LG UH8500 4K Smart LED TV 2016 Review (55UH8500, 60UH8500, 65UH8500)
The UH8500 comes in three sizes (55", 60", 65") and produces mostly decent, vibrant, sharp images primarily due to LG’s 4K “Quantum Display” technology and HDR specs. As it has an IPS panel the image quality doesn’t deteriorate at wider viewing angles but on the other hand also produces some very weak contrast and lacks deep rich blacks like those in OLED or VA panel TVs. The UH8500 also handles motion robustly. In addition to this, the UH8500, like all LG 2016 4K TVs, has some very serious smart TV brains inside it brains thanks to the extremely user-friendly and superbly functional Web OS 3.0 smart TV OS which we definitely love. 3.0 is largely similar to WbOS 2.0 but with some marked improvements in functionality.
The TV is not without its issues though. Firstly, there is the poor black level performance in dark/dimmed rooms, but it must be noted that although the blacks leave a lot to be desired, it is the best we’ve seen in any IPS panel TV to date. Then there is poor local dimming when compared to other TVs in its price range. Third and finally, the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired, which we suspect is due to it having to be packed into such a small profile.
The UH8500 also includes “Dolby Vision” HDR technology with the corresponding benefit of a wider color gamut, superior dynamic range and nominally improved brightness. Further, you can enjoy the same visual quality at wider viewing angles as the TV has an IPS display (similar to the UF6800) . The TV also features a low reflection, anti-glare coating called “True Black Panel” which helps this TV provide better black level performance than some other IPS panel models.
The UH8500 has simply sublime color reproduction thanks primarily to the new 4K “Quantum Display” technology and HDR wide color gamut enabling the TV to produce over a billion colors flawlessly. The result? Vibrant, smooth and nicely realistic images.
This model also displays great color saturation and contrast at even 35 degree angles or wider, which is something a lot of TV’s can’t claim. So no more having to sit in a specific spot in the living room to get the best viewing experience, now you can sit where you like and see the same glorious image quality. The IPS panel does have its downsides though, which will be discussed in more detail further down.
The image quality of the TV is heightened by the “HDR Plus Dolby Vision” technology that’s built right in. The result is stunning brightness as well as the HDR enabling a wider range of colours. “HDR plus Dolby Vision” is Dolby’s attempt to take on, more widely used HDR standards, known as “Ultra HD Premium” i.e. “HDR10”.
Early signs show that Dolby Vision might actually hold some weight against the mainstay HDR10. The big improvements are that Dolby can target up to 10,000 nits, compared to HDR 10’s, 1000 nits. In short, Dolby HDR can go brighter. Further, Dolby’s HDR uses frame by frame meta data to optimize HDR performance on the fly. On the other hand it is worth quickly noting here that in the UH8500, the supposed peak brightness pinnacles promised by Dolby Vision HDR don’t come close to being reached. This model is a rather weak peak brightness, black level and contrast performer and though this is largely due to its IPS display, it’s still on the disappointing side.
When it comes to the design the UH8500 is no wilting flower. The 4k TV is made of a heavy, premium feeling, stainless steel and features a futuristic curved stand which is surprisingly good at hiding stray cables. The TV also has an ultra-thin silver bezel across the sides, so not quite bezel-less, but we think it’s close enough and we aren’t too wild for completely bezel-less TV’s anyway.
The UH8500 has brains as well as beauty thanks to the newly released Web OS 3.0. Web OS 3.0 has an interface that looks virtually identical to 2.0, however don’t let that fool you as the 3.0 comes with some notable improvements. The biggest of these is the fact that now you have “split screen” ability, allowing you to watch two different things at the same time, handy if there are always arguments about what to watch in your household.
Other nifty additions include the ability to play music on your TV via the LG Music Player app even when your TV is turned off. Your LG TV has now become a fully-fledged jukebox (well, almost). This new OS is also more tightly integrated with the LG TV’s hardware allowing for things like “Magic Zoom” which allows you to magnify any part of the screen without any noticeably picture quality loss. One of our favorite Web OS 3.0 features however is what LG calls “Magic Mobile Connection” which lets you stream apps from your smartphone to your Web OS 3.0 LG TV. Pretty cool, huh?
Finally, we repeat that this TV has very good motion handling. More specifically this means that juddering and motion blur during fast action sequences in content are both handled extremely well by the UH8500.
