The LG SM9000 is a great 4k IPS TV with wide viewing angles and good peak brightness. This TV has great gaming features, with excellent low input lag, a fast response time, and support for HDMI Forum's new variable refresh rate technology. It's also future-proof, with four full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 ports, although we can't test this at the moment, as there are no HDMI 2.1 sources on the market. Unfortunately, like most IPS TVs, it doesn't look as good in a dark room, as it can't display deep, uniform blacks.
The LG SM9000 is one of LG's top 4k LCD TVs this year and is the replacement for the 2018 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 to the SM9000 are the LG SM9500, LG SM8600, and VA TVs like the Sony X950G, the Vizio P Series Quantum 2019, and the Sony X850G.
The LG SM9000 has an excellent design, nearly identical to the SM9500. It has a central stand, which requires less space on a table, and the back of the leg can be used for cable management, which is convenient. It has a sleek, modern design, the TV is very thin, and it looks great wall-mounted. Unfortunately, the TV wobbles a lot when nudged or if the table isn't very steady.
Some of the inputs are on the back of the TV, but the most commonly used inputs face to the side, which is great as they are still accessible when wall-mounted. The back of the stand is hollow, and can be used for cable management.
The borders of the TV are thin. Like the SK9000, the LCD screen sits on top of the borders, so the screen isn't protected very well and can get damaged easily when moving the TV.
The LG 55SM9000 is very thin and looks great wall-mounted. It's about the same thickness as the SM8600.
The temperature picture was taken with a different camera, as our FLIR E8 is being repaired. We don't expect this to have any impact on our results.
Decent build quality overall. The TV wobbles quite a bit more than last year's model and the SM9500, which is why we gave it a lower score.
We had to exchange our SM9000 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 build quality score.
The LG SM9000 delivers good overall picture quality. Like most IPS TVs, it can't produce deep blacks, which is especially noticeable in a dark room. This model features a full-array local dimming system, which, unfortunately, doesn't help much with dark room performance. The SM9000 has good peak brightness in SDR and decent peak brightness in HDR, but it's much dimmer than the SM9500. This TV has excellent gradient handling, though, with very little banding noticeable in areas of similar color. It also has a great wide color gamut, and the EOTF tracks the PQ curve perfectly until it's close to the TV's peak brightness, which is great for an accurate image in HDR.
Like most IPS TVs, the LG SM9000 can't display true blacks, and this is most noticeable in a dark room. Unfortunately, the local dimming feature is unable to noticeably improve contrast.
Update 07/22/2019: The 75" and 86" versions of the 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.
The SM9000 has a full array local dimming feature, but unfortunately, it is mediocre. It has fewer zones than the SM9500, and there is a lot more blooming. When displaying small, bright objects, the TV over compensates, 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.
Good peak brightness, but the LG SM9000 is significantly less bright than the SM9500 and slightly dimmer than the SK9000. 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'.
Decent peak brightness, but the SM9000 isn't quite as bright as the SK9000, and peak brightness is much lower than the SM9500. 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 local dimming set to 'Medium'.
Decent gray uniformity, slightly better than the SM9500. The sides of the screen are noticeably darker, and there is significant vignetting. In the center of the screen, there is some dirty screen effect (DSE). In near-black scenes, the uniformity is much better, and there are no significant issues.
Like most IPS TVs, this display has a good viewing angle. The image remains accurate to a wide angle, then starts to lose accuracy, and the image gets washed out gradually.
Unfortunately, like most IPS TVs, this TV has mediocre black uniformity. Due to the relatively large area of zones, the local dimming feature isn't able to dim close to the test cross, and there is noticeable blooming. With local dimming off, there is clouding throughout the entire image.
This TV has excellent 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.
With our pre-calibration settings, this TV has decent 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.
After calibration, the LG SM9000 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.
480p content, like DVDs, looks great on the SM9000. There are no obvious upscaling artifacts.
1080p Blu-rays and older game consoles look excellent, almost as good as native 4k content.
The LG SM9000 has a great wide color gamut, very similar to the 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.
Great gradient performance on this TV. With regular content, there is very little noticeable banding in areas of similar color, which is great. Like other LG TVs, there is a bit more noticeable banding with our test patterns; however, our measurements aren't taken from these test patterns, but from content designed to represent more realistic usage.
There is some minor temporary image retention. This isn't uncommon with IPS TVs and does vary between units.
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.
The LG SM9000 has great motion handling. It has an excellent response time, with very little overshoot, but unfortunately, there are noticeable duplications in motion, due to the 120Hz backlight flicker. Due to the fast response time, there is some stutter with low frame rate content, including movies. This can be reduced by enabling the TV's black frame insertion feature, or the optional motion interpolation feature. The SM9000, like the SM9500 and the C9, has a 120Hz refresh rate and supports HDMI Forum's new variable refresh rate format, which, unfortunately, is only supported by the Xbox One at the moment.
