Can the LB730 deliver a picture to match the innovation of webOS?
What is the LG LB730?
There's no doubt that LG's new webOS/Smart+ system will generate a lot of attention this year but its impact will be diminished if the TVs its running on don't cut the mustard.The last couple of years have been rather patchy for LG when it comes to their TVs; they've often strived to develop ever more impressive technologies but sometimes at the expense of getting the basics of picture quality right. In amongst the attractive designs, Nano filters and great features, there were issues with poor blacks, backlight clouding, video processing and banding, along with a buggy colour management system (CMS). So it's fair to say that with the launch of webOS/Smart+, there's a lot riding on new TVs like the 47LB730V.The LB730V certainly looks great on paper, with Smart+ of course, along with LG's Magic Remote, as well as beefed up sound, a contemporary design and passive 3D. There are promised improvements in picture quality as well, with LG's Triple XD Engine and Micro Pixel Control on board to deliver a superior Full HD image. The 47-inch LB730 that we're reviewing can be picked up for under £900, so it isn't going to break the bank either, and there are other screen sizes ranging from 42 to 65 inches. Let's put the 47LB730 through its paces and see how it measures up.
Design and ConnectionsThe LB730 uses what LG refer to as their 'Cinema Screen' design, which is essentially a single sheet of glass at the front and the panel beneath that, surrounded by a thin black border. There is a metal strip around the outer edge and the entire chassis sits on LG's new 'ribbon' stand which is both attractive and designed to help the audio performance; although it obviously can't be swivelled. Overall the LB730 is a great looking TV with a minimalist and very contemporary design and a decent level of build quality. Our only comment would be that the provided power cable uses an unusual three-pin connector, see below, and is too short at only 1.5m long.
We've been asking for side-facing inputs to be moved farther from the edge and LG have listened.
At the left rear are a combination of rearward and sideways facing connections. There are three HDMI inputs and three USB ports facing sideways and these are positioned 32cm from the edge, which is excellent because it means you won't have to worry abut unsightly cables poking out of the side. We have been asking manufacturers to move the side-facing inputs farther from the edge for years, so thank you to LG for listening. Facing towards the rear you'll find aerial and satellite connectors, an Ethernet port, a headphone socket and various legacy connections.
The LB730 comes with LG's Magic Remote included and this is easily the best implementation of a motion remote control that we have tested. LG have been fine tuning this controller for a couple of years and the current model is ergonomically designed to make it comfortable to hold and easy to use. It's also very accurate in terms of tracking motion on the screen and makes the perfect compliment to LG's new webOS/Smart+ system - more on that later.
Of course LG continue to use their passive approach to 3D, which they have christened 'Cinema 3D' and thus include a couple of pairs of passive glasses. The great thing about passive, aside from the lack of batteries and flicker, is that the glasses are very cheap and in fact, if you have any RealD glasses from the cinema, you can use those as well. You can also buy optional Dual Gaming glasses, which is another inventive implementation of the passive 3D technology.
MenusSince webOS/Smart+ is a complete redesign of the TV's system architecture from the ground up, it should come as no surprise that the menu system has also been over-hauled. You access the setup menu in the same way that you access everything else, by pressing the Home button. The launcher menu appears along the bottom and in the top right hand corner is an icon for the setup menu and also one for the inputs. If you click on the setup icon, you get a menu that covers everything from Picture, Sound, Network, General, Security and Accessibility. There's also a Quick option, to guide the unfamiliar through the setup process.
Within the Picture sub-menu there is an option called Picture Adjust, where you can access all the standard controls such as Backlight, Contrast, Brightness, Colour, Tint and Sharpness. There's also a sub-menu for Expert Control with options for Dynamic Contrast, Super Resolution, Colour Gamut, Edge Enhancer, Colour Filter, Gamma, White Balance (2- and 20-point control) and a Colour Management System (CMS). LG have long been a supporter of ISF picture modes, which calibrators can use to create Day and Night settings but they also have Picture Wizard, which is a handy tool for getting a quick and easy setup that's reasonably accurate.
LG's implementation of webOS/Smart+ is - quite simply - a game changer!
