What is the EF950?
Connections & Control
Features & Specs
Picture Settings Out-of-the-Box
LG 65EF950V Picture Settings
Picture Settings Calibrated
One of the other widely reported issues is the vignetting or dark edges at the sides of the image, that usually manifests when the OLED is showing images with dark scenes just above black. Panasonic believed this was a function of how the panel was being driven and they invested a great deal of time and effort in ensuring that this issue wasn't present on the CZ952. We can say for certain that Panasonic succeeded in this regard but sadly it is still apparent on the EF950. Although we didn't actually notice it at first, as soon as we pulled up a 5 IRE raster there they were - dark edges on either side. To be honest we rarely saw them when watching normal content, unless we went looking for them but they're certainly still there, so chalk one up to the CZ952.
Interestingly we found these dark edges were less noticeable when using a gamma curve of 2.2 compared to a gamma of 2.4, so if it's something that you suffer from you might try changing the gamma. It won't eliminate the problem but it might make it less apparent. The other major issue that has been reported is banding just above black and since this was evident on the CZ952, we weren't surprised to discover it was also there on the EF950V. We could easily see this banding using a 5IRE test pattern or very specific scenes (the scene from Interstellar where Matthew McConaughey is getting out of bed) but, as with the dark edges, it tended to be something we had to go looking for and wasn't apparent on most viewing material.
As with all the other OLED TVs that we have reviewed to date, the EF950V uses the 'sample-and-hold' approach, which means the panel displays and holds a static frame until the next one is refreshed. As a result the LG was delivering around 500 lines of resolution with TruMotion turned off. This could immediately be improved to the full 1080 lines of motion resolution by selecting any of the TruMotion options but that will make film-based content look unnaturally smooth and we could see artefacts in some of our test material. Whilst we would always encourage you to experiment with TruMotion when watching sports content, we would usually recommend leaving it off for film-based content.
However we could see that the motion wasn't quite as smooth as it should be with TruMotion turned off. We noticed this very slight judder in 50Hz, 60Hz and 24p content and whilst the majority of people would never even notice, it was definitely there. The opening scene of Gravity is a good test because just about everything in the frame is moving (Earth, shuttle, astronauts) and although we were watching it in 24p with TruMotion turned off, we knew the very slight judder we were seeing wasn't in the source material. In fact we had watched the exact same scene last week on the CZ952 and there was no doubt that it looked that little bit smoother on the Panasonic. We found that using the de-judder control in the Custom TruMotion setting could help but you need to be careful because if you set it too high then film-based content will look too smooth.
Finally we can report that we didn't experience any issues with image retention or screen burn during testing, even when we deliberately left a pattern up for over half an hour. If you leave a static image up the EF950 dims the screen after a short period of time, so we also left up an EPG for nearly an hour (the PIP image stopped the screen from dimming) and still no image retention. We also didn't experience any problems with image retention from watching 4:3 content or 2.35:1 content, nor did we see any after gaming. Whilst we obviously can't guarantee that you won't get any image retention or screen burn with your OLED, we can say that whatever LG are doing to avoid the problem appears to be working and, like with plasma, as long as you're sensible you should be fine.
Now that we've addressed the various issues that have been reported previously with other OLED TVs, let's get on with the rest of our picture review because in most other respects the EF950V delivers an absolutely fantastic image. It goes without saying that the OLED delivers a superb black level and contrast ratio performance. We measured 0IRE at 0.001cd/m2 and the LG had no problems hitting 120cd/m2, giving sequential contrast ratio of 120,000:1, whilst the intra-frame or ANSI contrast ratio came in at a very impressive 74,000:1. Whilst the Panasonic CZ952 did deliver a better contrast ratio performance and slightly more detail just above black, it's debatable whether anyone would actually be able to tell in a normal living room with light coloured walls.
However, one area where the EF950V was clearly superior to the CZ952 was in terms of overall brightness. We measured the maximum brightness in the ISF picture modes and found the LG could hit 405cd/m2 on a 100IRE window and 125cd/m2 on a full raster. Whilst that isn't as bright as an LED LCD TV, it's good for an OLED and certainly better than the Panasonic.
Which brings us to High Dynamic Range (HDR), which the EF950 already supports. LG kindly provided us with some HDR test material (a travelogue and a music performance), plus we had some other footage provide by their arch competitor (Exodus and Life of Pi), and the results were simply stunning. The dynamic range was impressive with the deep blacks and really bright highlights giving images incredible impact. You could see details in bright parts of the image whist still being able to make out detail in the darker parts of the same image and when combined with the additional resolution of 4K it gave a tantalising glimpse of the potential of HDR.
When we played the content the set immediately detected that it supported HDR and informed us via a message in the corner of the screen. We also noticed that with HDR content the OLED Light and Contrast settings are greyed out in the menus. Once you return to normal content, the TV tells you that as well and the menus return to their previous settings. Whilst OLED TVs are never going to compete with LCD TVs in terms of overall brightness, we feel that their superior black levels and native dynamic range allow for an equally impressive, if slightly different, approach to HDR. So it looks as though however you plan to access your HDR content (streaming services or 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray) the EF950V has you covered.
