LG 65G7 4K OLED TV Review
Is this OLED TV a model without portfolio?
What is the LG G7?The G7 is LG's high-end Ultra HD OLED TV for 2017 and although it isn't their flagship model, that status is reserved for the W7 wallpaper OLED TV, it does form part of their Signature range of luxury products. However, since all of LG's 4K OLED TVs offer exactly the same picture performance this year, the OLED65G7 may struggle to justify its high-priced existence. The 2017 range is composed of five different models this year but the G7 doesn't have the cachet of the wallpaper W7 and at a price of £6,999, as at the time of writing (July 2017), it is considerably more expensive than the almost identical OLED65E7, so it's in danger of being slightly redundant. Let's put the 65G7 through its paces and find out if it's an OLED model too far.
DesignIn terms of its design the G7 appears to be identical to last year's G6, which means we get the same 'Picture-on-Glass' construction with the OLED panel bonded to a transparent pane of glass. This approach is also used on the E6 and E7, with a result that is both attractive and robust. The overall appearance is very minimalist, with a 10mm black border around the screen and that's about it. In terms of measurements the G7 is 1461 x 883 x 243mm (WxHxD) with the soundbar down and 1461 x 892 x 68mm with it up, whilst the TV weighs in at 31.7kg. The G7 sits on the same speaker base as the G6 and it's this larger soundbar that is the main difference between the G7 and the E7. However unlike the less expensive model, all the rear-facing connections and electronics being housed in the soundbar stand, along with the speakers and amplificationAs a result of this design approach, the G7 is genuinely thin across most of the panel, aside from where it actually connects to the soundbar base. This soundbar can't be detached but acts as both a set of forward-firing speakers and a stand, providing solid support. You'll need a surface that's at least 1461mm wide on which to position the G7 and our only complaint would be that along the bottom of the screen you sometimes get reflections from the top of the soundbar itself. The soundbar can also be rotated back, so that it fits behind the panel, with the connections now facing upwards, and in this configuration the G7 realigns its audio so that the sound is still being fired forwards. This configuration then allows you to wall mount the G7 using a standard 400 x 200 VESA bracket.
The G7 appears to be identical to last year's G6 in terms of design and build quality
Connections & ControlAll the connections are built into the soundbar and are in a line facing rearwards when the G7 is stand mounted and upwards when the TV is wall mounted. The connections are very similar to last year's G6 but LG have dropped the break-out connectors for composite video, component video and analogue audio. However there are still connectors for the built-in terrestrial and satellite tuners, as well as an optical digital output, a headphone jack and an RS-232 connector for serial control, There's an Ethernet port for a wired connection, along with built-in wireless capability and support for both WiDi and Miracast. There are also three USB ports (two 2.0 and one 3.0) and a CI (Custom Interface Slot). Finally there are four HDMI 2.0a inputs and, unlike last year's G6, they all support 4K at up to 50/60p signal and HDMI Ultra HD Deep Colour.
The G7 comes with two remote controls that both use a matching black and champagne gold finish and have the words 'LG Signature' on them. The larger of the two remotes, which is identical to the one included with the E7, is well made, comfortable to hold and ergonomically designed to be easily used with one hand. LG have dropped the now redundant 3D button and moved the Settings button, which has allowed LG to add direct access buttons for Netflix and Amazon. All the usual buttons are present and are sensibly laid out with the navigation controls and track wheel in the middle. The remote includes voice control but the pointer function is highly effective and perfectly compliments the WebOS smart TV platform, making controlling and navigating the G7 simple. If for some reason you find the larger remote unwieldy or too complicated, there is also a smaller non-motion remote control included which offers a stripped down set of buttons that covers the most frequently used functions. Although if two controllers aren't enough for you, there is also a free remote app for both iOS and Android which is quite effective.
