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LG W7 Signature OLED 4K HDR TV Review (OLED65W7P, OLED77W7P)

by on May 19, 2017
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Features
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Quality
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Connectivity
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Positives

  • 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

Negatives

  • Peak brightness diminishes under some conditions
  • no support stand, entirely wall-mounted (some consumers may not like this)
  • slight image retention

The Bottom Line

LG’s W7 is one fantastic, extremely high performance 4K HDR TV by any normal measure and even by the standards of the other newest OLED 4K models from LG for this year, it brings something extra to the table with its design. So we can’t say we don’t love it and consider it to be wonderful. However, for its enormous price, this television isn’t fully justifiable unless you really just want its unique design in your house. It performs almost the same as or only marginally better than even its cheapest LG 4K HDR OLED cousin for 2017.

Overview

LG’s W7 is quite possibly the single most uniquely designed 4K HDR TV we’ve so far seen in 2017.  Of course, this by itself is not necessarily a sign that a television is much good at delivering the picture performance which is its most important task but in the case of the W7 “Signature” flagship model , unique looks are also backed up by one truly extraordinary level of home entertainment performance, albeit with some minor caveats that consumers should keep firmly in mind.

Let’s take a closer look at what this particular OLED model offers and what it actually delivers, along with an examination of its specific design benefits, which are definitely distinct enough to warrant some coverage.

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The Good

Since we’re talking about one of LG’s newest and most highly priced OLED 4K HDR TVs here, you can bet that there will be plenty to marvel about with its overall performance. Since they first emerged in 2014, the OLED 4K models of LG have never come close to disappointing by any major TV performance measurement and the 2017 TVs are better than anything with OLED display that we’ve yet seen. For the W7, this firmly applies in several different ways that make this particular OLED 4K TV into one of the best models we’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing, at least in terms of performance.

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Design

The W7’s design is easily the single most unique aspect of this OLED TV and it’s quite unlike anything we’ve yet seen from any television by any brand. In fact, no LCD TV technology we know of today could in any case duplicate the W7 in any case. Quite simply this LG OLED takes the principles of ultra-thin, ultra-unobtrusive 4K TV development and particularly OLED TV development to their greatest extreme yet by building a display panel which is little different in appearance from a poster or thinly framed painting. The images in this review clearly show what we’re talking about but to see it in person is indeed quite impressive. The display panel is ridiculously thin, measuring out at just a couple millimeters and it’s exclusively built for mounting to a wall or other flat vertical surface through an also ultra-thin metal frame.

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For the display itself, that’s all you get. From there  single central management cable runs down to the part of this TV in which all of its hardware, including speakers, processing engine, software and all connectivity ports are located, the W7’s 4.2-channel soundbar device, which is itself remarkably compact for all the technology it contains. This genuinely revolutionary design for the W7 basically takes the most extreme possible advantage of OLED display panel thickness so that it can truly be shown off in the home. Now some people who want a 4K TV which can simply stand up by itself wherever there is a flat surface won’t like the W7 because of how it’s built. And while this is a perfectly valid subjective judgement of this model’s design, for those who are willing to appreciate a unique, incredibly thin poster-type TV display, the W7 is superbly unique.

Display Performance

As you can probably expect, the W7 Signature OLED delivers the very best currently possible metrics for OLED TV display performance and this of course means that what it delivers is unbelievably good. While there are a couple of issues with all OLED screen types that some users might not find to be entirely appealing (more on these shortly in our “bad” section below), by OLED standards in particular and even by virtually any 4K LCD TV standards,  the W7 is one absolutely capable piece of display technology. Peak brightness in this model is better than anything we’ve yet in OLED TV display and color representation in the W7 for both HDR and SDR colors is remarkably accurate and vibrant. HDR wide color gamut in this TV looks downright breathtaking when applied to sources of actual HDR content in either the HDR10 or Dolby Vision high dynamic rang formats which the W7 OLED is capable of rendering. Black levels are of the usual OLED-perfect quality you’d expect and the single pixel-level dimming/brightening capacity of the W7 is also as good as it’s been in any OLED TV we’ve ever seen, or better if the possible brightness level of this TV’s display is taken into consideration.

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Motion Handling

Like all current OLED TVs, the W7 offers incredibly swift motion blur control, with exceptionally low response times on color shifts in individual pixels. This is also possible specifically due to the nature of OLED pixels, which can change from one color to another with a speed no LCD TV we know of today can match as content moves on the screen. The practical effect of this is a level of sharpness and clarity for almost any content and especially fast-paced content that is particularly great with programming like sports, action movies and so on being delivered wonderfully. People whose eyes are more sensitive than normal to motion blur in digital TV content will love this aspect of the W7’s performance as an OLED TV.

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Overall OLED Quality

Basically, the W7 OLED is good in every way that all other 4K OLED TVs we’ve reviewed are good, in terms of picture quality, connectivity, motion handling and so forth. However, in the case of this specific model, what you get is an even further refinement of all these good features, packed into one of the single coolest 4K TV designs ever built for the actual consumer market by any company to-date. The W7is also one hell of a good 4K TV for gaming, with the input lag problem that plagued many 2016 OLED 4K TVs (until they finally got firmware updates to fix it) completely absent in this model and its 2017 cousins.

