LG UH9500 4K Super UHD Smart LED TV 2016 Review (65UH9500, 86UH9500)
LG may be the leader of them all in terms of sheer quality with its OLED 4K TVs during all the years in which these models have been selling (from 2014 to now so far) but the company’s LCD 4K TV product lines have tended toward the lackluster as a general rule. This is something we noticed with many of the 2014 4K UHD LCD models and the 2015 LCD/LED LG TV lines as well. Now however, in 2016, LG has finally come out with 4K LCD models that we’d consider to be worth their salt. These are the new Super UHD 4K UH-Series TVs and the flagship model among them is the UH9500 we’re about to review here.
Here is a 2016 4K LCD TV from LG that finally delivers some very decent picture quality performance and along with some of its other 2016 Super UHD cousins like the UH8500 –which we’ve also reviewed, here—the UH9500 is a solid all-around performer with some robust HDR display specs, excellent color performance and, most importantly, decent black level performance. This last quality of the 9500 is a key improvement on LG’s part because it was what most underwhelmed in the 2014 and 2015 4K LCD models we’ve reviewed to-date. Despite LG being the king of perfect black colors with its OLED televisions, (thanks mostly to the natural state of cutting-edge OLED technology) the company just couldn’t seem to pass the muster on deep rich blacks in their LCD models.
That said, as a newer 2016 LCD 4K HDR TV, the UH9500 is definitely a weaker choice next to some of the premium models of this type from Sony, Samsung and even Vizio but it marks a massive improvement from its own LG predecessors while coming with many of LG’s most renowned features like the company’s stunningly well-designed WebOS 3.0 smart TV platform and some truly superb quantum dot color performance.
First of all, let’s start with the most immediately visible great thing about the UH9500, its physical design. This is one lovely looking 4K LCD TV and especially so when compared to the somewhat dull LG LCD designs of 2014 and 2015. In most ways, the UH9500 looks almost identical to its very closely related cousin the UH8500 but comes with the added benefits of a virtually bezel-free display space and an “ultra-slim” design that gives it a fine elegance as far as the usual construction of LCD television technology goes. Add to this the very elegantly curved TV stand and a beautiful silvery/white finish for the TVs body and you get what is quite a winner in aesthetic terms. To us at least, only Samsung’s beautiful 2016 4K TVs look better than LG’s top Super UHD models and the UH9500 is the king of the Super UHD TVs in terms of finer build. More than anything, we love it’s nearly borderless display edges, This bears repeating because they’re only 1.5 cm (0.59 inches) wide and thus give a superb feel of window-like extra viewing space.
Moving along, the UH9500 represents LG’s first major achievement in creating a 4K LCD TV that truly performs well at delivering high quality display. Along with its UH8500 Super UHD cousin, this model offers up some superb color performance, excellent motion control specs and some of the best viewing angles we’ve seen in any 4K LCD TVs for this year. This is largely due to the UH9500’s IPS panel display technology and a more crucial detail that’s worth qualifying here is how well this TV delivers color and black level FOR an IPS TV. This is a key point because while we have our strong criticisms of the contrast and black level performance specs of the UH9500, IPS 4K TVs tend to be problematic on these fronts in general and thus if you measure the black performance of the UH9500 by the standards of IPS TVs in particular, it’s actually a superb performer, perhaps one of the best we’ve yet seen.
The color performance and motion control specs of the UH9500 are particularly praise-worthy and in both regards (as we’ll cover in greater detail under our visual specs section below), this particular 4K TV is an excellent model. As an HDR 4K TV with support for Dolby Vision HDR standards and HDR10 metadata inputs as well, the UH9500 comes with Wide Color Gamut and delivers full 10-bit color display performance, resulting in an exceptionally rich DCI-P3 color space coverage and finely gradated 10-bit color range delivery.
As for its motion control specs, they’re almost entirely good to great across the board in the UH9500, with fine 24p content playback, excellent judder-free performance for a range of 24p content delivery methods and some superbly good motion interpolation quality through LG TruMotion 240Hz technology which allows even for streaming movies without judder while also being customizable in its values to reduce the “soap opera” effect that’s common to many motion interpolation features in 4K TVs. The UH9500 also does a solid job of controlling motion blur with both native 4K content and upscaled non-4K video sources, largely due to its very quick response time.
Speaking of upscaled content, this particular LG model offers up all the usual high quality upscaling specs we’ve come to expect from even the otherwise worst performing LG 4K TVs on the market. The company’s internal processing engine is very good at its job and as a result, most sources of Full HD and native 4K content are rendered beautifully, with notable sharpness improvements in the 1080p video sources viewed on this TV. Furthermore, even for 480p and 720p HD content sources, the UH9500 manages some excellent to very good sharpness enhancements without too much fuzziness.