This applies whether you’re playing Blu-Ray movies, streaming from Netflix or playing standard definition content – it all plays smoothly and for the most part judder free. Also, good news gamers. This TV has reasonably low input lag (around 31.4ms, with a good score being anything sub 50ms), this means that everything is responsive and super snappy – perfect for soccer games and first person shooters.
4.2 - 62 Reviews
With all the TV’s strengths, unfortunately, it is not without its few niggling weaknesses. We are going to discuss these in more detail below.
This TV doesn’t perform particularly well in dark rooms/dimmed environments where blacks look noticeably washed out and greyish, this is especially surprising as the TV has specific features to enhance black performance. As the TV has an IPS screen, similar to the UF6800 we weren’t expecting it to produce the truly deep blacks that are achievable with non IPS screens, however, on the flip side the IPS display (as discussed above) provides a superb wide viewing angle – so there is a definite trade off to be made here. Furthermore, the local dimming leaves a lot to be desired, as does the audio, which whilst coming from the premium audio company Harmon Kardon (a company that integrated their audio into the EF9500 also), understandably doesn’t manage to get over the hurdle of being packed into an ultra slim TV.
As a result, the built-in sound just doesn’t emerge as beautifully as we’d like to see, specially if the audio is accompanying the kind of wonderful, pin sharp, colourful visuals this HDR 4K TV is capable of. While this is partly understandable due to the UH8500’s ultra-thin dsign, we still couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed. Although the TV can get loud, the frequency response is no better than average. We highly recommend hooking the UH8500 up to a surround sound system or sound bar so the sound quality can match up to the stunning visuals.
Overall, we have to say that we like the LG UH8500. It’s a bit pricey for its performance quality but this is definitely the best LG LCD 4K TV we’ve reviewed to-date. That said, even better performance is to be found with other LCD models from brands that do a consistently better job of manufacturing them. These include the Samsung 2016 and even 2015 SUHD TVs , Vizio’s superb 2016 P-Series TVs (except the also IPS 55 inch model) and Sony’s 2015 and 2016 HDR 4K TVs like the X850C, X930D (2016) and X930C from 2015. All of these models are better performers at delivering superb HDR, better peak brightness and equal or superior color performance to that of the UH8500.
• TV without Stand (WxHxD): 57.5" x 33.2" x 2.1"
• TV with Stand (WxHxD): 57.5" x 35.3" x 11.1"
• TV Shipping Dimensions (WxHxD): 63.0" x 39.0" x 7.5"
• TV without Stand Weight: 66.8 lbs
• TV with Stand Weight: 71.7 lbs
• Shipping Weight: 88.6 lbs
• 55 inch Version: 55UF8500
• 60 inch Version: 60UF8500
• 65 inch Version: 65UF8500
• PICTURE QUALITY
• ULTRA HD (3840x2160): Yes
• TruMotion 240Hz: Yes (Native refresh 120Hz)
• Quantum Display: Yes
• IPS Panel: Yes
• Super Mastering Engine: Yes
• HDR Super w/ Dolby Vision™: Yes
• True Black Panel: Yes
• True Color Accuracy: Yes
• ULTRA Luminance: Yes
• 4K Upscaler: Yes
• Local Dimming: Yes
• Native contrast: 1188 : 1
• DCI-P3 color accuracy: 91.2%
• Peak Brightness: 541 cd/m2
• Power Supply (Voltage, Hz) 100~240Vac, 50~60Hz
• Standby Mode: Less than 0.5W
• ENERGY STAR® Qualified: Yes
The first biggest highlight for us is the “HDR plus Dolby Vision” technology resulting in better color reproduction, dynamic range and brightness. “HDR Plus Dolby Vision” is Dolby’s attempt to take on the industry standard “Ultra HD Premium” i.e. “HDR 10”.
Further, Dolby’s HDR uses frame by frame meta-data to optimize HDR performance on the fly – adapting the source video to the TV’s performance. The only downside hre is that to get the most out of this technology the Blu-ray player or other 4K HDR content source you are using must support Dolby Vision. This is becoming more common in 2016 with content sources like Netflix now offering Dolby Vision HDR in their original programming but the selections of Dolby High Dynamic Range content are still quite limited on the whole.
