LG B7 OLED 4K HDR TV Review (OLED55B7A, OLED65B7A): Top-shelf Performance At A Great Price
Stephan Jukic – November 14, 2017
LG’s B7 OLED 4K HDR TV is without a doubt the cheapest of the company’s newest lineup of OLED models (for 2017). It’s solidly more affordable than the extremely similar C7 model and much more affordable than LG’s E7, G7 and W7 premium OLEDs. Despite all of these differences in pricing, the performance of the B7 in comparison to its more expensive cousins is remarkably similar, to the point of being virtually equal in all key metrics of performance even when compared against LG’s most expensive and prestigious models like the flagship W7 model (no we’re not kidding, all of the color, contrast, motion handling and other key display measurements bear out this observation.). In other words, with the B7 LG has created the same ultra-premium display experience you’d find in its very best OLED televisions but at a genuinely consumer-friendly price that doesn’t reach into the thousands of dollars.
Given the above performance description, the B7 performs as well as you might expect if you’ve seen anything of LG’s OLED 4K HDR TVs in action lately. Perfect total black levels, pixel-precise local dimming and fantastic color delivery combine with motion handling that no LCD TV can hope to match yet to give you a 4K TV which is superb for almost any kind of content and particularly excellent for HDR 4K entertainment and sports in particular. Let’s get down to what we like and don’t like about the B7.
- Stunning OLED-perfect black levels
- Infinite Contrast
- Superb HDR color performance
- Excellent motion handling
- Very light, elegant physical design
- Brightest OLED TV yet
- Multi-format HDR support
- Peak brightness diminishes under some conditions
- Slight image retention problems
- No Dolby Atmos audio support
The Bottom Line
Simply stated, we love the LG B7 OLED 4K HDR TV. It offers what is without a doubt the best amount of value and quality per dollar spent of all of LG’s OLED TVs and for this reason we recommend it above all other LG OLED TVs for buyers who want the astonishing display performance of OLED without spending too much on getting it. We’d even go as far as to say that the B7 performs just as well as even the priciest 2017 OLEDs in every key display metric. LG’s C7 is a very slightly better also-affordable OLED television due to Dolby Atmos audio support and slightly better speakers but these differences aren’t enough to make it the better value proposition.
Like all of LG’s OLED TVs that we’ve reviewed so far since at least 2015, the B7 sits nearly at the top of the general 4K TV performance pyramid almost across the board. These TVs may be more expensive than most LCD TV models in their different size categories but the B7 brings this price disparity down to the most reasonable levels we’ve yet seen while being just as good a performer as other still extremely expensive flagship OLED models for this year. It even manages to be cheaper than some similarly priced premium LCD HDR 4K TVs from rival and that’s pretty damn cool by OLED TV standards. In other words, there are many good things about the B7 across different categories of measurement. Here are the most noteworthy.
Starting with its design, we love the look of the LG B7. It’s physically almost identical to its C7 cousin and due to the nature of OLED display technology, offers a nearly razor-thin display panel with a minimalist, remarkably light body supporting it. The B7’s stand comes in a couple of different forms, one with a fairly small footprint, similar to that of the C7 OLED and another that’s crescent shaped, more stylish but also with a slightly less stable feel to it, though only to a minor degree. All of the connectivity ports are hidden along one side of the back of the TV and its display is completely flat, which we appreciate since LG’s 2015 and 2016 fad for making seemingly every one of its 4K OLED TVs curved was simply pointless from a practical standpoint and annoying too. The B7’s display is also aesthetic in that it comes with some truly thin bezels along the edges, which become essentially invisible if the TV is running content in a darkened room, thus creating a sort of “window into another world” feel to the viewing experience.
LG has made the B7 out plastic and metal, with metal bezel edges, and the rest of the body out of plastic. Its color varies between polished white and burnished silvery metallic and these two complement each other quite nicely.
