LG 55LA9650 Review: 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD 240Hz 3D Smart LED TV
Meet the LG 65LA9700’s smaller, considerably cheaper brother. The 55LA9650 offers a pretty damn decent 4K TV at a much more reasonable price than what you’ll find with many other models, from LG or its high end competitors. While it doesn’t have all of the same features and quality of Samsung’s or even LGs more advanced models of the same size, it still delivers an excellent viewing experience and a boatload of cool interactive goodies.
Overall, the LG 55LA9650 is a fairly affordable purchase that has gotten some really good reviews from satisfied customers.
The most favorable feature of this set is its price. Online it can be found for an average of $2,200 dollars and for as low as $1,850 with some retailers. This isn’t at all bad for a TV that comes from a major brand name manufacturer in a market where such 4K TVs regularly cost more than 3 or even $4,000 dollars.
And with this price comes a whole plethora of great features that will leave you very satisfied with your LA9650 once you’ve given it a test run.
The usual specs all apply here and the LA9650 gives you Ultra HD 4K quality resolution at 3,840 x 2,160 pixels along with a built in UHD enhancement engine technology that promises to scale up the picture quality on conventional HD content so that it matches 4K viewing expectations all around.
An LG Magic Remote lets you enjoy voice, motion powered and conventional click controls to navigate your LG’s programming, user interface, web browser and a whole host of online applications.
As far as 4K TV technology goes, the 55LA9650 falls far short of the features, specs and power you’d find in some of Samsung’s models of the same size or even on higher end LG TVs such as the LA9700 series. For one thing, instead of full array local dimming backlighting, it only has an edge-lit local dimming backlight. It’s speakers are also stationary, which is no big deal really, but not quite as cool as the motorized retractable speakers of the LA9700 series of LG TVs.
For a highly affordable 4K capable TV, the LG 55LA9650 is a great buy but if you want something that’s more feature rich and robust, then spend some more and go for a 65 inch Samsung TV or an LG LA9700.
LG 55LA9650 Specs
• Weight: 57.54 pounds
• Dimensions: 48.4” x 1.6” x 28.1” inches
• Screen size: 55 inches, measured diagonally
• Smart TV: Yes
• 3D Capable: Yes, passive 3D
• 3D Glasses: 4 pairs of “Flicker Free” 3D glasses included
• Refresh Rate: 240Hz refresh
• Screen Lighting: LED Edge-Lit backlighting with Local Dimming
• Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels Ultra HD
• Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi, WiFi Direct, NFC connectivity and an Ethernet port
• Remotes: one gesture powered “air mouse” Magic Remote
• Connectivity Ports: 3 HDMI ports (1 MHL compatible), 1 component, 1 composite, 1 Ethernet, 3 USB 3.0/2.0 ports, digital audio output
• Speakers: 34W speakers with 6 sound modes (standard, music, cinema, sport, game user)
Just because the LA9650 isn’t as powerful as its more badass LG cousin the LA9700, doesn’t mean it’s lacking for awesome highlights. In fact, most of the same features are there for both.
For one thing, it’s loaded with digital apps and gives you access to a very capable Smart TV platform that includes the Home Dashboard 3.0 interface, access to premium content, the App Store and access to the LG Cloud Service, where you can store your content or download new stuff from.
It also comes with a full web browser, access to the 3D World 3D content streaming service and has a SmartShare Plus platform. With SmartShare, which is one of LG’s unique features, you can wirelessly stream all of the content from your other devices such as tablets, smart phones, laptops and desktops right to your 4K TV screen and enjoy them at full visual power. You can also to the opposite with SmartShare, and stream content from your TV to your tablet or phone, letting you watch whatever is on your LA9650 even as you move through different rooms in your home.
Finally, we should also mention the 4 pairs of Flicker Free 3Dglasses that come with the TV, giving you the ability to enjoy its Passive 3D features without the distracting effects of flickering image quality.
The visual specs on the LA9650 are nothing to laugh at. While they aren’t on par with the absolutely top of the line visual technology you’ll find in something like the Samsung UNHU9000 series, they are nonetheless excellent and offer a robust 4K platform for any kind of gaming, HD and UHD 4K content you’d like to watch.
The 55 inch screen gives you 8.3 million pixels in a 3,840 x 2,160 Ultra HD resolution. The refresh rate of 240Hz and dual core processor work to ensure smooth movement even for action intensive content such as sportscasts, games and action movies. In addition to these essentials, LG’s proprietary Tru-ULTRA HD Engine uses a sequence of algorithms to upscale any conventional and normal HD content for maximum possible UHD clarity.
Best of all, LG has installed a HEVC (High Efficiency Video Codec) which is also known as H.265 onto their TV platforms. This means you can easily and effectively stream UHD content to your screen through the Smart TV interface. Furthermore, since the LA9650 is future 4K compatible, upgrades to HDMI and HEVC will be ready for your TV so you can accept new 4K content sources as they emerge.
Connectivity on the LA9650 is complete and comprehensive in several directions. For one thing, it gives you all the essential connection ports such as HDMI, USB 3.0 and 2.0 and NFC for easily streaming content from your smart phones. Furthermore, one of the HDMI ports is MHL compatible for wired uploading of HD mobile device videos and other content.
Thanks to its WiDi compatibility from Intel, the LA9650 can also wirelessly stream games, videos, or any other kind of content from a compatible computer or tablet right to your TV screen.
In addition to the above connectivity features, the internal software that backs them up is very robust. As we’d already mentioned, the LA9650 gives you a full web browser, access to the App Store, LG cloud services and all sorts of third party apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and social media from your TV screen. It’s also Skype ready and has USB playback that’s compatible for numerous audio/video/image formats such as DivX HD, Jpeg, MPEG, MP3 and PCM.
Like we already mentioned, the price of the LA9650 is definitely reasonable considering that this is a largish 4K TV from a name brand manufacturer. At $1850 to $2300 dollars for the 55 inch model we’re reviewing here, it’s more affordable than counterparts manufactured by Samsung, Sony and even more feature rich models from LG itself. If you really want a 4K TV but aren’t ready to splurge $3500 to $5000 dollars on one, then the LA9650 is your best bet in terms of quality.
The lack of HDMI 2.0 right out of the box is one problem that the LA9650 has. Another one is that there are only 3 HDMI ports to begin with. Furthermore, it has no built-in HD camera, obligating you to spend more on one that you have to manually connect to your screen.
Another con that the LA9650 suffers from include the lack of an upgradable external connection unit such as Samsung’s One Connect box for all the connectivity ports. Also, the Tru-ULTRA HD Engine that LG claims will upscale any content to 4K UHD quality doesn’t create a difference that’s really noticeable unless you’re sitting really close to your TV, at least as far as ordinary HD non-4K content is concerned.
• Very fine 4K/UHD picture quality
• Pretty decent rendering of regular HD content
• Smooth motion rendering with 240Hz and the the dual core processor
• Comprehensive wireless and port based connectivity
• Light weight
• Powerful Smart TV package
• Great user interface and access to LG web services
• 3D features work well
• It’s surprisingly affordable for a name brand 4K TV
• SmartShare, WiDi and NFC functionality
• Could use more HDMI ports and 2.0 compatibility
• All connectivity ports are built into TV
• No HD Camera included
• Sound quality could be better