This TV has an excellent response time. There is some very minor overshoot in some transitions, but this shouldn't be very noticeable in most content. There is a bit more noticeable blur trail in our motion photo, and there are noticeable duplications, caused by the TV's 120Hz backlight flicker.
Unfortunately, this TV uses pulse-width modulation to dim the backlight, resulting in noticeable duplications in motion, as seen in the Response Time photo.
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 SM9000's black frame insertion feature here.
The LG SM9000 has an optional motion interpolation feature. This feature can be used to increase the frame rate as high as 120 fps, which reduces stutter but causes an effect known as the Soap Opera Effect, which some people don't like. This TV has a decent motion interpolation feature, and even busy scenes are very smooth. When there is too much action, though, the TV will sometimes stop interpolating, causing a sudden jolt in motion due to the sudden change in frame rate.
Find out more about the SM9000's motion interpolation feature here.
Due to the relatively fast response time of the SM9000, there is some stutter when watching 24p content, like movies. The amount of stutter can be reduced by enabling the motion interpolation feature or the black frame insertion feature.
The LG SM9000 can remove judder from any source, which is great. To enable the TV's judder removal feature, simply enable Real Cinema from the Picture Mode Settings menu.
This TV has a 120Hz native refresh rate. Like the SM9500 and the C9, the SM9000 supports the new HDMI Forum variable refresh rate standard. Unfortunately, the only source that supports this format at the moment is the Xbox One, and it isn't possible to determine the actual refresh rate range. Once a graphics card with support for this format is available, we will retest these TVs to determine the real VRR range.
The LG SM9000 has outstanding low input lag, and it supports almost all of the common formats. It can also display chroma 4:4:4 content perfectly in any format, except for 1080p @ 120Hz, which doesn't display 4:4:4 content properly. This TV supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, and it supports eARC.
Like the other 2019 LG TVs, the LG SM9000 has outstanding low input lag, as long as 'Game' mode is used.
Like the SM9500 and SM8600, this TV has an Auto Low Latency mode, known as 'Instant Game Response'. When connected to a supported device, the TV automatically switches to 'Game' mode, ensuring you get the lowest input lag automatically.
This TV supports almost all of the common formats. It can display chroma 4:4:4 content properly in most formats, except for 1080p @ 120Hz, as long as the input icon is changed to 'PC' from the Home Dashboard menu. The HDMI ULTRA HD Deep Color setting must be enabled for some of these formats to work.
Like the C9 and SM9500, LG advertises that the SM9000 supports a 4k @ 120Hz signal. Unfortunately, this doesn't work at the moment. This might require a firmware update that hasn't been released yet, or it might only work from an HDMI 2.1 source. We will retest this as new firmware is released and once an HDMI 2.1 source is available.
The LG SM9000 supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but not HDR10+. It's advertised as supporting HDMI 2.1, but as there are no commercially available HDMI 2.1 devices, we aren't able to test this yet. Once a source is available, we will retest and update the review.
This TV supports eARC when connected to a recent audio receiver. This makes it possible to pass higher quality DTS:X via DTS-HD MA, and Dolby Atmos via TrueHD audio from an external device through the TV to your receiver, simplifying the connections. If your receiver doesn't support eARC, Dolby Digital and DTS passthrough are also possible through ARC or optical.
Overall, the LG SM9000 has decent audio quality. It has a decent amount of body to its bass, but it lacks any thump or rumble. Dialog is clear, and it gets very loud, but there is significant pumping at higher volumes. For better sound, a dedicated speaker system or soundbar is recommended.
The SM9000 has a decent frequency response. The low-frequency extension (LFE) is decent, and this TV has some body to its base, but no thump or rumble. Above the LFE the response is relatively even, resulting in clear dialog. This TV can get very loud but does produce some pumping and compression artifacts at higher volumes.
Decent distortion performance. The total amount of produced distortion is a bit high, but not distracting. At max volume, the total distortion increases a bit.
The LG SM9000 has great smart features. The interface is intuitive, smooth, and fast, and it has one of the widest selections of apps. The remote is excellent and can be used with voice control and as a virtual pointer, like other recent LG TVs. Unfortunately, there are ads in the content store and on the main menu, and they can't be disabled.
The SM9000's interface is easy to use and fast. We didn't encounter any issues with the interface. The 2019 version of LG's WebOS system is very similar to the 2018 models. There are a few minor changes, including a new "Home Dashboard", which is very similar to Samsung's Smart Things system, and can interact with many IoT devices.