FeaturesLG, like many manufacturers recently, has been trying to improve the quality of the sound on their TVs and, if the LB730 is anything to go by, these efforts have been successful. Certainly the shape of the 'ribbon' stand and the positioning of the speakers helps but the deeper chassis - 5.5cm at its thickest point - also means that larger speakers can be used. As a result the sound quality was very good and the built-in dual speakers and woofer delivered a decent, room-filling sound. There was a reasonable sense of stereo separation and the volume could go quite high without distorting, whilst dialogue remained clear. We're not saying that a good sound bar or all-in-one system wouldn't be better but, as built-in audio goes, the LB730 did the job.
The LB730 incorporates LG's new webOS/Smart+ platform and the system is just as impressive as the early demos suggested. When you press the Home button on the Magic Remote, a launcher menu appears along the bottom. The system is incredibly intuitive and easy to use and by treating everything as an app that appears as a pop-up tag along the bottom, you can quickly switch from one thing to the next. If you scroll to the left, you go backwards through the apps you have previously opened and if you scroll forwards you can access all the apps. There is no need to go close one app or go to another page to access an app, you just select the one you want from the launcher and go straight into it. Since everything including Live TV, the TV Guide, the Time Machine (HDD recording) and the HDMI inputs are treated as apps, navigating from one to the other is simple, making webOS/Smart+ the first system that feels like an integral part of the TV. The new system really is a game changer and you can read the full in-depth review here.
The out-of-the-box greyscale and colour accuracy were excellent, which is just as well since the CMS remains buggy.
As is always the case with LG TVs, the best picture mode to use from an image accuracy perspective is either of the ISF settings. These picture modes default to the best colour and white balance settings and turn the majority of the image processing, leaving a picture that will come closest to the industry standards.
The out-of-the-box accuracy was very impressive on the LB730, with the greyscale tracking extremely well. There was a slight excess of green but the overall errors were all below the threshold of three and gamma was tracking at 2.2, aside from a slight dip at 90IRE. The colours were equally as accurate, with most hitting their targets for Rec.709 and only an error in the luminance of blue worth mentioning.
The white balance controls proved highly effective and we were able to improve the accuracy with the two-point control and then fine tune it with the ten-point. The result is a reference performance in terms of greyscale, with equal amounts of red, green and blue, no discolouration and errors that are all well below one. The gamma is also improved and now tracks 2.2 along the entire curve. The LB730 includes a CMS that allows for control of the hue, saturation and luminance of the primary and secondary colour, so we were able to improve the accuracy still further.
However, as with previous LG models we found that actually using the CMS introduced blocking artefacts into the image, so it best avoided. Luckily, once the greyscale has been calibrated the colour accuracy is excellent, aside from the previously mentioned error in the luminance of blue. The tracking of the colours at lower saturation points was also good, aside from an under-stauration in red and blue at the 50-75% range. However this didn't really impact on the accuracy of the colours with actual viewing material and in our clipping tests the LB730 performed extremely well.
Black Levels, Contrast Ratio and Dynamic Range
LG use IPS panels on their TVs, which means they have a wider optimum viewing angle, so everyone in the lounge should see a decent image regardless of where they are sat. The downside to this wider viewing angle is that the native blacks aren't as good as you will find on many TVs that use VA panels Having said that, the blacks actually measured at 0.1cd/m2 which is pretty good for an LG TV and it had no problems hitting 120cd/m2. The ANSI contrast ratio measured at 753:1 which is mediocre but the backlight uniformity was good, with an even appearance and no obvious clouding or bright corners and edges. There was some occasional banding visible when the camera panned from side to side in World Cup matches but for most viewing it wasn't apparent. The use of the local dimming didn't appear to affect the banding but it did work very well, resulting in images that had solid blacks but still managed to retain shadow detail.Video Processing
The video processing was excellent, as we have come to expect from LG, and regardless of whether the content you are watching is standard or high definition, the LB730 will handle both with ease. The deinterlacing and scaling was good, as was the motion adaptive deinterlacing and the LB730 had no trouble with 2:3 or 2:2 cadence. It also handled mixed film and video material well and was just as effective with 1080i content, deinterlacing the material without any issues. When we moved on to 24p content, the results were just as good and overall this was an excellent performance from the LB730. The motion handling was also surprisingly good for an LCD TV, measuring around 400 on the FPD Benchmark Test. In fact, even though we were watching a lot of football we never felt the need to resort to TruMotion but it's an effective option for those that feel they need it with fast-paced sports action. Although as always, we would never recommend using TruMotion with film-based material.
