STILL SUPERB. BUT LG FINALLY HAS SOME COMPELLING COMPETITORS.
ONCE UPON A time they were an unaffordable niche TV with many annoying issues, but now LG’s OLEDs are the gold standard for the industry to follow – so much so that rivals like Sony and Panasonic are now using LG’s OLED panels to make their own TVs.
However, in recent years, LG has had a problem: where do you go when you’re so far in the lead? The result has been annual, incremental changes in model numbers, bolted-on features and some superficial design flourishes (that aren’t always better) while picture quality and performance have remained top-notch. This means if you see a slightly-older model LG OLED TV at a giveaway price, it’s certainly going to be worth checking out.
LG’s 2018 range consists of three models: the affordable C8 series, which comes in 55-inch and 65-inch variants; the chunkier, mid-range E8, which is essentially the same but with a tough (and heavy) glass back and slightly- better speakers; plus the drop-dead-gorgeous, W8 “Signature Wallpaper” series, which is almost-unfathomably thin to the point where you literally stick it to your wall!
The latter comes with a high-quality, Dolby Atmos-compatible Sound Bar that connects via a near-invisible ribbon. It’s available in 65-inch and a hard-to-find 77-inch variant. If you have that much money, you’ll likely not want the soundbar but then if you do, you might not mind having a spare. The W8 certainly impresses the pants off everybody with its thinness and, when wall mounted, you can make use of LG’s attractive fine-art settings, which transform your TV into famous pieces of art. It looks amazing!
We’re a bit less impressed with the E8 series, however. The glass backing makes it incredibly heavy – it’s 37KG with stand compared to the Wallpaper’s sub-7KG. We much prefer the C8 range, which is relatively light at 19KG (55-inch) and 25KG (66-inch). It might look and feel a bit cheap, but the image quality is essentially the same as the top-end models so do you really need to pay more?
All of the screens offer stunning colours and true-blacks thanks to the OLED technology and despite the thinness, they all offer impressive, rounded sound with some punchy bass. The partnership with Dolby means that when displaying compatible content (of which there’s an increasing amount on Netflix nowadays) Dolby Vision means every scene looks as good as it possibly can. When a model has Dolby Atmos compatible speakers, the complex, 3D sound enhances audio even further.
On top of all this, LG’s TVs are the most fun to interact with thanks to brilliant motion- controlled remotes, accurate voice control, and the very well designed WebOS operating system. The C8-series is still our pick and it’s dropped in price. There’s even a 77-inch version! But it’s not quite our winner! With better design elements, it’s Panasonic which nips ahead this month. But only by a whisker!