LG E7 OLED 4K HDR TV Review (OLED55E7P, OLED65E7P): Exquisite But Expensive
Stephan Jukic – November 16, 2017
LG’s E7 OLED 4K HDR TV is one superb television almost across the board. It delivers stunningly good picture quality for nearly any kind of content and is a particularly exceptional performer at handing different types of HDR video sources. In addition to this, a highly versatile and thoroughly robust set of other features for connectivity, dedicated high-end audio, media support and design make the E7 into a superb premium 4K UHD HDR home entertainment system. LG has definitely outclassed what they pulled off in the similarly built 2016 E6 model here and we can’t recommend the E7 enough in terms of quality.
On the other hand, the E7 does suffer from some minor problems common to all current OLED TVs and the price of this particular model is rather steep. Also, amusingly, gets some pretty stiff competition from its own LG OLED cousins the C7 and B7 models. These latter TVs lack the innovative design of the E7 but offer virtually identical display performance. That said, few 4K TVs will look quite as impressive as the E7 just sitting in any home theater room in the home. Its design is a definite eye-catcher.
- Stunning OLED-perfect black levels
- Infinite Contrast
- Superb HDR color performance
- Excellent motion handling
- Very light, elegant physical design
- Brightest OLED TVs yet
- Multi-format HDR support
- Excellent native audio support
- Peak brightness diminishes under some conditions
- No 3D support
- slight image retention
The Bottom Line
We love the look and feel of LG’s E7 4K OLED TV. It does what it needs to do beautifully while looking very elegant in any home. You can get the same essential display performance from cheaper LG OLED 4K HDR TVs in the 2017 lineup but neither of them will look quite as good as the E7 or offer up its same level of integrated audio support. The decision between going for this particular LG model or something cheaper from the brand (assuming OLED is something you definitely want in your 4K TV) should be made based on what you’re comfortable paying for.
LG’s OLED 4K TVs, and their HDR 4K models from late 2015 onwards, have all been stunningly good home theater options. The E7 is definitely no exception to this rule. As one of the company’s flagship 4K TV models for 2017, this model excels across almost every major performance metric you can throw at it. Yes, it’s expensive, and that’s a bit of a weakness to its overall value (for reasons we’ll get to shortly in our “Bad” section) but in terms of raw quality, there’s very little that can be taken away from it. The E7 essentially outclasses the vast majority of LCD 4K TVs in several key regards and in other ways, it performs better than we’ve ever seen from OLED 4K TVs previous to the 2017 lineup. Let’s get down to its best aspects in broad terms.
First and most basic, there’s the beautiful design of the LG OLEDE7P. This is one stunningly beautiful model that will stand out and impress in any living room. LG has basically divided its 4K OLED TV designs into three categories for this year and the build of the E7 is definitely the most aesthetically pleasing and in some ways practical of the three. It follows from the “picture on glass” design of the flagship 2016 E6 and G6 models, by which the entire display is made out of a single extremely thin glass pane with even the edges being glass and this entire structure resting atop a single rather unobtrusive sound bar. Behind the lower portion of the ultra-thin glass display is the area where majority of this TV’s internal hardware is located, along with connectivity ports. The very thinness of the glass display panel (and it’s really thin, measuring just 1.4cm, or half an inch thick with no metal or hard plastic support behind most of it) can make moving the TV a bit tricky if you want to avoid damage but at the same time, this same ultra-minimal elegant build makes the E7 model also rather exceptionally light in overall weight.
The bottom sound bar part of the 55 inch version of the TV is just under 50 inches across and below this is an extremely squat, thin TV stand that’s 18.8 inches across. However, since the 48 inch bottom of the sound bar rests barely an inch above this, in practice, the E7 has a 48 inch wide footprint for standing upright, and this can be impractical with some types of surfaces. The bottom line here is that the E7 is superbly elegant, light and absolutely attention-grabbing for the sheer uniqueness of its look. At the same time it doesn’t forsake sturdiness and practicality in its build. A wonderful design in other words.