When it comes to input lag, LG have struggled in the past and at first we thought this might be the same with the LB730. We measured the ISF mode, with all the extra processing features turned off, at a rather tardy 100ms. However switching to the Game mode immediately got this down to a more respectable 46ms, which is fine for most people, although still rather high for the dedicated gamer. However, renaming the input PC brought the lag down to a respectable 34ms, which is one of the lower measurements we've recorded this year. We certainly make no claims to any cat-like reflexes or gaming prowess but we certainly found a session of Killzone on the PS4 to be a hugely enjoyable experience with the LB730, with the high-def graphics and higher frame rate being well served.
- Standby: 0W
- Out-of-the-Box – Normal Mode: 61W
- Calibrated – Professional Mode: 48W
- Calibrated - 3D Mode: 68W
LG LB730 Video Review
LG LB730V Picture QualityAs we said at the start, all the technical innovations in the world will be for naught if the LB730's picture isn't up to snuff but thankfully that didn't prove to be the case. In fact we were pleasantly surprised by the LB730 and even after a quick setup, we could immediately see that the picture had real potential. The natural colours and accurate greyscale were readily apparent and the motion handling was surprisingly good for an LCD panel, especially without having to resort to TruMotion. The backlight was also even and the lack of clouding or bright corners and edges was highly encouraging. However it was the perceived dynamic range that really caught our eye, with deep blacks and a bright image. Since black levels have never been a strong point of an IPS panel, LG's latest local dimming algorithms were clearly doing a great job.
We have obviously spent quite a lot of time watching football recently and the LB730 proved to be a very competent performer when it came to extensive sessions watching the World Cup. The natural colours, impressive dynamic range and detailed high definition images really delivered, with a great looking picture that really took some of the pain out of being an England fan. The greens of the pitches and the colours of the strips all looked accurate, whilst the motion of the players and the ball was also impressive. The level of detail in the crowds was also excellent, with only some minor banding as the camera panned across the pitch to spoil an otherwise very solid performance.
Of course it wasn't all football and we were glad to see that the excellent video processing meant that the LB730 was also able to make standard definition broadcasts and DVDs look good. Of course with Blu-rays the results were excellent with recent purchases like The Lego Movie and 3 Days to Kill looking superb on the LG. The images were clean and detailed, shadow detail was evident and 24p was handled extremely well. We always liked passive 3D, not only because its much simpler to implement but also because the images are free of flicker and often brighter. There will be those that complain about a loss of resolution with passive 3D on Full HD TVs but that has never bothered us and 3D movies like Hugo and Stalingrad looked wonderful.
The LB730 delivered a great picture, with natural colours and good dynamic range thanks to some decent local dimming.
- Accurate colours and greyscale
- Good backlight uniformity
- Well implemented local dimming
- Impressive video processing
- Smart+ is a game changer
- Attractive design
- Excellent build quality
- Wide viewing angles
- Decent input lag
- Native blacks are mediocre
- Occasional banding
- CMS still buggy
LG 47LB730V (LB730) TV ReviewThe LG 47LB730V is great all-round TV that combines looks, performance and state-of-the-art features in a winning combination. The minimalist design and 'ribbon' stand are both stylish and contemporary, whilst the build quality is excellent for a TV at this price point. There are plenty of connections at the rear and we're pleased to see that the side-facing HDMI inputs are a long way from the edge, whilst the built-in sound is also rather good. The LB730 uses passive 3D and comes with two pairs of glasses, although more are easy and cheap to come by. LG include their Magic Remote which is excellent and when combined with the incredible webOS/Smart+ platform the results are genuinely game changing. The LB730 also manages to deliver a suitably low input lag and in terms of power consumption it's positively thrifty.
Whilst all these things are important, what really matters is the picture quality and in this regard the LB730 doesn't disappoint. It has a really impressive level of colour accuracy right out-of-the-box and the image detail and motion handling are also very good. Whilst the IPS panel provides a wide viewing angle, the blacks could be better, although the local dimming worked extremely well. The backlight uniformity was also excellent and the only negative worth mentioning was some minor banding. The performance with standard and high definition content was great and the passive 3D was also very impressive, resulting in a solid TV that covers all the bases. At a price of less than £900 it won't break the bank either and LG's 47LB730V is certainly worthy of consideration by anyone currently in the market for a new TV.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level8
2D Picture Quality9
3D Picture Quality9
Ease Of Use10
Value for Money8
Our Review Ethos
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