A Review of the LG Electronics 2015 Edition UF7600 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV – (43UF7600, 49UF7600, 55UF7600)
We’ve noticed from time to time that LG has something of a tendency to release 4K LED/LCD (non-OLED) TVs that aren’t quite as good as their rival models among the other major brands. In other words, it’s as if the company’s TV division is so focused on its amazing OLED 4K TVs that they simply neglect some aspects of their much more affordable LED models.
With the LG 49UF7600 49-Inch 4K TV, we again see the same patterns that we’ve noted in other LED/LCD (non-OLED) 4K TVs from LG: This model suffers from a number of display defects or deficiencies while offering some excellent connectivity, off-angle viewing and smart TV features. The UF7600’s smart TV platform is its single most stand-out feature but even with this model’s extremely affordable price taken into consideration that high quality of smart TV technology doesn’t quite eliminated the display problems of this model.
On the other hand, unlike many other LG LED/LCD models we’ve looked at so far, the UF7600 does offer excellent content upscaling, a great price tag and a connectivity package that’s fully future-proof and ready for some of the latest and best in both online UHD content and video from external media devices.
The 43UF7600 comes with one truly excellent feature that surpasses everything else about it and this bears mentioning first. We’re of course talking about the superb LG WebOS 2.0 smart TV operating system that all of the company’s 2015 TVs are coming out with. Definitely a major improvement from its predecessor in LG 4K TVs and in our view possibly the best designed, most user-friendly smart platform in any 2015 4K TV, WebOS 2.0 is highly intuitive, easy to use and wonderfully designed for easy navigation of apps, content and previously viewed programming that has been paused at a certain point. Furthermore, with the replacement of a more traditional “Home” screen with a simpler, more accessible multicolored bar of menu tiles along the bottom of the screen, LG has made using WebOS 2.0 much friendlier even to the less tech-savvy among us.
Beyond WebOS, the 43UF7600 also offers what we’d definitely call a great looking physical design. While nowhere near as elegantly thin as LG’s OLED TVs, this model is nonetheless minimalist, light-weight and features a minimal bezel around its display that creates a greater impression of screen size than the 49 inch screen really presents. This is a useful little visual trick and definitely improves the movie watching experience on this relatively small TV.
Finally, we can’t complain about the connectivity package in the 43UF7600. It’s WebOS 2.0 smart platform definitely delivers the latest and best in most media (with the exception of HDR-encoded 4K video content since this isn’t an HDR 4K TV), and the standard features of HDMI 2.0, USB ports, LAN connectivity and WiFi are all in place and fully “future-proof”.
4.8 - 52 Reviews
On the other hand, there is also unfortunately plenty to dislike about LG’s 55UF7600. As we’d alluded to in our introduction, this model, like a number of other LG non-OLED 4K TVs, suffers from a number of defects that really reduce its value as even a highly affordable starter 4K TV purchase
First and foremost among these is the contrast and dark tone depth of the 55UF7600. While this is something we’ve noted as less than spectacular in a number of other LED 4K TVs from the company, the level of contrast and dark tone uniformity in this model are both particularly bad in our view. Blacks are far too saturated with light and as a result, overall contrast seems to top off at no more than about 680:1, which is a really poor performance for a 4K TV (many 4K PC monitors even manage to do much better in this spec). Furthermore, the uniformity of dark tones across the screen is bad too, with plenty of unevenness caused by light bleed along the screen edges.
Additionally, while the 55UF7600 is an LG model with local dimming, the company really went half way in the case of this model. The local dimming is not only somewhat unresponsive to on-screen content, the dimming zones are also rather larger, resulting in a considerable loss of specifically detailed dimming for complex patterns of light and dark. On top of all this, the 55UF7600 is a 60Hz TV instead of offering the more usual native 120Hz rate we definitely prefer. Thus, some content can definitely show a notable judder to its flow unless you turn on this model’s TruMotion 120 Hz simulated refresh rate, which unfortunately also tends to create an unpleasant soap-opera effect in content.
We’re a bit iffy on the LG UF7600. On the one hand, it offers an excellent smart TV platform, very good connectivity and a remarkably good HD upscaling engine, but on the other hand it drops the ball a lot in key display specs that really create an enjoyable 4K UHD or even HD home entertainment experience. Thus, even with its highly affordable price of less than $1,000, we’d argue that most users who are serious about a getting the most from their starter 4K TV set spend a little bit more and go for one of Sony or Samsung’s more economical and superior models. Do not confuse this 4K LED/LCD TV from LG with the company’s far superior, far more expensive OLED 4K models.
Screen size: 43-inches - 43UF7600, 49-inches - 49UF7600, 55-inches - 55UF7600.
Smart TV: Yes, WebOS 2.0
HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
Refresh Rate: 60Hz native refresh rate with 120Hz TruMotion simulated refresh
Screen Lighting: Edge-lit LED backlighting with Local dimming
Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
Remotes: LG Magic Remote
Connectivity: 3 x HDMI 2.0 ports, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, 1 x USB 3.0, RF in, Component in, Composite, Ethernet, Digital Audio Out, RS-232
Sound: 10W+10W 2ch full range speakers with ULTRA Surround + digital sound processing
native Contrast Ratio: 690:1
TV weight without/With stand: 30.8 lbs/ 31.7 lbs
Dimensions without stand: 43.5” x 25.4” x 2.2” inches/ With stand: 43.5” x 27.9” x 9.1” inches
Processor: Quad Core
Because the LG UF7600 is pretty much a fairly by the book starter 4K TV with very little in the way of frills and cool bonus technologies, it doesn’t really come with a great deal in the way of impressive highlights. However, a couple of characteristics and specs to stand out for their quality.