The Display performance of OLED 4K HDR TVs has always been excellent and in some ways downright fantastic compared to LCD 4K HDR rivals, and now in the 2017 models it has only become much better. That said, this description applies completely to the B7 and if anything, the single most remarkable overall characteristic of this particular television is that despite being the very cheapest of this year’s OLED 4K HDR models, it performs pretty much identically to its much more expensive E7, G7 and even W7 flagship TV cousins. It delivers the same perfect blacks as them, the same superb color gamut coverage, the same HDR display specs and the same nearly perfect motion handling. It’s also capable of some very high peak brightness. In other words, the LG B7 is as good a performer as any OLED TV you’ll find among the 2017 models in all of its core display specs and in pulling this off, it outclasses just about any LCD 4K HDR TV on the market today. We’ll go into further detail on this in our Display Specs section further down in this review, where we break down just how well the B7 performs across several metrics.
In more detailed terms, this television delivers stunning HDR performance, fantastic overall content rendering and some of the best black levels, contrast, color vibrancy and motion smoothness you’ll see in any 4K TV for this year and it does this largely due to the nature of OLED display technology. Unlike LCD screens, OLED displays have no backlight. Instead each and every one of their 8.29 million pixels (in the case of a 4K model) create their own variable light or can be turned off completely. As a result, blacks can be made total with none of the light bleed that even the best LCD TVs allow to come through and local dimming as you might know of it in LCD TVs basically doesn’t exist. Instead, bright and totally dark can be controlled perfectly down the single pixel level. The B7 delivers all of this as well and uniformly as any other OLED television.
Aside from its perfect contrast, black level and dimming capacities, OLED display technology is also superb for motion handling. Because the pixel illumination and color delivery of the B7 and other OLED televisions doesn’t depend on a complex backlight, rapid changes in what sort of colors individual pixels display for changing content and motion on the screen are possible. This of course means that motion blur is virtually eliminated in the B7 and its cousins. That’s great news for fast-paced content and especially for live sportscasts in 4K or other resolutions. You simply cannot find an LCD 4K HDR TV, no matter its price, which performs quite as smoothly as an OLED like the B7 at handling motion.
Furthermore, because this TV comes with a native 120Hz display panel it can run any kind of 4K UHD content with smooth high quality motion interpolation that looks great and delivers low soap opera effect. We love the motion performance of the B7 (and pretty much all of its OLED cousins).
High dynamic range in its fullest expression with both wide color gamut and enhanced contrast, brightness and black levels always looks stunning in a 4K TV of any kind that delivers it, but with LG’s OLED models, this gets taken to some truly impressive levels of beauty if you’re using them for HDR content viewing. The B7, like all of its OLED cousins since 2016 does a fantastic job on this front. Not only does the TV support both HDR10 and the even more advanced and visually appealing Dolby Vision HDR format, it handles both beautifully. The HDR color rendering is deliciously vibrant and realistic with very high color gamut coverage and the perfect black levels of OLED display tech make the contrast levels incredible in this model. Furthermore, due to that pixel-perfect capacity for dimming and illuminating content, highly fine details of contrast and color brightness can be made to look incredibly good, better than we’ve seen them in most LCD HDR TVs and this effect is especially noticeable when Dolby Vision HDR content is being played back due to its scene-by-scene refinements.
We should also note one particular thing we love about the B7 and its 2017 OLED cousins in particular: the technology of organic light emitting diodes has traditionally been weaker than LCD TV display in one major regard: it’s not capable of getting quite as bright. In the B7 this definitely isn’t the case. While it can’t match the highest peak brightness we’ve seen from some premium LCD HDR TV models like Samsung’s Q9F flagship QLED TV or Sony’s remarkably good X930E television models, the B7 does reach levels of peak brightness of up to over 800 nits. This is better than a vast majority of mid-range and even some premium LCD HDR televisions and definitely brings OLED display way beyond problems with peak brightness. Combine this peak luminosity with OLED-perfect black levels and the B7 blows away with the quality of its HDR.
