OLED technology has long been synonymous with the very best in TV picture quality – primarily due to the deep, inky blacks its organic diodes deliver – and for years LG has been the brand best known for high-end OLED panels. In fact, so dominant has LG been that it’s more or less just accepted wisdom at this stage that LG makes the best TVs, despite other brands also producing excellent panels.
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Now, we’re not saying LG’s reputation is undeserved – far from it – but all the chips could imminently be thrown in the air with LG’s rival and fellow South Korean brand Samsung entering the OLED game in 2022 after years of saying it didn’t believe the technology was ready for market. With the competition heating up, LG will be looking to fend off Samsung with its 2022 range, which includes its most advanced panel yet: the LG G2.
Now that we have the context in which we approached this review out of the way, we can happily confirm that the G2 most certainly delivers the goods. LG has served up an outstanding panel that further refines the OLED experience that the brand’s been perfecting for years. All of which is just as well, because we’ve heard through the grapevine that Samsung’s new panel is something pretty special, too.
So let’s break down what makes the LG G2 such an exceptional example of OLED technology, where it could see some (admittedly subtle) improvements, and whether or not this is a panel you should be spending your hard-earned dosh on.
Picture & Performance
There are many elements that go into selecting a TV, but for most people, the quality of the image is at the very top of the list. LG’s G2 has this quality in spades. Supporting HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision formats, the G2 is more than up to the task of streaming your favourite HDR content, delivering a wide range of contrast from the whitest whites to the blackest blacks. Further, the G2’s clarity and vivid colours will make your favourite content sing. Even if the original source leaves a little to be desired, LG’s 4K upscaling via the α9 Gen 5 AI Processor will ensure you see the best possible version of whatever it is you’re watching.
Brightness has long been a struggle for OLED, allowing QLED technology to get a foothold in the market by offering superior brightness in exchange for washed-out blacks. LG has attempted to address that here through the introduction of Brightness Booster Max, a feature the brand’s website claims “can produce images with more luminance, for stunningly vibrant visuals with extreme clarity.”
While we don’t disagree with any of that, if we had to nitpick we’d like to see LG bump the brightness up even further if at all possible. This is because while the TV looks nothing short of incredible in low light or a completely dark room, the large windows in the space we kept the TV for review would let light flood in during the day – as it does in many Australian households – and the image just didn’t pop under those conditions as much as we’d like.
Saying that, we could’ve just drawn the curtains, but we don’t really like doing that during the day and the image suffered as a result. To reiterate, we’re very much nitpicking here as the G2’s picture was never anything less than entirely watchable. We just have an unquenchable thirst for brightness it would seem.
Gamers are well looked after here, too, thanks to LG’s inclusion of Dolby Vision gaming at 4K 120Hz, which offers a 1ms response time, along with NVIDIA G-Sync and AMD FreeSyncTM Premium compatibility, as well as Variable Refresh Rate support. Basically, what all of that boils down to is that throughout our time with the panel, our gaming sessions were nothing less than seamless – we didn’t even notice any of the NBN slow-downs that are almost a daily occurrence in our neck of the woods.
No matter how good a TV’s visuals are – and in case we weren’t clear, the G2’s are very good – they’re just half of the home cinema experience. To be truly immersed in a show, movie or game you need excellent audio as well. While many of us have a soundbar if not a full home theatre audio system these days, we believe premium TVs should still deliver in the sound stakes for those who don’t.
Now, we’re not demanding the most wall-shaking audio on the planet, but a generous serve of volume with plenty of clarity shouldn’t be too much to ask. Fortunately, the G2 delivers in this regard, too. If more is needed – which it probably will be in the long run – plug in a soundbar (we used a Sonos) and the G2 takes things to another level thanks firstly to its support of Dolby Atmos (for a full surround sound experience) and secondly its AI Sound Pro feature, which transforms two-channel audio into virtual 7.1.2 channel sound, enveloping you in rich audio goodness.
Not only is the G2 stunning in terms of its picture, it’s a beautiful panel from a build perspective, too. While the temporary nature of its stay with us meant we had it set up on the slightly cumbersome and rather large (for our limited space, anyway) Gallery Stand (sold separately – AUD$519), this thin, elegant panel is clearly intended to be mounted on a wall and comes with LG’s no-gap wall mount to do so. You can also get a more traditional Pedestal Stand, but this needs to be bought separately for AUD$349 – we reckon LG should really include it as part of the package when you reach this kind of price point though.
Measuring in at just 27mm thick at its edge, the G2 is like having an exquisitely crafted blade of glass in your living room. Immaculately finished with an ultra-thin bezel, the panel is a marvel of modern engineering. It gets a little thicker where it houses all of the electronics required to make the TV do the great work it does, but that’s to be expected. This is technology, not magic, after all.
In terms of plugging things into your new G2, you won’t have any trouble whether you’re looking to connect a gaming console, set-top box or 4K Blu-ray player thanks to the TV’s four HDMI 2.1 inputs and three USB connections along with all the inputs and outputs you’d expect.
Interface & Remote
The interface probably isn’t something most people give much thought to, but it’s important to consider as you’ll likely have to deal with it on a daily basis. Plus, your TV won’t do you much good if you can’t find anything to watch on it. Fortunately, LG’s WebOS 2.2 interface offers an easy-to-navigate browsing experience, featuring a handsome guide that offers a well-curated selection of programs and channels for those not sure what to watch next, thanks to LG’s ThinQ AI.
LG’s “Magic” Remote gives you the option of using directional buttons to navigate or clicking the button/wheel at its centre to activate a mouse-like cursor, which felt a little oversensitive to us. As a result, we stuck with the good ol’ fashioned left, right, up, down. Of course, you can also bypass both by using either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa, which are integrated into the device’s voice-recognition feature. As remote’s go, it’s perfectly serviceable and a decent size, so it’ll be tough to lose. It’s quite plasticky, so don’t go in expecting something with a cool metallic sheen, but all in all, it does the job perfectly well.
- Incredible blacks
- Vivid colour
- Elegant design
- Intuitive interface
- Could be brighter
- Doesn’t include the Pedestal Stand
Also check out:
- Samsung S95B OLED
- Sony A80K
Should you buy the LG G2?
While there are plenty of options for those in the market for a new TV, anyone taking the LG G2 home with them won’t be disappointed, particularly if your viewing room tends to be dimly lit during your TV sessions. By now there’s a certain prestige that comes with having the LG logo stamped on your television – particularly if it happens to be an OLED – and that prestige is well-earned. While Samsung’s S95B OLED will also be worth checking out, the G2 unquestionably delivers in terms of picture quality, feature set and the sheer elegance of its build. This is a TV that’s guaranteed to enhance any room you care to put it in.
The LG G2 55-inch evo Gallery Edition has an RRP of AUD$4,076. It also comes in 65-inch, 77-inch and 83-inch models, which will set you back AUD$5,376, AUD$9,576 and AUD$13,076 respectively.