The Bad

Even LG’s OLED 4K TVs aren’t without their flaws and the otherwise wonderful and exceptionally refined W7 model comes with a few of them, though none are deal breakers and some are more subjective than they are clear-cut.

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As we did above, let’s start with design. This is the most subjective possible defect of the W7 and it’s an obvious one. Potential buyers who really prefer more conventional stand-based 4K TV designs or for some reason would find placing the W7 inconvenient would do best to avoid this particular TV. The thing is (and more on this shortly), that the W7 delivers picture performance which is pretty much on par with that of its other 2017 OLED cousins and you don’t NEED to buy it in order to have the BEST OLED 4K HDR TV in terms of pure functionality and display performance. Those things are just as available in much cheaper LG models for this year. Thus, if having a completely mount-oriented television isn’t you’re cup of coffee, the W7 is a pointless expense.

Moving along we get to the price of the W7, and here we touch on the same themes of raw display and hardware performance. The W7 performs almost equally to or slightly better than its C7, E7 and G7 cousins for this year and its performance superiority is reflected more in the W7’s color delivery, brightness and motion handling than anywhere else, and even in these the extra benefits are arguably minor. Thus, what you’re really paying extra over other OLEDs in this absurdly expensive 2017 OLED model is its premium design parameters, extreme lightness and that fairly cool external soundbar. For nearly identically good display performance and connectivity, a far cheaper model like the LG C7 OLED, which we also recently reviewed, will deliver wonderfully at a fraction of the price of the W7.

LG OLED C7 4K HDR TV

LG’s OLED C7 4K HDR model performs almost as well as the W7 but at a far lower price

Moving on to more technical, performance-related problems with the W7, we have to mention the soundbar issue. This is something other reviewers have also covered in some depth and it’s worth mentioning here as the W7’s biggest flaw after its very high price. The W7 first of all doesn’t come with real surround sound Dolby Atmos in its soundbar, it instead uses a “virtual” version of the technology which quite frankly doesn’t sound anywhere near as good. The speakers on the W7’s soundbar are good and quite powerful by built-in 4K TV sound system standards but anyone who’s spending this much on a 4K TV will probably want to forego the soundbar completely and install their own high powered audio system, a thing which the device actually makes slightly inconvenient. The soundbar also comes with all sorts of other little annoyances. For one thing, placing it too far below the W7 display panel makes sound disconcertingly seem as if it’s coming from somewhere down below and placing the device too close to a wall blocks off easy access to connectivity ports, which are all located at the back of that same soundbar.

Finally, the W7 comes with one characteristic that all OLED TVs to-date also have as part of their display nature. Namely, it’s simply not as bright as the best LCD TV panels are. By OLED standards, LG’s 2017 crop of 4K HDR models achieve levels of peak brightness that are far better than they were just a couple years ago and the W7 along with its premium OLED cousins manages to even outshine a majority of mid-range and even some premium LCD HDR 4K TV’s we’ve reviewed but compared to models like Sony’s premium HDR TVs, Samsung’s QLEDS and SUHDs, the W7 can sometimes seem dimmer, though it’s total perfect black levels compensate for this considerably.

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Final Opinion

Without a doubt, the bottom line for this 4K TV is that it offers among the best display performance specs we’ve ever seen in any 4K TV of any kind. Its design is also extraordinarily unique and we ourselves mostly love it, though some consumers might not. In terms of both HDR and SDR performance on content and motion handling as well, the W7 is also simply a fantastic model that you’ll want to buy if you have the money and want a TV which completely impresses with its appearance. However, and this is a major however, the LG OLED W7 Signature model performs only somewhat better than its cheaper more ordinary looking 2017 OLED cousins that we’ve covered so far. For this reason, we don’t think its huge price of between $8000 and nearly $20,000 is justified for anyone who just wants superb OLED HDR quality.

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Key TV Specs

  • Screen size: 65 diagonal inches (OLED65W7P), 77 diagonal inches (OLED77W7P)
  • 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: 4.2 Channel 60W (Woofer: 20W)
  • Contrast Ratio: infinite (native, real contrast)
  • Black Level maximum: 0.000 nits
  • 3D Technology: N/A
  • TV display dimensions (65 inch model): 57.1″ x 32.5″ x 0.15″inches.
  • AV Box dimensions: 49.6″ x 3.1″ x 7.8″
  • TV display weight (65 inch model): 16.8 lbs
  • TV AV Box weight (65 inch model): 22.0 lbs
  • 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 W7 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 W7 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 W7 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, even if they’re side by side. Since the W7 (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 W7 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 X930E Full-array 4K HDR TV or even 2016 4K HDR LCD TVs like the Samsung KS9800 or much less the Sony Z9D televisions. However, by OLED TV standards, the W7 creates some of the best brightness 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. It should also be mentioned in fairness to the W7 that, with its actual peak brightness of over 700 nits, this OLED TV actually outshines most 4K HDR LCD TVs of the mid-range variety being sold today.

