A Review Of The LG EF9500 4K OLED TV – 65EF9500 & 55EF9500
The much anticipated LG EF9500 has recently been released and become available for purchase, and boy was it worth the wait. For a while now, most OLED TV’s have been of the curved variety, but for those of you (us included) that have been craving a top of the range flat screen OLED, our prayers have been answered.
The LG 65EF9500 features a dazzling 65 inch OLED screen while the 55EF9500 features a 55 inch, Native 4K UHD resolution and the much talked about version 2.0 of the WebOS operating system. Further, it supports media playback via both USB and DLNA.
However, despite its host of stunning features and impressive specs we do have a few gripes with the TV. Firstly, there is some slight image deterioration at high brightness levels. Secondly, the TV is not immune to the “dim edges” issue, but the problem isn’t as prevalent as it is with LG’s curved TV’s. Thirdly, motion handling isn’t the best we’ve seen so expect some slight juddering at times. And fourth and finally, input lag could be ever so slightly improved.
So what’s great about this TV? Well, quite a few things actually. First up, as mentioned above, it’s one of the only high end OLED TV’s that has a gorgeous flat display. But that’s just the start, the LG 65EF9500 also features something called “Immersive 3D” which produces astonishingly realistic, lifelike 3D images that are designed to, as the name suggests, immerse you in the content.
Another hotly discussed feature is “perfect black”. What perfect black does is cleverly switch pixels off completely when not needed, to achieve flawless deep, rich blacks for infinite contrast. And as we’re sure many of you already know, contrast ratio is one of the critical factors that determine the quality of the image. Compared to the SUHD like the Samsung JS8500, it tends to out perform.
The LG 65EF9500 also has one of the widest viewing angles of any TV in its range. This effectively means that someone sitting at the far right of the room can enjoy the same stunning picture quality as someone sitting slap bang in the center of the room. So no more fighting for the middle seat.
Still not enough for you? Well, then get a load of this. The LG EF9500 is one of only a handful of TV’s that has the official Netflix seal of approval. But what does this actually mean? It means that the TV has been evaluated and recognized as offering great app access, high performance and brilliant connectivity by Netflix themselves. This is the criteria that Netflix care about the most which makes this the perfect viewing companion for your many Netflix binge watching sessions.
The LG EF9500 also includes the latest WebOS 2.0. The OS is exceptionally intuitive, easy to understand and makes remarkably good use of the TV’s large screen real estate. No clunky menus or poorly designed layouts here. It truly is a pleasure to use. The slogan for WebOS 2.0 is “make TV simple again” – and in an age of ever complicated TV systems, it’s safe to say that WebOS 2.0 achieves its goal.
With many new TV’s, audio is often an afterthought, but not with the LG EF9500. The TV features a high quality sound system from none other than Harman Kardon. So the days of perfect visuals being spoiled by lacklustre, mediocre sound are finally behind you. And with both TV and movie studios investing more money than ever in sound for their movies/shows, with the LG EF9500 you can really make the most of it and get as close a feeling to what the studios intended.
4.0 - 23 Reviews
As you can see from the above, there are a whole host of things that are great about this TV. However, the TV isn’t without its faults and issues which we will discuss here.
Although the OLED screens output is sublime, especially with the added perfect black technology, it’s not flawless. As soon as you start increasing the TV’s brightness the issues start to become apparent. Pushing the TV past “50” on the brightness setting causes some greyness to start appearing. Even more worrying is the fact that even a small increase in brightness over a certain point results in a comparatively much larger deterioration in image quality.
Further, the TV also suffers from the “dim edges” issue, which is prevalent in some shape or form in almost all TV’s of this kind. It’s important to note that the “dim edges” issue on this flat screen is no way near as bad as on some of the curved screens from LG.
The other big weakness with this TV is its poor motion handling. There is quite a bit of juddering when playing footage that is at least 24p. Flipping a switch to turn on LG’s motion processing feature reduces this juddering but introduces a new issue into the mix, namely processing glitches.
The last issue is input lag. It’s not a huge issue and we’re just nit-picking here but it could be better for a TV in this price range. The LG 65EF9500’s input lag comes in at between approximately 33ms and 60ms. And 60ms is higher than most serious gamers would want in a TV.