First of all, the WebOS 2.0 smart platform is really worth mentioning again as a great part of this TV. With its extremely intuitive and easy to use interface and greatly simplified bottom-screen colored tile menu instead of a whole “Home” screen, WebOS 2.0 can be very quickly accessed and runs at lightning speed, with the UF7600’s quad core processor being more than powerful enough to handle the smart TV needs of this TV.
While Android TV for Sony’s 4K TVs boots faster than WebOS 2.0, LG’s smart TV system beats its rivals in layout and design without a doubt, at least in our opinion. With a more traditional “Home” screen having been replaced by the TV’s menu strip, all of your favorite apps and the tile for the LG store lie along the bottom of the screen when you want them to be visible and while whatever you’re watching in a given moment stays visible, you can use the left arrow on the screen to see all other currently open apps while using the right arrow yields up all of the apps and content that have been downloaded to your TV. All of these controls run pretty much instantaneously and even the buffering times for streaming content are much lower thanks in part to the lower processor load of the new WebOS 2.0 platform.
Secondly, we love the LG Magic Remote of the UF7600 and other LG LED 4K TV models. Like the WebOS 2.0 platform its controls so effectively, this little remote is wonderfully easy to use after a bit of playing around and getting used to it with a minimum necessary amount of button controls that offers great usability without saturating the remote’s user with confusing control options. In essence, the Magic Remote complements the simplicity and easy usability of the TV’s smart platform wonderfully.
Finally, we’d like to add that the sound quality of the UF7600 is remarkably good considering its on-paper specs. Despite their seemingly low power, the 20W 2 channel speakers of this model deliver a robust and nicely fleshed out audio experience that we can’t really complain about. LG’s Harmon/Kardon sound system for their OLED 4K TVs is obviously far superior to what the UF7600 offers, but for a budget 4K TV, this model delivers better audio than a majority of the 4K flat screen TVs in its class which we’ve seen.
4.7 - 38 Reviews
As we’ve already covered to some extent above, the weakest aspects of the UF7600’s quality lie in its less than stellar visual specs. This TV has a couple of good things going for it in this crucial department but seriously drops the ball in several vitally important ways.
Most importantly, the overall contrast and black uniformity of the UF7600 are both quite simply bad. With the already-mentioned contrast level of just 680:1, the UF7600 performs worse than even many 4K PC monitors! This level of contrast comes with far too much light saturation in the dark tones. They in fact look more like grey lighting on the screen, particularly in a darkened room. Furthermore, on-screen black uniformity is just abysmal, with brighter areas caused by light bleed along the edges being a major issue with this model.
Color rendering on the UF7600 is not too bad, largely thanks to the IPS display and LG’s use of their phosphor-based Color Prime LED coloring technology. Thus, after a bit of tweaking and calibration, the UF7600 is definitely capable of producing some nice crisp and fairly vibrant but also realistic colors. However, we’ve certainly seen better come from even low-priced Samsung and Sony models and even some Panasonic 4K TVs. We should also mention that the IPS panel display of the UF7600 helps out on color vibrancy while creating some surprisingly decent off-center viewing quality. In other words, the quality of this model’s colors is preserved fairly well even if the screen is viewed from sharp off center angles.
Finally, we were surprised by the high quality of the UF7600’s HD upscaling engine. This is an absolutely vital part of any 4K TV in an age where native 4K content is still quite scarce and the UF7600 manages to scale HD and Full HD content up to a nice level of enhanced crispness, in contrast to the low quality of upscaling we’ve previously seen in other LG LED/LCD 4K TVs. However in this area, Sony still does a better job of scaling up non-4K content in our opinion.
In terms of connectivity, the LG UF7600 offers your standard, thorough and pretty decently future-proof package of specs. The connectivity options in this model are about as good as they are in even the best of LG’s OLED 4K TVs so you won’t see an inferior performance here at least.
With that said, the UF7600 offers 3 HDMI 2.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports and a single USB 3.0 port for high-bandwidth content transfer. Furthermore, all HDMI 2.0 ports come with full HDCP 2.2 content copy protection compatibility and the TV itself is compatible with HEVC and also VP9 4K content compression codec decoding. There are also of course connectivity options for both WiFi and Ethernet access to the web.
Finally, the excellent WebOS 2.0 smart TV platform is more than loaded with great digital media app access. Some available sources of entertainment content include but aren’t limited to: Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, HSN, Showtime, Drama Fever, iHeart Radio, DirecTV and GoPro. Netflix, Aamzon, YouTube and the GoPro channel for WebOS 2.0 all offer different kinds of native 4K UHD content as long as your TV is also connected to a broadband internet connection of at least 15 Mbps and more ideally 20 Mbps.
The LG 43UF7600 4K smart TV is currently retailing on Amazon.com for $697.99. The 49-inch LG 49UF7600 version is retailing for $897.99 while the 55-inch LG 55UF7600 is going for $1,197.99.
4.8 - 52 Reviews
To summarize briefly, the LG UF7600 4K model suffers most from deficiencies in its display specs. Specifically, it offers a poor contrast ratio, really bad black uniformity and some really poor, blocky local dimming technology. We also didn’t like the fact that the native refresh rate of the screen is only 60Hz, it produces some judder in certain types of content.
• Excellent WebOS 2.0 smart TV platform
• Solid connectivity options
• Very good HD upscaling engine
• Highly affordable price tag
• Nice physical design
• Poor native contrast ratio
• Low quality black uniformity
• Only 3 HDMI 2.0 ports
• Native refresh rate of just 60Hz instead of 120