Unlike the earlier G6, all four of the G7's HDMI inputs support 4K at 50/60p
Features & SpecsAll of LG's 2017 OLED TVs have the same basic feature set and the same system-on-chip (SoC), so any differences are cosmetic rather than performance related. This means that regardless of which LG OLED TV you choose you'll get a flat 4K Ultra HD 10-bit panel with a refresh rate of 120Hz and support for wider colour gamuts and all four versions of High Dynamic Range – HDR10, Dolby Vision, Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) and even Advanced HDR by Technicolor. All of LG's 2017 OLED TVs are Ultra HD Premium certified by the UHD Alliance and although they have dropped 3D across the board, they have added Dolby Atmos to this year's line-up. The G7 has a built-in soundbar that includes 4.2-channels and 60W of amplification, just like the E7, but also has 20W allocated to the built-in woofers to give the sound more low-end presence. We'll cover the built-in soundbar and the Dolby Atmos support in more detail in the sound quality section of this review.
The G7 includes WebOS 3.5, which is the latest version of LG's smart platform, adding some new features such as the OLED Gallery which allows you to choose Art Frame, Rainy Window, Sunny Day or your own photos to appear on the screen. This year LG have also added an option called Zoom Record which allows you to record a zoomed section of the image and there's also the option to use the Music Player in full screen mode with lyric synchronisation, if you fancy a bit of karaoke. Finally LG have added the ability to enjoy 360 degree material on your TV screen and use the Magic Remote to drag the pointer and look around the 360 degree environment. None of these new features are particularly revolutionary but WebOS is an excellent smart platform and, in our opinion, it remains the best TV operating system currently available. As with previous generations of WebOS, you'll find the LG Content Store, a full web browser, all the main video streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix, Now TV, YouTube, Wuaki TV and a complete set of TV catch-up services.
Like all of LG's 2017 OLEDs there's support for Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos and WebOS 3.5
Picture Settings – Out-of-the-BoxAlthough like all of LG's TVs the G7 ships in the Eco mode, getting the picture accurate is very simple. All you need to do is select the ISF Expert Dark Room or Bright Room settings and you're almost there. Both modes turn off most of the special features and select the correct Colour Temperature of Warm2. Set the Colour Gamut to Auto (it's set to Wide in Bright Room), this will automatically select the correct colour gamut depending on the incoming signal. Then all you need to do is set the OLED Light, Contrast, Brightness and Gamma controls to suit your particular environment. You can set TruMotion depending on your personal preference but we would always recommend turning it off for film-based content and don't forget to turn the Edge Enhancer off.
All our measurements were done with a Klein K-10A colour meter, a Murideo Fresco Six-G pattern generator and CalMAN Ultimate calibration software. You can find our suggested settings here or alternatively you can follow the simple steps in our PicturePerfect Guide.
The G7 delivered an excellent out-of-the-box performance, although interestingly the E7 was a touch more accurate. As you can see in the graph above, there's a slight excess of red in the greyscale which resulted in some minor DeltaEs (errors), although they were all below the visible threshold. The gamma was tracking our target of 2.4 very closely and given this largely accurate overall performance, the benefits of a calibration will be minimal. However since the G7 includes both a 2- and 20-point white balance control, we'll be able to fine tune this already impressive performance.The out-of-the-box colour gamut was equally as impressive and, as the graph above shows, all three primary colours and all three secondary colours were tracking their saturation points for Rec.709 very closely. There is a minor shift in white towards red due to the slight excess of red energy in the greyscale and this, in turn, is also pulling the other colours slightly in that direction. It isn't noticeable with normal viewing content but once the slight excess of red in the greyscale has been removed, all the colours should fall precisely in line with their targets. This is good news because, by LG's own admission, their colour management system (CMS) isn't very effective and can add artefacts into the image.
The G7 is yet another 2017 TV that delivered a very accurate out-of-the-box performance
Picture Settings – CalibratedAs mentioned the G7 has a comprehensive set of calibration controls, including both 2- and 20-point white balance controls, a detailed gamma control and a full Colour Management System (CMS), so we should be able to improve on the already excellent image accuracy. Although the CMS is known to introduce artefacts when used excessively, we'll only be fine-tuning the G7 colour performance, so we don't anticipate any issues.
We only needed to reduce red slightly in the greyscale using the 2-point white balance control to get a reference performance but, since there's also a 20-point control, we used that to deliver an essentially perfect set of greyscale and gamma measurements. There were now exact amounts of red, green and blue at each IRE interval, the gamma was tracking 2.4 precisely and the errors were all at or just above zero.After calibrating the greyscale the colour temperature of white was now measuring at our target of D65 precisely, as evidenced by the dot being at the centre of the square in the middle of the graph above. As a result the slight red skew has gone and all the colours were tracking their saturation targets precisely. We used the CMS to slightly adjust the hue of the secondary colours and although there were still some tiny hue errors in magenta, the rest of the measurements were superb, whilst the luminance levels (which are not shown on the graph above) were also excellent.