Finally, LG’s WebOS 3.0 smart platform, the newest version of WebOS, is included in the UH9500 and we love it. This remains what we consider to be the best TV-brand smart TV platform we’ve seen to date and version 30.0 for 2016 as found in the UH9500 and all other LG TVs for this year is even better than its 2015 predecessor. It’s lean, clean, easy to use and offers superb user friendliness.
3.8 - 16 Reviews
Let’s start with the single biggest flaw of the UH9500, one it shares with almost all of its LCD cousins from this brand.
Despite being what we consider to be the best 4K LCD/LED TV we’ve seen yet emerge from LG’s production facilities, the UH9500 is far from being without its share of flaws. We’d even say that this particular TV, despite being a solid performer and a full HDR television model, is the weakest of all the premium HDR LCD TV models on sale for this year. Even when compared to many 2015 LCD 4K HDR TVs from last year, such as Samsung’s 2015 SUHD televisions or Sony’s 2015 XBR-C TVs like the X930C or the X850C, the LG UH9500 underperforms and in one particular area which has so far been the biggest flaw of almost all LG LCD televisions: black performance.
It’s almost as if LG is so focused on delivering the closes we’ve yet seen to perfect black performance and overall TV performance in its OLED 4K models (especially the 2016 HDR OLED TVs like the stunning E6 model)that they simply can’t bring themselves to seriously develop this same feature in their non-OLED TVs at any point. The UH9500 fails in this area less than any LG LCD model we’ve seen to-date but it’s still pretty weak sauce in its black levels. Yes, the panel is IPS and this is an inevitable aspect of IPS display technology but LG could have then put out at least one version of the 9500 with a more richly black VA panel display. In any case, the contrast of the UH9500 is weak and black uniformity is far from perfect. Additionally, deepest black levels in this TV are far from those stipulated by the UHD Alliance as being ideal for an HDR LCD TV (0.02 nits). As a result, the overall quality of the TV’s picture is degraded, especially when viewing the UH9500 in a brightly lit room.
Moving along, the 9500 offers some terrible local dimming quality. This is an edge—lit 4K UHD TV and thus less than perfect local diming is to be expected as a rule but even by edge-lit standards, the quality of this spec is sub-par with the UH9500. Attempts by the TV to render bright objects against a dark background almost consistently produce bands of light bleed along the black edges of said objects and the effect is distracting as a whole. The bottom line for both the weak black levels and the poor quality local dimming in the UH9500 is a generally weakened caliber of HDR connectivity and considering the surprisingly high price of this 4K TV model, this is somewhat inexcusable.
Thus, at least if you want top-level HDR specs in your 4K LCD TV, you’re much better off going for similarly priced but much better HDR performers like Samsung’s KS-Series 2016 SUHD models. Heck, even Vizio’s 2016 P-Series models are generally superior performers and much cheaper than similarly sized UH9500 models.
Finally, for some odd reason, the connectivity options of the UH9500 aren’t as robust as they usually are in 4K TVs. Instead of the more common 4 HDMI 2.0a ports along with 3 USB ports, this model, like its Super UHD cousins for this year, comes with only 3 HDMI ports. This isn’t exactly a deal-breaker issue but it’s a bit of an annoyance for users who might want a wide range of ports for lots of external devices at the same time.
We consider the UH9500 to be a generally good 4K TV and a moderately decent HDR TV, particularly in the quality of its color performance. However, given its price and weaknesses with its black levels and peak brightness. We’d argue that you’re much better off going with one of Samsung’s, Vizio’s or even Sony’s 2016 HDR models if you want superior specs at similar or even lower prices. On the other hand, if you’re a dedicated LG fan, then yes, this is the best 4K LCD (non-OLED) TV the company has ever produced to date.
