LG 2017 OLED Hands-On Review

Specs

ManufacturerLG
ModelC7
Display TypeOLED
Resolution3840x2160
Inputs4x HDMI, 3x USB, 1x Composite, 1x Component, 1x Ethernet
Outputs1x Optical
Streaming ServicesNetflix, Amazon, Vudu
Wi-Fi SupportYes
3D SupportNo
Display Size48.4" x 28.0" x 1.8"
Display Weight38.1 lbs.
Review DateMarch 3, 2017
Price$3500

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to go hands-on with the updated 2017 OLED TVs from LG. While this isn’t a full review of the new TVs, I couldn’t test apps well because of slow Internet speeds for example, I did run through the image quality of the updated TVs with objective and subjective tests. This year every OLED has the same panel and same SoC, so image quality between the different models should be identical. Based on what I saw with the W7 and E7 models, the 2017 LG OLED models offer the best image that I have seen on a TV to date.

2017 Improvements

Specs
Manufacturer:LG
Model:C7
Display Type:OLED
Resolution:3840x2160
Inputs:4x HDMI, 3x USB, 1x Composite, 1x Component, 1x Ethernet
Outputs:1x Optical
Streaming Services:Netflix, Amazon, Vudu
Wi-Fi Support:Yes
3D Support:No
Display Size:48.4" x 28.0" x 1.8"
Display Weight:38.1 lbs.
Review Date:March 3, 2017
Price:$3500
Company Website

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When I reviewed the LG E6 OLED last year, I said it was the best TV I had used. The combination of perfect blacks, wide color gamut, and high dynamic range made for images that look amazing. The only TV I didn’t get a chance to use last year that might compete was the Sony Z9D, and it only has an advantage with HDR content but not regular material. Despite being the best TV I had seen to date, there was still room for improvement from LG. From the time I spent with them and tested, I have to say that LG has delivered.

One persistent issue with the 2016 LG OLEDs was the presence of some slight shadow crush. This could be mostly fixed through a combination of the brightness control and the 20 point white balance, but not perfectly. Having to choose between perfect blacks or more shadow details I always went with blacks, but it was a compromise. On the 2017 panels this has been fixed. All of the shadow details are visible, the brightness control is much finer, and you get the best of both worlds now.

While not something we were able to look for as easily at the start of last year, the differences in tone mapping became apparent between the OLED and TVs with higher levels of nit output. This year the tone mapping of the LG OLEDs is improved with more detail around bright highlights. OLED is not going to be able to win the nits race against full array LED backlights, but with improved tone mapping it helps to minimize the advantage those sets can have with HDR.

Input lag became a big issue last year as HDR video games were introduced. LG managed to fix a bit of their issues last year, but with two different SoCs they had issues. This year all the displays use the same SoC and the input lag for HDR signals in testing is only 21.5ms. Even hard core gamers should be happy with this level of input lag, being just around 1.3 frames in total.

Light output also improved, at least on the panels that I tested. Peak light output with a 10% window was right around 740 cd/m2 while last year the E6 measured closer to 640 cd/m2. It isn’t up to the level of LED TVs that are aiming for 1500-2000 cd/m2 this year, but it is a good improvement over last year.

Sometimes there was also a small tint to the OLEDs last year as well. With calibration it mostly went away, and you were unlikely to notice it unless it was directly next to a more accurate display. This year that tint is completely absent so worrying about if it is visible or not isn’t a concern.

Display Measurements

Measurements were done with a Klein K-10A profiled from a