As we went through our various 4K test content we were constantly amazed at how detailed the picture was on the EF950V, with LG perfectly matching the material to the native resolution of its panel. The video processing was also very good, with the OLED performing well in our tests, aside from the slight judder mentioned previously, and scaling lower resolution content to display it on the Ultra HD panel. The EF950 did a wonderful job with Full HD broadcasts and once you take into account the black levels, dynamic range and colour accuracy, the result is a genuinely impressive picture. This was even more apparent with Blu-ray and at times you could almost mistake the images for native 4K content. We always like to break out Gravity when testing OLED TVs because the space set drama looks fantastic on them but our recently purchased copy of Jurassic World looked equally as stunning with deep blacks, natural colours and a staggering amount of detail.
Strangely, one area where we found ourselves slightly disappointed was with 3D. This surprised us because we have always been fans of LG's passive 3D, especially with their 4K panels which can deliver a full 1080p image to each eye. The EF950V comes with two pairs of passive glasses included but the beauty of this approach is that the glasses are really cheap and you can even use the RealD glasses from the cinema. The glasses are light, flicker-free, have a minimal amount of tint and don't require batteries. In general the 3D was very good, with bright and detailed images that revealed plenty of depth. However as we ran through our usual 3D test discs like Avatar and Hugo, we noticed there was some crosstalk at the top and bottom of the image. We were able to quickly confirm this using our Spears & Munsil 3D test patterns and there was definitely crosstalk that wasn't there with the Panasonic CZ952.
The EF950V actually sounded very good with regular TV programmes, keeping dialogue clear and central to the screen, whilst creating an open front soundstage where music and effects were concerned. It could go fairly loud and, as long as you didn't stress it, the LG proved a very competent performer. There was very little in the way of bass presence and obviously the sense of surround it could create was limited but for general use the EF950 was more than up to the task. Obviously if you're a film fan or a big gamer, you should probably investigate an outboard audio solution but for general TV watching the LG delivers.
LG 65EF950V Video Review
Input Lag & Energy Consumption
If you've been following some of the recent news stories, you'll know that the energy consumption numbers that a manufacturer quotes for its TVs are based upon the picture mode that the unit is in when you first turn it on. In the case of LG their TVs are shipped in the Eco picture mode, so we measured that first using a 50 IRE raster and we got 157W. When we switched to our calibrated 2D mode using one of the ISF picture modes we got a measurement of 103W. Finally in our calibrated 3D mode, which also used one of the ISF picture modes, and we got a measurement of 180W. So overall, considering the 65-inch panel, the 65EF950V is fairly energy efficient, especially compared to Panasonic's 65CZ952B.
How future-proof is this TV?
|4K Ultra HD Resolution|
|Colour Space (percentage of DCI - 100% best)||88%|
|HDMI 2.0a Inputs|
|HDCP 2.2 Support|
|4K Streaming Services|
|Smart TV Platform|
|Picture Accuracy Out-of-the-Box (score out of 10)||9|
|What do these mean?|
- Flat screen
- Absolute blacks
- Superb dynamic range
- Impressive contrast ratio
- Supports High Dynamic Range
- Excellent greyscale and colour accuracy
- Very wide viewing angles
- Great sound
- Effective smart platform
- Attractive design
- Impressive build quality
- Vignetting at edges of screen
- Some minor banding just above black
- Slight judder to some motion
- Some crosstalk in 3D
- Colour space could be wider
- Input lag too high for serious gamers
LG 65EF950V (EF950/ EF9500) 4K OLED TV Review
The out-of-the-box greyscale and colour accuracy were very good and the LG was capable of a near reference performance after calibration. There were still some minor colour errors, especially at lower saturation points, but overall this was an excellent greyscale and colour performance. The video processing was also impressive with the EF950V upscaling lower resolution content to effectively match the 4K panel. The motion handling was generally good but there was a very slight judder to certain content that some people might notice. The black level and contrast ratio performance was superb and, as you'd expect from an OLED TV, the viewing angles were incredibly wide. The 65EF950 was also very bright for an OLED TV and it already supports HDR content, which looked wonderful in our tests.
Unfortunately the EF950V still suffers from dark edges and banding in material just above black but in all other respects the panel was excellent, with no uniformity or tint issues and no dead pixels, yellow bands or lines on the screen. In fact even the issues that we've already mentioned would probably go unnoticed by most people and generally the LG delivered a wonderful image with deep blacks, natural colours and plenty of detail. Needless to say 4K content looked marvellous, as did Full HD broadcasts and Blu-rays, although the 3D performance was marred slightly by some crosstalk at the top and bottom of the image. However the sound quality was surprisingly good, the energy consumption extremely efficient and the input lag fine for most people, but probably a bit high for serious gamers.
As luck would have it we were able to review the LG 65EF950V immediately after reviewing the Panasonic TX-65CZ952B and as a result we could appreciate the remarkable picture qualities of the latter. In our opinion, the CZ952B remains the reference point in terms of absolute image quality. It wasn't just the fact that Panasonic had eliminated the cause of the dark edges but also that the CZ952 proved that little bit better in many other areas such as colour accuracy, motion handling, black gradations and 3D. However the EF950 did edge out the Panasonic in other areas, especially in terms of brightness, energy efficiency, sound quality, smart features and input lag. Ultimately the CZ952 costs £7,999 and, as good as it is, we'd find it hard to justify the extra cost for improvements that many people might not even notice and we'd prefer to have a flat screen. So whilst the Panasonic TX-65CZ952B remains our reference point for image quality, if we were buying a TV right now we'd almost certainly go for the LG 65EF950V.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Picture Quality Out-Of-The-Box
Picture Quality Calibrated
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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