode is brighter. We measured a peak brightness of 1042 nits with the 10% window using the 'Vivid' Picture Mode, and LED Local Dimming set to 'Medium'.

6.8
Picture Quality
Gray Uniformity
50% Std. Dev.
5.377 %
50% DSE
0.204 %
5% Std. Dev.
0.633 %
5% DSE
0.105 %

Okay gray uniformity. The edges of the screen are visibly darker and there's noticeable dirty screen effect in the center, which could be distracting during sports. In near-dark scenes, the uniformity is much better.

7.5
Picture Quality
Viewing Angle
Color Washout
30 °
Color Shift
59 °
Brightness Loss
33 °
Black Level Raise
70 °
Gamma Shift
42 °

Like most IPS TVs, this display has good viewing angles. The image remains accurate when viewing from the side, ideal for wide seating arrangements.

5.1
Picture Quality
Black Uniformity
Native Std. Dev.
2.517 %
Std. Dev. w/ L.D.
2.881 %

Poor black uniformity. There's noticeable clouding throughout, and because of the low contrast ratio, the screen looks more blue than black. With local dimming on, the screen becomes more black, but there's more blooming around the center cross.

8.3
Picture Quality
Reflections
Screen Finish
Semi-gloss
Total Reflections
3.5 %
Indirect Reflections
0.5 %
Calculated Direct Reflections
3.0 %

This TV has impressive reflection handling, but the semi-gloss coating isn't able to fully diffuse reflections across the screen. This shouldn't be an issue in most rooms, though.

6.8
Picture Quality
Pre Calibration
White Balance dE
4.54
Color dE
3.11
Gamma
2.21
Color Temperature
6350 K
Picture Mode
Expert (Dark Room)
Color Temp Setting
Warm 2
Gamma Setting
2.2

With our pre-calibration settings, this TV has okay out-of-the-box accuracy. There are some noticeable inaccuracies in most colors and more noticeable errors in shades of gray, and the gamma doesn't quite follow the curve, with some scenes appearing too dark. The color temperature is a bit too warm, but this is relatively minor.

9.3
Picture Quality
Post Calibration
White Balance dE
0.18
Color dE
1.31
Gamma
2.20
Color Temperature
6842 K
White Balance Calibration
22 point
Color Calibration
Yes
Auto-Calibration Function
Yes

After calibration, the LG 55SM9000PUA has excellent accuracy. The white balance is almost perfect, as is the gamma, which tracks 2.2 perfectly. Most color errors are corrected, but there are still some noticeable issues with blues. Unfortunately, after calibration the white balance is worse, and is now a bit too cold.

You can see our recommended settings here.

8.0
Picture Quality
480p Input

480p content, like DVDs, looks great on the SM9000. There are no obvious upscaling artifacts.

8.0
Picture Quality
720p Input

720p content, like cable TV, looks great.

9.0
Picture Quality
1080p Input

1080p Blu-rays and older game consoles look excellent, almost as good as native 4k content.

10
Picture Quality
4k Input

4k content is displayed properly, with no obvious issues.

0
Picture Quality
8k Input

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

Picture Quality
Pixels
8.0
Picture Quality
Color Gamut
Wide Color Gamut
Yes
DCI P3 xy
88.73 %
DCI P3 uv
93.78 %
Rec 2020 xy
65.47 %
Rec 2020 uv
71.57 %

This TV has a great wide color gamut, very similar to the LG SM9500. The EOTF follows the PQ curve extremely well, before it rolls off near the TV's peak brightness. In 'Game' mode, the EOTF is nearly identical, as shown here.

If you find HDR content too dim, check out our recommended settings here. With these settings, HDR content is noticeably brighter in some scenes, as shown here.

7.1
Picture Quality
Color Volume
Normalized DCI P3 Coverage ITP
81.3 %
10,000 cd/m² DCI P3 Coverage ITP
37.5 %
Normalized Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
61.5 %
10,000 cd/m² Rec 2020 Coverage ITP
28.2 %

Decent color volume. Due to the limited contrast ratio, this TV can't display dark colors very well, and like most LED TVs, it can't display bright blues well.