4.7 – 4 Reviews
We honestly have little in the way of complaints about LG’s line of OLED 4K HDR TVs. They were always top performers and they’ve only gotten better since then. The B7 is no exception and given its low price paired with flagship-level display performance, it really knocks the ball out of the park in our view. However, no 4K HDR TV is perfect and couple of things are worth mentioning here. None of these come anywhere close to being deal breakers but you should at least know about them.
First and foremost, if the thing you most want in your HDR television is out-of-the-park brightness, even the B7 is not for you. This television manages levels of peak brightness that are phenomenal by OLED TV standards and even impressive by the standards of most non-flagship LCD HDR TVs but they still don’t quite break 1000 nits and call us pedantic but we thought this was a bit disappointing for the 2017 OLED HDR lineup. It’s a small issue but it’s worth mentioning briefly.
Moving on, the native speaker power of the B7 series of TVs is pretty weak. We’d even venture to say that it’s the biggest defect with this particular model. LG’s pricier C7, E7 and upwards models definitely beat the B7 on this count so if you go for this otherwise superbly priced model, be ready to buy yourself a decent external speaker system or sound bar if you want a truly cinematic level of sound power. The TV itself is only good for basic decent audio and doesn’t support Dolby Atmos sound either. LG’s other 2017 OLED televisions do and this is another benefit they have over the B7. However, Dolby Atmos pass-through is possible so if your speakers support it, the B7 is still good to go for this.
On a final note, it’s worth mentioning that the B7, like all OLED televisions, does suffer from a slight image retention problem that you won’t find in any good LCD 4K TV. Playing video games with static graphics or leaving static content of any kind on the TV screen for too long creates a slightly visible retained image that will only go away after a few seconds or as new content moves across the OLED display of this TV. This is another “major” problem that the B7 shares with its OLED cousins but we didn’t consider it too bad when weighed against the benefits of the B7’s picture performance. To alleviate this problem, you can go into the B7’s ‘Picture settings’ page, and under ‘OLED Panel Settings’ find a handy little option called ‘Pixel Refresher’ which basically recalibrates the screen quickly to get rid of those annoying little image imprints. This process is bloody tedious though. It lasts around one hour, and the TV needs to be shut off while it’s running.
Its few minor flaws aside, we absolutely love the LG OLEDB7A 4K HDR TV model. It’s quite possibly our single favorite LG OLED television so far and definitely provides some tremendous value. Once again, this television will give you THE SAME display performance as the most expensive LG OLED TV but at a ridiculously lower price. That’s awesome all by itself.
Key TV Specs
- Screen size: 55 diagonal inches (OLED55B7A), 65 diagonal inches (OLED65B7A)
- Smart TV: WebOS 3.5 with Apps and Full Web Browser
- HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
- VP9 Included. Yes
- HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
- HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
- HDR Support: Yes, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log Gamma
- Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate
- Screen Lighting: OLED panel
- Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
- Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
- Remotes: LG smart button remote with voice recognition
- Connectivity: 4 HDMI (all of them 2.0a with HDCP 2.2) ports, 3 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 Digital Audio Out,
- Sound: 2.2 Channel with40W (Woofer: 20W) speakers
- Contrast Ratio: infinite (native, real contrast)
- Black Level maximum: 0.000 nits
- 3D Technology: N/A
- TV dimensions (55 inch model): 48.4″ x 28.0″ x 1.8″ inches without stand, 48.4″ x 29.5″ x 8.5″ with stand
- TV weight (55 inch model): 42.3 lbs w/ Stand, 38.1 without stand
- Processor: 4K HDR Processor
Some Important Highlights
OLED Black and local dimming: OLED TVs are universally equipped to deliver the best black levels possible of any 4K TV technology in existence today and this characteristic of their pixels is pretty much the same in all models we’ve yet reviewed. The 2017 B7 model delivers just as well as any other OLED model we’ve ever reviewed and the overall effect on picture quality and perceived color vibrancy is stunning indeed. Since black levels are perfect in this TV, contrast is in effect infinite and thus perceived more sharply despite the fact that the B7 doesn’t quite deliver the same peak brightness as some premium LCD HDR 4K TVs.