Picture Settings – High Dynamic RangeWe started our HDR testing by measuring the peak brightness of the G7 at 670nits using a 10% window, which is the same as the E7, and, as with the other model, we could also get around 700nits with a 1% window, which means that those peak specular highlights are not only precise but also quite bright. The G7 could only deliver 340nits on a 50% screen and 133nits on a 100% screen because it's ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) kicks in as the overall APL (Average Picture Level) gets brighter – these measurements are again comparable with the E7.The G7 did an excellent job of tone mapping HDR content within the limitations of its 700nits of peak brightness and the greyscale was extremely even, which means that the TV is delivering D65 accurately for HDR. The G7 also tracked the PQ EOTF (the perceptual curve used for HDR) very accurately right right up to the point where it hits the limitation of its own brightness. As a result the errors are all below the visible threshold and the G7 is delivering a highly accurate HDR performance in terms of tone mapping the peak brightness without clipping detail. LG have now added a 2-point white balance control to go along with the 20-point that was available for HDR last year, which makes fine tuning the greyscale easier.
The graph above shows the spectrum of colours visible to the human eye (the horseshoe shape) and the triangle is Rec. 2020. The native colour gamut of the G7 managed to cover just under 71% of Rec. 2020 which is very good and almost identical to the E7. It also managed to track the saturation targets quite closely within the limitations of its native colour gamut.
The graph above shows the DCI-P3 colour gamut (which is used for projecting films at the cinema) within the Rec. 2020 container and we measured the G7 at 95% using xy coordinates and 98% using the uv coordinates, with the latter being the more modern approach for mapping the colour gamut. The G7 not only covered most of the DCI-P3 colour gamut but also tracked the saturation targets very accurately, with a performance that was once again almost exactly the same as the E7.
Colour Volume MeasurementsHere at AVForums we use two approaches to measure colour volume, the first is the Relative Colour Volume, which takes the display's own peak brightness and measures the colour volume relative to that peak brightness based on the CIE L*a*b* colour graph and 140 data points. For the G7 we got measurements of 110% against Rec. 709, 74% against DCI-P3 and 50% against Rec. 2020 but these measurements aren't taking into account the maximum nits used when content is graded.
Thus a better approach is to measure the Perceptual Colour Volume, which uses the PQ EOTF out to 10,000nits and the Rec. 2020 colour gamut measured using the ICtCp colour graph which takes into account human visual perception. This measurement uses 393 data points and delivers a number expressed in Millions of Distinguishable Colours (MDC). The G7 produced an MDC number of 347 and, given how similar all the measurements have been up until now, it shouldn't come as a surprise to discover that these results mirror the performance of the E7 as well.
Dolby Vision CalibrationThe latest version of CalMAN now includes a new workflow for calibrating the Dolby Vision performance of LG's 2017 OLED TVs, so we took this opportunity to try it out on the G7. According to CalMAN current HDR compatible TVs are still based on a 2.2 gamma at the panel level and the PQ EOTF (ST2084) is then mapped on to this native panel gamma response of 2.2. The new workflow, which was developed in conjunction with LG and Dolby, puts the TV's Dolby Vision engine into passthrough mode via special Dolby Vision 'Relative Mode' metadata. You then calibrate the Dolby Vision Cinema mode's greyscale to the D65 white point and a 2.2 gamma using the 2- and 20-point white balance controls.
Once you have done this you then use CalMAN to create a custom Dolby Vision configuration file, consisting of readings for the white, black, red, green and blue measurements. You then save the Dolby Vision config file to a USB stick, plug it into your 2017 LG OLED TV and play a piece of Dolby Vision content. The TV will display an onscreen message asking if you want to load the new custom Dolby Vision config file, to which you say yes. To verify the results of the calibration, you then set your pattern generator's Dolby Vision metadata to 'Absolute Mode' and measure the results against D65, the DCI-P3 primaries and the ST2084 PQ EOTF. It's a simple and highly effective process and another example of the benefits of the Dolby Vision ecosystem.
