As with the LM670, the 660 lacks very little in terms of specification and features from the high-end LM860 and LM960 we’ve also reviewed, with just a reduced backlight modulation frequency and lack of dual core processing worth mentioning. It’s one of LG’s Cinema 3D TVs, packs in all the Smart TV options we’ve come to expect and it also has Freeview HD and built-in WI-FI to bring to the table.
Design and Connections
The supplied standard remote control is exactly the same as the 670’s and doesn’t feature the backlight or the glow-in-the-dark buttons of the 860 and 960. The new SETTINGS button makes accessing the Picture controls far easier than in last year’s LG’s. There’s a recess to the rear for your index finger making it nicely ergonomic and all the buttons sit where you’d want them with the possible exception on the INFO button which is awkwardly placed to the bottom left.
Also in the box is LGs redesigned Magic Motion Remote Control, that now features a very nifty little scroll wheel for zipping through the Home page. It’s very simply laid out with just 9 buttons on the face, including vol/channel up and down, Standby, 3D, Home and Back. We’re certainly not sold on it as a replacement for a conventional controller for ‘traditional’ TV activities but we like it for the Smart functions.
The new 6-Axis 3D Colour Management System (CMS is located in the Expert Control area of the Picture Menu along with both 2 and 20 point White Balance controls, some pre-set gamma curves and a choice of Colour Gamut options. Also, less usefully, in the Expert Control menu are the Dynamic Contrast, Super Resolution and Edge Enhancement options which were all set to ‘Off’. The Picture Options area houses settings for the Tru-Motion, Real Cinema and LED Local Dimming options that will be discussed later in the review.
Note: We had to download a Software update for the Tru Motion controls to become apparent in the menus, so if your LM670 isn’t showing them you will need to update over the network or via USB from a file on the LG support website.
The LG 42LM660T behaved in an absolutely identical fashion to the 47LM670 here so we’ll make no apologies for the inevitable repetition. As with what went before, the LM660 aces most of the standard set of testing and scaled standard definition extremely crisply, picked up on nearly every film cadence thrown at it and deniterlaced video content in both SD and HD signals extremely well but, again, certain patterns did highlight issues they’re not really intended to show.
The Jaggies test on both the Spears and Munsil and HQV discs displayed a lot of artefacting on the moving bar when the signal was set at 50Hz, which bore out our experiences with watching fast paced sports from a 1080i50 broadcast source. With real world content that would manifest as black trails and ghosting artefacts. We’re used to seeing these kind of effects when motion interpolation engines are used but the Tru Motion settings had been left off for these tests. Interestingly, switching the signal to 60Hz instantly cleaned up the artefacting and points to issues with the 50Hz processing. LG, themselves, think the trailing issues are as a result of some problems with the overdrive technology implemented, which is kind of ironic given overdrive is intended to improve panel response and thus motion clarity.
It didn’t stop there, unfortunately, and there were also issues with 1080p24 playback, i.e. most Blu-rays. The LM660 had problems with the Wedge Pattern test on the Spears and Munsil disc with the 24p cadence. The pattern is comprised of two wedges made up of alternating fine black and white lines that move around the screen. The lines are supposed to stay stable as they move but the 660 displayed very noticeable ghosting, flicker and trailing. Obviously the test is torturous and very high contrast – bright white against black – but it does indicate there would be issues with real world content too. Popping in a selection of Blu-rays with a lot of dark scenes and we found the manifestation of trailing in a couple of night time firefight scenes from the HBO Pacific Blu-ray Box set where objects moving across the blackened skies would visibly ‘feather’. Again, forcing the Blu-ray player in to 60Hz output cleared up the problems. We don’t want to highlight this as too large an issue, it’s not going to be visible on the vast majority of scenes but it is there. In fact we found the problems at 50Hz more severe given they weren’t restricted to extremely high contrast situations.
When we first tested the 47LM670, prior to updating the software, our LagTest device was measuring latency at between 45 and 46milliseconds but the latest software update available at that time saw it rise to nearer 70ms. We’re pleased to report that the 42LM660 measured at 46milliseconds with the latest software installed which brings it in to line with the ranges of TVs we’ve tested in 2012 from all the manufacturers. Note: measurement was taken with all extraneous processing switched off from the HDMI1 input labelled as GAME.
We were expecting good numbers here too and the LM660 didn’t disappoint with an averaged draw of just 48W in calibrated 2D mode and 64W in the default 3D picture configuration.
Picture Quality - 2D
The calibration charts weren’t telling any lies, however, and colour reproduction was simply excellent and totally true to the directors’ intentions. Colour performance held up very well at less than optimal viewing angles thanks to the IPS panel and there’s plenty of luminance available for a bright room setting. The matte screen does cause reflections to diffuse quite profusely over the screen so we wouldn’t advise placing it opposite a window, however.
The 42LM660 also shares the two same fundamental problems with both 24p and 50Hz (interlaced or progressive) content. The motion issues with 50Hz material mentioned on the test results page could intrude on to faster paced action and the Tru-Motion settings did nothing but add a soap opera effect over the top of the trailing. Similarly the 24p problem is likely to distract from time to time but we don’t want to overblow it and it’s not something owners will constantly be plagued by. Still, these are things that LG needs to address as there are plenty of TVs out there that don’t show these problems, although with how the market sectors are split, there’s an almost natural tendency, amongst the manufacturers, to build panels that are native 60Hz so we see how these problems creep in. Not that we would excuse it.
Screen uniformity was in the ‘better than average’ category for LED TVs. There was some mild corner bleed, particularly from the top right, but the banding and dirty screen effect so pervading on the LM860 was largely not intrusive. The faster the pan and the brighter the colour, the more likely you would see either but it certainly wasn’t something that caused us any real consternation during the review process and instances were fleeting and relatively rare.
Picture Quality - 3D
- Unbelievable out-of-the-box accuracy
- Beautifully presented and extensive features
- Convincing colours
- Excellent viewing angles
- Fantastic 3D
- Some very good video processing
- Average blacks and contrast performance
- Motion artefacting/trailing in 50Hz content
- Issues with high contrast scenes on Blu-ray
- Some mild uniformity issues
LG LM660 (42LM660T) 3D LED LCD TV Review
That the 42LM660 so mirrored the performance of the 47LM670 recently tested was no great surprise, the only notable differences were a slight degradation in black levels, with the smaller panel, but that came with improved shadow detail and input lag is a much more respectable 46 milliseconds with the latest software. The LG LM660 is almost everything one would expect of a 3D Smart TV in this sector of the market, it just needs LG to sort out the panel driving issues for it to be a real contender.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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