The LG G2 series is a 1080p 3D, edge-lit LED television that blends LG's Smart TV with Google TV software. But while it looks great, even hard-core Google fanatics might want to think twice considering this set's steep price and ho-hum picture quality.
The LG G2 series includes two screen sizes: the 47-inch LG 47G2 (*Est. $1,100) and 55-inch LG 55G2 (*Est. $1,500). Both have comparable specifications and should perform similarly.
Picture quality is a disappointment. Few reviewers are impressed with the overall performance of the LG G2 series. Both CNET and DigitalTrends.com conclude that the LG G2's main failing is its murky black levels, making shadow detail tough to see. TelevisionInfo.com testing finds the LG G2's already limited contrast ratio diminished even more (to "cheap computer monitor levels") during 3D, with peak brightness dropping and black levels becoming brighter. Nevertheless, TelevisionInfo.com's Lee Neikirk feels "it's still a solid product at its core."
Other shortfalls, such as poor screen uniformity, are noted. Light bleeds from the edges, and when white text scrolls on a black background, there is a trail of light scrolling with the text. The LG G2 also fares poorly in motion performance, showing significant blurring in motion tests. The semi-glossy screen is plagued with reflectivity issues in bright rooms, reports say.
While the passive 3D system creates far less cross talk than active 3D, some reviewers complain that though the colors are fairly accurate in 2D, the LG G2 lacks vibrancy and appears a bit washed-out in 3D.
The set has an ISF mode for professional calibration, as well as on-screen aides for self-calibrating black levels, color accuracy and more. TelevisionInfo.com notes that calibrating the LG G2 involves a "slightly long-winded menu" system that buries some common picture adjustments in nests of submenus, forcing you to press several different remote buttons up to five times to navigate though the settings.
The sound quality and volume is good, though it lacks bass even at high volume levels. Viewing angles, a common shortcoming in LED sets, are surprisingly good.
Things don't stop with Google. The LG G2 blends LG's own Smart TV interface with Google TV technology to create a hybrid user interface that Caleb Denison at DigitalTrends.com describes as "a considerable improvement over any manufacturer's smart-television efforts to date," including Samsung's Smart Hub. That's not to say that its smart features are a complete success, however.
On the plus side, the set features a fully functional Chrome web browser that outperforms typical smart TV browsers by a wide margin, plus access to a library of Android apps, though still relatively few that are fully optimized for TV. However, reviewers note that the Google TV experience in general still suffers some limitations, including setup wizards that don't prompt you to enter login information for many popular subscriber-based services. Also, access to some sites, such as Hulu, is conspicuously absent. That leads Caleb Denison to say that "Google needs to make considerable changes before the public-at-large will consider buying in."
As noted, passive 3D is part of the feature lineup, and LG bundles six pairs of glasses with the set. Gamers might appreciate the inclusion of Dual Play, which uses the TV's 3D technology to turn split-screen gaming into two simultaneous full-screen images, each visible only to one player. The required glasses for those who are interested are sold separately, and cost roughly $15 per pair.
Connectivity is excellent, rivaling that of any top-tier TV. It includes four HDMI inputs, three USB inputs, an Ethernet port, legacy audio-video inputs and a digital optical audio output. Wi-Fi is built in.
Hey, good looking. All say that the LG G2, with its ribbon stand and brushed metal bezel, is handsome. CNET calls it one of the most attractive sets on the market.
The LG G2's remote includes a full QWERTY keyboard and number pad on the flip side of the already impressive Magic Wand remote that responds to gesture-based and voice commands. A wheel feature allows quick scrolling through the Chrome web browser. Though using Google TV often requires text entry, the Magic Remote speeds up the process by simply pointing at the letters you need. CNET goes so far as to call the remote "one of the best TV peripherals on the market."
It could be a tough sell. The price premium compared to sets with equal core performance reflects mostly an investment in Google TV. Setting aside its very nice Chrome browser and access to Google TV Android apps, the LG G2 is an otherwise midrange 3D TV, at best. A few reviewers, including some owner reviewers, recommend waiting for a price drop or until the still-evolving Google TV platform becomes more mature.
Review Credibility: Excellent This review is based on the 55-inch LG G2, though the observations also apply to the performance features of the 47-inch LG 47G2. Reviewer Caleb Denison gives the LG G2 series a score of 7 out of 10, noting that "image quality lags behind others in this price range."
Review: LG 55G2 Review, Caleb Denison, Aug. 16, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent CNET performs a hands-on evaluation of the 47-inch LG 47G2, but this review also applies to the 55-inch model. Reviewer Ty Pendlebury gives the LG G2 2.5 out of 5 stars, calling it "a disappointing attempt at Google TV" and summing up by saying "Picture quality suffers from poor black levels, de-saturated colors, a glossy screen, and lack of uniformity."
Review: LG 47G2 Review, Ty Pendlebury, April 17, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent Lee Neikirk looks at the 47-inch LG 47G2, but test results should also indicate the general performance of the 55-inch LG 55G2. Overall, Neikirk gives the LG G2 a 7.4 out of 10 score. He likes the 3D performance and what he calls good color, but recommends waiting for a price drop.
Review: LG 47G2, Lee Neikirk, Aug. 28, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent ConsumerReports.org puts the 55-inch LG 55G2 through its standard testing. Discussion is not extensive, but the set is given a rating and ranked relative to other TVs in its screen-size range.
Review: LG 55G2, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
Review Credibility: Very Good More than 50 owners chiming in at Amazon.com grant the LG G2 an overall 3.9 out of 5 stars. Happy owners praise the picture quality and the ease of using the remote. The few dissenters question whether the Google TV features outweigh the sacrifices made in picture quality and other functions.
Review: LG 55G2 55-Inch Cinema 3D 1080p 120Hz LED-LCD HDTV, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of February 2013