OLED 4K TVs generally offer up some of the most refined display performance of almost all 4K UHD TVs out there and the E7 takes this to its current technological peak in almost every regard. This model offers better-than-ever color performance, some of the best peak brightness capacity of the entire OLED lineup since they first came out in 2014 and typically perfect motion handling capability as well. Whether you’re using it to view normal cable and antenna TV content or streaming HD video or what it does best in the form of full 4K HDR content, the E7 will generally give you the best possible visual quality you can find among premium 4K HDR TVs. All of LG’s 2017 OLED 4K HDR TVs perform about the same as the E7 in all of these areas but if you compare this model or its cousins to LCD 4K HDR TVs from LG itself or any rival brands, the OLED models win out in most ways.
The OLED display of the E7 can’t quite become as bright as those of the best LCD 4K HDR TVs sold today but it’s still capable of amazing luminosity with the right kind of content. In fact, the E7 gets brighter than any OLED 4K TV we’ve reviewed from previous years and even outshines a majority of non-premium LCD 4K TVs in peak brightness for specific sections of the screen. Best of all, it can do this while conserving color vibrancy in whatever you’re watching. Combine this with the E7’s capacity for total, perfect black levels and you get a contrast experience for both HDR and SDR (ordinary) video rendering that looks at least as good as anything from the best and literally brightest LCD 4K HDR TVs on sale today.
Because the individual pixels in OLED TVs generate their own light and filter it through their RGB color squares from a much closer and more responsive distance, they can render changes in pixel color far more quickly than any LCD TV, which has to wait for the LEDs of a backlight to catch up with what its pixels need for color changes. Since all onscreen motion is fundamentally about pixels shifting the colors they present to your eyes, this means that the E7 and its OLED cousins can handle fast-paced content with exceptional, unbeatable smoothness. No LCD TV can match them for pixel refresh speed and this is crucial for keeping movement in video maximally smooth during frame changes. In more basic terms, the E7 will let you view any fast action sportscasts, movies and other content with the smallest amount of motion blur you’re likely to ever see today, even when compared with the best LCD TVs on the market for motion handling, models like Sony’s X900E and higher XBR TVs or Samsung’s QLED HDR televisions.
OLED Contrast and Black Level
Once again we come down to the display performance of the OLED screen of the E7 but this time in a very specific context. Quite simply, because OLED screens create light inside each individual pixel without the need for crude LED backlight arrays, they can also completely dim any one pixel totally as needed for content on the screen. The result is the ability to create first, perfect, infinite contrast between total black and anything bright in the content you’re watching and secondly, the ability to create “local dimming” that’s precise down to the single pixel level. Even LCD TVs with total full-array LED backlighting and hundreds of local dimming zones can’t come close to this level of pixel dimming precision. Watching almost any 4K HDR content on the E7 is thus a really stunning, rather unique experience as a result. We can’t recommend the black levels and contrast of OLED in models like the E7 enough, they’re that impressive.
4K TVs, even premium 4K TVs, typically don’t have what we’d call the best native sound systems. With few exceptions, what they can pull off will easily and greatly be improved upon with the addition of an external speaker system or sound bar. This isn’t to say that their audio is crap, it usually isn’t, but it’s nothing to get excited about either. The LG E7 is something of an exception to this general tendency. Its integrated sound bar is very good, almost great and create a wonderful signature with some great speaker directionality for sound transmission throughout the room for a very decent stereo effect. With this model you also get Dolby Atmos audio support inside the speakers and we’d argue that you could use it without need for external sound systems unless you’re very picky about your audio.
The E7 isn’t without its flaws either. However, they’re highly specific things and only one of them is in any real way a potential deal breaker, as we’ll explain shortly. The following are the key problems with this television, and if you look at reviews of our other major OLED 4K TV models from LG, you’ll find that they all share most of the following display problems. The E7 is unique on only one of its bad aspects, which is its price tag.