The LG 65EF9500 is a visually stunning, aesthetically pleasing and feature rich TV. It’s one of the only well performing truly flat Native 4K UHD screens currently on the market. Stand out features for us are; the WebOS 2.0 operating system, the sublimely beautiful OLED screen, perfect black technology, wide viewing angle and superior sound from Harman Kardon.
The only thing that detracts from the TV are the few small issues it has. Namely; image deteriorating at high brightness levels, dim edges issue, unimpressive motion handling and less than perfect input lag levels. However, in the grand scheme of things we would consider these issues to be minor annoyances that only a subsect of the market will detect as opposed to fundamental problems.
ULTRA HD (3840x2160): Yes
Tru-4K Upscaler: Yes
Anti-Reflective Coating: Yes
Just Scan (1:1 Pixel Matching): Yes
Real Cinema 24p: Yes
4K UHD File Playback: Yes (HEVC, VP9)
Perfect Mastering Engine: Yes
Pixel Dimming: Yes
ULTRA Luminance: Yes
webOS: webOS 2.0
Processor: Quad Core
Magic Remote: 2015 (Included)
Natural Voice Recognition: Yes
Universal Control Capability: Yes
LG Content Store (App Store): Yes
Web Browser: Yes
FPR (Passive); Yes
Dual Play; Yes
3D Glasses; 2 Glasses Included
3D Type (SG/FPR) FPR (Passive)
Speaker System: 2 Channel
Output Power: 20W
Sound System: ULTRA Surround
Includes: Mono/Stereo/Dual (MTS/SAP), Dolby® Digital Decoder, DTS Decoder, Sound Designed by harman/kardon®, Clear Voice II, Wireless Sound Sync
Wi-Fi® Direct : Yes
Wi-Fi® Built-In: Yes
SIMPLINK™ (HDMI™ CEC): Yes
Video DivX HD
Photo JPEG, JPS, MPO
Audio AC3(Dolby Digital), EAC3, HE-AAC, AAC, MP2, MP3, PC M, DTS, RA, WMA
INPUTS / OUTPUTS
RF in (Antenna/Cable) 1 (Rear), Component Video In1 (Rear), Composite In (AV) 1 (Rear), Optical Output 1 (Rear), HDMI® 3 (Side), USB 3.0/2.0 1/2 (Side), LAN 1 (Rear), RS232 1 (Rear, Mini-Jack)
Power Supply (Voltage, Hz): 100V ~ 240V, 50/60 Hz
Standby Mode: 0.3W
DIMENSIONS / WEIGHT
65EF9500 - 65 inches, 55EF9500 - 55 inches
TV without Stand (WxHxD): 57.1” x 33.1” x 2”
TV with Stand (WxHxD): 57” x 34.8” x 9.3”
TV Shipping Dimensions (WxHxD): 66.1” x 36.8” x 10”
TV without Stand Weight: 46.7 lbs
TV with Stand Weight: 56.9 lbs
Shipping Weight: 74.3 lbs
OLED - As will be mentioned in more detail in the “visual specs” section below, one of the big highlights of this TV is OLED. The TV produces deep, rich blacks and sharp striking colour that is unachievable with other screen types due principally to the unique characteristics of OLED. OLED has “pixel-level lighting” which means it can accurately control the level of light going to each pixel – this also means that OLED screens handle and manage colour very well leading to increased accuracy, vibrancy and detail. And because with OLED each pixel sources its own light rather than there being an external backlight being shared amongst many pixels (LCD) there are no light block, seeping or haloing issues with OLED, which are prevalent among the majority of LCD screens.
Perfect Black – The benefits of OLED are enhanced even further with LG’s “perfect black” technology. This allows pixels to actually be turned off when needing to display black thus providing deeper, richer blacks an infinite contrast ratio.
Wide Viewing Angle – The spectacularly wide viewing angle that the TV enjoys is partly down to the OLED’s self-emissive nature which allows you to watch from a larger variety of angles than LCD allows without noticing any contrast, colour or saturation issues. Another thing that contributes to the wider viewing angle is the fact that the TV is straight and not curved.
3D Performance – A common weakness in TV’s, even at this price range, is 3D performance. Thankfully, the LG 65EF9500 handles 3D content beautifully. Part of the reason the 3D performance is so great is due to the OLED screen itself and its brilliant contrast performance, which allows for the achievement of a sense of “3D space” that is present even in dark scenes. This makes a pleasant change from most other TV’s that produce 3D content that still feels too flattened. Further, the TV doesn’t suffer from any of the crosstalk and flickering problems that are prevalent with other TV’s and their proprietary 3D technologies.