Additionally, for an LG LCD 4K TV, the UH8500 handles motion, judder and motion blur quite well. This is what we’d expect from one of this brand’s premium LCD TVs for 2016 but LG has negatively surprised us in this area with some of its previous 4K LCD models. Thus, it’s good to see motion blur and judder both appearing at a minimum in the UH8500. On a related note, gamers can rejoice with this model’s performance too. The UH8500 really low input lag (around 31.4ms) which means that all game play is responsive and super snappy, perfect for soccer games and first person shooters which are notorious for having lag issues with poorer TV’s.
4.2 - 62 Reviews
The image quality is taken a step further with the UH8500’s “HDR Plus Dolby Vision” technology. The result is decent brightness for an IPS display as well as the HDR enabling a wider range of colors. It poses a tangible threat to the current industry standard “Ultra HD Premium” i.e. “HDR 10” especially as Dolby Vision has support from some major streaming service providers such as Netflix. As a result, the UH8500 delivers a peak brightness that hits a very respectable (for an IPS TV) level of 550 nits and the overall color performance in the UH8500 allows for 91.2% DCI-P3 color space coverage, which sets this model well into the range of wide color gamut 4K TV performance.
As the UH8500 has an IPS screen (similar to the one in the UF6800) it doesn’t quite succeed at producing the sorts of much richer true deep blacks found in many 4K HDR VA panel TV screens like those of the Samsung 2016 SUHD TVs , so when we say the black level performance of this TV is good we mean in comparison to other high end IPS screen TV’s of a similar price range – comparing apples to apples, so to speak. However, the UH8500’s deepest black level of 0.084 cd/m2 is much weaker than the rich blacks we’ve seen in the Samsung SUHD TVs or Vizio’s VA panel 2016 P-Series models.
Finally, UH8500 has great motion handling thanks in large part to LG’s proprietary “Tru-Motion” technology, as we’d already mentioned above. This bears a bit more description because with this particular LG 4K LCD model, we finally see the brand deliver a level of motion and judder performance that really works well across the board. In other words, the UH8500 is more in line with the kind of motion control quality we’ve seen in generally superior competitor models like Sony’s X850C from last year or Samsung’s JS-Series SUHD TVs from 2015.
Thus as a result, only some very slight juddering was seen at 24p via 60p but this was negligible and only noticeable when watching really close and looking out for it specifically. The majority of movie, sportscast and regular TV content in native 4K resolution or upscaled non-4K resolutions flows smoothly in the 8500 and this definitely adds a few points in this particular LG TV’s favor over previous LCD models the company has released.
The connectivity specs of the UH8500are robust enough to include everything you’d need for a complete high-end 4K streaming, media and broadcast content experience. They also feature the needed connectivity for PC gaming, video games and external USB media devices. However, we’re not entirely happy with the fact that LG decided to give this model only three HDMI ports instead of the more usual 4.
• Wi-Fi® Built-In: 802.11 a/c
• Wi-Fi® Direct: Yes
• SIMPLINK™ (HDMI™ CEC): Yes
• HDMI® 2.0: 3 (HDCP 2.2)
• USB: 3
• RF in (Antenna/Cable): 1
• Composite In : 1
• Component In: 1 (shared with composite)
• Ethernet : 1
• Optical: 1
• RS232C (Mini Jack): 1
The 60 inch is currently retailing for $1,597.99 and the
4.2 - 62 Reviews
We have discussed the issues with this TV in great detail above but we felt it would be useful to summarize some of the major shortcomings below.
First and foremost is the poor black level performance in dark/dimmed rooms. Although IPS panels are known to have inferior black level performance when compared to non IPS panels we can safely say that the UH8500 has the best black performance from any IPS screen we’ve seen which we suspect is because of the TV’s “Quantum Display” technology as well as its proprietary “True Black Panel” coating counteracting some of the weaknesses of the IPS display in producing true deep blacks.
Secondly “local dimming” on this TV is overall quite poor in comparison to other TV’s in this price range. It must be noted however that the local dimming performance will vary slightly depending on the type of content being played and the local dimming settings that have been set. Third and finally is the sound. Although the sound is loud, it leaves a lot to be desired despite coming from premium audio company Harman Kardon. The built in lackluster sound is quite understandable though as the TV is so thin, but was disappointing nonetheless.
• Much better than 2015 LG LCD TVs
• Very decent motion control
• WebOS 3.0 is excellent
• HDR-level wide color gamut
• Lovely, elegant design
• Good 3D functionality
• Poor local dimming
• Poor contrast levels
• Black performance is a bit weak