8.7
Picture Quality
Gradient
Color Depth
10 Bit
Red (Std. Dev.)
0.096 dE
Green (Std. Dev.)
0.100 dE
Blue (Std. Dev.)
0.078 dE
Gray (Std. Dev.)
0.081 dE

The LG SM9000 has excellent gradient handling. There's some banding in grey, red, and green, especially in the darker shades. Enabling Smooth Gradiation doesn't affect the test pattern but makes real content look better.

9.4
Picture Quality
Temporary Image Retention
IR after 0 min recovery
0.21 %
IR after 2 min recovery
0.02 %
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 minor temporary image retention. This isn't uncommon with IPS TVs and does vary between units.

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

While some IPS panels can 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
7.8
Motion
Response Time
80% Response Time
5.0 ms
100% Response Time
13.6 ms

Good response time. There's a bit of overshoot in most transitions, although this shouldn't be noticeable for most people. Due to the TV's 120Hz flicker, there's noticeable duplication in motion, which could get distracting.

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

Unfortunately, this TV uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) to dim the backlight. It flickers at 120Hz at any backlight level below 100, resulting in noticeable duplications in motion.

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

This TV has an optional black frame insertion feature that can be used to help improve the appearance of motion. This causes a slight decrease in brightness. With 60Hz content, the backlight flickers at 60Hz automatically. When playing 120Hz content, the flicker frequency changes back to 120Hz automatically.

Find out more about the black frame insertion feature here.

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

The LG 55SM9000PUA has an optional motion interpolation feature. This feature can be used to increase the frame rate as high as 120 fps, known as the Soap Opera Effect, which some people don't like. The motion interpolation feature is decent, and even busy scenes are very smooth. When there's too much action the TV sometimes stops interpolating, causing artifacts.

Find out more about the motion interpolation feature here.

7.4
Motion
Stutter
Frame Hold Time @ 24 fps
28.1 ms
Frame Hold Time @ 60 fps
3.1 ms

Due to the relatively fast response time of the LG 55SM9000PUA, there's some stutter when watching 24p content, as each frame is held on longer. The amount of stutter can be reduced by enabling the motion interpolation feature or the black frame insertion 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

This TV can remove judder from any source, which is great. To remove judder, simply enable Real Cinema from the Picture Mode Settings menu.

8.2
Motion
Variable Refresh Rate
Native Refresh Rate
120 Hz
Variable Refresh Rate
Yes
HDMI Forum VRR
Yes
FreeSync
No
G-SYNC Compatible
Yes
4k VRR Maximum
60 Hz
4k VRR Minimum
48 Hz
1080p VRR Maximum
120 Hz
1080p VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
1440p VRR Maximum
120 Hz
1440p VRR Minimum
< 20 Hz
VRR Supported Connectors
HDMI

Update 07/27/2020: Updated the firmware and retested the VRR range.

Update 06/10/2020: We've received multiple reports that the 75" and 86" models don't support VRR at all.

Update 11/28/2019: Although not officially supported by NVIDIA, the LG SM9000 works with NVIDIA's new G-SYNC compatible mode when connected to a recent NVIDIA graphics card. Unlike officially supported TVs, like the LG C9, this must be manually enabled from the NVIDIA Control Center.

This TV has a 120Hz native refresh rate. Like the LG SM9500 and the LG C9 OLED, the LG SM9000 supports the new HDMI Forum VRR technology, which helps reduce screen tearing.

Inputs
8.8
Inputs
Input Lag
1080p @ 60 Hz
13.8 ms
1080p @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
84.5 ms
1440p @ 60 Hz
14.0 ms
4k @ 60 Hz
13.8 ms
4k @ 60 Hz + 10 bit HDR
13.9 ms
4k @ 60 Hz @ 4:4:4
13.9 ms
4k @ 60 Hz Outside Game Mode
84.4 ms
4k @ 60 Hz With Interpolation
82.4 ms
8k @ 60 Hz
N/A
1080p @ 120 Hz
7.1 ms
1440p @ 120 Hz
7.2 ms
1080p with Variable Refresh Rate
6.3 ms
1440p with VRR
6.6 ms
4k with VRR
15.7 ms
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)
Yes

The LG SM9000 has an excellent low input lag, as long as you're in 'Game' mode. Like the LG SM9500, it has an 'Auto Low Latency Mode', which automatically switches the TV to 'Game' mode to achieve the lowest input lag possible. To enable this, turn on the Instant Game Response setting.

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