LG’s 2015 smart platform is pretty much the same as last year’s, which is great news, since there wasn’t much in need of improvement. Its design still feels modern, and the app selection is a bit better than on Samsung’s new Tizen OS. WebOS TVs released in 2014 should be able to update to the new WebOS 2.0 sometime later this year, which will offer somewhat speedier performance, as well as the new features.
Picture quality of LG smart TVs
|Smart TV||OS||Remote||Our Reviews|
|LH5700||WebOS 3.0||Basic||See review|
|LH5750||WebOS 3.0||Basic||See review|
|UH5500||WebOS 3.0||Basic||See review|
|UH6100||WebOS 3.0||Basic||See review|
|UH6150||WebOS 3.0||Basic||See review|
|UH6500||WebOS 3.0||Basic||See review|
|UH6550||WebOS 3.0||Basic||See review|
|UH7700||WebOS 3.0||Smart||See review|
|UH9500||WebOS 3.0||Smart||See review|
|B6||WebOS 3.0||Smart||See review|
|C6||WebOS 3.0||Smart||See review|
|E6||WebOS 3.0||Smart||See review|
LG TVs, for the most part, have good viewing angles and poor contrast. If you sit directly in front of your TV, you’ll get better overall picture quality by going with a different brand – most Vizio, Samsung, and Sony TVs have stronger contrast.
If you do want the viewing angle, or are a big fan of WebOS, check out our list of this year’s LG TVs, which includes links to in-depth reviews of most models.
The rest of this article reviews the smart features found in LG smart TVs. We used the LG UF7700 for this review, but will point out differences between models where applicable.
Note: The cheapest LG TVs don’t have WebOS, but most 2015 models do. Since the updated WebOS is the newest iteration of LG’s smart platform, and is the OS that is found on most of the mid-range and high-end TVs, that is what we’re focusing on in this review.
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.
There are a couple of different remotes available for cheaper LG TVs, but non-WebOS TVs come with this kind of remote.
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.
It’s not a huge leap, but a few solid tweaks to the WebOS system have improved LG’s already strong smart TV platform. With Samsung’s offerings a bit more limited at the moment, LG’s WebOS is now the best smart platform around. So far this year, our favorite LG smart TV is the LG UF7700. To compare that with the rest of LG’s lineup, head over to our list of all the LG TVs we have reviewed.