LG 55E7 Ultra HD 4K OLED TV Preview
Not just Dolby Vision but Dolby Atmos too
What is the LG E7?The LG E7 sits towards the top of their new line-up of Ultra HD 4K TVs, just below the W7 and G7 and just above the C7 and B7. It uses the manufacturer's 'picture-on-glass' design and includes a built-in soundbar and newly designed stand. Not only does the 55E7 support UHD but also High Dynamic Range, including HDR 10, Dolby Vision, HLG and Technicolor. This year LG have also added support for Dolby Atmos, allowing owners to get a more immersive sound experience from the stereo speakers built into the soundbar. There is also the latest version of LG's Smart TV platform – WebOS 3.5 – but this year LG have dropped 3D from all their 2017 TVs. The 55E7 uses a flat 55-inch screen but there is also the 65E7 which uses a flat 65-inch screen.
DesignThe 55E7 uses the same 'picture-on-glass' design that was introduced on the E6 and G6 last year, so the super-slim OLED panel is attached to a glass backing in order to make it both attractive and strong. As with the E6 last year, there is also a built-in soundbar but, for 2017, LG have added a sloped stand underneath the soundbar. This raises both the soundbar and the panel off the ground, creating a gap between the TV and the surface it is standing on. As with 2016's E6, the electronics, connections, amplification and speakers are included in the built-in soundbar, along with four HDMI inputs. The E7 can also be wall mounted if you prefer.
FeaturesUnlike last year's LG OLEDs, the 2017 TVs all have same basic feature set and use the same system-on-chip (SoC), so the differences between models are essentially cosmetic. In terms of features the E7 includes support for Ultra HD 4K and also supports all four versions of High Dynamic Range – HDR 10, Dolby Vision and, new for this year, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) and Advanced HDR by Technicolor.
The E7 includes LG's excellent Magic motion remote control and their highly influential smart TV platform, which this year has been updated to WebOS 3.5. New features include the ability to assign certain content providers to specific buttons, a Magic Zoom feature and support for VR (virtual reality) content. We have yet to review the latest version of WebOS in detail but since it is essentially the same as last year's iteration, we would expect it to be equally as impressive.
This year LG have also added Dolby Atmos, which has been developed to deliver an immersive experience from the stereo speakers built into the E7's soundbar. We had a demonstration of this new technology from Dolby Labs and it actually worked, creating a wider soundstage and a more immersive experience from only two speakers. Obviously this psycho-acoustic approach to immersive audio can't replace a proper Dolby Atmos setup but it will provide the opportunity to experience multi-dimensional audio without putting speakers all over your lounge.
The E7 does not support 3D but none of LG's 2017 support that particular feature.
PictureWe won't be able to properly evaluate the picture performance of the E7 until we get it in for review, where we can test it in an objective and controlled manner. LG claim they have increased the peak brightness, delivering 1,000 nits in vivid mode but we will confirm the actual accurate peak brightness when we get the TV in for review. We will also measure the percentage of DCI-P3 and Rec.2020, as well as the black levels. LG also claim to have improved the performance just above black and, again, we will objectively test for this during the actual review. Although the E7 looked good with the specially chosen material that LG were using at CES, we will reserve judgement until we actually review the TV, when we will measure the greyscale and colour accuracy with both standard and high dynamic range content, as well as the black levels, peak brightness, contrast ratios, motion handling and video processing.
ConclusionThe floor of a major trade show is never the ideal place to judge a new TV but the specifications of the LG E7 are enough to get our attention. The combination of HDR 10, Dolby Vision, HLG and Technicolor is currently unique amongst TV manufacturers, making the 55E7 well positioned for the future. The addition of the latest version of WebOS and support for Dolby Atmos, extends what is already an impressive package. We won't know until we actually get the E7 in for review but if LG have increased the peak brightness and improved the performance just above black, then this new OLED TV could be a very strong contender in 2017. Pricing hasn't been announced yet but the E7 will be in stores in April.
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