The HDR accuracy was impressive and CalMAN now allows for easier calibration of Dolby Vision
Black Levels and Contrast RatiosThe G7 is the fourth 2017 LG OLED that we've tested, so we had a good idea of what to expect and we weren't disappointed. We measured the black level at zero and the G7 could easily hit our SDR target of 120nits, which equates to an on/off contrast ratio of infinity, whilst the same was true with the ANSI contrast ratio. As with LG's other 2017 OLEDs the G7 revealed improvements in areas just above black and using test scenes we could see that the detail in shadows was more defined and although this applied to both SDR and HDR it was more noticeable with the latter.
Screen UniformityWe were pleased to find that the screen uniformity of the G7 was also excellent and using 1 to 5% full-field grey test patterns we could see the panel was free of vignetting (dark edges), as well as any discolouration or DSE (dirty screen effect). There was also none of the macro-blocking that was visible on last year's OLED TVs, unless it happens to be in the actual source material. As with all OLED panels there was some very minor vertical banding just above black that we could see with dedicated test patterns but this wasn't apparent when watching normal content. As a result the G7 handled football extremely well and we were never aware of any banding as the camera panned quickly across the pitch. This performance mirrors that of the B7 and E7 that we've tested and was actually slightly better than both the Sony A1 and the Panasonic EZ1002.
Motion HandlingThe motion handling on the G7 was typical for an OLED TV with around 300 lines of motion resolution with TruMotion turned off. In general we were happy to watch most content including fast-paced sports without the TruMotion engaged and we were never distracted by the motion handling. However we do appreciate that perception of motion differs from person to person and thus some will want to use the TruMotion feature. The motion resolution will increase to nearer 1000 lines once you engage either the Clear or Smooth settings but this will introduce excessive smoothing and the dreaded 'soap opera effect'.
This won't necessarily be an issue with sports content but we did sometimes notice artefacts other than smoothing, so don't consider TruMotion to be the ideal solution to all motion handling issues. LG don't include the black frame insertion mode found on the Sony and Panasonic OLEDs, so for movies we would recommend either turning TruMotion off entirely or trying the User setting. This allows you to customise the amount of Deblur and Dejudder, thus increasing the motion resolution without necessarily adding unnatural smoothing that robs a movie of its film-like quality, however you could still introduce unwanted artefacts.
Standard Dynamic Range ContentThe G7 was a very impressive performer with Standard Dynamic Range content, delivering deep blacks, accurate images and excellent video processing. The inherent dynamic range of OLED gives images greater depth and solidity, whilst the viewing angles are very wide. The superb accuracy of the greyscale, gamma and colour gamut, combined with the good motion handling and effective upscaling of lower resolution content, resulted in beautifully rendered images. These benefits were even more apparent in high definition, with dramas and documentaries looking particularly impressive and the pictures delivered deep blacks where necessary but retained fine detail in the shadows.
The processing was able to scale the high definition images to match the 4K panel and shows like Preacher looked suitably colourful and detailed, whilst the snowy landscapes of Fargo retained clean whites that were free of any discolouration. Naturally once we switched to Blu-rays the G7 took full advantage of the superior source material to deliver detailed images that were perfectly rendered with deep blacks and an accurate greyscale and colour gamut that really gave the pictures impact. As a result current favourites like Moana and Rogue One looked marvellous on the G7, showing the full potential of OLED when it comes to standard dynamic range content.
High Dynamic Range – HDR10As we expected, the G7 also didn't disappoint when it came to HDR with all of the factors that we have mentioned earlier in this review coming into play. First of all the TV can deliver nearly 100% of DCI-P3 and track it very precisely, which means colours are saturated but natural in appearance. The 10-bit encoding meant that the images were also free from banding, the 24p was handled well and regular test discs like Passengers and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, both of which used 4K DIs, looked incredibly detailed. The G7 did an excellent job of showing just how good an Ultra Blu-ray can look with a native 4K image, wide colour gamut and HDR10. The LG did a superb job delivering every pixel of detail and all the colours whilst also tone mapping the HDR accurately and rendering the specular highlights with precision.