Thin Without Sacrificing Quality – The LG 65EF9500 is built in the “floating flat” style. It’s impossibly thin, but remarkably, it seems no quality is sacrificed in order to achieve this thinness, neither in the visuals or sound. As mentioned above, and discussed thoroughly, the screen is sublime and produces some of the best images from a TV we’ve seen to date. Further, the audio, courtesy of Harmen Kardon, produces crisp, clean, well rounded, accurate sound that doesn’t sound tinny or muffled as you may expect it to, being packed into such as a thin frame. Of course it doesn’t have the booming bass or sonic immersion that a surround system would have, but we weren’t expecting it to. What it does achieve in such a thin frame though, is nothing short of remarkable.
4.0 - 23 Reviews
As this is a 4K TV you would expect us to kick off this section by raving about 4K. However, we’d argue there is another attribute that contributes even more to the stunning images that the LG 65EF9500 produces, and that is OLED coupled with LG’s perfect black technology.
The LG 65EF9500 is no match for any 4K LCD screen because of the fundamental difference in the way that OLED pixels behave. Where an LCD screen uses a backlight, the OLED has no backlight and the pixels respond independently of each other. The result? Super crisp images not susceptible to the washout experienced by even the best LCD screens and the ability to produce a richer and more detailed colour palette not possible for it not for the unique characteristics of OLED pixels.
And things get even better with this TV’s proprietary perfect black technology. It essentially turns off the relevant pixels when needing to display black, something that is impossible to do with any LCD screen. This makes a drastic difference by producing some of the deepest, richest blacks we have ever seen as well as achieving unrivaled contrast, making bright images on the screen pop like never before.
Alas, the display is not without some minor issues though. Firstly, you can only enjoy the true benefits of the TV’s black levels if you keep a tight rein on the TV’s brightness output. The TV also suffers slightly from the ever present “dim edges” issue, but no way near as much as their curved TV’s. To offset some of these brightness issues the LG 65EF9500 has a separate “OLED Light adjustment” setting that enables you to boost the visual intensity without it effecting the quality of the image as much as without this mode turned on. Unfortunately, even the light adjustment setting has its own set of quirks and issues; namely light instability, image noise and image fizzing. It must be noted though that these issues are a lot more apparent if watching standard or HD content as opposed to watching 4K content.
The TV has a generous 3 HDMI ports which are plenty enough for the majority of users, however there is always the ability to expand the number via expansion devices that are currently on the market. The TV also features 3 USB inputs, 1 Component Video In, 1 Lan, 1 RF in (Antenna/Cable), 1 Composite In (AV). And as you can expect the TV has WiFi, both Direct and Built-In as well as SimpLink. In short, it has enough connectivity that we can say LG has made a significant effort to future proof the TV. We are particularly impressed with the large number of HDMI ports and WiFi systems, especially for a TV that is so slim and light.
The 65-inch 65EF9500 comes in at $4,997 with Free Shipping on Amazon.com, and its little brother, the 55EF9500 is $2,997 also with Free Shipping on Amazon.
4.0 - 23 Reviews
We already discussed the shortcomings of the LG 65EF9500 in detail above, however we thought it would be useful to outline the main points again succinctly below.
Firstly, the image quality suffers when you push the brightness up too much even when you turn on the TV’s specific OLED bright adjustment mode. Secondly, the TV suffers from the “dim edges” issue, although no way near enough as much as curved TV’s from LG and other similar brands. Thirdly, the TV does have some slight motion handling issues, thus sometimes producing the much maligned “juddering” that is well known by AV enthusiasts. The fourth and final issue, is in our opinion the least problematic but still worth mentioning, it’s a slight input lag problem which won’t really be noticeable by most users but may be picked up by gamers, especially those playing first person shooters.
• Stunning image quality thanks to OLED screen.
• Deep, rich blacks and infinite contrast thanks to “perfect black” technology.
• Wide viewing angle thanks to flat screen and OLED technology.
• High quality sound from Harman Kardon.
• Superior 3D image rendering.
• WebOS 2.0 operating system.
• Slight image deterioration at high brightness levels.
• “Dim edges” issue.
• Some motion handling issues.
• Slight input lag issues.