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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 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 W7’s smart remote. A cursor also follows the movement of the remote for the W7 as it’s pointed at the screen, allowing for easy individual selection of apps, content and other things without having to scroll as much. WebOS 3.5 is also designed to handle voice control through the remote control.

Active HDR With Dolby Vision and Expanded HDR Support: the HDR display capabilities of LG’s OLED TVs since they first got this technology in late 2015 and early 2016, have been very good but now in the 2017 models they’re broader and perhaps better than ever, with notable improvements in HDR contrast range, color vibrancy in the DCI-P3 color space and support for high dynamic range formats, which now includes Dolby Vision, HDR10 and the new addition of HLG broadcast HDR for whenever content in that format comes out from major broadcasters. The W7 is a full, premium HDR 4K TV in other words.

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 W7 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. In OLED TV’s the technology can’t even really be called local dimming. Pixel dimming would be the more accurate term. Either way, on these three metrics the W7 cannot be matched by any LCD 4K TV of any kind available today.

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Brightness: By classical OLED 4K TV standards, the W7 is exceptionally bright and while we were hoping to see LG advance the technology even further in 2017, what we’re seeing with this model and its cousins is nonetheless better than was the case in almost any 2016 OLED TV except for, oddly, the cheapest B6 budget OLED model of last year. In terms of both peak and sustained HDR brightness, the W7 really performs well while doing a decent though not incredible level of brightness for SDR content.

For SDR brightness during playback of all types of SDR (conventional) content the W7 manages a peak level of 398 nits inside a small 2% display window. This actually rises slightly to 401 nits in a 10% display window before falling down dramatically to 147 nits in a 100% display area (the whole screen illuminated to maximum brightness). In a 50% brightness window, the W7 does remarkably well at 336 nits in SDR mode.  Sustained 2%, 10%, 50% and 100% brightness readings are good but lower at 390 nits, 387 nits, 285 nits and 141 nits respectively.

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During playback of HDR content, the W7 peaks out to its maximum level of peak brightness inside a 10% display space, achieving 754 nits while falling down to 733 nits in a 2% space, 371 nits in a 50% window and 144 nits in a 100% window. These readings drop a bit further with sustained HDR brightness readings for 2%, 10%, 50% and 100% display areas at 730 nits, 729 nits, 285 nits and 138 nits respectively.

All of the above brightness performance levels are remarkably similar to those of LG’s much cheaper 2017 C7 OLED model. Something to keep in mind when you’re looking at the W7’s price.

Color Performance: The LG W7, as a full high dynamic range 4K TV, offers both 10-bit color and WCG (wide color gamut) support for roughly 97% of the DCI-P3 color space. HDR TVs tend to generally perform very well on color delivery and the W7 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 TV to date in fact. The W7 also effectively represents a solid 76% of the much larger Rec 2020 color space, which is outstanding.

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As for color accuracy, it’s also remarkably good, with a color delta E of just 0.98 after a bit of calibration through the W7’s picture settings menus. Finally, in terms of color volume, the W7 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. Most of this won’t even be noticeable to an average viewer however.

Motion Handling and Upscaling: The motion handling of the LG W7 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 0.3 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 W7, well it’s basically perfect, with extremely smooth handling of content sources with much lower frame rates.

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Finally, the W7 and all of its 2017 OLED 4K cousins support full 24p content playback without judder, in all formats.

Connectivity

Below are the connectivity options of the Samsung W7 OLED 4K HDR TV. All major advanced content connectivity specs are included and this TV is fully capable of console gaming and PC monitor use in all major resolution formats, frame rates and color subsampling modes. We should also note that the W7 comes with excellent performance for console gaming. This TV robustly supports all content, color sampling and major resolution formats from game consoles and within its Game mode it does this at very low levels of input lag. 4K and 10080p gaming in HDR can be done with an input lag of between 19 and 24.9 milliseconds. Now. Here are the W7’s inputs, all of them located in this TV’s independent soundbar and connected to the actual display via a single wide, flat data cable:

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  • HDMI : 4 (All come with HDCP 2.2 and full HDMI 2.0a capacity)
  • USB : 3 (USB 3.0)
  • Digital Optical Audio Out : 1
  • Tuner (Cable/Ant) : 1
  • Ethernet : 1

There is no component input for the LG W7.

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The W7 models also offer audio connectivity in the following types

  • 5.1 Passthrough ARC Dolby Digital
  • 5.1 Passthrough ARC DTS
  • 5.1 Passthrough Optical Dolby Digital
  • 5.1 Passthrough Optical DTS

Pricing

LG has priced their W7 OLED models rather spectacularly high, as we fully expected to be the case when we heard about this model during CES 2017. Due to reasons we’ve already explained above, we don’t think these prices are fully justified but if budgeting isn’t something you need to worry about and you really love the exclusive design of the W7, then it’s worth buying. The following are the prices as of mid-April of 2017, though we suggest clicking the below Amazon links (when available) to check them for discounts, sale offerings and general price reductions which can happen at any time.

65 inch OLED65W7P 4K HDR OLED Smart TV: $ 7,999.99

77 inch OLED77W7P 4K HDR LCD Smart TV: Price to be announced but expected to hit $19,999

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