Another excellent test disc is Planet Earth II, where the nighttime scenes were reproduced very effectively, delivering deep blacks but retaining the details in shadows. The G7 also correctly tone mapped the sun behind the mountain in the 'Arriving in Neverland' scene in Pan, so that the disc of the sun was visible within its glow. It was only during particularly dark sequences such as the nighttime scenes in Patriots Day that LG's approach to tone mapping became apparent. In order to retain the specular highlights the rest of the image could appear rather dark but we would rather that have detail clipped in the highlights. This is essentially a limitation of the static metadata used on HDR10 content but the improved ABL performance certainly helped and we never found the sometimes darker image to be an issue, whilst the deep blacks and improved shadow detail certainly helped.
High Dynamic Range – Dolby VisionAlthough LG have been supporting Dolby Vision on their OLED TVs since last year, it's only recently that the format has started to gain a degree of critical mass in terms of content. Netflix have been using Dolby Vision globally as a method of delivering HDR content for a while now and both Amazon and Vudu have also used the format for streaming HDR content in the US. However the arrival of the first Dolby Vision Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players that support the format means that it has begun to gain greater attention amongst both enthusiasts and general consumers alike. Whilst in the past LG could be accused of box-ticking, that isn't the case now we have four Dolby Vision discs (Despicable Me, Despicable Me 2, Power Rangers and The Fate of the Furious) along with the Oppo UDP-203 and UDP-205, both of which support Dolby Vision. LG's own 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the UP970, will also be getting a Dolby Vision update.
So after running through the new Dolby Vision calibration workflow in CalMAN, we took the opportunity of watching some Dolby Vision content on the G7's large 65-inch screen, having previously watched Dolby Vision content on our 55-inch B7. The results were certainly impressive and although there isn't a night and day difference between HDR10 and Dolby Vision, the latter is the superior experience. At least it is on LG's OLED TVs but we still need to compare Dolby Vision to a higher-end LCD TV that can deliver HDR content with minimal or even no tone mapping. However based on our limited sample to date, we have been really impressed by Dolby Vision on LG's OLED TVs. The Dolby Vision version delivered saturated colours that were slightly more refined and specular highlights that never clipped and had slightly more impact, whilst darker scenes delivered deep blacks where necessary and also retained shadow detail, never appearing overly dim.
As we mentioned in the previous section on HDR10, one of the limitations of this format is that it has a single peak brightness number for the entire film. So regardless of whether the scene is bright or dark the target peak brightness remains 1000 or 4000 nits, depending on how it was graded. One of the big advantages of Dolby Vision is that it uses dynamic metadata that can change the peak brightness target from scene to scene and even on a frame by frame basis. As a result the Dolby Vision versions always looked correct from scene to scene, with no one scene appearing too bright or too dark compared to all the others, thus appearing more consistent throughout the entire film. This was especially true during the nighttime quarry scenes in Power Rangers or the ice-bound submarine sequence in The Fate of the Furious. In Dolby Vision both scenes delivered all their detail, never crushing or clipping, whilst also retaining a consistent experience compared to the scenes before and after. There's no doubt that Dolby Vision certainly shows potential and is able to deliver the full potential of OLED when it comes to HDR.
LG 65G7 Video Review
Sound QualityThe built-in soundbar on the G7 includes 4.2 channels and 60W of amplification, which is the same as the E7, but adds additional woofers to deliver a better low-end presence. In performance terms we were certainly impressed with the sound quality delivered by the built-in speakers and the large screen size meant there was good stereo separation across the front soundstage. As a result the audio had more width and depth than you would get from a traditional ultra-slim TV and the mid-range was well represented, resulting in clear and focused dialogue, whilst the high-end was pretty good too. The effects and music in TV shows and movies were well rendered and football benefited from clear commentary combined with a greater sense of immersion by the crowd. The G7 was able to deliver low-end frequencies better than the E7 but it still lacked the full-on bass response of a separate soundbar with a dedicated subwoofer.