Another major aspect of OLED display technology which relates directly to these perfect blacks and infinite contrast ratios in the B7 and its cousins is the display panel’s capacity for completely dimming or lighting up parts of the screen right down to the level of individual pixels. Since the B7 (as a 4K TV) has a total of 8.29 million pixels on its screen, you can image just how good the local dimming is with OLED display. Not even the very best LCD TVs come anywhere close to matching this level of precision with their pixel zone-based local dimming capacities and LED backlight arrays.
Superb Peak Brightness: As we commented further above, the B7 OLED TV delivers nowhere near the peak brightness of the best and most premium full-array LCD/LED 4K HDR TVs being sold today. It won’t match models such as Samsung’s new QLED TVs, Sony’s X940E Full-array 4K HDR TV or even 2016 4K HDR LCD TVs like the Samsung KS9800 or much less the ultra-bright Sony Z9D televisions. However, by OLED TV standards, the B7 creates some of the best luminosity levels we’ve yet seen in these kinds of TVs and when these levels are combined with its total black level, the resulting perceived brightness is impressive.
WebOS smart platform Improvements: WebOS 3.5 is the version of this smart platform found in LG’s 2017 4K TVs and it’s better than ever. We’ve always considered WebOS to be among the best of the native smart TV systems found on the market since our reviews of even the old 2014 LG 4K televisions. This latest version is more user-friendly, feature-loaded and navigable than ever before with the B7’s smart remote. A cursor also follows the movement of the remote for the B7 as its pointed at the screen, allowing for easy individual selection of apps, content and other things without having to scroll as much. WebOS 3.5 comes with voice control as well
4.7 – 4 Reviews
Key Display Performance Metrics
Black Level, Local Dimming and Contrast: When it comes to OLED technology, these two metrics lose the complexity they can have with LCD TVs. Black level in the B7 is perfect and contrast is thus infinite in this 4K HDR TV. As a result of how OLED display works, local dimming is also precise down to the individual pixel level. Local dimming isn’t even the correct term here. A better name for what OLED does in the B7 or any cousin of it is pixel dimming, since individual pixels are getting controlled for nearly perfect control of bright and dark.
Brightness: The OLEDB7A television is exceptionally bright by OLED TV standards and even exceptionally bright by the standards of all but the best premium 4K LCD HDR TVs. In this category it really impresses for what it is. We’d have loved to see LG break the 1000 nit barrier in the 2017 TVs but meh, that’s a minor issue. In SDR mode, the B7 doesn’t perform badly at all at producing peak and sustained bright highlights but it’s full screen luminosity (100% of the display lit up) is weak in both HDR and SDR modes. This is typical for OLED screens so far. On the other hand, it can create amazing highlights when set to HDR content. That said, the specific specs are as follows:
- Overall SDR peak brightness for normal movie/TV content: 395 nits
- Peak 2% display area display SDR brightness: 423 nits
- Peak 10% display area SDR brightness: 419 nits
- Peak 100% display area SDR brightness: 149 nits
- Sustained 10% SDR Brightness: 401 nits
- Sustained 100% SDR brightness: 139 nits
- Overall HDR peak brightness for normal movie/TV content: 672 nits
- Peak 2% display area display HDR brightness: 829 nits
- Peak 10% display area HDR brightness: 759 nits
- Peak 50% display area HDR brightness: 321 nits
- Peak 100% display area HDR brightness: 146 nits
- Sustained 10% HDR Brightness: 741 nits
- Sustained 100% HDR brightness: 144 nits
These figures aren’t bad by mid-range HDR TV standards but they come nowhere close to what the QLED TVs and the 2016 SUHD TVs were capable of. They also don’t match what Sony’s X900E can do, but considering the traditional brightness specs of OLED display, the B7 performs stunningly well and this is augmented even further by its total infinite black levels. That said, we are hoping to see LG break the 1000 nit barrier in its 2018 OLED models.
