We're fans of the images the IPS variant panels can produce; although they might not boast the most impressive contrast ratio performances, on paper, their wide viewing angles and relatively smooth motion handling are distinct advantages over some other panels found in the current crop of LCD televisions. With the inclusion of of seven pairs of 3D glasses and the generous viewing angles, we regarded the LW550 as an excellent choice for the family wanting to dive in to the extra dimension; and it was awarded the highly coveted AVForums Highly Recommended badge, as a result. Can the LG 42LW650T justify the slightly inflated price tag? Read on after the summary and scoring for the full in-depth review.
Design & Connections
The Picture menu houses options for Aspect Ratio (choose Just Scan for HD; Energy Saving - that just dims the picture so we disabled it and Picture Mode options of Cinema, Game, Vivid and Standard plus two Expert ISF settings allowing access to the advanced picture controls and for the creation of distinct settings for day and night time viewing.
In terms of the calibration suite on offer, we have an option for choosing a base Colour Gamut offering choices of Standard and Wide in addition to the EBU, SMPTE and BT709 standards. Very nice. LG are also good enough to provide both 2 and 10 point White Balance controls and a 2D Colour Management System. As we mentioned, the controls are irritating to use because the menus overlay where you want the meter, meaning you have to make the adjustment and then exit and then, again, access the controls through the Home dashboard leading to countless 'unnecessary' remote control clicks. Sort it out LG!
We'll also just make mention of the AV Sync item found in the Audio menu that we found it necessary to play with, for every external source, in order to mitigate the very obvious lag issues the 650T has.
And the LW650's 'un-tweaked' colour reproduction was rather special, also. Time to open a bottle of red, kick back and watch a Blu-ray? Not quite but very nearly. Again this is a truly outstanding result for the LW650 with only the slightly off-hue performances of green and magenta likely to be noticeable and then only when stood next to something providing reference images. Luminance was just a little too low for both primary and secondary colours but overall errors are all below the threshold of our eyes being able to discern them. We've a 2D CMS to tinker with so let's see if we can improve on matters.
We'll admit to just the slightest feeling of disappointment that we weren't able to bring green further away from yellow but, reality check, nobody is going to notice in the home environment. Luminance performance, all round, is spot on and our images do have slightly more vibrancy and pop so it certainly was a worthwhile exercise for the perfectionist in us.
This is another area where the LW650 exactly mirrored the LW550's performance so we'll just engage in a quick resumè here. Scaling performance of 480i/576i signals was very good with no ringing beyond that seen in poorly compressed material. Deinterlacing of both SD and HD sources was also excellent with the LW650 also handling the most common PAL and NTSC film cadences with aplomb. Video encoded text over film material didn't overly challenge the 650 either and we can safely put a tick in the Excellent column.
As readers of Steve's LW550T review will know, it didn't score particularly well when it came to input lag, with a latency between 90-100 milliseconds. However, acting on our feedback, LG have issued a software update to address the issues and we duly updated the 650 in eager anticipation of the promised improvement. Having taken 15 measurements, in GAME mode - connected via HDMI, we're pleased to announce the 650 measures better, but only slightly. Our measurements were all, unfortunately, in the 80-90 millisecond range and LG could probably do with taking another look. We are confident that LG will crack it eventually and we certainly know they're keen to do so!
As we'd expect from a LED lit LCD, the LW650T was an efficient performer drawing an average of 67w, calibrated, and 82w in 3D mode with the backlight up at 65. In standby, our measuring equipment couldn't detect any consumption. Which is nice.
Picture Quality - 2D
Aside from that minor point, we found the LW650 to be a great 2D performer in all lighting conditions with the reasonable black levels holding up well in the daytime and maintaining respectability in the evening. The matte screen also helped disperse reflections, to an extent, and the generous viewing angles are worthy of consideration when pitched against some other LCD's. We also need to give credit to LG for producing an edge LED lit display that didn't exhibit poor uniformity as we've seen from so many others. The LED technology certainly meant we could detect some haloing under motion, in darker scenes, but with local dimming set to 'Low' it was somewhat mitigated whilst not losing the black levels setting local dimming to 'Off' brings about. Note: setting dimming any higher than 'Low' really eats in to shadow detail so we'd recommend being conservative.
We've seen better motion handling in some recent LCDs but the 650 was by no means bad in this area. For 24p Blu-ray material we certainly had no issues and only with fast paced video did we feel need to tinker with the TruMotion user settings, finding a happy place with De-Judder at 0 and De-Blur at 5 but, again, we'd recommend owners experiment to discover what they find pleasing
Picture Quality - 3D
Enter LG's Cinema 3D system and my own, personal 3D day is saved. Gone is the sense of flicker. It's like opening a new window on the experience and I can finally hop aboard the 3D bandwagon. If I were being picky, and I am, the loss of resolution, when compared to the last 3D TV (Panasonic VT30) through the doors is just about perceptible, with perfect eyesight from within 4 feet. That would probably translate to around 5 and 7 feet for the 47 and 55 inch versions, respectively, but the added sense of depth increases resolution perception and I certainly don't feel I'm missing out - quite the opposite, in fact! Some object to 'scan lines' being evident in LGs Cinema 3D system but I have to say, again, I had to be very close to the screen to notice them and certainly closer than is a comfortable viewing position. The lack of crosstalk, when compared to other 3D LCDs, is also very refreshing as are the wide viewing angles. The glasses are extremely comfortable in use with less light lost than active eyewear and let's not forget they're cheap as the proverbial chips - not a factor to be sneezed at when you've children (or clumsy adults) in the equation. Viewing angles on the vertical plane aren't generous but we don't envisage many will be standing up to watch their movies.
All in all, LGs Cinema 3D solution is, by far, the best in-home exposure to the industry's latest craze I've experienced to date.
- Comfortable 3D Experience
- Viewing Angles
- Stunning out-of-box Greyscale and Colour Performance
- GUI Presentation
- Bright Room Performance
- Screen Uniformity - for edge-lit LCD
- Lag - Input and Audio
- Slightly Soft HD Images
- Calibrating is a Pain with Menu System
LG LW650 (42LW650) 3D LED LCD TV Review
If we'd have reviewed the LW650T prior to the LW550T there's no doubt the 650 would have been a worthy recipient of a Highly Recommended award but, as it is, it will just have to cope with 'merely' being given the Recommended badge. It can blame the 550 for representing such good value for that.
Once again we were bowled over by the passive Cinema 3D experience and the 2D performance was no slouch either. Out of the box colour reproduction and greyscale was in the realms of unbelievable and if they can replicate that in mass production numbers, LG will have truly achieved something quite remarkable.
There's room for improvement, of course, gaming and audio lag are both noticeable without measurement and the calibration process is severely inhibited by the menu system. There's also a question mark over the polarised filter slightly masking detail of high contrast, high definition sources but we won't over-play it.
If you're a family in the market for a 42" 3D television, is it really worth the added expense of active shutter technology - not to mention the risk of suffering with flicker? We think probably not.
Contrast/Dynamic Range/Black Level
3D Picture Quality
Ease Of Use
Value for Money
Our Review Ethos
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