LG will be adding Dolby Atmos support via a firmware update later in the year, which has been developed to deliver a more immersive experience from the built-in soundbar. We had a demonstration of this technology from Dolby and, much to our surprise, it actually worked, creating a wider soundstage and a more immersive experience from only two speakers. Although this kind of Dolby Atmos support is a nice thing to have, it will never replace a proper Dolby Atmos setup and in reality you could buy one of the cheaper LG OLED TVs and still have plenty left over to invest in a really good Dolby Atmos soundbar like LG's SJ9. Ultimately the sound quality of the G7 is better than most other modern TVs and is certainly good enough for general TV watching but if you're investing in an expensive OLED TV like this, we'd really recommend using a superior outboard audio solution. Of course in doing so, you essentially negate one of the main selling points of the G7, which is the real conundrum when it comes to this model.
MORE: What is Dolby Atmos
As with all of LG's OLED TVs this year, the G7 delivered an impressively low input lag of 21ms
Input Lag & Energy ConsumptionUsing our Leo Bodnar tester we measured the G7's input lag in Game mode at 21ms, although renaming an input as PC will also result in a lag of 21ms regardless of which mode you select. However this only appears to apply to SDR signals, so for HDR we would recommend using the Game mode. Regardless of which approach you take the lag of 21ms applies to 1080p or 4K gaming regardless of whether it is in SDR or HDR. The G7 will also accept 4:4:4 signals correctly if you rename the input as PC and it can support 1080p at 120Hz, all of which is good news for PC gamers.
In terms of the G7’s energy consumption it proved to be almost identical to the E7 that we reviewed recently and using a full window 50% white pattern we measured the Eco picture mode at 142W and our calibrated ISF mode at 88W. Once we moved on to HDR the level of energy consumption obviously increased and the G7 was drawing 170W with our optimal settings.
How future-proof is this TV?
4K Ultra HD Resolution HDR Support Colour Space (percentage of Rec.2020 - 100% best) 71% 10-bit Panel HDMI 2.0a Inputs HDCP 2.2 Support HEVC Decoding 4K Streaming Services Smart TV Platform Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10) 9 What do these mean?
- Incredible blacks and contrast ratio
- Superb dynamic range
- Impressive image accuracy
- Improved detail above black
- Excellent video processing
- Dolby Vision support
- Lovely design and build quality
- Very low input lag
- Very minor banding just above black
LG 65G7 4K OLED TV Review
Should I buy one?The G7 is another excellent OLED TV from LG but it does struggle to justify its existence in what is a fairly crowded range from the Korean manufacturer. LG publicly stated that the picture quality and features on their 2017 OLED TVs were the same across the entire range and having now tested the B7, E7, G7 and W7, we can confirm that this is the case. All four models delivered an identical picture performance, allowing for minute panel variations, which means that the main reason choosing one model over another is largely cosmetic. The OLED65G7 is certainly worthy of recommendation based purely on its performance but it's hard to find any real reason to choose this model over the cheaper OLED65E7. Both models use 'Picture-on-Glass' construction and include a built-in soundbar and both have exactly the same feature set and picture performance, so why would you spend an additional £2,200 on the G7? If you want a 'wallpaper' OLED you've got the OLED65W7, if you want a built-in soundbar you've got the E7 and if you want a TV with a normal stand you've got a choice of the OLED65B7 or OLED65C7. So where does that leave the G7 within LG's OLED TV range? The simple answer is that the G7 feels like a model without portfolio.
What are my alternatives?Well, assuming you're not tempted by one of LG's other OLED TVs, there are plenty of other alternatives this year. When you consider the cost of the G7, that puts it in a similar range to Panasonic's TX-65EZ1002 which has recently had a price reduction and can now be picked up for £5,999. If a saving of £1,000 wasn't enough, there's also the EZ1002's semi-professional approach to image accuracy. In reality there is no real difference between the two models in terms of picture quality and they both have soundbars, so the G7 probably edges out the EZ1002 thanks to its support of Dolby Vision. If the latter is important to you then that rules out the otherwise excellent Panasonic TX-65EZ952 but there is the option of Sony's KD-65A1. This OLED TV not only includes Dolby Vision support and delivers a superb picture but it's a gorgeous piece of design and includes Sony's innovative 'acoustic surface'. If that wasn't enough to tempt you, it's also £2,300 cheaper than the G7.
MORE: Read All OLED TV Reviews
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level9
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box9
Picture Quality Calibrated10
Ease Of Use10
Value for Money7
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In This Review