All OLED TVs seem to suffer from slight image retention problems to a degree that no LCD TV we’ve reviewed has issues with. The problem manifests itself particularly with visuals that stay static on the screen for extended periods of time (static gaming graphics, news channel visuals etc) and as a result, changing content to something else leaves a very faint ghostly trace of a previous static image behind for a few seconds to a few minutes. You might not even be bothered by the presence of this but it’s definitely there. The E7 OLED is much better at dealing with this problem than were the older 2016 and 2015 LG OLEDs but it’s an issue, considering that such a thing essentially doesn’t exist in any LCD screen we’ve seen. LG has also given the advanced picture settings menu a tool called “Pixel Refresher” under “OLED Panel Settings”, which can be activated to eliminate image traces. However, using this is a pain since it takes an hour to run its cycle and requires the TV to be turned off. New content flowing across the E7’s screen will nicely and quickly erase ghosts of static images very quickly too.
Don’t misinterpret us here, the LG E7 OLED is one very bright OLED television by the historical standards of this technology and with a peak display brightness capacity of between 375 and 740 nits with SDR and HDR content respectively), it outperforms or matches most normal HDR LCD TVs on this spec (OLED TVs have historically underperformed LCD models instead). However, if you compare the peak and average brightness of the E7 to that of many truly premium LCD HDR competitors, it underperforms them dramatically, by as many as several hundred nits. On the other hand, its average screen brightness in HDR mode is remarkably high (a great thing). Oddly as well, the E7, despite its premium status and higher price doesn’t manage quite the high HDR peak brightness levels as its much cheaper cousin the LG OLED B7 2017 model, which is LG’s cheapest TV with organic light emitting diode technology for 2017. We can’t quite figure out the why of that difference.
We should also note that because OLED TVs can manage perfect, total black levels next to their bright display areas, they actually deliver much better contrast than any high-end LCD TV despite their lower average brightness levels.
Price vs. Value
Most crucially of all in terms of a decision to buy the LG E7 is the question of how much value you can get from this model compared to its price and those of other premium televisions. On this front, while the E7 definitely provides a tremendous amount of quality per dollar spent compared to rival LCD premium TVs, which all have similar or even higher prices), it’s somewhat screwed by the fact that LG’s own OLED cousins give you the same performance f0or a much lower cost. Specifically, both the B7 and C7 OLED 2017 models are almost identically good performers while costing over $1000 less than the E7 in whichever of its two sizes! Yes, the E7 comes with the far more beautiful and original design and it definitely delivers far superior audio support with its built-in soundbar but if you already have your own sound system and only care about display performance and other key specs, the E7 is nearly identical to the cheaper C7 and B7 models.
LG’s E7 4K HDR OLED TV comes with some truly fantastic features and is one of the brand’s best OLED 4K TVs to date. We can’t disparage it on its sheer performance or quality, or even its value compared to that of many similarly priced premium LCD 4K HDR TVs. The only thing that really might screw up our recommendation of this television is what LG itself has done by also offering up two other more conventionally designed OLED models which are nonetheless just as good on display performance but much cheaper.
Key TV Specs
- Screen size: 55 diagonal inches (OLED55E7P), 65 diagonal inches (OLED65E7P)
- 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 2.2″ inches without stand, 48.7″ x 30.2″ x 6.9″ with stand
- TV weight (55 inch model): 37.3 lb lbs w/ Stand, 40.8 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 E7 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 E7 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 E7 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 E7 (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.
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 E7’s smart remote. A cursor also follows the movement of the remote for the E7 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
Key Display Specs
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 E7 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 more accurate phrase for how OLED display technology creates strong, precise variations of bright and dark is pixel dimming, since individual pixels are getting controlled for nearly perfect control of bright and dark, not whole LED backlight zones that encompass areas of screen pixel (as is the case in LCD TVs).