Color Performance: The LG B7, as a full high dynamic range 4K TV, offers both 10-bit color and WCG (wide color gamut) support for nearly 100% of the DCI-P3 color space. HDR TVs tend to generally perform very well on color delivery and the B7 is a particularly powerful example of how LG has continued to improve on this metric of display performance in its 2017 models. As such, this model delivers nearly perfect 10-bit color support with virtually no banding in any gradation of the 1.07 billion RGB (Red Green Blue) color values that it can display. Furthermore, this television’s support of the DCI-P3 wide color gamut space is exceptionally high at 97.9%. This is the best DCI-P3 color space coverage we’ve yet seen from any 4K OLED TV to date in fact. The B7 also effectively represents a solid 74% of the much larger Rec 2020 color space, which is outstanding.
As for color accuracy, it’s also remarkably good, with a color delta E of just 1.11 after a bit of calibration through the B7’s picture settings menus. Finally, in terms of color volume, the B7 performs well but suffers from one minor problem. This is an inability to show extremely bright colors at the levels of brightness that they’re supposed to have. This is however more due to limitations in OLED pixels than any deficiencies of this model’s general color specs. OLED is getting better at showing bright white light but works a bit less effectively on objects that are both very colorful and need to be very bright. Average viewers watching content without the use of calibration and measuring equipment, normally basically, probably won’t even notice any of these little details. Instead and especially when being used to view an HDR movie, the B7 will deliver what looks spectacular to the naked eye.
Motion Handling and Upscaling: The motion handling of the LG B7 is downright superb across the board. Since this is an OLED TV, it manages motion blur with exceptional smoothness and an extremely low nearly perfect response time of just 0.4 milliseconds (the average in even the best LCD 4K TVs is 10 ms, for comparison). There is a bit of image flicker but it’s a minor issue that won’t even be visible for most normal content viewing. As for motion interpolation on the native 120Hz panel of the B7, well it’s basically perfect, with extremely smooth handling of content sources with much lower frame rates.
Finally, the B7 and all of its 2017 OLED 4K cousins support full 24p content playback without judder, in all formats.
Connectivity & Gaming
Below are the connectivity options of the Samsung B7 4K HDR TV. All major advanced content connectivity specs are included and this model is fully and superbly capable of console gaming and PC monitor use in all major resolution formats, frame rates and color subsampling modes. Most importantly, for console gaming, the two B7 models robustly support all content, color sampling and major resolution formats from game consoles and within Game mode do all this with excellently low input lag. Here the 2017 OLED TVs heavily outperform their 2016 counterparts from LG. The specific readings below show what we’re referring to:
- 4k @ 60Hz: 22.9 ms
- 1080p @ 60Hz: 22 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz + HDR: 23.1 ms
- 1080p @ 60Hz + HDR: 22.7 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz Outside Game Mode : 64 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4: 22.2 ms
- 1080p @ 60Hz @ 4:4:4 + HDR: 21.8 ms
Now. Here are the B7’s inputs, all of them located within the TV’s rear connectivity section:
- HDMI : 4 (All come with HDCP 2.2 and full HDMI 2.0a capacity)
- USB : 3 (USB 3.0)
- Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
- Analog Audio Out RCA : 0
- Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
- Ethernet : 1
- Tuner: 1
The B7 TV models also offer audio connectivity in the following types
- 1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
- 1 Passthrough ARC DTS
- 1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
- 1 Passthrough Optical DTS
LG has priced their B7 wonderfully at this point and right now, near the end of 2017 and into 2018 this high-end OLED TV with top-shelf display performance is almost ridiculously cheap by the standards of these TVs. The 55 inch model is selling for well below $1700 and even the 65 inch model is priced to sell. The following are the latest prices as of this posting, though we suggest clicking the below Amazon links to check them for discounts, sale offerings and general price reductions which can happen at any time.
55 inch OLED55B7P 4K HDR OLED Smart TV: $1,596.99
65 inch OLED65B7P 4K HDR LCD Smart TV: $2,596.99
4.7 – 4 Reviews
Story by 4k.com