LG LAS455H Soundbar Review
Aggressive pricing meets good quality sound
What is the LG LAS455H?This product is so hot off the production line that, at the time of the review going live (July 2015), it’s still not featured on the LG UK website. We can pretty much guarantee you, however, that in light of the product number beginning with a four, the LAS455H sits bang in the middle of LG’s soundbar range for 2015. It is already available at certain retailers for £199.95, although the manufacturer’s suggested price is £249.95. The LAS455H boats a claimed 300w total output via the speaker bar and included wireless subwoofer unit. In fact the spec sheet looks very impressive for a sub £200 soundbar with hi-res audio support, Bluetooth and some integration in to LG’s Music Flow system. In fact, you could even say LG is going for the jugular, price-wise, so let’s see if any corners have been cut to achieve that.
Design & ConnectionsThe LAS455H certainly doesn’t break the mould in terms of soundbar design but there’s only so much you can do. The main bar is encased in a mainly charcoal, textured finish with chrome ends, either side, and a hard black plastic mesh effect grille. There are some discrete buttons on top of the bar that allow you to select input, power on and off and control the volume. It’s probably best suited for modern TVs around 40-42-inches as it’s not one of the wider examples at 89cm in width. That’s not to say you couldn’t pair it with something larger but you might lose something in terms of the stereo separation effect. For the price, the build quality is really good and the accompanying subwoofer also feels of a reasonable quality, with its finish matching that of the main speaker bar.
Physical connections on-board the LAS455H are plentiful with a Toslink digital audio input, a 3.5mm stereo jack and a USB port which can be used for music playback. You also get both HDMI in and out connections, where the ‘out’ gives you the CEC/ARC capability, allowing you to control the system volume with the TV remote whilst the input could be used for any number of HDMI equipped video devices – take your pick. Quite unusually the LAS455H features an integrated power supply on the main speaker bar, which makes the mains cable harder to conceal in front of the TV than if they’d gone with an outboard PSU where the cables tend to be slimmer.
The remote is a nice example with easy to read buttons that cover all the available features and options on-board the LAS455H. There are dedicated buttons to activate the Night mode, adjust audio delay, select inputs – although not all have a discrete key – and activate the various sound modes, in addition to all the usual volume options. It is also possible to use the remote to cycle through folders on ant attached USB storage device and there are all the playback controls there too.
FeaturesWhilst the LAS455 is labelled as a ‘Music Flow’ product, that doesn’t mean it will integrate in the whole multi-room shebang like the HS7 we looked at recently. In this instance, Music Flow refers only to the interaction with the app which is available on iOS and Android devices. The app Home page is has a top panel dedicated to ‘mood’ playlists. Whilst under that are tiles for your favourites, playlists and your most played content. Swiping upwards from there will bring up a screen displaying cover art for whatever is currently playing, as well as transport controls and a volume control.
There’s a search button to the top of the Homepage, which will scan your entire music library and there’s also integration with streaming services from Spotify (including Connect), Napster, TuneIn and Deezer, too, but obviously you’ll need to hold accounts with them; in the case of Spotify, that will need to have a Premium (paid for) account. Hitting the Menu icon (three horizontal lines), from any screen, will bring up all content and setup options and you’re also able to control the soundbar’s volume and output characteristics via the app. Music Flow also has Google Cast built-in. allowing you to send your music, radio station and podcasts directly from the apps you already own in your mobile device to LG Music Flow speakers.
The LAS455H is also compatible with LG’s Sound Sync feature found in some of their recent TVs. This allows you to pair the soundbar with the TV wirelessly and promises perfect audio synchronisation with it, although we didn’t have one in to test at the time. If your TV has Bluetooth audio capability, however, you can achieve pretty much the same thing by connecting the soundbar as a headset to it; we did note that there were some lip sync issues in this approach when teamed with a Samsung JS8500 (about 20 milliseconds) but it was easily fixed using the delay settings on the remote.
LG LAS455H Sound QualityDespite its fairly narrow span - and at the time of testing we were using a 55-inch TV - the LAS455H managed to create a fairly wide dispersion of sound which seemed to reach right to the edges of the screen, although nothing beyond that. We couldn’t say that it had any surround-like qualities but you should certainly notice the step-up when switching from your TV’s speakers. The Cinema mode pre-set gets closest to mimicking a 5.1 setup but the expansion comes at the cost of a very hollow mid-range so it’s not really worth using.
Though the subwoofer is also almost equally compact, it certainly makes its presence felt but the relatively meagre mid-range drivers in the soundbar mean it is, at times, called upon for duties beyond its abilities and it can then be easily located within the room – the exact opposite of what you would ideally want. Still, we do have to remember the cost and target market and, again, it is far beyond what the average TV is able to output.
The signature sound of the LG LAS455H, like other 2015 LG audio products, is tuned warmer than in previous years, which I greatly prefer to the rather over-bright tones we’ve heard in the past. As a result, it is more suited to a broader range of music, as well as providing a pleasant accompaniment to whatever you’re watching on the TV. It’s not going to blow your socks off but it is in equal measure not going to offend anyone. It’s a competent performer and a good all-rounder and, all things considered, we shouldn’t expect any more than that.
A fine all-rounder but don't expect the earth for this kind of money
It’s certainly worth experimenting with some of the Sound Modes, too, to see if you can tune the package more to your liking. The Music pre-set is a tad warmer than the rest but we spent most of our time using Standard or Flat which both provide a creditable 2.1 output. If you’re looking for more than that, you will either have to go up the price scale by a hundred, or more pounds, or consider if you’re able to accommodate a system with 5.1 channels.
- Unobtrusive design
- Excellent connectivity
- Music Flow app is slick
- Sounds decent with music and movies
- Great price
- Lacks mid-range presence
LG LAS455H Soundbar Review
Should I buy the LG LAS455H?
For its current asking price (July 2015) of a tad below £200, the LG LAS455H is definitely worthy of recommendation. It’s a well-built package that is designed to sit under the new breed of super-sleek TVs and features excellent connectivity for the price-point. You get both an HDMI input and output so you can take advantage of your TVs ARC (Audio Return Channel) capabilities, plus a Toslink digital audio in, an all-purpose 3.5mm stereo jack, a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity to boot. The LAS455H is also compatible with LG’s excellent Music Flow app, allowing you to cast music from a range of leading streaming services, your locally stored collection or even from other devices on your home network, which is another feather in its cap that few others in this category can boast. More importantly it sounds good with movies, TV and music with a fairly rich and inviting soundstage. As said above, it’s not going to leave your jaw hanging agog but you really couldn’t expect that for the sum asked and if all you're after is a worthwhile upgrade to your TVs speakers, the LG LAS455H more than does the job.
What else is there?
This is one of the first entry to mid-level range soundbars we’ve reviewed in 2015 but there’s no doubt the Yamaha YSP-1400 is going to take some beating in this sector. The Yamaha doesn’t offer HDMI connectivity, however, so if that’s a prerequisite then the LG is still a really good bet but we do think the YSP-1400 has a fuller sound. Also worth considering - and still doing the rounds despite being a 2014 model – is the Philips HTL5140 which provides similarly cutting edge connectivity and strong all-round performance but has a bit more of a home theatre vibe thanks to some convincing surround effects processing. For a more general look at the soundbar market you can check out all our other reviews.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £249.95
Ease of use8
Value for Money8
Our Review Ethos
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