Best Buy 4K HDR OLED TVs of 2016
No prizes for guessing who dominates this category
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OLED has advantages as a TV technology but the panels are hard to make, so enthusiasts should be grateful to LG for investing heavily in their production.Thankfully the Korean giant's gamble is beginning to pay-off with increased panel yields, reduced prices and the latest OLED models offering every TV feature imaginable. The technology has now matured to the point where LG can deliver Ultra HD 4K OLED TVs with curved or flat screens, absolute blacks, brighter panels and passive 3D. They can also support Wider Colour Gamuts (WCG), 10-bit video and High Dynamic Range, including both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. If that wasn't enough LG's OLED TVs even benefit from the latest version of their WebOS Smart TV platform and a sound system developed by Harman Kardon. LG aren't the only manufacturers to offer OLED TVs with Panasonic launching their award-winning TX-65CZ952 last year and both Loewe and Philips releasing their own models this year. However all these TVs use panels provided by LG Display and whichever way you look at it, one name dominates the OLED market. So let's take a look at the best OLED TVs that we reviewed this year.
- 4K UHD (Ultra HD)
- Smart TV
- Content Streaming
- High Dynamic Range (HDR)
- Dolby Vision (HDR)
LG OLED55B6 – £1,999 – Recommended
LG have released a strong line-up of OLED TVs this year and the B6 is the entry-level model. It’s an impressive Ultra HD 4K TV that demonstrates all the advantages of OLED technology with deep blacks and excellent contrast ratios. The B6 comes in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes and its design is attractive, with an ultra-thin panel, a traditional stand and clear perspex support that gives the impression the screen is floating in mid-air. The feature set is also impressive, with the B6 boasting four HDMI 2.0a inputs, decent sound quality, support for Wide Colour gamut and High Dynamic Range, including both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. There's also the Magic Remote and the latest version of WebOS, with 3D being the only real feature missing when compared to the rest of LG's OLED line-up. The energy efficiency is good and the input lag is suitably low at 38ms, although there is no game mode for HDR gaming.
In testing the out-of-the-box performance was very good with an accurate greyscale and a colour gamut that approached reference after calibration. The images produced with standard dynamic range content were superb with natural colours, great motion handling and highly capable upscaling. However the B6 also demonstrated the limitations of OLED, with some crushed shadows just above black and macro blocking evident in certain content. In addition, LG's colour management system continues to exhibit the usual issue of introducing unwanted artefacts if used excessively. The HDR performance was excellent, even if OLED can't match the brightness of LCD TVs, but the self-illuminating pixels of an OLED meant greater precision in terms of delivering peak highlights. Overall the LG OLED55B6 is a great all-round TV and comes recommended for those looking to buy their first OLED.
LG OLED55C6 – £1,999 – Best Buy
The C6 shares the same screen sizes and price points as the B6 but there are a few differences, the most obvious of which is that the C6 uses a curved screen. Aside from that the two share identical styling with the same ultra slim design, traditional stand and clear perspex column that gives the impression the panel is floating in mid-air. The C6 also includes all the same features as the B6 with an Ultra HD 4K 10-bit panel, a wider colour space and support for High Dynamic Range – both HDR 10 and Dolby Vision. The two models are also certified as Ultra HD Premium by the UHD Alliance and include extensive calibration controls and a well-designed menu system. Whilst the B6 has four HDMI 2.0a inputs, the C6 only has three but they support Ultra HD 4K 50/60p, HDR and HDCP2.2. The C6 also comes with a Magic Remote and the latest version of WebOS, with support for all the main video streaming services. The other major difference between the B6 and C6 is that the latter supports passive 3D and comes with two pairs of glasses included. The energy consumption on the C6 was very good, especially with standard dynamic range content, and the input lag measured around 38ms, which should be low enough for most gamers.
The C6 delivered accurate out-of-the-box greyscale and colour gamut measurements and, thanks to the picture controls, it could produce a reference performance after calibration. The image quality with standard dynamic range content was superb, as we would expect from an OLED, with deep blacks and natural-looking colours. The viewing angles are very wide and the screen uniformity was good, whilst LG have succeeded in eliminating the dark edges that afflicted previous generations. There is still some minor banding just above black and the C6 could occasionally crush shadow detail in the darkest scenes but overall it produced a great-looking image with both standard and high definition content. The 3D was also hugely impressive and whilst the C6 could produce a decent HDR image with far greater precision thanks to the general image benefits of OLED, it did sometimes lack the impact that is possible with some of the better LCD displays. There are also issues related to driving the panel harder with HDR content such as image retention but LG have included features on all their OLED TVs to minimise this. In fact when you also take into account the great overall performance with high definition content in particular, as well as 3D, it's hard to see any downsides. So as long as you don't have an issue with curved screens, the LG OLED55C6 is definitely a best buy.
MORE: What is Dolby Vision?
LG OLED65E6 – £3,999 – Highly Recommended
Although not the flagship model in LG’s line-up this year, unless you’re looking for a 55-inch screen size, the E6 really hits the sweet spot as far as design, build quality and features are concerned. Although LG say that the panels and picture processing are identical on all their 2016 OLED TVs, the E6 is simply one of the most beautifully designed TVs that we've ever seen, with an ingenious ‘Picture on Glass’ construction that is both minimalist and contemporary. Despite being incredibly thin, the build quality is excellent and the built-in soundbar means that you don't have to compromise on the audio either. The E6 will fit onto smaller surfaces thanks to a sensible stand and you also have the option to wall mount. There's an excellent selection of connections including four HDMI 2.0a inputs although, as is the case with all LG’s OLED TVs, they are quite close to the edge of the screen. The magic remote sports an elegant silver and black design that matches the stylish panel but there's also a more stripped down remote if you prefer and a remote app for iOS and Android. The input lag measured 38ms and the E6 includes just about every feature imaginable, including an Ultra HD 4K panel, HDR 10 and Dolby Vision support, passive 3D and LG's excellent WebOs Smart TV platform.
As with all LG’s OLED TVs this year the E6 is certified as Ultra HD Premium by the Ultra HD Alliance and this was confirmed in testing with the LG meeting or exceeding all the requirements. The OLED delivered an extremely accurate image both before and after calibration, as well as demonstrating excellent video processing and motion handling. As a result both standard and high definition content looked lovely, with the deep blacks that we expect from an OLED and natural-looking pictures. The majority of the issues that have affected OLED TVs in the past have been addressed by LG, although the E6 does still struggle slightly with detail just above black. LG is the only manufacturer currently supporting Dolby Vision in the UK and based on our testing the E6 performed extremely well with this version of HDR. The same was true of HDR 10, even if OLED does struggle to deliver the peak highlights that you get from an LCD TV. However there's no doubt that OLED remains our preferred technology for watching standard dynamic range content and even if the HDR performance isn't quite as good as with some other technologies, the LG OLED65E6 remains a superb TV that comes highly recommended.
MORE: Read All OLED TV Reviews
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