• Screen size: 64.5 diagonal inches for 65UH9500 (85.5 diagonal inches in 86UH9500)
• Smart TV: WebOS 3.0, LG Magic Remote Apps and Full Web Browser
• HEVC (H.265) Included: Yes
• VP9 Included. Yes
• HD to UHD upscaling: Yes
• HDCP 2.2 Compliance: Yes
• Refresh Rate: 120Hz native refresh rate (TruMotion 240)
• Screen Lighting: LCD/LED
• Resolution: 3,840 x 2,160 pixels UHD
• Wireless Connectivity: Yes, includes both built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
• Remotes: LG Magic Remote, smaller (5.5-inch), simpler accessory remote
• Connectivity: 3 HDMI 2.0a ports, 3 USB ports, 1 Ethernet port, 1 Component, 1 composite, 1 Audio Out, 1 RF In, 1 Optical Audio, 1 RS232C Mini Jack
• Sound: 2.2 Channel 40W Sound (WF: 20W) with with Dolby Digital Decoder
• Real Contrast Ratio: 1263:1
• Black Level maximum: 0.084 nits
• Peak brightness: 556 cd/m2 (nits)
• Other Display Features: Passive 3D technology, Quantum Dislplay, Tru Black Panel, HDR Super with Dolby Vision, ULTRA Luminance, Magic Zoom, 2 3D glasses included
• TV weight without/with stand:
• 47.2 lb./ 51.8 lb. (65 inch model)
• 110.9 lbs/120.4 lbs (86 inch model)
• 65 inch model: 57.3" x 32.8" x 2.1"
• 55 inch model: 76.3" x 43.9" x 2.7"
• Processor: Quad-core Perfect Mastering Engine
HDR with Dolby Vision : LG’s Super UHD TVs are indeed HDR models which apply the HDR standards of Dolby Vision. In the case of the UH9500, this translates to far superior wide color gamut and 10-bit color performance that amount to a much higher Digital Cinema (DCI-P3) color gamut coverage of over 90% and color mastering for 10-bits in the UH9500’s display. On the other side of the Dolby HDR coin, things get a bit more complicated. Specifically, while Dolby Vision brightness mastering specifies that content with Dolby Vision HDR formatting has to be mastered to at least the capacity for 4000 nits of brightness, the UH9500 itself, although it’s a Dolby Vision certified TV, is only capable of a peak brightness level which amounts to just under 600 nits. Its black performance, as we’ve already described above, is also quite weak.
In other words, while this particular TV is formatted to read the metadata of Dolby Vision HDR content to the best of the TVs abilities, it only performs well in handling Dolby Vision color mastering to a high 10-bit level. In terms of dynamic range and contrast, it’s a fairly weak performer and doesn’t even match the standards set for the more easy to meet HDR10 format that is Dolby Vision’s rival. That said, the quality of the color in the UH9500 is quite stunning and this is due to a blend of its Quantum dot color generation technology and the Dolby Vision HDR color coverage this model comes with.
WebOS 3.0 : In 2016 LG’s newest 4K TVs have moved over to the WebOS 3.0 update to WebOS 2.0 and we’re not unhappy with what this newest WebOS offers. The newest version of the Smart OS remains the best of its kind among all the major 4K TV brands and we love its usability, simplicity and sheer speed as you navigate it. WebOS 3.0 lets you add specific TV channels to the strip of tiles along the bottom of the screen when you press the “home” key on the remote and the OS makes surfing the web as well as surfing between channels and streaming services extremely easy and intuitive. Furthermore, the LG Content Store comes with plenty of applications for media of all kinds, all easily accessible from the smart platform itself. One other thing we like about WebOS 3.0 is the smart remote that comes included with the TV. It offers a pointer which makes navigation of apps and smart OS menus very easy and fluid.
Finally, the newly included Magic Mobile Connection feature is also a great addition to 3.0, letting you access photos, videos and other media from a network-connected Android smartphone or tablet. This means faster, more convenient display of your phone’s videos, photos, apps and music as well on the UI of the UH9500.
Upscaling : LG’s Upscaling engine is nothing short of superb. We love it across the board in the entire LG 4K TV lineup and the UH9500 is no exception. We also think content upscaling in the 2016 TVs has even improved from the already-excellent quality it offered in the 2015 LG OLED TVs. The 4K Upscaler engine impressively upscales almost all sources of non-4K video content to not only look sharper but also to have a much richer, deeper range of shadow and color variations in their shots. This is something that can even be seen in non-HDR 4K content to a lesser degree and in HD content as well, with even 720p video and SD video sources also managing to look much better than they normally would.
3D Technology: LG’S UH9500 offers up the company’s passive FPR 3D display capacity for 4K and non-4K content. Two pairs of 3D glasses also come included. The 3D on the 9500 offers some excellent depth perception and sharpness due to the quality of the screen behind it but as an FPR system, it’s not quite as rich some we’ve seen, though viewing angles with the quality of the 3D are quite wide.
The visual specs of the UH9500 are a bit of a mixed bag, meaning that you get both some stunning features and some less than perfect performance offsetting the quality of what’s really good in this television.
In basic terms, the UH9500 is a superb performer at motion handling specs and in how well it delivers its color performance but a subpar performer when it comes to contrast, dynamic range and black level/peak brightness specs. The mix of these bad and good specs is a bit disheartening considering this TVs price but at least we can say that the UH9500 delivers on all of the above better than any other LG non-OLED TV we’ve yet reviewed.
Getting down to the nitty gritty details of the 9500’s performance across all major visual specs, these are the test figures for color coverage, contrast ratio, peak brightness, black level and assorted motion control characteristics.
