The LG UH5500 is a budget 4k LED TV with good picture quality, especially in a dark room. It has good motion handling, and deals with reflections well. Unfortunately it isn't all good, as the input lag is considerably higher than the competition and the screen doesn't get very bright.
The design of the TV is very basic, with two wide-set feet and relatively thick borders. It appears quite blocky and definitely won't be the centerpiece of any room.
Picture quality is good on the LG UH5500 TV. Dark room performance is great due to the high native contrast ratio and good black uniformity, making blacks appear really deep. Color reproduction is good and shows no problematic banding, but since it doesn't have a wide color gamut the color can't get really very saturated. Peak brightness is average and since it has no local dimming, it can't get small highlights very bright. Viewing angle is average and gray uniformity is very bad, making this TV not the best choice for people with a wide seating area whose main interest is to watch sports. Finally, upscaling is good and is on par with other LG TVs and surprisingly, this TV can deal really well with reflections.
The contrast ratio is very good, providing great dark scene performance. Even in a very dark room the blacks appear deep.
There is no local dimming feature to improve the dark scene performance of this TV. This video is only for reference.
The SDR peak brightness is average and is the same as when the TV is in HDR mode. This makes a TV not the best TV when set in a bright room since, at this level of brightness, it will have a hard time fighting glare.
The TV can't get very bright, and doesn't have local dimming to increase the brightness of highlights. The peak brightness remains the same whether it is a HDR or SDR signal, which is good as some other LG TVs offer limited SDR performance. For a very bright room the TV may not be able to counteract all of the glare.
The gray uniformity of the UH5500 is bad. All the sides and corners of the TV are darker. Some lighter horizontal bands and some darker vertical bands can also be seen. Dirty screen effect is visible when watching sports like hockey, football or soccer, where large panning shots over a uniform surface make those darker bands really visible. This is a little less noticeable while watching normal TV shows.
The picture quality declines rapidly when viewed at an angle. Colors lose accuracy and contrast is lost. Despite this, it is a better result than most other cheap VA TVs.
Update: We have changed the methodology of testing. Since this is an old TV which we don't have anymore, we extrapolated the results.
The black uniformity is very good on this LG TV. Some faint clouding can be seen on the lower left corner, but nothing really problematic, since it is only noticeable on our test picture. When looking at normal content, no clouding can be seen.
The TV can display a 10 bit gradient pattern smoothly, without 8 bit gradations. There are some green shade problems in the gray and also in the dark green, but in general the gradation is pretty smooth and without banding.
Prior to calibration, the results are quite good. The gamma is quite high so there may be some black crush. The colors are quite accurate and should be fine for almost anyone. The white balance is a little off, but without a side by side comparison to a calibrated TV it is hard to tell the difference.
Calibration is quickly performed with the 20 point system. It responds well to changes, and results in a very accurate image. All minor issues can be fixed, and the gamma is adjusted to the target if 2.2. The color space is a bit less responsive, but it was still possible to bring down the total color dE.
You can find our calibration settings here
The UH5500 doesn't have a wide color gamut, and so is only suitable to display SDR colors. There is an 'Extended' gamut option in the menu, but this is not suitable for HDR content.
The UH5500 can't produce very saturated colors at low luminance, resulting in a low color volume.
The UH5500 has one of the lowest reflection numbers, even when compared to high end TVs. This is great for a room with some bright lights. The semi gloss finish works to diffuse reflections, reducing their intensity.
There is no 3D support on this TV.
Motion handling is good. The response time is quicker than average which results in some blur following moving objects. Those who like the soap opera effect can activate it for 30fps content. Some judder is present when playing movies over a 60fps source such as cable box, but this isn't an issue as most people aren't sensitive to it.
There is some motion blur, but this will only be an issue with fast paced content. There is a little overshoot which can be seen in the brighter areas following the logo. The PWM flickering backlight can be seen in the duplications following the logo.
To play movies from a 24p source such as a Blu-ray player without judder, turn 'Real Cinema' on. Some judder is always present when playing movies over a 60Hz source, but this isn't an issue as most people don't notice it.
The UH5500 has a 60Hz panel which is able to interpolate lower refresh rate content. This is good for those who enjoy the soap opera effect.
The input lag is high across all resolutions and formats, which is bad for anyone looking to use the TV as a PC monitor or for gaming. It does support chroma subsampling at the most demanding resolutions, which is good.
The input lag is high, so the TV doesn't feel responsive. It is fairly consistent across different picture modes, resolutions and refresh rates, but varies by up to 10ms with each measurement. This is bad for gamers or those looking to use the TV as a PC monitor. The HDR input lag is the same as the SDR input lag.
Update 01/10/2017: The UH5500 just received a new update (04.30.82) that added a new HDR game mode to this TV. The input lag in HDR Game mode is now at 18.5ms. Note that input lag under gamer mode with a 1080p and 4k resolution also got by half, it is now around 25ms.
To enable chroma subsampling support, set the input icon to 'PC'. For higher bandwidth signals such as 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4, enable 'HDMI UHD Deep Color' for the HDMI port in 'General' settings. Supports chroma subsampling at a wide range of resolutions for those who are looking to use it as a PC monitor. Like other LG TVs, it doesn't support a 120Hz input.
Sound quality is average for a TV. Frequency response at lower volumes is quite good, but declines at the maximum volume. Some distortion is omnipresent, but also increases a lot at maximum volume. An external audio system is an improvement over the inbuilt speakers.
Note: Sound Quality test for TVs reviewed before 2017 was performed at 75dB, 85dB, and Max SPL. Starting 2017, the target SPL levels have been changed to 70dB, 80dB, and Max dB SPL.
Decent performance. Frequency response is good and mostly flat at lower volumes. However, there will be pumping and compression present under heavier loads. Additionally, maximum volume and low-end cutoff of are also close to average.
Average harmonic distortion performance. Very good distortion performance at 75dB SPL, however, as the volume increases there is a noticeable rise in harmonic distortion as well.
The UH5500 comes pre-loaded with WebOS 3.0. This is the same version of the smart platform found in all of the 2016 LG smart TVs. It is definitely an improvement on the previous generation, and provides an easy to use interface with lots of features. It also has access to loads of apps on the 'LG Content Store' for watching Netflix or Amazon Video, or listening to music on Spotify. Plugging a USB drive into the USB 2.0 port allows watching videos or a slideshow of photos straight from the TV.
The TV includes a basic remote, which is the same as other low-end LG TVs such as the UH6100. It is quite simple to use.
We tested the 65" (65UH5500). For the most part, we expect our review to be valid for the 50" (50UH5500).
If someone comes across a different type of panel or if their LG UH5500 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know and we will update the review.
The LG UH5500 is a budget offering with impressive picture quality, especially for the price. It has especially good dark scene performance, so is hard to beat for those with a dark room. Keep that in mind when viewing our recommendations below.