LG (Lucky-Goldstar) releases a lot of TVs every year, probably more than anybody else. Most of them are inexpensive, but they rarely offer good value compared to their competition. Over the past few years, LG has become known for their OLED and IPS LCD TVs. Their OLEDs are especially notable for being the first of their kind to be widely distributed.
Compared to other brands
- OLED. The best LG TVs are OLED, and they remain the biggest player in this market. OLED TVs from other manufacturers still use a good amount of LG parts for their TVs.
- Great Viewing angles. Both their LED and OLED TVs generally have excellent viewing angles.
- Great Smart Platform. WebOS 3.5 remains the best Smart platform in 2017.
- Poor contrast. Except for their high-end OLED models, most LG TVs won't have great blacks and therefore average picture quality.
- Poor gray uniformity. LG's LED TVs often have worse than average uniformity.
- Poor Value. Their products are often weirdly placed in comparison to their competition and are consequently rarely recommended by us.
LG vs Samsung
Samsung TVs will, on average, have a better picture quality than most LG TVs. This is mostly thanks to their use of VA type LCD instead of LG's IPS, which trades contrast directly in front for wider viewing angles. This, of course, doesn't apply to LG's OLED series of TVs, which trump Samsung's offerings in almost every aspect. They do come at a definite price premium though.
LG vs Sony
Sony doesn't offer as many models in their range, but it isn't any narrower than LG's since it is a bit more diverse. They offer both VA and IPS type LCD TVs, and for 2017 they even have an OLED model. We've also found Sony's IPS TVs to usually have better screen uniformity compared to their LG counterparts.
Most LG TVs, unfortunately, don't offer the best value. While their IPS LCD offerings offer great viewing angles which are useful for wider living rooms, they aren't the only ones in this space, and competition will often best them. They were pioneers when it comes to OLED, and they still offer the best TVs on the market, but that, unfortunately, isn't representative of their whole range.
Best LG Smart TVs
LG has a large lineup that covers everything from the very cheap and small lower resolution TVs to the very high end with their OLEDs. The first letter corresponds to the resolution of the TV, the second letter in their model numbers correspond to the year of release and usually, the higher the number, the higher the price range.
- S* = Premium LED model
- *J = 2017
- *H = 2016
- *F = 2015
- U* = 4k
- L* = 1080p or below.
- C7 = Entry level 2017 OLED TV
- SJ8500 = 2017 High-end LED TV
- UH8500 = 2016 4K TV
- LF5500 = 2015 Low-end HDTV
Best LG 4k TV
The best LG TV we've reviewed is the C7 4k OLED TV. It offers exceptional picture quality thanks to its ability to display pure blacks. OLED TVs are capable of shutting off pixels individually, allowing for an effectively infinite contrast ratio. Pixels switch from one state to another instantly, so moving objects do not have long trails following them making watching sports a bliss. Viewing angles are unmatched too, making this TV especially good for wide rooms. Combined with the updated WebOS 3.5 smart platform, this makes the C7 very difficult to beat.
Best mid-range LG 4k TV
LG's best mid-range offering is the UH8500 LED Smart TV. It retains the more expensive C7's ability to maintain its picture quality when viewed at an angle, making it a great choice for wider living rooms.
It sports the same, excellent smart platform that is WebOS (albeit the 3.0 version). Input lag is low, and motion is quite quick, making this a good choice for both gamers and sports fans. Unfortunately though, the blacks aren't great in a darker environment, making it not the best choice for more movie-watching oriented buyers.
Best budget LG 4k TV
The best budget LG TV is the UH5500 4k LED TV. Unlike most LG LCD TVs, it offers good picture quality in a dark room thanks to its great contrast ratio.
While it doesn't have the wide viewing angles of other LG TVs, it still features the same WebOS platform that remains unmatched. Picture quality is much better than the average LG TV in this price range, and motion is decent as well. Overall, it offers a good package rarely found in this bracket and is a good buy, provided you can still find it.
LG's most expensive LED offering, supports 4 types of HDR and has a wide viewing angle. Available in a very large 86 inch size. Expect similar performance to 2016's UH9500.
Very similar to the SJ9500, but with a thicker, more simplistic design.
RGBW style pixel arrangement. Similar in design to the SJ8500.
LG's WebOS smart platform hasn't changed much over the years, but that's quite a good thing. A few years ago, it was by and large the best solution. While competition has tightened up since then, incremental and polishing updates allowed it to remain at the top. While it is visually very similar to the version that first launched, it is a lot more stable and responsive, and is probably the smart platform least prone to slow-downs.
Like the Samsung smart remote, LG’s remote offers point-and-click functionality, which makes navigating menus a lot simpler. It’s a chunkier remote than the sleek, curved offering by Samsung, but the trade-off might be worth it.
There are many more buttons on this remote than on Samsung’s, but they are clearly labeled and make it quicker to pick up the remote and use – no tutorial or manual required. LG also added a number pad to this year’s remote, which might be nice for people who want that option for switching channels.
It does have a cheap, plastic look to it, and the shape isn’t quite as nice as Samsung’s. In terms of function, though, it’s the best.
The look of the WebOS platform is refreshing. The interface doesn't feel heavy as it used to. The design is lightweight and colorful, and even the mouse cursor is shaped differently.
Pressing the Home button on the remote brings up the main menu. The bottom bar lists all the main apps, as well as the current source displayed on the TV (HDMI1 in this case, which can be renamed to match what is connected to this input).
The advanced settings button is where you can make more specific adjustments to your picture and sound settings, channel tuner, and network settings. There are also options for adjusting general settings, content and application locks, and general accessibility settings. One handy option lets you change the size of the cursor to one of three pre-determined sizes.
The tab at the far left displays all the apps currently open on the TV. Here you can close any you are finished with, or just make quick changes between the apps you are using.
The rightmost tab of the launcher opens the full list of apps and inputs on the TV. You can drag and drop them into whatever order you’d like, making it an easy thing to customize the order (and also change the names) of the icons for maximum speed and convenience.
In addition to free apps, there are a few paid options available, though nothing too exciting or interesting.
USB playback is quick and easy, and all our photos and video files opened just fine. On our LG UF7700, 4k video playback worked well, with no stuttering or audio problems.
Web browsers tend to be used pretty frequently on smart TVs. They’re poor options for prolonged browsing, but they’re good for the occasional search, or to stream videos from a website that does not have its own app.
In terms of real-world load times, expect simple sites to take around five seconds, and busier sites closer to 30 seconds. As with last year’s iteration, trying to scroll while a web page is loading was jumpy and slow.
The control has an integrated microphone. Pressing the voice control button allows you to launch apps, switch inputs, and search using Bing. You can also adjust the volume and power off the TV.
The remote didn’t have any difficulty understanding what was being said, which was great.
We haven’t had many issues with WebOS so far. One minor annoyance is that there are auto-playing video ads in the app store. Unless you spend lots of time browsing for apps, this isn’t likely to be a major problem.
LG undeniably offers top shelf products with the OLED TVs. The technology is now quite mature and is quite definitely the best for most people. Unfortunately, these prowesses do not reflect the rest of their TV range. While every smart TV LG offers now comes packaged with their excellent WebOS platform, the performance of the displays often leaves a lot to be desired. They do have consistently great viewing angles, but that comes to the cost of having mediocre picture quality in a dark room. Quite the contrast from their OLED offerings, some might say.