In terms of color coverage, the UH9500 is one exceptionally good performer and this particular spec is what most helps out the claim of HDR compatibility in this 4K TV. In other words, the UH9500 offers full HDR color even if it doesn’t match HDR dynamic range limits as we’d appreciate them. The TV delivers wide color gamut and is a 10-bit television, meaning that it covers more than 90% of the wide color DCI-P3 color space while also offering 1024 values for each RGB color, for a total of over 1 billion possible onscreen colors and fine gradation between color hues. What we also liked about the UH9500 is that its color accuracy is very good even right out of the box, with only a minor difference between uncalibrated delta E (1.79) and delta E after some color calibration (0.64). Both of these are excellently accurate values and the naked eye would have a hard time even seeing the difference between them.
Then, there’s the contrast ratio, peak brightness and black performance of the UH9500 and unfortunately, none of these specs are as excellent as this TVs color performance metrics. In terms of contrast, the UH9500 manages to deliver a ratio of 1263:1, with a black level of 0.79 and a white brightness of 99.7 nits. While this isn’t bad by the standards of an IPS TV display, it’s also far from the massive contrast ratios of well over 4000 or even 5000 we’ve seen in the Samsung SUHD LCD TVs like the KS9000, which are comparably priced to the UH9500.
Peak brightness in the 9500 fares a bit better at a peak level of 556 nits, making it about average by the standards of most 2015 HDR TVs and many 2016 LCD or OLED models for their peak brightness. But even here, the UH9500 is far from reaching the excellent peak brightness levels of TVs like Sony’s X930D at over 900 nits or Samsung’s 2016 SUHD models with their superb rats of more than 1400 nits. In other words, the UH9500 doesn’t meet either the black level or brightness requirements needed for Ultra HD Premium specs, which follow the HDR standards of HDR10. Yes, this is a Dolby Vision HDR TV but the practical benefits of matching Ultra HD Premium standards give a display plenty of dynamic range power that the UH9500 thus lacks.
As far as motion control specs are concerned, the UH9500 performs quite admirably. Motion blur is minimal with a very tight refresh rate of 11 milliseconds and motion interpolation technology in this model works nicely, while even managing to avoid the soap opera effect as long as its custom value is kept low. Furthermore the UH9500 is a great television for delivering 24p movie content at 60i. This means that Blu-ray movies, cable, streaming and satellite films all play back very smoothly for the most part.
Finally, in the quality of its 3D performance, the UH9500 works very well, as do most of LG’s better 4K TVs. It offers a passive 3D system with little crosstalk and as long as content is viewed from more or less right in front of the TV, it is rendered very smoothly. LG has also included two pairs of 3D goggles with both the 65 inch and 86 inch UH9500 models.
3.8 - 16 Reviews
Connectivity-wise, LG has given their 9500 modes a slight disadvantage over many other premium 4K TVs we’ve seen in that the company only included 3 HDMI 2.0 ports instead of the more commonly seen 4. This is a minor but annoying issue and its one compensation is that one of the TV’s three USB ports is 3.0 instead of just the considerably weaker 2.0 type. These aside, the UH9500 offers up the following ports:
• 1 Component In
• 1 Composite In
• 1 Digital Optical Audio Out
• 1 RF In
• 1 Ethernet
There is also full HDCP 2.2 and HEVC support in the HDMI ports of this particular LG 4K TV. The HDMI inputs can furthermore support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision high Dynamic range metadata from external HDMI HDR content sources.
The two models of the LG UH9500 are the 65UH9500, 86UH9500, sized at 65 inches and 86 inches respectively. The 65 inch model retails for $2,797.00 and the 86 inch TV goes for a hefty $9,997. We don’t consider these to be very competitive prices considering the high dynamic range deficiencies of this television.
3.8 - 16 Reviews
To summarize our main point against the value of the UH9500 we’ll basically state that for its rather steep price, this particular HDR 4K television model simply doesn’t deliver enough display value in exactly its “best” feature to be worth buying. This is the TVs high dynamic range, which is not nearly as refined and powerful as those of comparable LCD models from Samsung most of all but also from Sony and even Vizio, which either cost about the same or much, much less while delivering nearly identical color quality and far better black performance and peak brightness. Thus, if you’re an LG fan, we’d recommend one of the company’s OLED TVs more and if you just want a great HDR LCD TV, pick a Samsung 2016 SUHD model like the KS8000, KS9500 or even the Vizio P65-C1 2016 TV. Either one of these will cost either nearly the same as the UH9500 or much less (in the case of the Vizio TV) but will deliver better display performance and considerably better high dynamic range in either HDR10 or Dolby Vision as well (the Vizio TV).
• Beautiful design
• Superb color performance
• Excellent motion control specs
• WebOS 3.0 is excellent
• Great IPS viewing angles
• LG’s best yet LCD 4K TV
• Dolby Vision HDR
• Rival 4K LCD HDR TVs offer better value
• Weak contrast ratios
• Middling peak brightness
• Poor black performance
• Lacks fourth HDMI port