Brightness: The OLEDE7P 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 E7 performs fairly modestly at producing peak and sustained bright highlights but it’s full screen luminosity (100% of the display lit up) is decent and downright excellent in HDR mode. It can also get quite bright with HDR content in how it shows highlights. On the other hand, strangely, the much cheaper LG B7 and even the LG C7 both get quite a bit brighter than the supposedly superior E7, we’re not sure why this is the case. That said, the specific specs are as follows:
- Overall SDR peak brightness for normal movie/TV content: 340 nits
- Peak 2% display area display SDR brightness: 367 nits
- Peak 10% display area SDR brightness: 361 nits
- Peak 100% display area SDR brightness: 133 nits
- Sustained 10% SDR Brightness: 356 nits
- Sustained 100% SDR brightness: 128 nits
- Overall HDR peak brightness for normal movie/TV content: 679 nits
- Peak 2% display area display HDR brightness: 729 nits
- Peak 10% display area HDR brightness: 718 nits
- Peak 50% display area HDR brightness: 346 nits
- Peak 100% display area HDR brightness: 136 nits
- Sustained 10% HDR Brightness: 658 nits
- Sustained 100% HDR brightness: 133 nits
These figures aren’t bad by mid-range HDR TV standards but they come nowhere close to what the QLED TVs and Sony’s premium XBR HDR 4K TVs for 2017 can do. However, considering the traditional brightness specs of OLED display, the E7 performs very well and this is augmented even further by its total infinite black levels.
Color Performance: The LG E7, 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 E7 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 97.8%. This is the best DCI-P3 color space coverage we’ve yet seen from any 4K OLED TV to date in fact. The E7 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 stunningly good color delta E (color inaccuracy) of just 0.9 after a bit of calibration through the E7’s picture settings menus. Finally, in terms of color volume, the E7 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, pretty much probably won’t even notice any of these little details. Instead the E7 will deliver what looks spectacular to the naked eye and this applies especially to native HDR content sources.
Motion Handling and Upscaling: The motion handling of the LG E7 is downright superb across the board. Since this is an OLED TV, it reduces motion blur with exceptional smoothness and an extremely low nearly perfect response time of just 0.3 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 E7, it’s pretty much perfect, with extremely smooth handling of lower frame rate content sources like 24p movies, cable TV content and so forth.
Finally, the E7 and all of its 2017 OLED 4K cousins support full 24p content playback without judder, in all formats.
Below are the connectivity options of the LG E7 4K HDR TV. The following cover all important connectivity specs for both gaming and PC use as well as the inputs this TV comes with for maximum content transmission functionality via HDMI and other sources (cable, USB etc). We note here that the input lag measurements you see below are excellent almost across the board, making this TV a great choice fo0r console gaming in all sorts of different modes and color subsampling formats. If you want to play your Xbox One X with 4K games in HDR and ultra HD resolution or HD gaming with or without HDR, it does a very solid job of giving you a competitive input lag experience across the board if the TV’s game mode is activated. Outside game mode, the E7 gets much slower but casual gaming is still decent even then. As a PC monitor, the E7 is also great, with support for multiple frame rate and resolution formats. In these areas, the 2017 OLED TVs like this model heavily outperform their 2016 counterparts from LG, which had some issues with gaming input lag. The specific readings below show what we’re referring to:
- 4k @ 60Hz: 21.3 ms
- 1080p @ 60Hz: 21.2 ms
- 4k @ 60Hz + HDR: 21.1 ms
- 1080p @ 60Hz + HDR: 22 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
- 4K with interpolation activated: 105 ms (leave the interpolation off)
Now. Here are the E7’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
The E7 TV models also offer audio connectivity in the following types and we note that this TV does support Dolby Atmos Audio both internally in its own sound system and for pass-through to external Dolby Atmos sound systems.
- 1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
- 1 Passthrough ARC DTS
- 1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
- 1 Passthrough Optical DTS
LG has priced their E7 expensively and now, near the end of 2017 and into 2018 this high-end OLED TV with top-shelf display performance remains far from cheap by normal 4K TV standards. This is understandable for a high-end model like this with the E7’s design but the fact remains that if you want OLED on a budget, the B7 and C7 editions are far more piggy bank-friendly. 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 OLED55E7P 4K HDR OLED Smart TV: $2,996.99
65 inch OLED65E7P 4K HDR LCD Smart TV: $3,996.99
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